Weeks before we ended the expedition, which happened on a warm still day in Ibiza, Spain on October 18th I asked Jody to begin working on a slideshow. I asked her to do this because I knew I wouldn’t have the words to describe, to explain, to illustrate what the expedition has meant to us, or to those who have joined along the way. Of course photos are only a slice of the picture, a fabulous collage pieced together somewhat magically and very haphazardly as we slowly worked our way around the world. There’s been a plentiful supply of blood, pain, laughter, disappointments, discoveries, and of course moments that are too special to ever try to represent with words.
So here it is, a slideshow that takes us back to the beginning and all the way to the end. From the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, across the South Pacific, Micronesia, Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, Namibia, Cape Verdes, Azores, Scotland and Spain:
When I look back I see images that many of you have shared, and many that are mine alone. I also see statistics, and some of them turn out to be figures that I find a bit shocking, and honestly…make me a wee bit proud of what we’ve achieved. For example:
- Total miles sailed: 54,000 (the distance of nearly two circumnavigations)
- Circumnavigation completed: December 10th, 2010 (near Cape Verde)
- Countries visited: 50
- Total trips operated: 90
- Days with guests on board: 986
- Documented virgin kite locations: 148
- Dinghies destroyed: 2
- Trips cancelled or delayed: 0
- Money spent on food: $123,321.00 USD
- Approximate bottles of beer consumed: 4,320
- Cumulative Staph infections suffered by Jody and me: 23
- Pros on board: 37
- Reefs I’ve planted us on: 3
- Times hitting the reefs caused an emergency haul-out: 2
- Number of times rebuilding a toilet has caused me to swear profusely: 24 (the exact number of rebuilds I’ve done)
- Number of people I kicked off the boat: 1
We’ve gone places that I could have never dreamed even existed. We’ve gone places that are very close to being totally destroyed, if they aren’t already. The sadness, the beauty, the mistakes, the friendships; the many things we’ve discovered, touched and seen along the way will be with us forever. Memories of course have a way of fading and the many thrills and wonders that took place will be remembered less and less as time streams along faster and faster, rushing us all towards the one true inevitable end. And now that it’s all over we’re trying to come to terms with what it has meant, and what it continues to mean.
No easy task.
People keep asking Jody and I what’s next? To be honest neither of us knows. I’m not sure I want to know, at least for the time being. For these five years and eight years before that I have been charged with keeping a lot of people safe in some seriously tight situations at sea. At times the stress of it was as suffocating as drowning, but to witness the smiles and hear what the expedition meant to those who joined was more payback than I could ever get from a paycheck. Even in the very dark times I knew my office was something I should never take for granted, and hopefully I never did. Neither Jody nor I consider ourselves planners, but somehow we planned what is certainly one of the most complex expeditions that has ever happened. If someone died, or got hurt, or got sick the show had to carry on. No calling in sick, no taking a day off. At times I felt like I was living inside a pressure cooker that had no relief valve. More than once Jody and I had long, tearful, serious talks about pulling the plug. But always these times would pass and be replaced with some of the most precious and happiest moments I’ve ever lived. I’m humbly proud of what we’ve achieved and at the same time scared that what we’ve achieved is only human, which succumbs like everything…to history.
We owe much of our success and all of our most incredible moments to our owners and sponsors, who dedicated much of their own lives (and no small amount of their hard-earned money!) to The Best Odyssey. Each of you took a huge gamble on us, two people you had never met before and to you we say THANK YOU. Thank you for making this absurd, crazy, impossible dream come true. We hope it has also been a dream realized for you.
Because it certainly was for us.
Many thanks to each and every one of you, all those thousands of people who I’ve never even met who have followed our trials and tribulations in the form of the Captain’s Logs for these past five years. As most of you know, writing these logs is always hard for me and without your continued support I would have given it up long ago. But again and again you have reached out to me with your own stories, sorrows, joys, hopes, and fears and blessedly- your encouragement, which always makes penning the next story possible.
I hope we’ve kept you entertained.
But now we have reached a point that five years ago I couldn’t even imagine, and I still can’t believe has come. This is the final log of The Best Odyssey. An era has come to an end.
But really, somehow I think it’s just the beginning.
As always, I leave you with a quote. It’s one I’ve used before but it remains my favorite. Someday I hope to be as cranky, profound and important as Edward Abbey, who fought his entire life to preserve wild places. Unfortunately it’s a fight that will continue to be lost to the Corporations unless we get seriously pissed off and do something about it. Seems like now is a pretty good time.
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.“ — Edward Abbey
Awesome. Congratulations on an amazing voyage!
Your logs and images were a window into an epic adventure that seemed larger than life. The highs and lows were equally as inspirational and motivating, and I thank you both for not forgetting those of us who couldn’t be there. I was always grateful when you miraculously manufactured what must have been 32 hour days to get it all done, safe and sound. A fantastic accomplishment! Cheers to you both!
God, what a crazy wonderful compliment David. THANK YOU!!!
People are awesome, thanks heaps for sharing!
Gavin and Jody,
Thank you for all the blood, sweat and tears that you have endeared through this amazing journey with the BEST Odyssey. I will remember my trip to Micronesia for a lifetime and it would have never been a reality if it was not for the two of you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish you the BEST of luck on your next adventures!
Thanks Lia! What a wonderful thing to say!
I’ve had fantastic times; kited awesome places and most of all met fantastic people during the trips!!! Very grateful that I could have been part of it!
I just had 3 days of excellent conditions here in Hua-Hin (Thailand), did 4 x 20km downwinders and only y-day felt that I was back in old (Offshore Odysseys) shape! Bummer that Bobby wasn’t there at the end…. 😉
Thanks Loads Guys!!! Hopefully our paths will cross again somewhere!
Thanks Rogier. Hopefully sooner rather than later!
your the best one skipper I`ve ….since I work on boat,your doing everything`s your self.
you friendly,familiar,care about crew,lot of talent you have,responsible,hard work and etc.
I just say your the best,awesome log,great man and long life the skipper.
Thanks Bobby! I hope you will join us for the next round buddy! No better chef on Earth!!!
Your logs have got me through dark times of my own and inspired me to keep going.
I started paragliding partly inspired by your adventures and have become more resolute to sail further.
so….. what the hell are you going to do now?!! i guess not a desk job…..
Just watched the slideshow and it sent shivers up my spine.
That week in Micronesia was the trip of my life….enough said
All the best
PS: Jody could have photo shopped by belly!
Congratulations Gavin and Jody. Its been great to live vicariously through your logs and photos.
All the best.
Gavin, you have a way with words like no other… and Jody has a way with photography to perfectly compliment them… Absolutely mind-blowing!
Thank you both for the inspiring journey you have taken us on, even though we couldn’t all be there… I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
Thanks Brendon, Daz, and Stella! Always so wonderful to get the kudos. Can’t believe it’s over!
unbelievable – you guys rock – animoto was fun – keep it up – and i’m just a friend of gavin’s mom……
Gavin and Jody, Congratulations on a job well done! While I never made it on board a trip, I sure enjoyed reading about the adventures. Gavin, please find a way to keep up the writing – and let us know where we can continue to read your words! Thanks…
As an “EX-bastard”, you have been my recurring day dream and a source of inspiration reminding me how beautifull this world is and how I wish to enjoy it. Your frequent logs and beautifull email stories have kept me dreaming for 5 years.
All I can say is thank you thank you thak you for sharing your wonderfull experience.
You guys rock…………hope to hear more of you.
PS – ……..we already have outlived them………!!!
Thanks Adriano! Stay an Ex!
I read your posts for 3 years ! As a fellow paraglider and kitesurfer I dreamed about joining the trip. I laughed and cried with your adventures. I would like to congratulate you both for the amazing job done ! You are definitely very talented couple. I wish you all the Best in your next Odyssey. If you ever make a movie with your footage, please don’t forget to send me an e-mail about it. Cheers, Elisa
Thank you Elisa! What a wonderful message, thank you for following us! And don’t worry- when the movie comes out I will absolutely let you know!
We’ve enviously followed you around the world with your logs & photos. To have your determination & energy is absolutely amazing. We are extremely proud of you two. You really complemented each other with your adventures, pictures & words. Jody’s very proud parents. Bud & Bernice
Thanks Bud and Bernice- sorry for all the times I nearly killed us both! Hee hee, not….really. Did I? Ok, so a few times in the hospital…
a beautiful journey. thank you for sharing 🙂
cheers to you both, well done!
Thank you Shawn!
Wowwwwww this is amazingggggggggggggggggggg !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would like to be part of this next time ha ha ha
This is just lifeee and that is it there is no more
Jody + Gavin,
Congratulations!!!! What a ride it’s been for the both of you! Love the beautiful photos and blog. Your story is AMAZING..Good to be able to keep an eye on you both. 🙂 Hope to see you in a beautiful anchorage somewhere….
All the best from us!
Natalie + Paul
What to do now? WRITE THE BOOK!
Your journey has been inspirational- I have made concrete plans after getting a buzz from reading your blog. So for those of us who like you need to feel the fear, and taste the adrenaline for ourselves, and need to connect with the world in all its beauty and rawness you really could do us a great service.
One part Zen and Art of Moto Maintenance, one part coffee table glossy photo…
Are you back to WA for Christmas with your mother? and sister? You have taken all of us along on your great
advemture caught up with you in the islands of the south pacific and got as far as Sydney and north while on the job as a cruise coordinator and tell your mother hello when you can….Am heading for home in AZ next week and cannot wait to soaking up the sun again instead of snow here.
Keep sharing your fun times in the future
Wow, thanks so much guys for all the amazing posts! It’s been an incredible journey and we are so happy to know that we have inspired some of you to get out there and “ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air” as Edward Abbey so appropriately puts it. That is what life is truly all about. No words can be said for our appreciation to all of you for your support! Hope to see all of you out there on some remote summit, ocean or corner of the planet. THANK YOU!
Many thanks for sharing. Guys you give us hope; you showed us it’s possible. You’re an inspiration!
Brian – WOW what an amazing video – I just was able to watch it as my daughter came over to help me. Thanks for sharing!
Beautiful odyssey video and final thoughts! Thanks for sharing your valuable experiences, life is tough and we too have to be same to exist and enjoy it! All the best for the future journeys!
Thanks so much for your comment!
I’m overly impressed and glad to have met you Gavin!
Congrats to you both!!! 🙂