While we were in Maldives isolated from the rest of the of the world we had access to the news and media, but everything seemed very far away. Could it effect us? Would it effect our season? Living on Discovery, having fun everyday, exploring remote atolls, looking for wind and waves it’s easy to feel the news cannot be real, that it must be overblown.
On the 21st we sailed up to Huvadhoo atoll, the world’s largest. Discovery had been in this exact same spot 10 years ago when Gavin was the skipper and I was excited to ply some of the surf he’d scored.
We stowed the kite gear, battened the hatches and pulled anchor off the shoulder of Nungas, the break we’d spent so much time surfing. With a little prawn curry in hand, curtesy of Chef Jason, we hoisted the sail and set out on the 65 mile crossing to Sumba.
The last time Discovery was in Sumba was 10 years ago. I was stoked to come across a scene that was exactly as described in Gavin’s logs nearly a decade ago.
I could just make out the outlines of Discovery a few hundred meters off the end of a lurching plastic dock as a moonless night descended on Lombok, Indonesia. I’d sent multiple texts to the freelance Captain who was supposed to be delivering our yacht to Thailand and who was presumably still on board as I crossed 15 time zones from Idaho to Hong Kong, down to Bali and a final quick flight over to Lombok but all had gone unanswered. Now I was finally here, but there was no sign of the Captain. I found a fisherman willing to take me out to the boat for a big wad of rupiahs and was greeted with a scene out of the movie “Dead Calm” with Nicole Kidman, one of the greatest suspense/horror films of all time. But this was no movie.
This is the dialog we were greeted with upon anchoring in a small, touristy bay in Lombok, Indonesia. Safe to say- we, and the Aussie, ended up paying the $5 equivalent for “protection”, in what was probably the safest area on the island. Sure enough, a local boy no older than 18 showed up at sundown to guard our boat. We all laughed. Our crew and the locals knew there wouldn’t be any trouble and that the “protection” was just a ploy to get some cash out of the westerners on the nice boat in the bay. It felt silly to even deny them such a small sum.
This trip was more than perfect wind and bombing sets; it was about something bigger, something way more profound than finding an untouched wave in flawless conditions. This trip was about the urgency of our warming Earth and supporting the women who are willing to devote not only their careers, but their entire lives to making a difference.
Between three exhausted crew members and five jet-lagged guests, there would be no late night game of dirty clubs, one of the staples of the Quest. But we woke with the sun to the best accompanying wake up call there is- steady wind. After some espresso everyone was kiting or foiling across an Alice in Wonderland scene; swerving in and out of the 150ft dizzying drop offs surrounding the scattered atolls.
From 2006 to 2018 the “Best Odyssey” and then the “Cabrinha Quest” sailed over 160,000 nautical miles from the Fjords of Patagonia to Palau, from the tip of South Africa to the Outer Hebrides and to all the special little nooks and crannies in between. We’ve visited more than 100 countries and there’s a pretty solid chance we’ve kited, surfed, dove, and paraglided more virgin locations than…well maybe anyone! These have been fantastic adventures but also hard miles on our treasured vessel and as such she was deserving of some serious love and attention.
Life is all about unexpected events but life onboard Discovery exceeded our imagination, taking us on the craziest journeys we couldn’t have even dreamt of. Our final step off Discovery marks the end of an epic adventure and turned out to be yet another story to tell…
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.