Lone Canadian Sailing the Globe May Be Literally the Safest Human on Earth
On October 27, 2019, Bert terHart sailed out of Victoria, BC, Canada on his 40′ ocean faring sailboat. His goal? To circumnavigate the globe non-stop, and without the aid of any electronic navigational devices. He hopes to become the first North American to ever complete this type of journey using only a sextant, almanac, pen, paper, and logbook for navigation.
Coincidentally, Bert already has become, literally, the safest person on the planet, bobbing about at sea on a voyage planned long before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
At the time of this writing, April 1, Bert was nearing Australia, two-thirds of the way through his journey. Many battles have been waged and won aboard the Seaburban, including violent weather, emergency repairs, extreme temperatures from roasting to freezing, and moldy food.
Born on the flat prairie of southern Saskatchewan, Bert was raised as far away from any ocean as you can imagine. His Dutch ancestry, however, is rich in sailing tradition, his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all professional sailors. Jan ter Hart trained his four children in the fine art of sailing during windy summer days on Boundary Dam Lake, a man-made reservoir near Estevan, Saskatchewan, the family’s hometown.
While at sea, he has garnered a following of over 2000+ people watching his journey, day by day, including many Canadian schoolchildren all asking, “Where is Mr. ter Hart now?”
The journey was to have lasted six months, but delays due to extreme weather, requiring sailing many kilometers off course to avoid hurricanes and extreme winds, has stretched the journey to eight months.
During his trip he has been cataloguing information on climate change, which he will pass on to oceanographic scientific research companies—all while maintaining the most rigorous “social distancing” of anyone on Earth.
To be successful as the first North American to achieve this goal, there can be no stopping to disembark at any port. Nine months worth of food, water and supplies had to be brought on board. Including, yes, toilet paper.
The only other passenger on this voyage is Mr. Salty, a stuffed seal, who finds himself in all kinds of trouble aboard ship, and continuously demands higher pay for fewer chores.
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Sir Salty McWorked-To-The-Bone Promoted It has been some time since Sir Salty Mcworked-To-The-Bone’s request for a promotion. I had not forgotten, and Sir Salty has not raised the matter again. However, it was a legitimate request, made in good faith from a crew member in good standing and therefore deserved of a well considered response. I felt I could not do so until coming to grips with the request for Chinese Yuen. I found it more than curious and the only explanation I could conjure was that Sir Salty had somehow run afoul of a Triad and owed a large gambling or protection debt to same. That, or in grog-fueled haze he had gotten into a scrap, as sailors are wont to do, and busted up some Shanghai bar or other place of ill repute. It matters as we are in the Indian Ocean and on their turf so to speak. This is a place of pirates and kidnapping and strange disappearances and if all hands were to be ordered to fend for the ship and their lives, I would like to be prepared. Lastly, it struck me that Sir Salty McSly knew the whereabouts of 38,583 Yuen on board. How else such an odd sum? My response to his request would wait until I could find the time to search the ship. Between gales and calms I did indeed scour the ship for the dough. All I turned up were some rather alien looking potatoes. The ship’s strongbox contained only a few American dollars . They would have to do. I pinned this note to his flipper last night: To Sir Salty McWorked-To-The-Bone Your initiative and enterprise are to be commended…(cont on Facebook Page: Around Alone….)
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Bert’s goal is not so much to be the first to complete a journey of this kind, which will end in San Francisco, but to inspire young people to take hold of their craziest dreams and fashion them into reality.
When asked what advice he would give those of us on land who are dealing with the coronavirus, terHart told GNN, “Self isolation is an opportunity to learn more about oneself. It is rare that we have the time to really examine what it is that we we want to become, and hope to leave behind as a legacy.”
He continued, “These are fundamental questions and need good answers. Our normal lives generally preclude the time necessary to really examine them in detail. This, for some, might very well be that time.”
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Published at Sun, 05 Apr 2020 13:00:58 +0000