Magellan’s Protege: Teen Circumnavigates the Globe

Margaret Reaume, Staff Reporter

When she set her unsteady feet on land, it was hard to believe what she had accomplished. The journey had been plagued by obstacles, yet she had also had experiences most people her age would not. It took almost two years; she began on August 21, 2010 and on Saturday Laura Dekker, 16, became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone. Although many tried to discourage her from attempting the potentially life-threatening feat, Dekker proved them wrong.

The trip covered 27,000 miles and stopped at majestic locations, including the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, and South Africa. She set out from St. Maarten and had stops along the way to sleep and rejuvenate herself.

Although she was alone on her 38-foot sailboat “Guppy,” she saw a whale, went scuba diving, surfing, and cliff diving, and learned how to play the flute. But the trip did have its downsides; ripped sails, devastating storms, and a near-crash threatened to end Dekker’s voyage.

Dekker’s family was present on the dock at St. Maarten to greet her and celebrate her achievement, along with a fair number of fans. But Dekker said she does not want all the media attention; she doesn’t care about the fame and glamour. She just wanted to achieve her goal and life-long dream.