The Old Woman and the Sea

In January 2017 my husband Eric Sponberg and I departed St. Augustine, FL, on our 35-foot sailboat Corroboree with the goal of sailing around the world. I have no idea whether we will make it. As with any journey, the path is never as straight as you optimistically plan. But you go anyway, in hopes of a great adventure and because you can’t ignore the tug in your heart that beckons you on.

This blog will be the story of our voyage…and much more.

South Africa Sucks

I didn’t say that. I wouldn’t say that about any of the countries Eric and I have visited because even when we’ve had a bad experience somewhere, we focus on the good people and positive encounters that come our way. It’s easy for us to do that; we can raise anchor at any time and

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Dancing for joy in Cape Town

Elated, euphoric, ecstatic, dazed, dead tired and above all grateful—We did it! We made it! At 0600 on 1 January 2023, Corroboree tied up in Cape Town, South Africa, a huge milestone on our circumnavigation. The 900-mile voyage from Richards Bay wasn’t our longest, and it was broken up by three rest stops en route.

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Welcome to “Darkest Africa”

When Eric and I stepped off Corroboree onto the quarantine dock at Richards Bay, South Africa, it wasn’t quite our first time on the “Dark Continent.” In 1974 Eric spent one night in Cape Town on a business trip, and on our previous voyage in 1977-78, we did a memorable one-day tour from Gibraltar to

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The Weather Gods Speak

When Corroboree departed Seychelles for Mayotte on 15 October, one thought, one plea, was uppermost in our minds: Please, don’t let this be another Sail Through Hell! After the storms and squalls of the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean, the whiplash winds and drenching rains, the broken ribs and broken equipment, we desperately needed

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Sailing Through Hell – Part III

When we left the Maldives on 2 September, Eric and I kept one consoling thought in mind: Though we would once again be playing monster-under-the-bed with the unpredictable ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone), the 1,100-mile distance to the Seychelles was 750 miles less than the previous leg, and whatever hell befell us this time would be

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Sailing Through Hell – Part II

When Corroboree left Enggano, Indonesia, on 28 July, Eric and I weren’t looking forward to crossing the Indian Ocean. Few sailors do. It’s big and has a reputation for being rough. From Australia the fastest and most direct route is due west with stops at Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling, and, a little farther north, Chagos

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Sailing Through Hell – Part I

If you’re going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill Let me be the first to say it: Nobody twisted my arm and forced me to get on this boat. So in writing about our 3,900-mile voyage from Borneo to the Seychelles, I will try to report and not complain. That said, it was the

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The Wild Orangutans of Borneo

It ought to be easy to spot an orangutan in the wild. How could you miss a huge, hairy, orange-brown blob lumbering out of lush green rainforest or swinging overhead like a trapeze artist from tree to tree? But to find these critically endangered creatures at all, you first must travel to Borneo or Sumatra,

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Go With The Flow

When we departed Bali on 19 June, we had a straightforward plan: Sail east across the Lombok Strait to explore Lombok Island, then north up the strait, northwest to the island of Bawean and on to Kalimantan (the southern part of the island of Borneo), a total distance of roughly 520 miles. We knew that

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Bali – The Victory of Good over Evil

It’s hard to get a handle on describing Bali. Travel brochures would have you believe it’s an exotic island paradise where graceful dancers perform in ancient temples to tinkling musical instruments. Those who loved it long ago now warn against it as a crowded, jaded tourist trap punctuated by American fast-food restaurants. Cruiser forums advise

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