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. We had no idea whether we would 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. We completed our circumnavigation in June 2023.

This blog is the story of our voyage.

The Old Woman Bids Farewell to the Sea

This is it, my final blog post. Just writing that sentence makes me teary-eyed. Recording and sharing our odyssey with family and friends for the past 6-½ years has provided me with a vital creative outlet and forced me to be accurate and honest about our experiences. Good or bad, they’re all part of the

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It’s Not Over Until…

When we officially tied the knot on our circumnavigation in Grenada in early May, Eric and I—wild party animals that we are—celebrated by hoisting Corroboree’s signal flags and indulging in hot showers, clean clothes, and dinner at the marina restaurant. But we still had 1,435 miles remaining to reach Florida and truly complete the voyage.

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Tying the Knot

When Eric and I left Florida in January 2017 to sail around the world in Corroboree, we could never have imagined all the adventures and misadventures that would befall us. We certainly didn’t foresee losing our steering 1,100 miles from Fernando de Noronha and having to effect a difficult emergency repair underway. So on departing

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Sour Milk

When Corroboree left Cape Town and set out across the South Atlantic for the Caribbean in early March, Eric and I were buoyant. This final, 5,400 miles of our circumnavigation was unanimously proclaimed by both the cruising guides and veteran sailors to be a “milk run.” “Once you escape the Cape Town weather, it’s southeast

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In the Footsteps of Napoleon

If you’ve never heard of St. Helena, no worries. A mere 47-square miles in size and with a total population of 4,439, this British Overseas Territory in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean is one of the most remote islands on Earth. If you have heard of St. Helena, chances are the one thing

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Farewell, South Africa

This is it—one last big leap across the South Atlantic from Cape Town to the Caribbean and our circumnavigation will be complete. We are prepping to leave this coming week and will sail it in three stages: Cape Town to St. Helena (1,700 miles); St. Helena to Fernando de Noronha, Brazil (1,750 miles); Brazil to

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A World Apart

If you’ve ever sat riveted before a National Geographic or Nature safari program on TV, you know how an African safari goes—terrified impalas fleeing a fast-as-lightning cheetah, immense herds of zebras and wildebeests migrating across a grassy savanna, a family of thirsty elephants joyfully converging on a waterhole, a victorious lion chomping down on a

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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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