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.

On the Fourth of July

When I was perhaps nine or ten, I asked my mother why people had to be citizens of a particular country. Why couldn’t we do away with borders and instead be citizens of the world? It would break down the barriers between people and put an end to wars. We could travel where we liked

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Of Rubber Bands and Marriage

 Inquiring minds want to know: How do you and Eric live together on a 35’ boat without strangling each other? To answer which, I must first relate the following true episode, which occurred about a week ago. We were at a Walgreen’s drugstore near the marina and had split up to search the aisles. When

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What’s in Your Wallet?

They went first to the boat store. “Show us the yachts for po’ folks!” he shouted jovially to the clerk as they entered. “They’re all for po’ folks!” the clerk said. “You’ll be po’ when you finish buying one!” “A View of the Woods,” Flannery O’Connor There’s no getting around it: This is going to

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In the Lap of Luxury

There are big luxuries and small luxuries, and living aboard a boat, it’s often the little things that lift our spirits the most. Like a cold beer at the marina bar after a hot day of sanding and varnishing the teak brightwork. Or free wi-fi that reaches all the way to the end of the

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Kittens on a Boat

One way or another, I’m pretty sure the abandoned kittens on the powerboat are going to die. We don’t know how they got there. The boat is on the next dock, and the kittens—there may be five or six—were discovered by another cruising couple who heard mewing as they strolled by. The boat itself is

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Yo Hablo Espanol…Sort of

Here in Puerto Rico, as in the Dominican Republic, we hear a lot of Spanish. Muy rápido Spanish, I might add. To my ears, it’s a language that seems to lend itself to speaking at breakneck pace. I catch the first few syllables, then it’s like a rock slide coming at me, an avalanche of

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In Search of Indiana Ryan

Barry Ryan (aka Indiana Ryan) in the Andes Mountains, Peru, 1940-1941. Railway station (l.); Chulec Hospital (r.) My father Barry Ryan was not a talkative man. He was born in 1909 and married my mother Laura in 1948 when he was 39 and she was 28. Both the age difference and the late age of

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If A Mermaid Came

“What is it like to sail in the ocean overnight?” a friend asked. “I can’t even imagine doing that.” I’ll try to explain. The easy answer is that it’s merely an extension of sailing during the day. You don’t stop driving your car at sunset, for example. The streetlights come on and your eyesight adjusts.

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Then and Now

If you say we don’t look a day older in these two photos, in a way you’d be telling the truth. We don’t look a day older. We are—and look—four decades older. I was 26 and Eric was 27 when we set sail from England to California on Duprass in 1977. Now we are 66

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Paradise Found

I take it back. Everything—well, almost everything—I said about cruising in the Bahamas in my last blog post goes out the window. Yes, it’s still tough sailing. Yes, the wind keeps coming from the wrong direction, too strong, or not at all. Yes, we have had a few more, thankfully minor, equipment mishaps, and we

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