Surfing Soapbox: Journey to South Africa starts out rocky


Some 290 miles out to sea between Brazil and South Africa, it is almost impossible to think about what lies ahead of me for the next month. Just getting to Brazil was a trip in itself. After three flights, 15 hours of transit and one long crazy two-hour car ride, Mary Osborne and I finally made it.

Well, kind of, anyway. Unfortunately, communications had gotten crossed up and there was no one waiting to pick us up once we had arrived at the airport. But we jumped into a cab and settled into a hotel in Capo Cabana before taking yet another two-hour cab ride to a beautiful crystal green-colored bay where the 72-foot Sea Dragon sat anchored, just outside the harbor.

For the first four days we just cruised around the local islands. One day we found some fun waves to surf where the water was so clear you could see one's surfboard through the waves.

However, now we are down to business and on course toward South Africa where we will be trawling along the way for the effects of plastic pollution that plague our oceans today, before coming face to face with the never-before-seen South Atlantic Gyre.

Tuesday was a long day for me as I was on watch up on the deck from noon to 6 p.m. and then again from 2 to 6 a.m. in somewhat stormy, windy and wet conditions, harnessed in. So far the majority of the 13-person crew has gotten sick except for about four or five of us.

The mainsail has now ripped and it's only our second full day at sea, on this never-before-done expedition to find the South Atlantic Gyre. To say it should be interesting would be a severe understatement but for now I'm going back to sleep.