National Geographic : 1970 Oct
In a new and bigger Dove, Robin crosses the Caribbean, motors through the Panama Canal, and heads for the Galapagos Islands, last stop before sailing home to California. Robin's longest open-sea run, 38 days, brings him to Long Beach on April 30, 1970, ending his 30,600-nautical-mile circumnavigation. THE SEA IS GLASSY CALM. If I lean over the rail I can see my sweat-streaked face in the water. The sails droop and flap in hazy, glary air that hurts my eyes. I'm barely moving, getting nowhere. But up ahead, over the curve of the world, is my journey's end. The next shore I stand on will be California's, which I left nearly five years ago, a schoolboy in a small boat, sailing westward alone. I've been going westward and westward ever since, leaving California farther and farther astern. Now it's on my bow, and getting nearer and nearer. So I guess the world is really round. I mean, it's one thing to know that, and another to expe rience it. This is my last and longest leg. The Gala pagos Islands are not far astern. How far to 506 go? About 2,500 nautical miles, as the gull flies; but not as the sailboat sails, especially beating to windward. Call it 3,500, for a guess. How many days before I see another human face? Thirty, with miraculous luck, which I never count on, even though I've had my share of it. No, let's say forty, or maybe fifty, or it could be sixty. A Sailor Takes Stock So now I wait, and sweat, and think ahead to life in the United States (a hard thing to do; I've been a long time gone) and back to all the things that have happened ever since I went to sea.... Taking an over-all look at it, my round the-world voyage seems to fall into three parts, both geographically and personally.