A farewell from the blog administrator
It's Don Butt here, a friend of Bert and Nani, a fellow instructor in the Gabriola Power and Sail Squadron (CPS-ECP), and the administrator for the blog documenting Bert's epic voyage around the world. Bert has sent via satellite daily accounts of his experience to his wife, Nani, who forwarded them to Bert's sister for posting on her FaceBook page, and to me to post on the blog. He sent his last message at sea as he was approaching his destination in Victoria, BC.
Nani, Bert's family, friends, former Royal Roads University classmates, and the media were cheering as he appeared along side the shore of Saxe Point in Victoria, and later when he cleared Canada Customs and arrived at the docks across from the Empress Hotel. Good sense prevailed and after his nearly 9 months away from any other human, he was not required to isolate for the two weeks required of those entering the country from away.
Bert has made his mark in history as the first North American to sail solo, west to east around the five great capes, non-stop, using only celestial navigation, with no GPS. He has been followed by thousands from the world over, including school children in their classrooms as far away as Kenya. It has been a journey filled with emotional ups and downs as he encountered gale-driven seas that were only relieved by nerve-wracking still air that didn't ameliorate the incessant rolling and slatting of the sails in the ever present swells. But persistence prevailed and here he is back home, a few pounds lighter but looking as fit as an olympic athlete.
It is time to acknowledge the kindness and support of so many.
First is Nani, his wife who daily was in touch by satellite phone, the contact with reality and daily motivation to complete the task.
His sister, Leah, who arranged for so many details, the resupplying in the Falkland Islands, in Rarotonga, the contacts with media, publicity, and FaceBook.
Bert's other sister, Stella for scoring the music to Bert's poetry, "Low Blow", and John Capon for transposing it so we tenors could sing it in our range.
The kind people of the Falklands and Rarotonga who generously provided him with enough supplies to stave off starvation. He had taken plenty of food aboard, but realized in time it wasn't enough to fuel the energy required to constantly attend to sails, and whatever else was needed to meet ever changing situations.
John Bullas, a friend and fellow instructor and retired meteorologist who advised him of weather conditions on a daily basis, in order to avoid the highs that becalm, and the vicious storms that threatened to end the journey all too soon.
CPS-ECP which published episodes of his journey in Port Hole.
Bob Derksen, the webmaster of the Gabriola Power and Sail Squadron who updated the history of his journey regularly at the Squadron website, http://powersquadron.gabriola.org/bert.html
And thank you to all others, family, friends, and followers in FaceBook, Silva Bay Yacht Club, the Gabriola Squadron, and those commenting on this blog who encouraged him onward.
PS - a thank you to his mute companion, Sir Salty, the ever-smiling stuffed toy seal presented to him by Bos Malcom at his departure.
Photos of Bert's arrival are at my website, https://dbutt.smugmug.com/Bert-terHarts-Return/
Now it's time for rest, reflection, and planning for who knows what is next. Well done Bert, and a huge thank you for keeping us occupied during this pandemic.
A photo of Bert and Nani at their wedding.