When Gunter and I embarked on our circumnavigation in 2000, I expected that we, of that small group crammed in between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, would merely be forerunners for the great migration to the world’s oceans to be created when the Baby Boomers retired.  Certainly nothing, especially the dangers of the Seven Seas, would hold back that bold generation!

Spinnaker of Pacific BlissThat expectation has not come to pass. Advancements in navigation and technology and have certainly made long distance sailing safer than ever. But piracy throughout the world has made the oceans more dangerous. Our catamaran, Pacific Bliss, sailed the Strait of Malacca, with no problems, in 2006. During January the following year, we crossed the Indian Ocean from Thailand to Sri Lanka to the Maldives and on to the port of Salalah, Oman on the Arabian Sea.

In Oman, we formed a flotilla of 5 yachts to transit the 660-mile stretch called Pirate Alley. Although the entire area seemed on Red Alert, with British and American coalition warships communicating over the airwaves and drones flying overhead to check us out, our biggest scare was being approached by local fishermen.  (See my story, Passage Through Pirate Alley, on SCRIBD). We were relieved to reach Aden, Yemen and during our one week in that port, toured inland to Sanaa, the capital, now off-limits to tourists.

Oman and Yemen had been used to having about 200 yachts pass through their waters each year on their way to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. What a difference now!  Fear of piracy has spread across the entire Arabian Sea, forcing circumnavigators all the way around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, to enter the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar. According to the February 2012 issue of Latitudes and Attitudes, there was a 75% reduction in 2010, and the numbers decreased even more in 2011. “Only a handful of cruisers are willing to pass through the area.  There’s no improvement in sight as planned rallies and cruises for 2012 are being cancelled.”

Maiden Voyage, by Lois Joy Hofmann

On the back cover of my book, “Maiden Voyage,” I point out that “Every year, four times more adventurers climb Mt. Everest than complete a circumnavigation of the globe.”  Imagine how this statistic has changed!

About the Author: Lois and Günter Hofmann lived their dream by having a 43-foot ocean-going catamaran built for them in the south of France and sailing around the world. Learn more about their travel adventures by reading Lois’s award winning nautical adventure trilogy. Read more about Lois and her adventures at her website and stay in touch with Lois by liking her Facebook page.

“Living your dream” is a mantra for Bob Bitchin, founder of Latitudes & Attitudes, the sailing magazine that first published my stories of our circumnavigation.

My mantra is the quote from Hellen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” often repeated in the first book of my trilogy, “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: MAIDEN VOYAGE.”

On Sunday, February 6th, President Reagan would have turned 100. I was intrigued by the WSJ article by Peggy Noonan, a speech writer for Reagan.  In her article, “Ronald Reagan at 100,” she says, “He told me as he worked on his farewell address of a recurring dream he’d had through adulthood. He was going to live in a mansion with big rooms, “high ceilings, white walls.” He would think to himself in the dream that it was “a house that was available at a price I could afford.” He had the dream until he moved into the White House and never had it again. “Not once.”

Before I had the dream of sailing around the world, I lived in Minnesota and wanted to move, preferably to California, to escape the cold and cruel winters. When I would shut my eyes to do my affirmations, I had a vision of myself sitting in a big chair, looking through a picture window, down at the Pacific Ocean.  It wasn’t until after I met and married Gunter, that one day, sitting in that very chair, in our second-floor condo, I looked down at the view of Sail Bay and realized that indeed, that view had been my vision!

I’ve always learned best visually. When I began to write sailing stories, I had no problem describing what I saw. But it took some writing courses and extra effort to convey what I heard, tasted, and felt. When my book, “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: MAIDEN VOYAGE” reached the production stage, I could not imagine grouping the photos in the middle or end of the book. I insisted that they be on the page with the story, so that the reader could be there, tagging along with me on my adventures. That’s why my book has over 150 full-color photos and maps.

I sincerely hope that this book will provide more than enjoyment, that it will help you visualize your own dream.  And that your dream will become a reality!