thinking outside the tank

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: The Marquesas to Samoa

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at:

After the 43 day crossing from Juan Fernandez to the Marquesas islands Slocum decides, for a reason he doesn’t give, that rather than taking a break at Nukahiva he sails straight on by and spends another 29 days at sea, alone, until he reaches Samoa. He finds that sailing in the trade winds is not difficult (“I was not distressed in any way at that time”), and claims that he does not feel lonely.

Anchored at Apia, Samoa, after 72 days alone at sea

He has a close encounter with a whale and enjoys the sport of shark shooting:

I own to a satisfaction in shooting them as one would a tiger. Sharks, after all, are the tigers of the sea. Nothing is more dreadful to the mind of a sailor, I think, than a possible encounter with a hungry shark.

The loss of a sack of potatoes is sorely felt. He had traded a bushel of potatoes from the Columbia, the ship he met in the Magellan Strait, for a supply from Robinson Crusoe Island, and this new batch has a very poor flavour. Slocum puts them by for three weeks, thinking that they will taste better when he is really hungry. However, when he opens the bag he releases millions of insects; the potatoes have all turned to moths.

As compensation for the loss of the potatoes, there is a plentiful supply of flying fish. They leap from the sea at night, collide with the sails, and fall on deck. In the morning, Slocum merely has to collect them from the scuppers.

After 72 days at sea, Slocum anchors the Spray in the harbour at Apia, Samoa. Instead of going ashore immediately, he rigs up an awning and sits under it late into the evening “listening with delight to the musical voices of the Samoan men and women.”

The section of Joshua Slocum’s journey is the start of Chapter XII of Sailing Alone Around the World, and this post is a trailer for the adventure that I am retelling in Google Earth at:

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

You might also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at:


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