He sailed solo from Sydney to Los Angeles in a 10 metre sloop raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. It took 17 weeks and included a force 10 storm, losing an engine, and an unscheduled stop in New Zealand after Andrew dislocated his shoulder.
There was no help within a 400 km radius when Andrew’s shoulder popped out, so finding a solution was all up to him.
“The plan was to sedate myself, lay face down on the outside cockpit bench with a 5-kilo weight attached to my arm which would be dangling down into the cabin. The theory is that the weight will cause the muscle to tire, and the shoulder will slide back in after a few minutes.
“I didn’t have Propofol; I didn’t have midazolam; I didn’t have fentanyl. But I did have Bacardi Rum. I rang Mum and said my final goodbyes. I prepared the weight, which was my emergency flares container filled with 5 litres of water, and got out the rum. I probably should have positioned myself before indulging, but I have a romantic side to me and staring at the morning horizon while swigging rum was an opportunity not to be missed.”
The plan was successful, and Andrew was able to continue his voyage after a recovery stop in New Zealand. Andrew’s faith also kept him going. He said, “I prayed like I have never prayed before, and was given much strength. God is Good!”
Andrew’s encounters with wildlife also boosted his faith. He writes, “As I crossed over the continental shelf this morning, I was truly blown away. The first indication of something special was several flocks of birds, too many to count, sitting in the water. As I drew closer, whales started to surface through these birds, lazily blowing spray into the air with a loud hhmmmph. The dolphins appeared next, contrasting the lazy movements of the whales with fast deliberate porpoising.
“As Perpetual Succour drew closer to these birds, they would take off in their hundreds. Pattering their feet and flapping their wings, they would run along the surface until they judged it was safe and slide gracefully to a stop. One would decide to flee, and it would set off the rest in a chain reaction. The sound of so many feet slapping the surface was a tribute to the existence of life of which I’ve never witnessed before. Presented with so much life, I was overwhelmed and shed a tear or two, I must admit. You leave such an encounter with a firm conviction that the presence of life is beautiful and such a beauty must proceed from a great love.”
Andrew is a very talented writer and shares his adventures on the blog aloneinthepacific.com. He is raising money for Indigenous Literacy foundation to combat the statistic that 75% of Indigenous Children haven’t reached minimum reading standards by Year 5. In a society where reading is so important on a day-to-day basis, kids with so much potential are left behind, leading to a cycle of poverty and chronic disease.