If there is anyone who knows the meaning of complete isolation it’s the Canadian sailor Bert ter Hart. He became the eighth person in the world to circumnavigate the globe alone using only celestial navigation. Some people are known for turning an adventure into an authentic feat worthy of being sung by troubadours. Ter Hart is one of those people.
The expert Canadian sailor had a dream and on October 27th, 2019, he decided it was time to realize it. With his small sailboat, called in an ingenious play on words “Seaburban”, he left the coastal town of Victoria, in Canada, on what was his 40th trip at sea. “I’ve always been fascinated by the early explorers,” Ter Hart told Travel + Leisure.
Ter Hart’s sole objective was to sail around the world without stops and without any electronic navigation system, just his instinct and the old marine instruments that have become legendary in the digital age. His instruments were limited to a sextant, an almanac, pens, paper and, of course, navigation maps.
One of the most profound ways you can experience what explorers and early sailors experienced is to use a sextant. Now everything is different except figuring out where you are because they did it exactly the same way.Bert ter Hart
During his 265-day journey he was not completely out of reach and still used social networks to send the report of his trip, so he knew perfectly well what is happening in the world. He is grateful he decided to embark on the trip when he did, a few months before the Covid-19 was declared across the world.
The journey was far from easy. He has had to battle extreme storms and swells, emergency repairs on whose success depended being able to continue his route, and both very high and very low temperatures that forced him to practically live in his tiny two-by-two-meter cabin. He may not have had to look askance at a person coming within three feet of him. And then there was the human face-to-face interaction. He did not encounter any human being for the whole of his trip.
The ocean is absolutely magnificent. The nights are to die for. The stars, the birds, the sunsets and sunrises, the porpoises and flying fish and whales. It’s just amazing.Bert ter Hart
In reality, his trip was supposed to come to an end earlier but fate forced him to extend it further. In principle, his calculations gave him a very probable six months to go around the world, but the multitude of problems that have befallen him during this time have forced him to calculate that he would need more time, up to nine months to return home.
Ter Hart (62), was born in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province far from the sea. But his father, grandfather and great-grandparents were all sea professionals, leaving that trace of adventure in his imagination. He always had the sea as a horizon to get lost into. When he turned forty and his four children were old enough to understand his yearnings, he began to make riskier and longer voyages at sea.
Alone and quiet, bathed in splendor, you can almost feel the pulse of the world. There is not much between you and the heartbeat of the universe.Bert ter Hart
His journey was followed daily by some 3,000 people on social networks, encouraging him to fulfill his dreams, when. His notes along his extensive journey will be forwarded to oceanographic research companies to investigate the problems associated with climate change in the sea.
Bert did not once set foot on land. His resource measurement was exhaustive and he stocked his pantry with everything he needed to be able to live for eight months in case problems arose. This included the famous toilet paper and hundreds of cans. “Isolation is an opportunity to get to know oneself better. There are fundamental questions that require conscientious answers and at times like this they seem more within our reach,” Ter Hart concluded.