Crossing the Atlantic

COVID-19 did not stop her world travels this year. She sailed across the Atlantic Ocean which proved to be a daring adventure.

Hong Trinh, a German travel bug with a Vietnamese background, shudders of her ‘awesome’ moments during her long journey in the vast unknown blue ocean!

In May 2019, she undertook a 3-week visit to Sultanate which instilled in her the resilience as a travel bug.

In February during her annual job in Antarctica as co-skipper of a yacht of 7 passengers, she set forth from Ushuaia, a resort town in Argentina, to sail through the Drake Passage.

When Argentina declared lockdown in mid-March, she decided to cross the Atlantic on a sailing boat in order to exit the country.

After sailing exactly for 10 weeks and over 12,000 kms, she first noticed land upon reaching Cherbourg-Octeville in France.

Her first feelings: “This adventure is not for the faint-hearted. I promise this is true mindful meditation at its best.”

Recalls Hong: “This unforgettable occasion was like celebrating my birthday and Christmas at the same time. Being at the helm and seeing the clear Milky Way, I knew my dreams of a normal shower were nothing compared to the fortune of being on this journey.”

Developing fever upon disembarkment, she could not wait to buy fresh vegetables and ice-cream from the nearest supermarket.

 

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She recalls the first few weeks were tough.

Once sailing at night when the speed reached 11 knots she was pushed by the sudden force of the wave onto the backboard side. One of the carabiners of the harness was tied to the safety belts from the boat. Lucky for her, else she would have drowned in the ocean which reminded her of those Hollywood blockbusters.

“I became a sort of meteorologist, accurately forecasting the weather by observing clouds and feeling the wind, determining the cardinal points on a gut feeling. With no autopilot, the boat demanded manual steering even in unsteady winds. The eternal swinging and heeling was intensified by an unbalanced diet with not much fresh food.”

The frustrating experience apart, she may have showered four times using water sparingly.

Near the Equator, she could hardly bear the constant sweating, clothes literally sticking to her body. Before bed, she would pour three cups of water over her body so that she could sleep. Yet she still woke up sweating like hell. She felt impressive but very depressing at the same time.

Prior preparations included storing 2,000 litres of water, canned food, maintaining the sails before setting sail to cross the Atlantic.

“The daily routine was steering since they (2 others also sailed with her) did not have an autopilot on board and sleeping and eating (mostly canned food).”

Her odyssey however taught her lessons on consumerism and environment.

“I was overwhelmed by overabundance and consumerism and realised the trip underscores the importance of protecting the environment, fighting climate change and its related problems,” she concludes.

Presently hiking in Iceland, Hong aims to fulfill her bucket list wish of visiting 100 countries and learn 5 languages before she turns 30.