Ever gazed into the beyond as a child, realising a dream that was to last life long? Many have childhood dreams, but unfortunately, many fail to live them.
Not so for 85-year-old British sailor Anthony Smith, who, in a blustering barnacle bathed bon-voyage, set sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean recently with three friends.
However, unlike other dreamers that have navigated the near 5,000 kilometre stretch, Smith and company travelled on a raft made out of plastic water pipes.
Four water supply pipes nearing 40 feet long, and 14 cross pipes, to be exact. Seven pipes carried the crew’s water supply. The raft also contained a mast, sail, twin rudders and two oars.
When asked the reason behind such a journey, Smith replied “what else do you do when you get on in years?”. He then said the crew had “nothing to be scared of”, as they were “all old men”.
Smith also revealed that a spot of bad luck had funded the journey, as he received compensation money from having his hip broken after being hit by a car. Such are the men that sail the world on plastic rafts.
Furthermore, the adventurous agers aimed to promote environmental awareness while spreading the message that you’re never too old to engage in a bit of dauntless daredeviling.
Daredeviling indeed, as these fearless sea dogs took roughly two months to complete their journey across the world’s second largest ocean, travelling at an average rate of four knots. During this time, Smith said the wildlife was “fantastic”.
Crew member John Russell said one day a whopper of a whale splashed alongside the raft, while a school of mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) followed their vessel for the entire length of the trip.
During the night, they all took turns to take watch. And it was here the old men found solace, fuelled by moonlit nights on the vast open sea.
Halfway across Smith celebrated his 85th birthday, with one of the crew managing to produce a rudimentary chocolate cake after a spot of rough nut baking.
While the crew originally planned to cap their voyage off in the Bahamas, fierce winds forced their raft towards the island of Saint Martin. Notorious for its back-slapping nightlife, fiery cocktails and birthday suit beaches, many are saying it was no accident the carefree old timers ended up there.
Accident or not, it is of no concern. For in the winter of life, time is but a wisp. The reporters at The Fox Gazette wish the men well, for living their dreams, and for being alive.