Reid Stowe has been smooth sailing the media waves after returning from his three-year wet dream to sail around the world without land stops. As he drifted to a dock for the first time in 1,152 days, he choked back tears, acknowledging his parents and greeting his 23- month-old son for the first time.
Reid Stowe broke the record at sea and took his place as water cooler conversation. Not since Captain Sully took on feathered evil doers and saved a plane full of lives landing in the Hudson has there been so much excitement on our oily waterways (oh right, except for that other record breaker this year, BP). The alerted press stationed and readied their cameras as Reid Stowe went from loner in water to wet wipes on land. No sign of a shell shocked man as he spoke for the cameras and united with his family. Itâ€™s the good ending for a man that has the same look on his face as the charismatic and tragic bear lover/ bear dinner, Timothy Treadwell. And the resourcefulness of the young nomad, Christopher McCandless. His story, among others in the book Into The Wild, was later made into stinging recreation on celluloid.
Unlike the above determined seekers, Stowe is home safe (and sound? Well, itâ€™s been debated). From isolation to celebration and persecution, he seems to be handling his greeting like a natural. Yes, coming home to your toddler son, girlfriend, and the entire world speculating, all while maintaining that telling smile that few people have- the one of someone on a freaking mission. Stowe built the 70-ft schooner himself, and despite the look of a ship that has been roughing it around the globe, it evokes something most of us lost by puberty and activating some part of the brain that doesnâ€™t get enough action.
But the voyager has other people shaking heads and tirelessly typing out their disapproval. On 1000daysofhell.blogspot.com, Reid-haters paint a picture of a freeloading nut job, smuggling drugs, swindling money and toting a sex slave on some fantastical suicide mission. The site has productively disputed the legitimacy of his claimed occurrences from the beginning, as quickly as he chronicled them in his online communications from sea, 1000days.net – that is until the ship capsized and the computer became a casualty. Only the sailor and a trusty satellite phone survived, luckily.
So, for some, this whole odyssey is old news. Apparently Stowe worked for a decade to get funding, food donations, and ship repairs to prepare the schooner for the 1,000 day trip. The trip was still a familiar setting; he has lived on it since the late 70â€™s. Thatâ€™s about seven years before Reidâ€™s girlfriend and baby mama, Soanya Ahmad, did some other kind of sailing… through a birth canal. His persistence in getting funds for the exploration to sea paid off, and in 2007 at age 55, he’d gathered enough support to finally sail off into the sunset with his generation crossed lover Soanya for 1,000 days without touching land.
And though land was successfully avoided, a run in with a freighter was not. Fifteen days in and a collision with a freighter? Red Flag? Maybe just a standard sailing hurdle? Understandable crash, a freighter is like the unnoticeable tip of an iceberg **EXCEPT** upside down and a monstrous obstruction above the water. One would hope that would be fairly avoidable for a seasoned seaman. Schooner VS freighter crash, who wins? I would expect a crushing defeat for a sailing yogi in his own hand built schooner, but the incident didnâ€™t put a damper in the plan. The duo stuck with it untilÂ Soanya caught a case of the hurls every morning and jumped ship after some 300 days. The diagnosis – sea sickness. The reality – preggers.
Reid continued on for another 852 days doing yoga, eating sprouts, and tracing a huge heart in the ocean with his big ship, a shout-out to his now landlocked sea mate. Whether the couple stopped for some tacos in Mexico, or the freighter was really a dinky kayak, or he talked on the phone all day and bartered with fishermen, itâ€™s still a major accomplishment of a man who did what he wanted. And that is how he has made history online, on sea and aboard ship.