ROUTE PLAN FOR SIX YEAR WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATION EXPEDITION
Our plan is to sail around the world. We will take it easy and therefore the journey will take us more than 6 years. We figured that visiting 75 countries in 75 months by sailing boat would make a grand and exhilarating plan. Anchors awaigh in June 2016!
The route planning for this cruise has started so many years ago that I have lost the count. So, it is a result of careful planning and with as few compromises as possible. The plan is to circumnavigate the globe and follow historical navigation routes including some detours to most magical places on earth. We will sail around South America and Africa and therefore will not use man made canals (Panama and Suez) that today provide tromendous help to maritime industry by offering short cuts between oceans. We will do it the old way and it will take some time...
This is a plan. We all know that good planning helps dreams come alive. It´s no guarantee though. But, if you do your planning well, you will be able to make better decisions when you have no clue what to do or where to go. Planning pays off, but plan is only a plan. In real life things go differently anyway.
YEAR ONE - DONE
Our adventure began in June 2016 in south of Turkey where already Phoenicians and Lycians sailed the same waters thousands of years ago. I can´t imagine more suitable place to start this epic journey. Beautiful Greek Islands, Albania, Montenegro and Dalmatian archipelago in Croatia were our home during the first months. We´ll then crisscrossed Mediterranean and visited Puglia, Calabria, Sicily, Malta and Sardinia.
We cruised the west coast of Corsica in October 2016 and then sailed Balearic islands Menorca and Mallorca and finally made it through Gibraltar Strait with the help of strong currents and almost scary winds towards the Atlantic Ocean.
We made a landfall in three places along the Moroccan coast and sailed to Gran Canaria via Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Six week break from sailing in Las Palmas was very welcomed as we lifted Panacea out of water and did some repairs. Kids had a blast with their grand parents and we had good time to carry out major provisioning operation.
We started our true Atlantic adventure in January; first to Cape Verde and then 14 day crossing to Barbados. The absolute highlight was to see a pack of killer whales right next to our boat, wow!
So, plans change! We did not sail to Brazil as we had originally planned. We decided to rather stay in warm cruising grounds. Patagonia has to await a bit longer.
In the Caribbean we have visited Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and Colombia.
Second year will take us to Pacific ocean. First part of the year (July-October) will explore the Caribbean side of Colombia and Panama and spend same serious time with Kuna indians in San Blas archipelago.
We are planning to cross Panama canal in October to have good time to visit Islas Perlas, Colombian Pacific coast and Ecuador before starting the crossing early 2018.
The mystery of Easter Island awaits to be solved. How and why were moais carved and moved? Was Easter Island in fact the our globe´s first ecological catastrophe scene? We´ll try to find out!
Dream of the every adventurer is to explore uninhabitet islands and atolls in the South Pacific. Most of those places are only accessible by boat and many of the most remote places on earth can be found in this part of the world. Famous Hollywood film about the Mutiny on the Bounty has cruel history in Pitcairn where we will visit the decendants of the real mutineers.
We will cruise through Tuamotu archipelago in French Polynesia and then continue to Society Islands and legendary movie scenes in Bora Bora, Samoa and Cook Islands. We will follow Captain James Cook´s routes where he discovered new islands in the late 1700´s. These grounds also fascinated British evolutionist Charles Darwin in his voyage around the world.
Half way of our journey we will make it to New Zeeland in November 2018. Before that we´ll spend some time in the Kingdom of Tonga and Fiji. In New Zeeland we´ll most likely stay until April 2019 and visit Middle Earth as we are all big Lord of the Rings fans.
The trip back home will take us through some of the most unique and weird places on earth. Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Palau have something that we have been looking for; isolation, original culture, languages spoken by only few hundreds of people, undescribable natural beauty and untouched underwater world.
We plan to spend big part of our time in the isolated archipelagos of PNG and Indonesia. The plan is to volunteer in marine conservation projects such as Save Our Seas and Oceanswatch and also get involved in local communities with educational approach.
If and hopefully when the security situation allows, we will sail up to beautiful Palawan Island in the Philippines and then around Borneo to Singapore. We will explore small islands of Malaysia, visit the James Bond Island in Thailand, dive at the Similan Islands and enter mystical Sea Gypsy grounds in Burmese Mergui archipelago where unique Moken people live nomadic life on water.
We will cross Bay of Bengal to Andaman Islands (India) and continue to exotic Sri Lanka to enjoy the best tea in the world.
The southernmost tip of India will be the starting point for year five and Indian Ocean adventures. We will sail through Maledives to Chagos and then to Seychelles if the pirates are not interfering our plans. Mystical Madagascar has to wait a little longer while we discover the beauty of Comores and Mayotte islands.
We will first visit the northern part of Madagascar and try to spot Lemur (monkies). There are almost 250 extant mammal species recorded is Madagascar and the time is running out. The area where many endemic spieces live is getting smaller and smaller due to illegal logging. Did you know that 75% of the spieces found in Madagascar cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Worth saving?
Holiday islands Mauritius and Reunion will be our stops before rounding Madagascar towards African continent. Southeast corner of Africa is home for countless spieces of marine life due to peculiarities of Mozambique Current. Most profound Manta Ray Research in the world is conducted in Mozambique by Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Beautiful and diverse South Africa will be our adventure ground for three months while we try to spot The Big Five, get a feel of Nelson Mandela´s heritage and sail around the legendary Cape Of Good Hope before heading north towards Namibia´s spectacular sand dunes. During our Atlantic crossing we will stop to say hello to France´s first Emperor General Napoleon Bonapartes´spirit in Saint Helena island.
Technically the circumnavigation of the earth will be completed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean close to south east corner of Brazil in spring 2021. "A true circumnavigation of the Earth must: start and finish at the same point, traveling in one general direction, reach two antipodes, cross the equator, cross all longitudes, cover a minimum of 40,000km" -Explorers Web AdventureStats
It feels kind of freaky to be planning something so far ahead espacially in the world where we really do not know how things look in even two or three years. Nevertheless or infact just because of this it is just soooooo exciting.
The Last year of our voyage will take us throught Amazon delta to Caribbean picturescue islands, Central -and North American eastern coastlines. There will be over 40 countries or independencies on our path. This part of the earth is great for "country spotting".
The third Atlantic crossing, now eastbound, will start from enchanting Road to Avonlea tv-series site in Prince Edward Island in Canada.
We will follow the Golf stream in the north Atlantic to Ireland, Shetland islands and finally to majestic fjords of Norway. s/y Panacea´s ETA in Finland is by the end of summer 2022 after cruising in the beautiful Baltic sea that has been the home sailing ground for the Meretniemi Family.
If and when we will accomplish this grand circumnavigation of the globe we have made dreams come true at least to ourselves. We will have visited 75 countries in 75 months in six continents.
Our kids will no longer be small boat kids as they still now are. Aarre will be 14, Kerttu 11 and even our little Martta will be almost 10. We, the parents, are dedicated to give them extraordinary childhood that will benefit them throughout their entire lifes.
We have hopefully been able to build together with our partners extensive awareness and action program around utilizing technology for education. We hope we have been able to make an impact on those communities we visit during our voyage.
We truly hope that we can make a difference in someone else`s life with our Sail For Good project that will be big part of our expedition.
Thank you very much for your interest so far. We hope that you will follow our epic journey, enjoy life and do the right thing with us!
You will find complete route plan HERE as Google Map illustration