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On the Air: Captain Reid Stowe & Soanya Ahmad, 1,000 Days at Sea

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capOn April 21, Captain Reid Stowe and Soanya Ahmad stepped onboard the Schooner Anne in Hoboken, New Jersey, knowing their feet wouldn’t touch land again for nearly three years.

They’re facing everything from storms, to making the supplies onboard last, to the psychology of being isolated after embarking on a 1,000 day worldwide sea voyage without docking or restocking.

“It’s certainly different looking at the list at sea with almost three years to go than it is looking at it onshore,” wrote Stowe of their food supply on Day 61 in the duo’s official blog. “Looking at years to come, we are really glad we got the extra food and it’s looking like we’ll need it.”

So why, we ask, would the pair voluntarily choose to deal with these kinds of predicaments?

To sum it up: self-sufficiency. Their basic goal is to “increase mankind’s fundamental understanding of their unique capabilities and dependence of one’s human existence on the world around them.”

They grow their own food on board and exist entirely on what they create on their 70-foot schooner. However, there will be one concession to the modern world: Internet, which means e-mail and, of course, a blog. You can follow the 1,000 Days at Sea journey on the official Web site, 1000days.net.

To Stowe, this lifestyle is not entirely foreign. A professional sailor, Stowe completed various long-term journeys before. He came up with the concept of 1,000 days at sea in 1986 in New Zealand just before sailing to Antarctica.

“At that time, the longest record was one year at sea and I thought I would go twice as long,” Stowe said. “When I started to add the numbers in my head, I saw 1,000 and thought: ‘Well that’s a good round number; 1,000 days is reachable.’”

Ahmad, who holds degrees in Photography and Maritime Technology, became interested in the project nearly four years ago when she met Stowe while photographing the piers of Manhattan. Not wanting to succumb to life in a cubicle, but still wanting to pursue her degrees, she decided to put her skills to work as the ship’s only crewmember.

Given their diverse backgrounds, their preparations for the trip varied: Reid took a functional approach, ensuring that the ship itself would endure the voyage; Ahmad’s preparation focused on having the mindset of leaving all things behind on land and facing the ocean without attachments, she wrote in an e-mail interview. As of this week, the Schooner Anne crosses the equator on the northwest coast of Africa.

After successful completion, Stowe and Ahmad’s voyage will be the longest in history.

By Dara Bramson for PeterGreenberg.com

Interested in traveling by boat? Check out “Boating Safety Basics”.