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Born in a state famous for tornadoes and Oscar & Hammerstein's Oklahoma... "where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, my transition from cowgirl and wilderness trekker to circumnavigator makes sense. An adventurer at heart, I did what I'd always done: opened my eyes to beauty and opportunity then courageously stepped into the journey.

When a fateful sail in Port Townsend Bay struck a harmonic chord of memories with childhood on a cattle ranch, I was transformed.  The strange new horse - a boat - was immediately familiar. The horizon and islands were canyons to explore. The profundity of the experience led to pursuit of a Ph.d., a move from Alaska to Hawaii, then a near decade-long move from land to ocean.  I followed my heart on a bouyant voyage, a circumnavigation of the world.

341577-196209-thumbnail.jpgThe circumnavigation waypoints:

Ocean sailing began with long overnight from Kauai to Oahu. Next were two major upwind ocean passages with experienced captains: First, from Honolulu to Port Townsend, Washington; Second, from Newcastle, Australia to Kauai via New Zealand, Cook Islands and French Polynesia.

For deeper understanding back in Hawaii, I joined a canoe club in Nawilwili Harbor on Kauai. They were invited to compete at the Heiva Festival in Papeete, Tahiti.  The dates intercepted the timing and course of Captain Nancy Erley who, after circumnavigating the world with an all woman crew, was now teaching offshore sailing in the Pacific.  I'd interviewed Nancy for my doctoral research. She now needed a First Mate for two upwind passages: Tahiti-Marquesas and Tahiti-Hawaii.  With a stomach of steel, ocean voyaging experience and a fondness for tradewinds, I joined her crew. 

After sleeping on the beach under a Hau tree and cheering my canoe friends in Papeete, I climbed aboard Tethys, a 38-foot cutter rigged double-ended sloop.  Opportunity knocked and I answered.  We made those passages with two women on each leg and by the time we spotted Mauna Kea on the skyline two months later, we were set to sail as a team teaching women on ocean passages for the next six years.

Here's a brief itinerary of the circumnavigation by country.  To the right is a map. Check the Woman of the Wind Blog for stories about some passages. Use the search box to type in the name of the country or a topic of interest.  Enjoy!


Nearing the equator in the Pacific.
Circumnavigation Passages:
By Country



San Diego-Mexico



Nicaragua-Costa Rica

Costa Rica-Panama




Tahiti-American Samoa

American Samoa-Tonga

Tonga-Minerva Reef-New Zealand

New Zealand-Australia





(I singlehanded from Thailand to Malaysia) 




Seychelles-Mayotte, Comorros



Mozambique-South Africa

South Africa-St. Helena

St. Helena-Brazil






Hawaii-Port Townsend

341577-196225-thumbnail.jpgWe completed the circumnavigation in August 2001 and were welcomed home with a big celebration at Seattle's Bell Harbor (see photo). My mom, grandma, sister from Oklahoma and brother from New York met us at the dock. So did the TV newspeople and hundreds of friends!

The next month, we cruised the Canadian Gulf Islands and US San Juans. Nancy and Tethys stayed in Seattle where she splits her time teaching on Tethys in the PNW, speaking at boatshows and commuting to San Francisco to work at Farallon Yachts.

I settled in Port Townsend, directed the Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival for 10 years, found Pax, my 28' classic Danish spidsgatter, began writing full-time and now split my time with a home in Oklahoma.

The voyage of Tethys continues to inspire our work independently and as colleagues in the world of women and boating.