Joshua Slocum has been born in Nova Scotia, Canada, at February 20, 1844. He presumably died after November 14, 1909, when he disappeared while being aboard his boat, the Spray, but maybe not then. He was a Canadian naturalized American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer famous because he was the first man to sail single-handed around the world. In 1900 he wrote a book about his journey, “Sailing Alone Around the World”, which became an international best-seller. I am reading the book right now, and I’m impressed of the lucidity he prove in his language. His adventures aboard Spray, are notable and making him a new Magellan or James Cook. At the bottom of this article, I have embed a documentary about his life and legacy.
At sixteen, he left home and signed as an ordinary seamen on a merchant ship which turned to Dublin, in Ireland. After working here and there, in 1865, at twenty one, he settled in San Francisco, becoming an American citizen and changing his name from Slocombe to Slocum.
After fishing salmon and hunting for fur in Oregon, he became a schooner pilot on the trading route between San Francisco and Seattle. In 1869, he started to cross the oceans again, with merchandise to China, Australia and Japan. After one year, in Sidney he met his future wife. She was also American, and in the next thirteen years she sailed with him and gave birth to seven children, at sea or in different ports. His shipowners loved him, they were actually very impressed with Slocum’s inner powers, so he was given several ships in command. In 1874,, while in the Philippines, he built a steamer, named “Pato” for a British, and as payment he became co-owner. After that, he became better financially, because he knew what he was doing.
But things weren’t always smooth, on the contrary, before his major adventure single handed around the world, he experienced mutinies, mechanical problems, deathly infections with mortal diseases, shipwreck. He has been stranded in Brazil at a moment, with his wife and a part of the family, but he built a boat with local materials, salvaged materials and local workers. The boat received the name “Liberdade”, because she has been launched to sea on May 13’th, 1888, the day of slavery abolition in Brazil. After one year, he reached home via New York.
Until 1895, he rebuilt a 11.2 meters boat, he named “Spray” and he started his famous voyage around the world, the subject of his future book, which is now a classic of literature, and became free of digital rights. You may download it in any format you desire, from Gutenberg.org
The physical edition of Sailing Alone Around the World, you can purchase very affordable, from Amazon.
He never adapted to a settled life, even if he had the meanings to settle. He wanted to explore Orinoco, Rio Negro and the Amazon, so, on November 14, 1909, he went on sea and nobody never heard of him again. Maybe he went to live with the natives somewhere in the Amazonian jungle. At the beginning of 1910, his wife announced the authorities and the papers of his disappearing. His spirit still navigates around the world. Enjoy the video, dear friends!
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