In the wake of Banyandah: Musings on adventure, Jessica Watson and Mother Earth

Jack and Jude Binder ponder the world we live in, from adventure and  Jessica Watson's solo voyage to Mother Earth and the pressure the environment is under.

Throughout history men and women have gone out seeking adventure, earth's curiosities and to strive to accomplish what no other person has done before. Just as men and women have risked their lives to save those in need.

There's no shame in striving to be the first, to see glory next to your name because it inspires others to reach for their goals. And that's needed to keep mankind strong, but inspiration is being lost because we are roped in by so many rules. We need more heroes.

Amelia Earhart was just such a person and now her story is a major movie event. Lost after missing Howland Island, the official search lasted 66 days, ending July 19, 1937. At $4 million, the most costly and intensive search in US history up to that time. No physical evidence of Earhart, Noonan or their Electra 10E was found.

Banyandah sailed near that lonely spot some 40 years later when taking an amateur radio expedition to Kingman Reef, and I can verify it's a small lump in a very big ocean when using a sextant like Ms Earhart.

I found Amelia Earhart: A Different Kind of Chick Flick A really good read.

But has anyone read the latest Red List? Never knew what this was until last week when the latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was published: 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed are threatened with extinction. Their results confirm 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 32 percent of all known gymnosperms (conifers and cycads) are threatened with extinction. The CSIRO Implications of Climate Change released in 2008 warns of substantial changes to ecosystems; human induced and unprecedented in their nature.

Extremely harrowing times ahead on many fronts.

Our future needs more legions of young ones running, swimming, boating, exploring the forests, sailing the waterways and seas, discovering the real world — and learning how to survive. But we have a growing sea of unhealthy fatties, more reliant on community services than finding success in a jungle that's further disconnected from earth than when I grew up.

Our difficult future requires young leaders setting examples and inspiring others to become connected to the real world, if this good earth is going to stage a turnaround and proceed towards a more perfect dream.

Adventurer Don McIntyre must have seen that when he loaned Jessica Watson his yacht for her attempt to become the youngest to sail round the world. He said, “We can't afford to over-protect our kids. They need to find themselves, challenge the natural world and understand what it is to minimise risk and make good decisions.”

Wonderful! Good luck, Jessica! Can't wait to hear your greatest trials and cheer your victories after you cross the finish line. Until then be safe.

Trouble is, too many are not looking after their safety. Not entirely their fault. Too many rules might be making them think they don't need to. All we have to do is to push a button because our culture teaches us to dial triple 0 first. That's in total contradiction to real life where every good sailor knows contact with Nature requires preparation and forethought.

It's going to take time to correct, so here's an idea that might help. Make all national parks free and put on heaps of Nature talks for the kids and parents. Around a campfire at night, eyes fixed on the stars, learning the lore, and dreaming. Have all kids in primary school do a term in danger awareness and be taught not to be silly frightened kids. Fear freezes the mind. Rational thinking emboldens us. And might help some of the young ones mucking up.

And we need plenty more boating opportunities to firm up young spines and explode their minds. That will help them achieve the bigger dream of getting the world healthier and reconnected to Earth.

On a smaller scale, Judith and I hope to inspire too. We have just completed our first manuscript.

More Perfect with Age captures the essence of our 27-month Aussie circumnavigation, documenting the journey from epistles written to our grandchildren that were also distributed to adventurers and supporters, armchair and otherwise.

“We go where there are no rules, except nature's — survive. No marked lanes. No stop lights. Earth and her creatures provide wonder and knowledge, adventure and entertainment . . . revealing wisdom by simply observing life.”

Humanity tends to dominate the wild kingdom, taking what's wanted and needed, leaving less for other creatures. We wonder if that's right and journeyed 9,000nm through three climatic zones to find out if that is right.

Ours is a story of love between two souls seeking truth and adventure. A story of hope for the future. The prime theme, our good earth, her creatures, and because a good yarn needs history for comparison, a fair helping was woven throughout our observations. Which, in a nutshell, proves cruising can get more perfect with age.

In the December issue of Cruising Helmsman magazine (out third week of November) I cover the highlights of our circumnavigation and in the January issue (out third week of December) the practical lessons, so look out for those issues. You will also find a gallery in the gallery section of this website, under “Around Australia with Jack and Jude.” Then if you like, visit www.gooroo.com.au/banyandah 

What do you think? Is adventure being restricted by onerous concerns about safety? Should someone be allowed to go sailing and take risks some others might consider excessive? Are we as cruisers contributing to the denigration of the environment?  Food for thought. Comment below if you want to share your  thoughts.

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