Has our 76-year-old circumnavigator, Jeanne Socrates, actually thrown in the towel, and decided that enough really is enough?
|Surprising news ... Jeanne Socrates decides to go into a New Zealand harbour, but declines any assistance in the most hospitably country in the world.|
But, rather oddly after rounding New Zealand's Stewart Island, she followed surprisingly closely the coastline of the southern part of the South Island.
And then she announced suddenly that she would go into a port to … well, sort herself out.
For a circumnavigator who wants to complete the voyage at sea and unaided, to go into a port is at the very least a surprise. A further surprise was that the very courageous lady should choose Oamaru's little harbour for a safe haven.
Warned in time
Fortunately, she was warned in time that Oamaru is no place for an ocean-going yacht with a deep keel.
|A safe harbour ... Jeanne learns in good time that Timar is a more suitable port for her than little Oamaru.|
Apparently, Jeanne made it clear to harbour authorities that she wanted to arrive without assistance.
Then, quite mysteriously, a local harbour worker addressed the media as if he might be an authority on singlehanded circumnavigation, telling them circumnavigation rules allow her to go alongside in port, but not to accept any assistance.
Whether such an unlikely rule really exists or not, Jeanne's decision to enter an unknown port without assistance certainly required considerable inner strength.
Perhaps to chance all her aims by entering - and to enter a strange harbour alone - might have required as much determination as it took to sail off into the Southern Ocean's wide blue yonder, as she did back on 3rd October last year when her circumnavigation began.
Has Timaru ended her hopes?
She will know better than anyone else if in fact Timaru has put paid to her hopes to be the oldest woman to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world, and the first of her gender to achieve it nonstop unassisted around the world from North America.
Now she is moored to a jetty and will have learned, probably within moments of arrival, that if there's one thing that abounds in that southern paradise – God's Own – it is fresh food. Will she shun it?
The other necessity that must be in the utterly urgent category is a skilled nautical tradesman or two for the damaged electronics. Could she really say no thanks to fine local jokers, aw, certificated in the work, you know?
Has Jeanne the superhuman iron will to continue unhelped with perhaps the world's most hospitable people just an arm's length away, and almost desperate to help?
Watch this space, as they say ….