Friday, June 01, 2007

Embedded Videos

Chapter 1

YouTube video up

You can now view the chapters from the DVD we made after Shane returned from the trip with all of the still pictures from the on on board camera.

This link is to the play list of all 21 chapters

Click on it and they should all play in order. If you want to pick out individual chapters those should be listed on the YouTube page as well.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Final Google Earth Files

I have taken all of the final GPS data Shane provided from the boat and from the car trips on Madeira and to Marrakech and converted it to the following Google Earth files:

The entire trip, boat and car excursions all together in one file:

GPS_Boat+Car.kmz (125kB)
This file contains boat and wind vectors in addition to the GPS Lat & Long information.

The road trip on the island of Madeira:

GPS_Car_Madeira.kmz (34kB)

The car trips to and from Marrakech:

GPS_Car_To_Marrakech.kmz (18kB)
GPS_Car_From_Marrakech.kmz (16kB)

Just the at sea portion:

GPS_Boat.kmz (56kB)
This file contains boat and wind vectors in addition to the GPS Lat & Long information.

All of these Google Earth files have folders like you see here. The one shown is for the entire trip kml file. If you check the boxes off and on for each sub folder this will allow you to selectively show or hide that portion of the trip.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The End

We left El Jadida after topping off our fuel tank and refilling our jerry cans.  Refueling was quite the experience because the port did not have a fuel dock.  We had to put our empty cans on a cart that a man pulled by hand to the nearest gas station. 

We’ve decided to make Gibraltar our final port of call.  The boat broker called us today and said that he had a spot for the Gryphon in a marina and that it was easily accessible from the UK where Aerodynes are popular.  Also, a large storm system is forecasted to hit over the weekend and could last for over a week.  So our journey will come to an end at the base of the Rock of Gibraltar, a fitting destination for our trans-Atlantic adventure.

Sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar last night was exhilarating!  We approached at night under a full moon with countless stars in the sky.  Fighting squalls and choppy seas, we did not get much rest earlier in the day.  Nevertheless, we both were alert and on the lookout as we passed through the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean.  We encountered a dozen or so tankers, freighters, and ferries as we crossed.  The winds became steadier towards the evening and by the time we sailed through the strait we were on a beam reach with 20 knots of wind.  Barreling through the strait at over 8 knots was a fitting last passage for our journey aboard the Gryphon. 

We are in the process now of cleaning the boat up and making it presentable.  On Monday, we are going to drive to Malaga to catch our flights.  Walid will be flying to Rome on business and I will be returning to Boston.  We are looking very forward to seeing all of our friends and family.  Thank you very much for sharing with us in what has been the most thrilling adventure of our lives.  Knowing that we were in your thoughts meant a great deal to us as we braved hurricane-strength winds, fought vicious squalls, played with dolphins, and barely escaped from being thrown into a Moroccan jail!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

End of the Line

The Rock of Gibraltar gazing upon the Gryphon at rest in port.

More pictures will be up later tonight.


The rest of the pictures from Shane along with his captions follow. Click on them to enlarge.

A little visitor that joined our sail to Gibraltar

The Gryphon at port in Gibraltar.

Surfing down a wave during the storm

Smiling at the storm.  Is this the best you can do?

On dry land in Gibraltar

The around-the-world bio-diesel boat that we saw in Boston Harbor

Walid at the helm as we filled our fuel tank and jerry cans in Boston

Villages scattered around the mountains of Madeira

A curious seal peered up at us in Boston Harbor

Getting some very much needed rest inside

Saying goodbye to Boston

Fishing boats in the harbor at El Jadid

The port of Funchal in Madeira

Guided to port in El Jadida by the local fishermen

A little village in the backwaters of Morocco

The Berber antique shop in Marrakech

The market in Marrakech

Some things just don't need a translation

Snake charmers in Marrakech

Our off-roading beast of a Ford

Which way to Marrakech?

Camels on the beach in El Jadida

The Portuguese fortress guarding the port in El Jadida

A view from our hotel roof in Marrakech

Night at sea

The Gryphon at port in El Jadida

First sightings of El Jadida

Approaching Madeira after 18 days at sea

Cheers to Madeira!

The lighthouse guarding the eastern edge of Madeira

Our patched mainsail

Arriving in Madeira

Amazing Adventure is Over

Shane called this morning to say the amazing sailing adventure is over. They are in port at Gibraltor in the Mediterrania. Walid is leaving the Gryphon in the hands of a boat broker in a British run marina. He said boats such as the Gryphon are very popular in London, and Walid thinks he'll do well there. Shane is packed. They'll clean the boat today. They will spend a night or two on the Gryphon, then Walid and Shane will part company. Shane will drive to Malaga, Spain and take a flight to London, then head for Boston. He should be there by 7 p.m. Monday. Walid will fly to Rome, and then New York. (Hope I have all my facts correct!)

Well done, young men, well done! I, for one, will be glad when they are back on American soil! But it was fun living vicariously through them since November 9.

Boston MA to Gibraltar

So it's Gibraltar instead of Valencia. Shane just called and the adventure is over. They have finished their trip in Gibraltar. Apparently Walid's boat agent thinks it will be easier to sell the boat their instead, plus a large storm is coming as well so Gibraltar.

They are safe and sound and Shane's said it was the adventure of his life. He will be heading to a cafe tonight with Internet access and getting me a large post of pictures for everyone. I'll update the blog as soon as I get them. I will also have all of their final GPS data to update the Google Earth files, apparently they will have the data from their car drive through Morocco as well.

Shane plans to fly back Monday to Boston. He will have the 1 Terabyte hard drive in hand that is full of the high definition pictures taken from the on board camera once every second. Seth and I will in the coming weeks work as quick as we can to get the time lapse movie made of the entire voyage. I'll follow up with Shane for a list of everyone who wants a copy of the DVD.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Mobbed in Marrakech

Where to begin?  After leaving Madeira we set sail towards the coast of Africa.  Our plan was to stop in Casablanca to refuel and then follow the coast towards the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Med.  At least that was the plan…


Although we had maps of Africa’s coast, we did not have any detailed charts of the port areas.  After Craig emailed us satellite images of Casablanca and doing some research ala Blackberry, we decided that its port was primarily commercial and was not favorable for smaller vessels.  In addition, given our current wind conditions we would not arrive until dusk.  We noticed a couple of smaller towns south of Casablanca that were a bit closer and so we decided to change course.  We had no idea which one was more suitable so we headed between them.  As we approached we saw that the southern-most town was more industrial with billowing smoke-stacks and tanker traffic, but the village to the north seemed pleasant.  Not even knowing where the port was, we hailed one of the tankers to ask for directions (yes, two guys actually stopped to ask for directions).  We headed towards the coordinates they provided but became very concerned when we saw very large rolling waves breaking very far offshore.  We almost turned back until we saw a small wooden fishing boat ahead.  We waved at them and they came over for a closer look.  Walid began speaking to them in Arabic, but quickly realized that due to their dialect, French was easier to understand.  Even then communication was very limited and confusing, usually involving pointing and gestures.  They indicated that the harbor was nearby, and so we bartered a bottle a wine for a guide into port (evidently they liked the wine because they threw a bag of fish into the deal as well). 


The fishermen guided us past the break wall and into the harbor.  A medieval Portuguese castle stood guard over dozens of wooden fishing boats of all sizes lashed side-by-side.  All the fishermen stopped and stared at the Gryphon as she traveled through the narrow channel into the port.  We were the only non-local vessel.  We tied off to a large concrete wall and came ashore to clear immigration and customs.  I think that we were the first visitors by sea this town had seen in weeks based on the old date that was set on the immigration officer’s stamp.  After clearing customs and speaking with the local police, we hired a “guardian” to watch over the boat and to make sure that nothing “happened” to it. 


With the boat in safe hands (or so we thought) we headed into town to find a place to stay.  We checked into a hotel, got cleaned up, and headed downstairs for a celebratory beverage.  At the bar Walid began a conversation with an older gentleman who turned out to be the Minister of French Culture in Morocco.  After a few drinks, he invited us to go into town for a tour.  He took us to a very dingy and smoky bar full of the locals.  Something I ate that evening didn’t agree with me, so I walked back to the hotel and spent the rest of the night worshiping the porcelain goddess.  Walid stayed and the story that I am about to tell is his.  After many drinks and packs of cigarettes, Walid, the Minister, and several of his friends go upstairs to a disco.  Interesting thing about this club was that it was all local…men.  Walid started to catch on when the owner of the club asked him if he was the Minister’s lover.  Walid explained that he was definitely not and that he had a beautiful, wonderful, and intelligent girlfriend back in New York.  Chalking it up as a cultural learning experience, he ended up closing down the club and having a great time dancing hand-in-hand with an Arab Liberace. 


Afterwards, he goes down to the port to check on the boat with his new found friends.  Our guardian greets them plastered out of his mind.  He starts yelling at one of the Minister’s friends (the local baker) and would not let him into the shipyard because he was a Muslim.  After several minutes of heated debate to no avail, Walid parted company and went down to the pier by himself.  He ended up staying the night on the boat instead of walking back to the hotel.


After taking some antibiotics and Pepto, I felt much better the next morning.  We rented a car and planned to drive north to Casablanca.  Walid was told, however, by the Minister that the south was much more scenic and interesting.  So we headed south to the Moroccan countryside to see what could be seen.  The roads were terrible, (although only slightly worse than those of Cambridge, MA) often with just a single lane.  We shared the road with mule-drawn carts, rickety motorcycles, dilapidated trucks, and the occasional pedestrian.  Given the conditions, Walid switched into third-world driving mode, i.e. driving like a bat out of hell.  Big mistake.  We soon found ourselves pulled over by the local smoky.  We played the stupid tourist routine of “we didn’t know any better, honest officer.”  In the end, we were able to talk our fine down to about ten dollars and promised never ever to do it again.


Our rental was a compact, front-wheel drive Ford Fiesta.  Why not go off-roading?  Scattered throughout the hills were these small towns with buildings made entirely of mud bricks and thatched roofs.  We headed off the “main” road into the hills on what appeared to be a donkey-cart trail.  The town was something out of a movie.  Chickens and goats were roaming between the houses.  Eyes peered out at us behind the dark windows.  They did not know quite what to make of us.  The trail we were following soon ended and we saw the main road in the distance.  We headed towards it through a rocky field and down a very steep embankment.  With just a few scrapes we managed to get back onto the road and continued our journey south.


After exploring the countryside further and visiting several small villages, we arrived in Marrakech to find it a bustling cosmopolitan of old and new traditions.  We checked into a wonderful hotel that used to be an old courtyard-style mansion.  It was gorgeous!  Every room in this three-story palace overlooked the courtyard and was intricately decorated with colorful tiles and mosaics.  The roof deck overlooked the city’s skyline of spires and towers. 


The streets of Marrakech were narrow and filled with vendors selling everything imaginable from lamps to livers.  At the center of town was an enormous marketplace and bazaar.  Snake charmers mesmerized cobras and vipers as they swayed to and fro.  Merchants sold carpets and other wares.  Smoke from grills cooking lamb, beef, and chicken filled the air.  We happened to arrive during an international film festival and a giant screen and projector loomed on the far side of the square.  With my blonde hair and blue eyes, more than once I was asked if I was from “ollie-wud,” here for the festival.


After eating a wonderful dinner of lamb tagine we set off to explore the city.  We found a very eclectic shop selling antiques and other local goods.  After a few minutes of haggling, we purchased a couple ornate rifles and some antique jewelry.  We had interest in so many other items that the owner invited us back the next day to have lunch with him, claiming that his wife made the best tagine in Morocco.  He was right.  It was absolutely delicious!  With several more hours of negotiating and bargaining we procured an antique engraving, a backgammon table decorated in mosaics, an ornate Berber sword, a glass table with engraved bone legs, candlesticks made of ram horns, and much more.  The merchant was very comical, insisting that we just “close our eyes and give him our credit cards.”   We must have gone through five rounds of “final” prices over several hours of heated negotiations before closing the deal.  After we had paid, he wanted our sunglasses and insisted that as a gift we should buy him a Dell laptop.  We politely excused ourselves and went about our way.


If we had thought the market during the day was colorful, the night-time experience proved to be much more intriguing.  Upon a suggestion by the merchant we went to a very shady and seedy cabaret with belly dancing and hookah pipes.  What a sight!  Smoke filled the air as scantily clad dancers jiggled to exotic music encouraged by drunken hollering.  Kuwaiti oil sheiks threw money into the air as the dancers gracefully seduced them.  We were the only non-Arabs in the establishment.  Walid’s Lebanese heritage allowed him to blend in relatively well.  I, on the other hand, was a lost cause and stood out like a sore thumb.  We smoked pipes while watching the dancers and listening to the enchanting music. 


And then the night became very interesting.  Walid had a bit too much to drink and wandered off in a drunken stupor while I was in the bathroom.  I came back to our table with him nowhere to be found.  As I was looking for him around the club, it became very apparent that I was no longer welcome without my Arab sponsorship.  I tried to explain that my friend was still there but I was told that I was not allowed to wander around the establishment by myself.  Evidently they didn’t like Americans…hmmm…I wonder why?  I was escorted back to my table somewhat forcibly, asked to pay our bill, and then directed to leave.  Not to cause a scene, I complied and went outside.  Luckily, Walid hadn’t wandered too far away before falling asleep on a bench.  I flagged down a taxi and managed to communicate to the driver (barely) where we were staying.  I’ve traveled to many places in many foreign lands, and never once had I felt so unwelcome.  Nevertheless, all ended well and it will make for a great story!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

In Route to Strait

I got the following e-mail from Shane this afternoon:

We are about a day’s sail from the Strait of Gibraltar right
now. The winds are not very strong so we are running the motor.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Pirates! Safe and Sound!

Shane called me this afternoon and again tonight. He and Walid are fine -- Just having the adventure of their life. They didn't realize everyone would be so worried about them. They had no e-mail and the antenna on the sat was broken. He said he was sorry for scaring us! They will get the boat prepared to sail again in the morning and will set sail tomorrow afternoon for the Strait of Gibraltor. He will post to the blog tomorrow and tell us all about Morocco. Judy

Voyage of the Gryphon

Voyage of the Gryphon

Where are Shane and Walid?

Everyone is wondering where Shane and Walid are. If you haven't seen Brent's message in the comments, here it is below. This is the last anyone, that we know, has heard from Shane. Craig and I have called the satellite phones to no avail. Craig knows the boat is still in port.

Phone Call from Shane to Brent: I spoke with Shane on Sunday at around 5 PM EST. The phone reception was horrible but it sounded like they had arrived in port and found security to watch the boat. They were planning to hire a cab for the following day and tour the city. He said they would be there for about 2 days. Brent

Sunday, December 03, 2006

El Jadida

Shane and Walid seem to have taken port in El Jadida South West down the coast a bit from Casablanca.


Saturday, December 02, 2006


We received the following email from Kari, Jordan, and Seth asking us some questions about the trip. Seth is a friend of mine back in Kansas City. He was the one that put together the real-time Google Earth tracker for this trip. Because we’ve been asked similar questions by other people, we thought that we would share our responses with everyone:


For Shane and Walid, Questions from Kari, Jordan and Seth:

Do you have to "file a flight" plan to cross the ocean?

If so, with whom?

You don’t have to file a sail plan to cross the ocean. It is recommended that you tell someone about the trip, though. You’ll come and rescue us, right? If we were staying within U.S. coastal waters we would have given our intended route to the Coast Guard. We do have emergency radio beacons that would communicate via satellite if something should go really wrong, however.

What's the longest sailing trip you've taken before this?

This trip is by far the longest time at sea for either of us. We have both sailed around New England, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean for a week or two at a time. Walid also sailed the Gryphon twice to Bermuda and back in large off-shore races.

Do you wear some sort of tether when you’re outside the cabin?

Yes, we have tethers that connect to our life-jacket harnesses. We wear them whenever we go outside at night or during stormy seas.

Hey! That's one big steering wheel!

Yup! If you are going to have a boat, it better look cool! Actually, having a large steering wheel gives you additional leverage as well as allows you to be on the high side of the boat when it is heeling.

Did you get seasick? Do you normally?

I usually don’t get motion sickness, but I felt very queasy at the beginning of trip for a day or two. After awhile your body gets used to the motion of the waves. In fact, after you’ve been at sea for an awhile, you’ll get sick when you step back onto land. During the first day on Madeira I had really bad vertigo. It was especially bad at night when I tried to sleep. I continually felt like the bed was uneven and that I was falling out of it because I had been sleeping at an angle on the boat for weeks!

What do you miss the most?

Shane: dry land

Walid: his girlfriend Colleen

What do you not miss the most?

Shane: the daily grind

Walid: bills and daily tasks

Are you sailing the boat back to the US?

No, Walid is planning to sell the boat in Europe.

Would you do it again? Perhaps it's too soon to ask :-)

I would definitely do it again! Next time, though, I would do it earlier in the year and make more stops along the way.

Did you take pictures? Movies? Can we see those dolphins?!

Yes, but due to our limited internet connection we have a hard time sending pictures from sea. Once we get back on land, I’ll post more pictures. We have some great movies of the dolphins! Also, Craig is going to put together an awesome, hi-def movie using pictures from the camera mounted on the back of the boat.

Did you know you sailed right by the Titanic? (+/- a few km)

We were on the lookout for icebergs the entire time!

You guys are amazing, have a great rest of your voyage!



I received this e-mail from Shane today:

We are underway, although very slowly at the moment. The winds are very calm, but the sea is very quiet. We are motoring right now to Casablanca. I’m very excited about visiting Morocco. It is very warm here. In fact we almost went swimming today!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Mutiny on the Gryphon?

Below is an email from Colleen’s dad Mike. We thought that it was hilarious. For those on Shane’s side of the adventure, Colleen is Walid’s girlfriend.
Hello Walid, After careful reading of the Mutiny on the Bounty--I see some dangerous parallels:
  • Shane is quite taken with the beauty of the island stopover (just as Fletcher Christian and his band of mutineers were)
  • the Bounty had some problems with rotten sails--and technical problems that demoralized the men.
  • the naked Tahitian dancing girls are tempting Shane to stay---just like the crew of the Bounty.
  • Shane has resented the 12 lashes you handed down as punishment for losing iBoat satellite contact during the storm.
  • reading between the lines in the blog, Shane states--"at first chance I put Walid over in the rescue dinghy--and I'll take control of Gryphon myself--return to Madeira and the king size bed, real food and demon rum!"

As you can see--things are slow here on shore! Happy sailings to Africa and Spain--and the beautiful Med


Underway Again

Shane and Walid are underway and headed to Casablanca, Morocco.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ottawa Herald Newspaper Article

Shane's mom Judy sends along these pics from an Ottawa (KS) Herald newspaper article. Click on them to enlarge (that goes for any picture on the blog actually)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Pictures

With better net connectivity in port Shane got me a number of pictures to share with everyone. They are below as well as in some of the previous posts:

Running with the Big Boys

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish!

A picture of the boat with spinnaker flying

Land Ho!

We’ve arrived in Madeira! I had trouble sleeping the night before even though the seas were comfortable. I felt like a kid at Christmas, eager to wake up the following morning to open his gifts. When I finally did fall asleep, I was out like a light. Upon awakening, I saw a mountainous island covered in tropical vegetation shrouded in the mist and clouds. Try putting that into a stocking!

We pulled into the harbor at Funchal on the south side of the island. Taking my first step onto land was very disorienting. I could not walk in a straight line and had to hold onto the railing. I bet the immigration officials thought we had hit the rum one too many times! After clearing customs we sat down at a little restaurant in the marina and had our first fresh meal in weeks. The first bite of lightly toasted garlic bread dipped in olive oil was beyond description. We had a meal of fresh (just caught an hour ago by a local fisherman) fish, shrimp, fruit, and vegetables. Simply amazing!

After stuffing ourselves until we could eat no more, we wandered into town and checked into a hotel. Washing away more than two weeks of filth and grime never felt better! I slept so well that night in a warm, clean, king-size bed with cotton sheets!

The next day we rented a convertible and drove around the island. The tropical landscape and rugged terrain was just breathtaking. The roads were very narrow and curvy, switching back and forth through the mountains. Driving was such a pleasure!

Gluttons for punishment, we will probably leave port tomorrow after making a few more repairs. The storm appears to be calming down and we should have light winds on our way to the Med. It will be very hard to leave such a beautiful island, though.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Has anyone heard from Shane or Walid since they made landfall in Madeira? It looks like from the tracker below they made it to port in Funchal. If I had been them my first orders of business would have been to :

1) Check into a nice Hotel
2) Take a long hot shower
3) Hit the Snack Bar O Garrafao and have a nice tenderloin steak (Shane's Fav)
4) Back to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub
5) Retire to my soft bed for 12 hours uninterrupted of sleep

If anyone has heard from them post a comment.


click on map pic to see the Snack Bar O Garrafao! :)