In around 500 BC the Greek philosopher Pythagoras suggested for the first time the idea of a spherical Earth. He lived on the Greek island of Samos less than 100 miles north of our current position in Rhodes. It was the observation of tall ships disappearing over the Mediterranean horizon that first arose suspicions about the prevailing flat earth assumptions of those times. 150 years later, another Greek philosopher Aristotle provided the first convincing proof of the round earth theory using observations in the sky, such as the differing positions of stars when viewed from different locations on land, and the shape of the shadow cast onto the moon during a lunar eclipse. But still it remained a radical and non-sensical theory until many centuries later in 1521, when a sailing expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan finally proved with undeniable certainty that the Earth is indeed spherically shaped. Magellan himself did not survive the voyage, but one of the five expedition boats did… they sailed a ship so far west that they returned to where they started from, leaving the “Flat Earthers” in a state of stunned silence.
So it’s a fitting location here in the Greek islands for us to complete our own experimentation with this idea of a round Earth, very near to where the whole notion came into existence. In May of 2012 we ourselves sailed out of the Mandraki Marina on the north tip of Rhodes and headed west over the Mediterranean horizon. We arrived back here yesterday afternoon, exactly 2 years, 8 months, 5 days, 18 hours and 44 minutes since we last departed. It means we have put 31,892 nautical miles of water beneath us while covering a net distance of 0.0 miles. If our goal was simply to get from Rhodes to Rhodes, we definitely took the long way here.
Of course our journey was never about the destination, it was about the adventure and the experience;.. in those 0 miles of net distance between our start and finish line, an entire world lies in between that we got to experience. We witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly in people and in places. We experienced Mother Nature in her various forms and moods – punishment by the weather and the sea at some times, rewarded at others with magical moments and stunning views of the Earth’s most beautiful landscapes from vantage points few are fortunate enough ever to experience. We learned about the world from the perspective of its local people, which expanded our thinking and tolerance by orders of magnitude, while smashing to pieces many of our prejudices. And most importantly, we discovered ourselves, who we are, and what matters to each of us.
We are proud of completing our journey but recognize that we did almost none of it alone. We began as very novice sailors, and needed all the help we ended up finding throughout our voyage. We send our most sincere thanks to the outstanding crew that joined us for extended periods along the way: Tuncer (Legend), Rupe, Javier (Tarzan), and Asier (Maestro)… you were extraordinary team members and we are so grateful for our experiences with you. And to the many others who joined us for shorter segments or helped us from ashore or from abeam (John Burnie, Jimmy Swift, Bruce Byall, Uncle Chris, Uncle Bob, Lior, the Rogues, the Shapirits, Yossi, and many others) we thank you too for making our voyage the unforgettable and unique adventure it has been…. if there is one thing we really did do right, it was surrounding ourselves with amazing people. And to our parents, for their support both on board and from ashore (including Pop’s Atlantic Ocean crossing!), we haven’t the words to describe our gratitude to you.
So we confirm the authors of the Bible’s holy scriptures got it wrong, at least in a literal sense, in the books of Daniel, Matthew, Isaiah, and Revelation. And although their errata might be excusable for several reasons, the remaining members of the Flat Earth Society today deserve no such intellectual forgiveness. So yes, it’s true the world is not flat nor shaped like a disc, and there are no four corners to be found anywhere. We testify the thing is in fact a sphere as Pythagoras first suggested more than 2500 years ago.
We’ll enjoy a week or so here in Rhodes with some special guests who are coming to meet us here for a celebration. Then we’ll sail back to Marmaris in Turkey and begin the bittersweet process of passing Tamarisk along to someone with more ambitious voyaging plans than are currently in the cards for ourselves.