Around the World

Taking a trip to one place and returning home is what many people do for adventure. For one military retiree, visiting one place wasn't enough.Ed Hart, a retired Marine, completed his long-time goal of sailing around the world when he sailed into the Hawaii Yacht Club April 2 in his 29-foot sailing cascade, the Hooligan. He moved the boat to its current resting spot in Hickam Harbor after a flight home to visit family after his three-year, four-month journey.
"It was a bigger adventure than I ever imagined," Hart said. "It was a lot better than I thought it'd be."

"I made 30 stops in 22 different countries," he continued. His stops were mainly for rest, getting supplies, and fixing up his boat if it was needed.
He began in his hometown of San Diego, where he set sail for Hawaii. He had completed this trip twice before in different boats, gaining experience for long trips.


In Hawaii, after 3 1/2 years at sea

This adventure began when Hart went from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands, Guam, Palau, and stopped for repairs in Cebu, Philippines. There he had repairs made to the Hooligan. He traded his mountain bike for an additional 4 inches of fiberglass hull added to his bow to make it more sturdy.
After the repairs were made, Hart sailed to Malaysia, the only place he said he visited where there was no charge for him to dock his boat in a port.
He then made stops at Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldive Islands, Chagos, and the Seychelles Islands. When he was sailing from Thailand to Sri Lanka, Hart had to make repairs to the Hooligan; literally midstream.
"I woke up one night and there was water leaking in my boat," Hart said. "The propeller shaft broke." This left a hole in the back by the engine. He had to dive under the boat, find the propeller shaft and repair it so he wouldn't sink and so he could continue on his trip.
Chagos was one of Hart's longest stops. Located in the Indian Ocean, Chagos can only be reached by water, there are no landing strips for aircraft.
"The only people there were yachties," Hart said. "You can only get there by boat."
He stayed there for three weeks, waiting for the weather to clear up so he could once again set sail and continue his trip.
Hart traveled to Africa where he made stops at Kenya, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Durban and Cape Town.

"Kenya was beautiful, but not what I expected," Hart said. He stayed at the American Embassy in Tanzania. The embassy was bombed a few months after he left.
After his stop at Mozambique, he was sailing to Richards Bay and was hit by a storm.
"I got beat pretty bad for two days," Hart said. The storm took out his engine, radio and broke his boom, making it very difficult to get a boat to go anywhere. He fixed his engine and made it to Durban where he fixed up the Hooligan. He said the people were very nice, but while he was there, he got mugged, losing his wallet.
"Every time I came to a port, I felt a great accomplishment," Hart said. "It's a really spiritual experience being out (on the ocean) by yourself. It's the last freedom in the world."
Rested and ready for more adventure, Hart sailed to St. Helena, Ascension Island, Brazil, Trinidad, Venezuela and Bonaire. All the while be was looking forward to getting to the Panama Canal. This would mark the last leg of his trip.As he approached the canal, he was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard for a standard inspection. They then sent him on his way through the canal.
Before he could get very far, though, his boat was hit by a 19,000-pound, 600-foot cargo ship.

"It sounded like a bomb going off," Hart said. The ship smashed into the front of Hart's boat, breaking his headstay (a cable that helps support the boat's mast) and smashing up the front of the Hooligan, making a hole just above the water line. It knocked Hart around in his cockpit and he hit his head and was bleeding as the big ship just continued on its way.

"I could see the crew looking at me as they passed," Hart said. "They knew they hit me and kept going."
Feeling lucky to be alive, Hart figured it was the extra 4 inches of fiberglass hull he had added to the front in the Philippines that kept the Hooligan afloat after such a hard hit. He sailed to Costs Rica to make temporary repairs on his boat and get settled. He had originally planned to finish his journey in San Diego, but after the accident, he decided it would be easier to make a straight shot to Hawaii, finishing one lap around the earth and a little extra.
"That was the hardest trip of my life," Hart said. He ran into bad weather that held him up. The days went by slowly as the delays slowly dwindled Hart's food and fresh water supply. After 52 days, he made it to the Alawai Canal by Molokai, Hawaii. He almost attained his goal, but had to wait because the wind had died and the battery to his engine was dead. The next morning he sailed into the Hawaii Yacht Club port. After four tries, he finally asked for help and docked the Hooligan.
"It's the happiest I'd been to see people," Hart said. The first thing he did was take a shower, eat and call his sister. When he called his sister, he joked and told her he was in Ireland. Even after a long haul across the Pacific Ocean, Hart hadn't lost his sense of humor.
Hart said the hardest part of the trip was getting western-style food in the ports where he'd stock up for the next leg of his journey.
He said his experience in the Marine Corps helped him in his sailing. He was reconnaissance for infantry and pulled three tours in Vietnam.
"I already knew land navigation," Hart said. "It (sailing) is almost like being on patrol." Planning, food and water discipline, first aid and health care were other skills Hart attributed to his military career that made his trip possible.
"Everything fell into place," Hart said. When asked if he had been 100 years later, he agreed he would have been an astronaut exploring the galaxy.
"If I'd been born 200 years earlier, I would've been a pirate," he added.



Two hundred years ago, he'd have been a pirate

Story by Senior Airman Jamie Bobbitt Kukini for the Hickam Kukini. Photos by Senior Airman Jamie Bobbitt

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