Matthew Power [1974-2014] was an award-winning freelance print and radio journalist and a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine.

Charlie Don't Surf

VQR  |  Spring 2008


... I am not signing on to a tanker or freighter bound for the Far East (which is west of here), but rather to a scuffed-up, forty-eight-foot, two-masted ketch, owned and captained by my old friend Andrew Whyte and his wife, Francesca. I am going to crew for them on the first leg of their journey across the Pacific to their home in Melbourne. Our primary destination is the Galápagos Islands, a two-week sail to the southwest across a thousand miles of open water, skirting the pirate havens of the Colombian coast and the uncertain winds of the Doldrums, striking for the equator and following it to the islands originally known as Las Encantadas. The Enchanted Islands. And the boat that will get us there is the Shangri La. A sailboat named after a mythical Himalayan valley may seem indicative of a romanticism unmoored from reality, but it befits the fantastical existence Andrew and Francesca have created for themselves, working their way around the world for years with scarcely any money but possessed of boundless dreams. ... 

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