15 May 2010
Jessica Watson returns to Oz
Today Australian Jessica Watson from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland joined Ferdinand Magellan in triumph and three days before her 17th birthday. She completed her journey around the world this afternoon into Sydney Harbour as tens of thousands of cheering people celebrated her return. She left October 18, 2009, 210 days ago. And travelled the entire Southern Sea route, traversing into the Northern Hemisphere a bit (but not enough for a world record).
Here she is leaving back in October.
Jessica was greeted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who hailed her as "Australia's newest hero". "You do our nation proud," he said.
"You are a hero for young Australians ... and young Australian women."
But Jessica said she had to disagree with Mr Rudd as "I don't consider myself a hero".
"I'm an ordinary girl who had a dream.
"You just have to have a dream and set your mind to it."
Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the Earth, although Magellan himself did not complete the entire voyage, being killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines. (Magellan had, however, traveled eastwards to the Malay Peninsula on an earlier voyage, so he became one of the first explorers to cross all of the meridians of the globe.) Of the 237 men who set out on five ships, only 18 completed the circumnavigation and managed to return to Spain in 1522, led by the Basque navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who took over command of the expedition after Magellan's death. Seventeen other men arrived later in Spain: twelve men captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some weeks earlier and between 1525 and 1527, and five survivors of the Trinidad.
Map of her reentry into Sydney harbour on the Ella:
Having a dream and living it, isn't that what life is all about? I don't know young Jessica Watson, but she has this elementary principle down very well. The humble succeed and the proud fall.
There was discussion about the world record, which was never a concern to young Jessica. She will not claim the official world record for becoming the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.
She did not cover the distance required to meet strict criteria set by the official sailing record body in relation to circumnavigation of the globe, according to the Sail World website.
But Watson’s manager Andrew Fraser today lashed out at the criticism of the Queensland schoolgirl, saying she was never attempting to obtain a world record.
What are your dreams? What might prevent your accomplishing them? Whether you are a 16th century Portuguese or a 21st century schoolgirl, whether you are a sailor or even the thoughts of open seas make you seasick, you can have a dream and God can help you realize it.
Remember Jessica and stay humble. Work hard and keep your dream in focus. And maybe you will do well. Get a good team together to help you. Allow yourself the encouragement of your parents, and keep your dream in your focus, no matter what.
You may not get a crowd of thousands to watch you make it happen, but the praise of God is worth it all.