Blind voyagers reach Sydney
With thousands of well-wishers worldwide cheering them on and following their course, blind couple Scott Duncan and Pamela Habek will be reaching Sydney Harbour, Australia, around May 24, 2007 as part of their incredible and daring bid to become the first legally blind couple to sail around the world
. The determined San Francisco Bay Area couple put the Golden Gate astern in Oct. 11, 2004.
Their current passage takes them across the Tasman Sea, the most gale-swept body of water in recorded history.Duncan and Habek made maritime history by becoming the first legally blind sailors to independently cross the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 10, 2005. "One of our primary goals is to spread a message of independence to disabled children and adults, as well as to the greater non-disabled population," says Duncan.
To date the sailor's voyage has taken them down the coast of North America to Mexico, on passage 2,800 miles across the Equator to Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia. While in the South Pacific the visually impaired duo visited the Marquesas Islands, sailed through the treacherous reef-strewn Tuamotus, visited the Society Islands, Cook Islands, Niue Island, the Kingdom of Tonga and most recently New Zealand where they became the first blind people to cross the Pacific Ocean.
On May 10, the couple departed Opua, New Zealand on a 1,150 mile passage to Sydney, Australia. "Crossing the Tasman Sea and reaching Australia safely is a very big milestone in our bid to circumnavigate the globe," Duncan says. "It represents a major achievement reached for all disabled people, and provides blind children in Australia and throughout the world with a positive example."
At the dock to greet Duncan and Habek will be Vision Australia, Australia's premier service provider for people with vision loss (www.visionaustralia.org), Sailability supporting disabled sailors throughout Australia and sponsor of the Australian paralympic racing team (www.sailability.org/au/australia/). Humanware and Sydney-based Quantum Technologies, partners and providers of assistive technology for people with visual impairments. These organizations have scheduled speaking engagements during the sailors three week stay in Sydney. For more information please contact Vision Australia at 1300 84 74 66.
To contact Duncan and Habek for an interview in Australia send an email to their local contact Tim Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact them while at sea using their SailMail email address email@example.com. A general information sheet follows. The Blind Circumnavigation is proudly sponsored by Humanware, a New Zealand based global provider of assistive technology products for people with vision loss. Humanware has offices in Australia. A key discussion point is how Duncan and Habek use a number of Humanware products aboard Starship. For more information about Humanware products visit www.humanware.com. Other sponsors include: Ai Squared, American Foundation for the Blind, Atomic Concept Group, ATN, Inc., Club Nautique, IceBreaker, Icom, KVH, Living Skills Center, Mariner's Hardware, Maritime Trading Group, Monitor Windvane, Mustang Survival, Navionics, Pro Selections Inc., Raymarine, Sal's Inflatables, Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, Sendero Group, Soroptimists International, Untouched World, Viking Liferaft, and Zone Perfect.