As of Wednesday August 7, Jean Socrates is in the 307th day of her fifth solo circumnavigation and her second trip around the earth without stopping. She has about 10 days to two weeks of sailing ahead of her before she crosses her outbound track off the Strait of Juan de Fuca, British Columbia. Check out Nereida’s position on the chart above. While solo marathon voyaging may not be for everyone, it has been Jean’s life for the last 15 years. Her first circumnavigation was a cruise westabout via Panama and the Cape of Good Hope. Her second and third voyages were designed to be sailed non-stop but damage to her boat both times forced her to pull into port for repairs. On her fourth try, she successfully rounded all of the five great southern capes and made it home to B.C. non-stop, a trip that earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation. With the upcoming completion of her fifth circle of the planet, she will once again go into the record books with an achievement not likely to be matched any time soon. Along the way, Jean’s sailing exploits have earned her many awards, include the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, the Ocean Cruising Club’s Barton Cup and the Royal Cruising Club’s Seamanship Medal. If you wonder why a British woman of a certain age decided to spend her life at sea sailing endlessly around the earth, you wouldn’t be alone. Yet for many of us, myself included, the call of the sea is loud and real. The need for complete self-reliance at sea and the mastery of the many diverse skills required to achieve that self-reliance is both challenging and very satisfying. The sight of Cape Horn rising out of the mist on windy, cold dawn will take your breath away. The knowing look of a great albatross checking you out during a Southern Ocean gale as it glides by on extended wings sticks with you forever since you and he are fellow travelers over the great expanse of the sea. And, homing in on a lighthouse during your last night at sea, makes landfall and the completion of the voyage almost bittersweet; you’ve achieved your goal but in the process you know you will leave the sea and the orderly, self-sufficient routines of voyaging behind, at least for a while.