Sailing to Jessica
by Kelly Watts
At 35-years old, Kelly and Paul Watts sold their home and quit their jobs to sail around the world, without any sailing experience. Two days after purchasing their forty-two-foot sloop, they got caught in a forty-knot gale off the coast of Cape Fear, NC. Their sails ripped; the engine overheated; the GPS broke; they suffered hypothermia and severe seasickness. And yet they persevered on their journey, discovering the playful sea lions of the Galapagos, the seductive dance of the Polynesian girls, and the primitive beat of Tuvaluan music, all while learning how to sail and repair their boat. They narrowly avoided a shark attack in Suwarrow, fled from suspected pirates off the coast of Ecuador, and hit a submerged container – the fear of all sailors - near Midway Island.
What started as a search to find meaning to “life without children,” only strengthened their desire to have a family. After fertility attempts failed in America and New Zealand, they unexpectedly adopted a two-month old baby in Kiribati. And so began the adventure of raising a baby on a boat in the middle of the Pacific, battling Dengue Fever and an epidemic of e-coli., almost losing their lives in a 60-knot westerly gale and navigating through the maze of international adoption paperwork.
Told from Kelly’s conversational point of view, “Sailing to Jessica” will inspire anyone who is searching for meaning in their life to get up and find it.
- Kelly Watts, November 2012
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