Looking Back On A Year At Sea


This next story also takes place on a boat, albeit one far, far from the Anacostia. We'll hear more on, "On The Coast."


Our regular segment in which Bryan Russo reports on the latest from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Coastal Delaware. Over the past year we've been hearing from Oxford, Md. residents Jessica and Richard Johnson, as they and their daughters have sailed around the world. Their journey led them through the Caribbean, across the Panama Canal and into the Pacific. Now that they're back in Maryland, they talked with Bryan about the connections they made at sea, both with strangers and with each other.


Jessica, one my favorite things about this series was the fact that we got to meet a lot of people through your journey. People that, you know, otherwise we would have never heard from on this program. One in particular was the gentleman who was working to save turtles on the island of Bequia. We have a clip.


My name is Auten (sp?) King. My Bequia nickname is Brother King. I was born in Bequia. Now I'm 74 years. I am (unintelligible) in Bequia. Bequia is a part of the Grenadines of St. Vincent, in the Caribbean. And I am here as a retired diving fisherman, to save the Hawksbill turtle. The Hawksbill turtle was caught for its shell before plastic was invented. And it was caught for many, many years. It is going extinct because of over-fishing. And I'm trying my best to try and bring back some by getting babies on the beaches.


How did people respond when you stuck a microphone in their face, when you were out traveling the world and I'm sure you just kind of happened up to somebody and said, hey, I'd like to ask you some questions? Were they hesitant or reluctant at all?


Fortunately, I had met Brother King 15 years earlier when we were in Bequia another time. And we had helped release 27 Hawksbill turtles that he had raised. So we already had a little bit of a relationship, which was really nice because I was able to go back. And it was a nice reunion to get to see him again. Other times it was challenging because we were moving quickly through an area. And I did feel like it helped to have a couple of days to sort of cultivate a relationship with someone before I could feel brave enough myself to ask them to do an interview.


I did find that going to a tourism office was always easy because I think people in tourism, they're used to having people ask questions. But we really enjoyed the experience because it got us out meeting very interesting people. I tried to get the girls involved. I know when we were in Samoa, we interviewed a young man about his tattoos. And they were just completely rapt, you know, by the conversation with him, and asked him almost all the questions. So that was just a really special experience that I know the girls will remember. So sometimes I had to just, you know, take a deep breath and just plow ahead and go do it, but I think it was really rewarding in the end.


Over the past year, one of the biggest things that I heard from listeners who would stop me and say, gosh, I caught the latest episode or Elcie Diary, and it amazes me that all four of them, you know, husband, wife, two kids, are all on a small area on a both traveling the world together. People would just seem to say, I wonder if my family could do that even for a month, let alone a year. What's it really like to be out there every day, in close quarters with your family?


Well, I think there was a bit of settling in for the girls. They, of course, missed their friends and missed some of what they did in regular school, but after a few months we really got into a great routine with home schooling, with traveling together, and I think overall it's been a really positive experience for our family. I can see where we've gotten closer to each other, and have really enjoyed our time together.


That was Jessica Johnson, of Oxford, Md., talking with coastal reporter Bryan Russo. If you missed Jessica and Richard's audio postcards from around the world, we have links to a bunch of them on our website,
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