UPDATE: Laura Dekker has completed her ’round the world’ journey. She is unofficially the youngest person to sail around the world.
Teen sailor Laura Dekker journey around the world has lasted for more than 500 days but now the end is in site. The 16-year-old sailor is just a few weeks away from reaching port at the Caribbean island of St. Maarten and completing her journey around the world.
The Washington Post reports that Dekker has a two week stretch of sailing ahead of her that starts in Cape Town, South Africa. She is expected to complete her journey on January 24th in Philipsburg.
While Dekker’s been sailing around the world a controversy has been raging in the Netherlands. Dutch bureaucrats, who allowed Dekker to set off on her journey as long as she enrolled in and stayed up to date with a correspondence school, have said that Dekker hasn’t been giving her schoolwork its due attention. The Dutch government has even threatened to call child services on Dekker’s parents.
The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant writes: “Laura is contending with an 80-year school attendance battle. Compulsory school attendance is sacred in the Netherlands.”
According to Radio Netherlands, Dekker has removed the Dutch flag from her ship and is now sailing with a New Zealand flag. Dekker has citizenship in New Zealand since she was born in a boat off the coast. The Associated Press reports that Dekker is considering moving to the Netherlands once her journey is complete.
But despite the controversy, Dekker says that the trip was a “dream come true.”
In her most recent journal entry, she writes:
“After another heavy squall with winds at 40 knots and rain streaming down, it slowly became a calmer night and a wonderful day.”
Do you think Laura Dekker should have finished school before setting off across the globe? Or do you think her global trip has prepared her better than school ever could?