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That obit makes me want to learn more about Sylvia Cook!
posted by darkstar at 5:23 AM
Two years after his Atlantic triumph, Fairfax made another epic journey, rowing with Sylvia Cook (who couldn’t swim) from San Francisco to Hayman Island in Australia; it took 361 days, and it was first time anyone had rowed across the Pacific.
When John was twenty, he fell hopelessly in love with a girl. When the affair ended, he was so devastated he couldn't imagine going on. In a manner fitting a professional adventurer, he decided to go into the jungle and commit suicide. "I was going to let a jaguar attack and kill me. I had a spear and a gun with me, and my plan was to use the spear when the jaguar attacked. Since I was not good with a spear, I would be killed. But when the jaguar came at me, instinct took over and I grabbed the gun and killed it." He laughs. "That was the end of my suicide attempts and the start of my pipe smoking."
However, the key to the whole design as a sliding seat like the ones found on sculling shells. Fairfax would be the first transoceanic rower to his arms and legs into the effort, and this is the feature that would make his voyage a success.
The long, empty days spawned a temporary madness. Desperate for female company, he talked ardently to the planet Venus.
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