ON a journey across the Atlantic Ocean, the French adventurer spent 127 days alone in a large, barrel shaped capsule made of plywood, at the mercy of the winds and currents.

He had no television. No Facebook or Twitter.

In December, Mr Savin, a former military parachutist, pilot and park ranger in Africa, set sail from the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago west of Morocco, in the orange vessel he built.

It measures about 10 feet long and 6 feet and 8 inches wide.

On May 2, Mr. Savin, 72, completed his 3,125  nautical-mile trip on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. A week later, we spoke with Mr. Savin by phone from Martinque, where he was preparing his return to France by plane, and his barrel's return to Europe by boat.

The following is an edited and condensed translation of our conversation :

1. What inspired the trip?

When I was a child, I read a book Alain Bombard [a French explorer], who wrote about his trip from from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, which took three months. That thrilled me and became a dream. And I lived my dream.

2. You have made four solo trips across the Atlantic on a sailboat. How did this trip compare?

It's not the same. It's like comparing an outing by car with one by foot. You don't even see the same landscape.

3. What instrumentation did you have?

The barrel was only powered by wind and the ocean current. I had a satellite connection with Europe, which connected to a GPS  device and software that relayed weather forecasts, wind speed and direction. Through the satellite. I was able to get emails, text messages and make calls.

I didn't have Facebook or Google, or a smartphone. But I was in regular contact with an assistant who relayed comments from the 21,000 people from Australia, Japan, Canada, Poland, the United States and other countries around the world who were following my journey on Facebook and on my blog.

4. What did you do every day?

I tried to fill my notebooks and spent three to four hours a day dealing with the messages relayed through the secretary.

If it was nice, I swam, and dove underneath the barrel to catch a fish, sea bream, to supplement my meal.

I made a breakfast in the morning, and a nice-dinner in the evening. I had a lot of time to write my book. I played a lot of bluegrass on my mandolin.

I read a lot of nonfiction adventure books, a lot of books from the First World War, during which my grandfather was a hero. I commemorated the 100th anniversary of the war's end with my 2018 departure.

And I finished the Bible. It was a condensed Bible for young people, with photos. I would have to cross the Pacific to finish the complete version. The time at sea passed very quickly.

5. How did you go the bathroom?

Ah...........La toilette. When it was nice out, it wasn't a problem because I could go swimming and climb down a ladder. But during bad weather I used a hermetically sealed bucket, to trap the smell. I also brought a bag of saw dust so there wouldn't be any odor.

The honor and serving of this great adventure publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Emily S. Rueb.


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