While some 16-year-old girls might be preoccupied with texting (studies show that the average teenager sends and receives around 1,500 texts per month) and flirting with boys (teenage girls are more likely to become pregnant in the U.S. than in any other country), Aussie Jessica Watson and American Abby Sunderland are sailing around the world.
Jessica Watson is more than 18,000 miles into her voyage and less than 1,500 miles from Australia! Abby Sutherland got a late start because of boat issues. She is getting ready to round the treacherous Cape Horn (the Mount Everest of the yachting universe). If Sunderland succeeds on her route, she will be the youngest solo sailor to sail around the world (she is 5 months younger than Watson). Her older brother, Zac, briefly held this honor when he made the voyage at age 17.
My hat's off to these two intrepid young women!
I've often recalled that month in August/September 1986, when my parents said goodbye to me (age 21) and then my sister (age 19), leaving to live a year in Japan and China--and also it being our first trip outside of North America. But at least we were flying on airplanes.
All I can say is: thank God I'm not the mother of these young sailors! I would be a nervous wreck.