Holly Martin, 29, is sailing around the world in her 27-foot-long Grinde sailboat, which she christened the SV Gecko. She left Maine in the fall of 2019, from Round Pond Harbor on the Pemaquid Peninsula. Holly sent this “postcard” by satellite from the South Pacific, to the readers of Maine Women Magazine.
Since I started living on my sailboat, my carbon footprint has drastically reduced. All my energy comes from solar power, I collect rainwater, and I use the wind to move around. However, like any “green” way of living, cruising has unexpected impacts on the environment. Coral is a delicate creature, and it likes to grow in shallow waters near the shore—exactly the same places where cruisers like to anchor. As the wind shifts around, an un-floated anchor chain grinds along the bottom, taking out much of the fragile coral that clings to the rocks.
When I can’t find a coral-free place to anchor, I float my anchor chain. This practice means tying floats along the chain so that it’s lifted off the seafloor. When the boat swings around with the wind, the chain passes harmlessly over the coral. It makes me think of all the other small actions I can take in my life that have a positive impact on the environment around me. Even picking up one piece of beach garbage a day can help keep an atoll clean. Floating my chain barely adds minutes to my anchoring routine, but it means everything for helping to preserve the beautiful coral.