Just two years after rowing solo across the North Atlantic at the age of twenty-five, Maud Fontenoy was ready for a new challenge—crossing the Pacific Ocean. Leaving from Lima, Peru, and traveling 4,400 miles in seventy-three days, Fontenoy landed in Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, becoming the first woman to complete what is known as the “Kon-Tiki” route. Alone at sea for days and nights on end, Fontenoy’s story relates the ups and downs of her time at sea, from circling sharks to the celebrity welcome upon her journey’s end.
Named one of Time Magazine International’s thirty most important people of 2005, Fontenoy presents the reader with a terrific, entertaining adventure story on the high seas as she faces the Pacific Ocean. Fontenoy overcame the odds as well as her personal doubts and fears, demonstrating not only her indomitable courage and strength, but proving once again that women can conquer the most difficult and treacherous obstacles.
In 2003, 25-year-old Fontenoy was the first woman to row solo across the North Atlantic, a daunting journey described in Across the Savage Sea. No sooner was she home in France than she was planning her next sea challenge. In January 2005, in homage to Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition some 58 years earlier, Fontenoy set off solo from Lima, Peru, across the Pacific to Hiva Oa in French Polynesia. She rowed some 4,400 miles in 73 days. She describes the experience of being alone at sea for days and nights on end although she did have a satellite phone and communicated regularly. While she passed some fearful hours fretting about getting run over by container ships in the shipping lanes, about sharks attacking her while she unfouled her rudder, about pirates stealing her desalinator no dire tragedies actually occurred. Exhausted and somewhat lame when she arrived in Tahiti, she revived quickly and enjoyed a celebrity welcome. While she shares very few of the practical details of her voyage how she navigated, the design of her boat, how she prepared her food Fontenoy writes lyrically of the beauty and power of the sea and of her struggle to reach her goal.