Rick’s grandfather sailed around the Horn on a windjammer in 1905. It was the roughest year in recorded history, and took the crew 90 days to accomplish the task. The mast broke, sails ripped, and they had to make numerous slips into the coast to make repairs before trying again. Grandpa went to sea at ten years of age, and became a professional sailor at fourteen. He was small in stature, but had a lion’s heart. When ropes tangled in the rigging, they sent Klaus up to get things right.
Sailing around the Horn has been a dream of Rick’s for a number of years. So we set out February 28 to Buenos Aires and boarded the Golden Princess for the cruise around the Horn and up the west coast of South America, Central America and Baja to San Pedro, California. How can I summarize thirty days in a blog? It was an amazing experience, even if the captain had to change course as the ship approached the Horn because the seas were so rough and a storm hit. Sailing in a ship the length of a football field (or more) is far different than being in a wooden windjammer at the mercy of winds and currents, but we rocked and rolled as the winds whipped and waves crashed and pounded. But we were never in danger of sinking or being blown onto the rocks.
It took Grandpa Johnson months to sail into San Diego where he met Anna Teresa, fell in love, got married and left sailing the seas behind – though he did go out on occasion and make a run when times were tough and jobs scarce. Grandma told me with a smile that he always looked so tanned and handsome when he returned, and he had such blue eyes. This was a man who could do push-ups from a handstand into his fifties.
Our trip from Buenos Aires to San Pedro took thirty-one days. We traveled in a comfortable suite, the sea rocking us like babes in a cradle. We all dined like royalty. Dozens walked the pristine and polished decks for exercise. We bypassed the elevators and climbed the carpeted stairs. We met in the Hearts and Minds Chapel on deck 15 for the sea-days Bible study. We met people from Australia (Allison and George, our delightful dining room companions from Australia), England, Romania, Netherlands, Philippines, Peru, Mexico. The trip was a blessing and a dream come true.
How could we do this? We can because Klaus Johnson and Anna Teresa Janssen had courage to cross an ocean. Grandma crossed America by train at eighteen, after sailing to New York and going through Ellis Island. Grandpa sailed the seven seas and got off the ship in San Diego. They stayed in America and worked hard so that their children – and grandchildren – could have a better life than they did. And so we have. And so we give thanks. As Grandpa often said to Rick: “We have it good in America!”