Alone with a dislocated shoulder on a 10m sailing boat, and no help within a 400km radius, Faulconbridge’s Andrew Brazier knew it was all up to him.
On March 24, the young doctor left Sydney on a 15,000km (8000 nautical mile) journey alone across the Pacific, expecting to dock in Los Angeles three months.
But on April 3 he dislocated his shoulder while in his bunk, reaching over the top of his head to turn off the satellite phone charger.
“I was in a small boat in a freezing sea with 2.5 metre waves, there was no flight possible, so it looked like I was up for a fight,” the 27-year-old wrote on his website www.aloneinthepacific.com where people can track his journey.
After lying on the floor and trying to unsuccessfully push it back in, he set off the EPIRB but discovered no-one was within a 400km radius.
Knowing that unless he got his shoulder back in within 24 hours, an operation was likely, so he drank half a bottle of rum to relax his muscles and attached a 5kg weight to his arm, to tire the muscle, in the hope it would slide back in.
Bingo, it did. His 14-hour ordeal was over, and he managed to sail the boat to Wellington Harbour in New Zealand to rest for a few weeks and give his shoulder time to recover.
The challenges had started early, as just three days into the trip his timber tiller arm snapped, but the young sailor managed to create another from spare marine ply. Then in May he battled ferocious storms.
On June 7, there was great elation as he crossed the equator, but then an acute sense of isolation and despondency the following day.
“Suddenly the sea that has been my dear home felt foreign and uninviting. My home is thousands of miles away and I was not welcome here,” Dr Brazier wrote.
“It was a real grind of willpower to confront it, and I was losing the battle a little.”
So he read through messages of support and the clouds began to disappear.
His mum, Georgina Brazier, has been carefully following her son’s travels.
“He has told me that he is having a wonderful time and, I must admit, he sounds happy and well,” she said.
Dr Brazier has taken on this solo challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
“Seventy five per cent of Indigenous kids in remote communities are unable to read at minimum standards by Year 5. The ramifications of this, in a society where literacy is fundamental is profound in both opportunity and health outcomes,” Dr Brazier had earlier told the Gazette.
“The foundation is doing amazing work in lifting literacy levels and instilling a lifelong love of reading in these children,” he said.
Dr Brazier has raised $13,800 and hopes to reach $100,000. To donate visit: give.everydayhero.com/au/solo-pacific-crossing