Caban braves the perils of the sea to follow her dream of a journey around the world
It's been more than a decade since McKinley High School graduate Brian "BJ" Caldwell Jr. completed his historic, 27,000-mile, single-handed circumnavigation of the world, becoming for a time the youngest person to ever do so.
As veteran Water Ways readers may recall, that epic, 16-month adventure was chronicled here with assistance from his parents who received periodic updates as he completed each leg of his voyage.
Not long after Caldwell arrived home in Honolulu, he began doing what many people who fall in love with the sea and sailing do; he launched himself into a nomadic lifestyle of delivering and racing boats around the world.
The last I heard was he was sailing in France, so I was a bit surprised when he recently gave me a call and asked if we could get together.
As it turned out, I was in for a bigger surprise. At the agreed upon time and place, up he walked with a tall, strikingly pretty young lady.
"This is Natasza Caban," he said. "She's from Poland and she is going to sail around the world like I did."
It became one of those moments when the questions rapidly forming in my mind overwhelmed my ability to communicate.
Why is a young, fashion model-like woman from Poland here in Hawaii planning a grueling voyage around the world alone? Should I take this at all seriously? Fortunately I managed to spit out "Hi."
I have now talked with Caban several times since that first introduction, and visited her Web site, and I can assure everyone she is very serious about taking on this challenge, and she has the credentials to do it.
Caban -- now 30 years old -- has been single-minded about sailing ever since graduating from high school and has crewed aboard numerous yachts in Europe, the Caribbean and Australia.
Remembering Caldwell's tale of being capsized in the Indian Ocean, it was somehow reassuring to learn that Caban has already survived the dismasting and abandoning of a boat following a Sydney-Hobart Race in Australia.
It has also been reassuring to discover that her vessel for the voyage is the same 34-foot Sparkman & Stephens sloop she sailed to Hawaii from Australia with just one other person six years ago.
Neither the boat nor its skipper is a novice on the open ocean. Still, the obvious question that always arises for someone like Caban is why is she doing this?
Her answer: To become the youngest Polish woman to circumnavigate the globe single-handed. It is her challenge and her biggest dream.
"I am not attempting to become famous," she said in an interview on Australian TV. "I'm going to sail solo around the world on a little boat to show people that it is worthwhile having a dream."
If things go according to plan, Caban will begin her sail west by today. And we will all be able to travel with her vicariously on her Web site at NataszaCaban.com.