STARSHIP docked in Hamburg at 1830 European Daylight Time, completing a 1000 day,  75 000 nautical mile circumnavigation.

The lens could not be wide enough. Lining the waterfront were thousands of well-wishers. With so much to do before the end of voyage, the crew was taken by surprise.

Thank you to everyone who showed their support today in Hamburg, and an extra special thanks to all those faithful followers who lived our adventure via the Internet. You made it possible and offered us encouragement in the good times and the bad.


Thursday 21st June, 2001
Hamburg, Germany
Writer : James Frankham

It has been a long route home. Ever since landing on European soil three months ago, there has been a rising anticipation of arrival. The crew are weary, their senses sated. There has been urgent consolidation of the digital fruit: Nearly 50,000 images have been backed up and 400 hours of video tape bar-coded. The best pictures have been included in a book of the voyage along with a CDROM. Footage has been broadcast on television and the website will remain online as a worldwide electronic resource.

The main engine rumbles reliably behind my cabin wall. Michael is at the helm, navigating STARSHIP to a home port that she has never visited before. I wonder how many times he has played this moment over and over in his mind during the past three years. At times the project was demanding, and simply arriving would have been a daunting challenge. In other moments I’m sure he resolved to stay at sea forever, content that he had found a place of fascinating solitude.

Today it is the mixed emotions of arrival that play in his eyes, as it is for anyone at the completion of a massive undertaking. Arrival is imminent, the future uncertain, and the past holds a glorious mountain of experience, too enormous to consolidate or comprehend in one moment. Maybe it’s like losing an old friend.

We have covered 75,000 nautical miles through some of the most remote locations on the planet, over vast oceans and rough weather. It is a journey that has been shared electronically with millions via the Internet and the emails of encouragement and support that flood in daily are a testament to the impact it has had on your lives. These stories are particularly humbling and satisfying for the crew.

It has been our brief to share the journey with you, something to which we have dedicated ourselves with enthusiasm. To convey the complexity and beauty of what we have seen in words and pictures has been an enormous challenge that we have been honoured to accept. In every case, the experiences have changed our lives and it will be an enlightened crew that step onto the dock in a few hours.

Our escourt.
[ photo - James Frankham ]

On the brink of arrival, emotions charged and minds focused, I asked the crew to write down what the voyage meant to them. Head-scratching and soul-searching, they conveyed in the best words they could the texture of their time aboard the good ship. Their words echo the emails sent by you, our cybercrew, and the feelings shared by the journalists, scientists and photographers who have contributed to the project.

Martin Burley / Corinne Davies
ROLE : Captain / Engineer
TIME ABOARD : 5 months

It's been a long road for Corinne and I. The transition from large commercial vessels to motor yachts has not been as easy as we thought it would be. Michael has been patient (mostly) with us and has given us a few pointers here and there to help us along. STARSHIP is probably the hardest working motor yacht in the world and the distance she has covered has shown itself in many areas, but in particular, the machinery. Thanks to Corinne the vessel has completed the voyage virtually unscathed, and with the same kind of care STARSHIP could probably do it all again.

Although we have circumnavigated many times, STARSHIP has given us the opportunity to see the world differently. Previously we had seen some of the finest oil refineries and container terminals in the world, but now, thanks to Michael, we have seen some "wild" wildlife. The chimpanzees, baboons and hippos of the Gambia River will stay with us for as long as we live. The sights, sounds and smells of Mercury Island too. Some of the people have been very special, in particular Louis and Christa Reichert of Walvis Bay and Sue Daley from Jersey whose hospitality was second to none.

STARSHIP has also given us the chance to work side by side with each other and get to know each other even better. We are now both 110% sure that our wedding on 31st August will be a life long commitment to one another. After the celebrations in Hamburg are over, our leave period will be spent preparing for our wedding.

Thanks to Michael for giving us this opportunity and start in the yachting "industry" and we hope that our next vessel will be as interesting as STARSHIP. Somehow I don't think that is going to be possible. The crew of STARSHIP is going to take some beating too and we will miss these guys the most.

Farewell to our web follows. Take care.

James Frankham
ROLE : Video, Journal Writer
TIME ABOARD : 18 months

I think back over the experiences of my time aboard STARSHIP; the close encounters with wildlife, awe-inspiring landscapes and moments of humbling contact with indigenous peoples. Living in the intimate company of crew members, also representing many cultures and professional backgrounds, was a fascinating experience in knowledge-sharing and community-living that enriched us all.

It was in this way that 6 months became 12 months, and I find myself stepping onto a dock in Hamburg after a year and a half on the ship. Working hard, far from the familiarities of family and friends, in strange countries, on a frequently inhospitable sea was at times demanding, but what I have seen will leave an indelible impression and many stories to recount with enthusiasm.

The opportunity to film some of the most remarkable and beautiful things this world has to offer, and to share the experiences electronically with those that may never have the chance, was the most satisfying aspect. For the first time I appreciate the wonder and fragility of this planet, and the desperate necessity to preserve the biodiversity that exists both above and below the water.

It is with enormous gratitude, sadness and relief that I disembark STARSHIP and set sail for familiar shores never forgetting the months I spent aboard.

Rudi Fromeyer
ROLE : German Journal Writer
TIME ABOARD : 4 months

Last night I came back on board STARSHIP for the last day of it's journey. Immediately a thousand memories came back to me. A funny feeling in my stomach went together with a permanent smile. After I had said hello to these days crew I grabbed some videotapes and went through some looking for the good old days. Beautiful people I saw - in the weirdest places of the world, old friends saved on digital videotape. A kind of longing for the Pacific came back to me. A thousand moments in which I have just been part of the universe ran down my back like a gentle shower and my brain started to show it's own movies. Tonight STARSHIP's journey will be over and I will leave the ship with a bright smile, taking my memories with me. Thanks Michael, Rudolf (Rudi - proud member of STARSHIP)

Arriving at the dock.
[ photo - James Frankham ]

Birgit Klumpp
ROLE : German Journal Writer
TIME ABOARD : 4 months

I guess Michael and I will be the only ones that will be really at home today when we arrive at Hamburg. I was on board STARSHIP for the last bit from Cape Town to Germany. I traveled all the way up the African coast and experienced so much. I met people who taught me to see the world differently and I realized that you do not need any language for a smile. Being back in Europe I realized you need to speak a language and just a smile does not help very often. Maybe we people in the first world are so spoilt by everything that we do not see how easy a smile is. And this is what I will do all day today - smile at the people and friends awaiting us in Hamburg and smile at my crew members who I would like to thank for dealing with a German freak and who were a pleasure to live with. Sharing a place with people you have never met before can be sometimes very difficult but I must say I was very lucky and will always think back in the best memories to my crew members and Michael, who initiated this wonderful project, enabling everybody to see the world. THANKS.

Enrico Noetzold
ROLE : Former Chef
TIME ABOARD : 9 months

"We rarely think of what we have, but always what is missing."

Not many have the opportunity to have such an experience and I am thankful for every second that I could be part of the voyage. I once more have learned that we have to care for the Earth more consciously and carefully. Living together at a small place under not always easy circumstances and meeting different cultures should not be a problem nowadays, as long as we treat people equally and with the same respect we would expect. I think STARSHIP is a good example of this.

Janet Sumner
ROLE : Former Journal Writer
TIME ABOARD : 6 months

When I was asked to write my reminiscences of STARSHIP it came at a very opportune moment, the day before my 36 birthday. Any STARSHIP addict may remember that I joined STARSHIP on 17 May 1999, just 2 days before my 34 birthday, so it was easy for me to think back and make a start writing. I flew out to French Guiana to join STARSHIP and my first journal dealt mainly with my renewed impressions of the tropics. I remember driving through the dark, hot and muggy streets in a battered old taxi to the docks, where I got my first view of STARSHIP. At times like this it’s best to be honest; I remember thinking “Oh my god … that’s a pretty small ship, don’t tell me I’m going to cross the great wide expanse of the Pacific in that!!” Little did I know how quickly STARSHIP would become my home, my comfort and my sense of security, nor how quickly I would come to think of it as very big ship in comparison to the others we saw along the way.

It is always hard to pick out significant moments from months of adventure and excitement, but primarily I am glad that I had the chance to join STARSHIP for the Pacific leg. This meant that I had had the thrill of going through the Panama Canal, the joy of visiting Galapagos and the ultimate pride that anyone feels at having crossed the largest ocean in the world. These are all milestones for me. The latter two more so. As a scientist it has always been my dream to visit Galapagos, which is a ‘World Heritage Site’ with good reason and through STARSHIP I was able to see these wonderful islands in an incredibly intimate way that one could never achieve as a tourist. I will always be eternally grateful for that. Secondly, I am no sailor, as any readers of the journal will know, but through STARSHIP I have able to achieve an ambition that many sailors set for themselves, but are never able to achieve. Even now I get out the atlas and look at that wide expanse of water and think to myself ‘Yes, you have crossed that, and come home safely’ that’s a very big thrill, and it gives one a great sense of achievement. On an atlas I can span the Pacific with my hand, yet it represents 6 months of my life.

For me, the wonderful thing about taking part in the STARSHIP voyage was that, for the first time, it made science and the social aspects of the countries we visited available to the general public. The science was presented in such a way that anyone could understand it and it was always relevant because it came together with our daily adventures and encounters. Also I think equally importantly STARSHIP made this available on a daily basis, such that it became very important to people, like a hobby. It became a big part of some people’s lives, to log on everyday and find out where STARSHIP was and what we were doing. In this I think that the project achieved its main aim, which was to take people - many people - on a scientific, anthropological and adventurous journey around the world and it’s because this was so successful that I am so proud to have taken part in it.

Lasse Tegermark
ROLE : Chef
TIME ABOARD : 12 months

When I first realized that I was going on the STARSHIP I thought that it was just a very cool way of spending six months, it later turned out to be eleven. Boarding the boat in the Philippines I was full of excitement but also a little bit nervous what it was going to be like out there on the big open oceans and what was even more uncertain, how it was to cook when the sea was rough.

It’s now looking back on all the events and adventures we encountered along the way that you start to reflect and sort of downloading the experiences into another part of your memory. These are the really important impressions that could completely change your way of life. You also realize that there where more that waited you then just a cool way of traveling through the world.

What really struck me as being the highlight of my journey on the STARSHIP is how easy it is to make contact with people around the world despite lacking of a mutual language or in some cases even mutual body expressions. What also got my attention was that it’s easier to communicate now days with a fisherman on a remote island in Indonesia than it is to get your cabdriver in for instance Spain to understand where you want him to go. I mean the people in non-European, or more so Western, countries really try to understand you while us Europeans have become a little bit to expedient to go that extra part of the way. Of course I generalize a lot now but it sure has been something that we noticed.

And then there were those Orang-utans …

Odetta de la Vega
ROLE : Deckhand
NATIONALITY : Australian
TIME ABOARD : 2 months

I have only been a STARSHIP trooper for the last two months, comparatively a small moment in the entire 36 month long adventure around the world. For me the most valuable part of this time on STARSHIP has been crew life - 24 hours a day living and working (almost 24 hours) alongside the same people. Hard to now imagine that I stepped on board only 8 weeks ago and these guys were total strangers. The confines and restrictions of living on a 75 foot boat ensures you get to know one another better and faster than you might under "normal" circumstances. I’m very glad for this "abnormal" experience though! After 15 nomadic months, never staying any one place for long and only making transitory fellow backpacking friends it has been valuable to have had this temporary STARSHIP ‘home’ and family, even if my cabin is little more than a shelf. I guess it also needs to be mentioned that I believe you can overcome seasickness, proud am I to hold the Millennium Voyage record for hurling 8 times in the first hour of watch but I think I have now have found my sea legs and am convinced that I will never repeat such a grand performance!

Surrounded by thousands.
[ photo - James Frankham ]

At precisely 1830 hours European Daylight Time, STARSHIP will dock outside the Gruner + Jahr Building in Hamburg, Germany. More than 300 invited guests and an unknown number of citizens await our arrival. Butterflies spin in our stomachs. Two television crews with cameras and lights conduct last-minute interviews and encourage us to sum up the intense experiences of many months in a couple of succinct sentences. Flash-bulbs fire and we shuffle our feet nervously.

As the media hype gathers around us and excitement builds we feel a responsibility to reiterate our deepest convictions, that story which we have dedicated three years to tell:

Nature is overwhelming. From the largest mammal to the tiniest microbe, it is a system so magnificent that one can respond only with utter wonderment.

Think of the Earth as an immensely beautiful and complex living organism. An infinite set of carefully equilibrated variables maintain life. Through arrogance and ignorance, Homo sapiens are dismantling the system to make room for individual ambition, unaware that the actions of one are mirrored by many. The destruction is violent and extensive, the situation is critical. Already damage has been caused that can never be repaired.

Hope lies in global comprehension of a collective responsibility. Positive action, urgently summoned, is required to minimise human impact and maximise conservation efforts.

Find a recognised organisation (such as the WWF, Nature Conservancy or the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust) involved in lobbying for the protection of the environment and restoring ecology at a grass-roots level. Support it.

From a crew who have seen the best and worst of the world, through a plethora of electronics to you, who have shared it with us; this will be STARSHIP standing by,

Dave Abbott
Pius von Beverfoerde
Anne-Lise Breuning
Martin Burley
Angelica Butler
Caroline Chabouis
Charles Curren
Lisa Curran
Corinne Davies
Rich Davis
James Frankham
Rudi Fromeyer
Brady Gilchrist
Aya Gruber
Birgit Klumpp
Diana Krueger
Elena Kurze
Enrico Noetzold
Louise Oliver
Michael Poliza
Doerte Rehren
Steven Shorey
Ib Sondergaard
Janet Sumner
Lars Tegermark
Trevor Weaver
Monika Weaver
Odetta de la Vega