I’ve never met her personal-like, but what’s not to “Like” in someone who sailed her 28-foot boat around the world, witnessed a lot of damage—to islands, coral, people—and then joined up with Oceans Watch to contribute her drop in the bucket about it. As I write, Donna Lange is someplace south of Andros Island, en route from Florida to Haiti with a boatload and I do mean load of 500 pairs of shoes . . .
And a guava tree, for someone’s long-term fresh fruit needs . . .
More trees would be better, but hey, Inspired Insanity at 28 feet is not the Maltese Falcon (and there’s a contract for a hundred trees more). Also aboard is equipment for solar distillation. And various donated miscellaneouses and lots and lots of diagrams of how to build simple composting toilets. “The toilets are about sanitation that doesn’t require water,” Lange says. “As straightforward as that sounds, it’s not happening in Haiti.”
And that’s what makes Haiti, Haiti.
And that’s what makes Donna Lange, Donna Lange.
You thought packing was hard for your trip . . .
All photos courtesy © Donna Lange
Her Facebook page tells me she has worked as a private skipper, singer and nurse. She herself told me, over the phone, that she also has been a college professor and has three (three) grandchildren due in November . . .
The guava trees, she said, “are about getting the Haitians to build a nursery, produce food, sell food. It takes a long time to create a bountiful place, but a single tree can be a spirit tree. The composting toilets are not about building composting toilets for them. The point is to teach them how to build.”
“Oceans Watch was formed to link the cruising community to the islands that we sail,” Lange said. “There is a lack of community between cruisers and locals. We’re a networking group.” Per the official statement, here is Oceans Watch: Using their sailboats, OceansWatch members assist with marine conservation and sustainability projects and deliver educational resources and volunteers to coastal communities in developing countries. Working with yacht owners, sailors, divers, students, teachers, volunteers, doctors, nurses, ecologists and scientists, we undertake projects that help coastal communities protect their marine environment, develop sustainable lifestyles and support their local schools.
Which sounds a little stiff, but not when Donna makes it real. Knowing there are bad guys out there, and desperate people willing to do bad things—and knowing there is no way that her 28 feet of Inspired Insanity is going to outrun evil intent—she doesn’t publish her itinerary. What we know is, Donna is under way. Before leaving Florida, she noted that the Trades were up in the Caribbean, and being alone on the boat, she would be hand-steering pretty-much all the way, upwind. The boat has no autopilot. The wind vane works in, shall we say, some conditions. But Donna has that singular outlook of the Very Experienced Voyager. “This isn’t going to be fun,” she said, “But this is my time. My time.”