MARINA DEL REY, California—The 1990s Scottish band, the Proclaimers once sang about walking 500 miles and another 500 miles, just to be the man who walks 1,000 miles to “your door.”
But can they top sailing 8,000 miles?
A hopeless romantic environmental activist is planning to sail 8,000 miles — from Marina Del Rey, California to the Cebu Island in the Philippines to marry his fiancée Sharon, while also raising awareness about the plight of dolphins, who are senselessly killed and captured, around the world.
Jim Sullivan, a science talk radio host and eco-humanitarian, is leaving for his journey at a launch event hosted by Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey this Sunday.
Among those attending will be Ric OÕBarry, the star of the television series “Flipper” who was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” and whose organization DolphinProject.org will benefit from any proceeds earned during the expedition.
“The main reason I am doing this is I want to make a positive statement at this point in my life and make a difference,” the 50-year-old Sullivan told the Asian Journal. “It’s hard because when we watch the news sometimes we think there’s nothing we can do. So if I can go out into the ocean and show that I can sail without an engine over 8,000 miles that alone is a great challenge for me and to also raise awareness about the whales and dolphins that are being slaughtered worldwide…”
“Oh and once I dock I’ll be marrying my (Filipina) fiancée, Sharon, when I get to Cebu,” he added.
Dubbed the Xpac 8,000 Expedition, a national geographic photographer will accompany Sullivan on the journey in a 30-foot sailboat called the Elusive Spirit.
The sailboat will have no engine and he plans on just using the oceans current and wind to guide them along to their destination.
He said they will be following the same trade route Spanish galleon ships in Mexico hundreds of years ago used to use to travel to the Philippines.
He said the biggest obstacle for them will be getting out of California where the first “500 miles is cold and will battle inconsistent winds.”
“I’m scared,” he said. “But I’m excited and confident. I’ve surrounded myself with a great team.”
Sullivan said the 8,000-mile journey will be tracked online as he sails along the north equatorial current from latitude 33 degrees to 12 degrees North, passing south of Hawaii, north of the Marshal Islands, south of Guam. He is expected to arrive in Cebu in early June.
Sullivan will use the latest satellite 2-way texting technology to send messages ashore, which will be posted on his website and via Twitter @xpac8000, where followers can also direct words of support and encouragement to Sullivan throughout the three-month journey. Updates about the trip and real-time monitoring of Sullivan’s location via Google Maps will be managed by his web partner Bandacorp and published on the site where Sullivan also hosts his radio program at www.thedeepradioshow.com.