A woman from Tarkington is going around the world on an ocean boat

Ellen Falterman of Tarkington, Texas is ready to embark on the adventure of her life: circumnavigating the globe in an ocean-going rowboat.

By Vanesa Brashier, [email protected]

A Tarkington woman sets off on the voyage of her life on Saturday September 3, when she embarks on the first leg of a circumnavigation of the globe at sea in a 22ft long ocean-going rowboat.

At 27, Ellen Falterman has already completed five biking, paddling and rowing expeditions, the most recent being a four-month, 2,700-mile rowing trip that began in Kansas City, Mo., and s finished at the Trinity River Bridge. in Moss Hill, Texas.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life,” said Ellen, who works as a commercial pilot when she’s not on the water. “The only thing that scares me more than doing it is not doing it. I have found my purpose on this earth.

His world tour will begin at a place that has meaning for the Falterman family. It was on the banks of the River Trinity, near the Moss Hill Bridge, where his older brother Patrick lost his life in a tragic accident in September 2016. Using his trusted dinghy ‘Edna’, named after his deceased paternal grandmother, Ellen will pass the crash site on her way to Anahuac Bay, Texas, where she will reunite with her parents and board “Evelyn Mae”, a Rannoch Adventures ocean rowboat named in honor of his maternal grandmother.

Falterman says she chose to start in the Trinity River instead of the bay because it’s symbolic.

Ellen Falter and her Rannoch Adventures ocean rowboat

“I’m going to have to get back to the river before I start this trip,” she said.

For the past two years, Falterman has held down two jobs — as a pilot and an orderly — to save for the trip. It will take him about five years to accomplish his feat, assuming all goes as planned.

“You could probably circle the earth faster. Everything I do will depend on the water and the weather. I row about 2.5 knots per hour. On flat water, I can go about 20 miles a day, or I can go 20 miles forward and wake up to find the wind and water have carried me 20 miles back or 40 miles forward,” she said.

After reaching Anahuac Bay, Falterman will paddle out to the Intercoastal Waterway and head for the Florida Keys. From there, she plans to head southeast to Panama, hopefully passing through the Panama Canal. She then plans to head west to the islands of French Polynesia and the northern coast of Australia. Once in the Indian Ocean, she hopes to pass through the Suez Canal and avoid taking a longer route off the southern coast of Africa.

“There are a lot of pirates off the coast of Somalia. It’s a tough road,” she said.

If he manages to cross the Suez Canal, he will end up in the Mediterranean Sea before reaching the Atlantic Ocean and returning home.

“I will need a place to shelter from the hurricane seasons. I will be in Panama for a few months,” she said.

When asked if she was setting a record, Falterman said she didn’t know anyone had actually completed that particular trip in a rowboat.

“Whenever you think, ‘Why has this never been done before?’, you should be thinking, ‘If it’s not me, then who? Why not me?’ There are two sides to this coin,” she said. “There are probably reasons no one has done it before, but this is my path. I feel so good about it. Doubts are eclipsed by the light of the golden thread I am on.

Ellen Falterman braves the weather and conditions that test her body’s physical limits. The photo on the right shows the damage inflicted on his hands after a long journey.

The Rannoch Adventures ocean rowboat is 22 feet long and just over 4 feet wide. It is equipped with GPS and all the navigational devices and equipment used by sailboats, minus the sail. It has two compartments – one for sleeping and seeking refuge from the elements, and one for storing gear, drinking water, food and supplies.

“The aft cabin is quite spacious. I even have radar equipment for collision alerts. If I sleep near a shipping lane, a really loud alarm will go off and I can send a message to the ship that I’m there,” she said.

Falterman says she didn’t just buy a boat from Rannoch Adventure; she got the company’s full support.

“Charlie Pitcher, the founder of the company, wants to come and help me settle down once I arrive in Florida. They have become my ocean rowing family,” she said.

A starting game will take place on Friday. For Falterman, it will be a chance to spend more time with her parents and her new fiancé, who proposed to her just two weeks ago.

“The engagement is a whole other element that has been added to this trip. Now it’s a love story. It’s not just my reckless adventure. I feel like that’s the only thing I was missing. Now I have something more to come home to,” she said.

The couple met at the most likely place for Falterman – a river.

“We met on the Missouri River. He is a carpenter who built boats. He came to Texas and did a lot of really good work on the boat for me,” she said. “The prize after this trip will be our wedding.”

Falterman will share news of his trip on his blog, Ellen Magellan Expeditions, https://www.ellenmagellanexpeditions.com/. To follow his journey, click the link on his homepage and enter your email address. Subscribers will receive a bi-weekly update by email.

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