Big adventure on the high seas has come in many forms throughout history. For Bob and Nancy Griffith, it had been a way of life that put them in the record books and made them part of modern seafaring legend.
Starting in 1959, Dr. Robert Lyle Griffith started a series of round-the-world voyages with his wife Nancy and son Reid. The first circumnavigation was aboard the Awahnee I,
which was latter lost on a reef near the Tuamotu Islands, the largest of the Tahiti-Polynesian archipelagoes, while on a rescue mission for an American yacht. That first voyage was east to west around the Horn and Cape of Good Hope.
The family's second circumnavigation was aboard their self-built, ferro-cement cutter the Awahnee II
and was east bound via Japan. The third trip was also aboard that vessel,
and was a southernly route around Antarctica from New Zealand with stops at the
American, English, Russian, Chilean and Argentine scientific outpost stations. They roughly followed the course of Captain James Cook, the first to circumnavigate the Antarctic. During the voyage, Captain Cook's 205-year-old journal was kept aboard and read aloud by Nancy as they followed his track. The circumnavigation had taken 111 days (the fastest on record and following a route never before attempted by a pleasure craft), 84 of which were sailing days and 27 of which were in port or partial sailing days.
As one might imagine, the Griffith's have a treasure-trove of wild stories and perilous tales from their many adventures on the high seas. From shipwrecks to being thrown overboard into shark-infested waters, they survived and thrived under challenges and odysseys most of us only read about. Fortunately, the Griffith's were not only expert sailors but photographers that captured the images of their voyages on high-quality Kodachrome slide film.
"We were delighted to be awarded the project to digitally convert and preserve this large, highly-valued collection of photos from the Griffith family archives" said Julie Morris, President of FotoBridge
, a New Jersey-based photo scanning service
. FotoBridge digitized thousands upon thousands of spectacular images from 35mm slides dating back the the 1950s. "The resulting images were fantastic, due largely to the excellent exposures, the archival qualities of the films used and the FotoBridge digital capture processes and systems", added Ms. Morris.
In 1972, Bob Griffith was awarded the prestigious Blue Water Medal
by the Cruising Club of America. In bestowing the award, the late John Parkinson, commented, "In all my years of serving on this committee, in my opinion we have never had a recipient so deserving of this honor". After nearly 200,000 miles under sail, Bob and Nancy Griffith wrote and published Blue Water: A Guide to Self-Reliant Sailboat Cruising
NOTE: Images and information source, Blue Water