Soanya Ahmad - Air date: 05-08-08





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Published on May 4, 2008

Soanya Ahmad was born in Queens, New York. The eldest of three children, she was raised by parents who emigrated from Guyana.
She attended The City College of New York as part of the first class of Cuny Honors College students. There she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in photography. After having photographed many black and white harborscapes of cities on the east coast, she became interested in learning more about the waterfront, prompting her to pursue a second degree in Maritime Technology at Kingsborough Community College.
Soanya came into contact with the 1000 Days Non-stop at Sea expedition at the beginning of her third year in college as she was photographing the piers of Manhattan. Having worked various office jobs through college, as she was graduating, she realized the well defined city grid and square cubicle was not for her. She preferred instead to follow her own expansive spirit in a less limiting environment and the sea was the perfect place to start. Three years after her first encounter with the project, she decided to become a part of it and accompany the noble and charming captain of the expedition, Reid Stowe, on his greatest and most challenging voyage yet.
After spending 305 days non-stop at sea out of sight of land and breaking numerous records, she had to leave the schooner for health reasons. She is now part of the onshore support team in New York.

Reid Stowe:

Born into a family of longtime boat builders and inspired by his father's Air Force career, Reid has been challenging the seas with lengthy voyages since age 19, when he first sailed from Hawaii to New Zealand in 1971. It was during this time that he met and was influenced by France's Bernard Moitessier1, the first man to sail nonstop around the world.
[Ed. 1. Robert Knox-Johnston is the record holder for the first nonstop single handed circumnavigation. Moitessier who also did a circumnavigation in the same race did not return to England but continued around again. Thanks, Richard.]
A feature written about the Explorers Club of New York by Conde Nast Traveler describes Reid as being the "genuine article, with an old-fashioned spirit of adventure" and "a man with that rare combination of unbridled passion and impetuosity." Nicholas Sullivan, president of the Explorer's Club, adds that "By virtue of his Voyage of 1000 Days, Reid will be one of the greatest explorers ever."

Returning from New Zealand, Reid built a 1400-pound catamaran and ventured for three years across the Atlantic Ocean and back, then up the Amazon River-all without benefit of radio, electronics, or motor. In 1976, brimming with knowledge and confidence, Reid began preparing for a challenging six-month voyage to the Antarctic. With the help of family and friends, he designed and built, in a year and a half, what he terms "the ultimate long distance, heavy weather sailboat," a 70-foot and 60-ton gaff-rigged schooner that he named Anne, in honor of his mother. For six months in 1986, Reid and a crew sailed her to Antarctica, "where few boats venture due to the extremely dangerous conditions."
Finally on April 21, 2007 Reid and Soanya embarked on the voyage titled 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea, A Mars Ocean Odyssey. Their goal was to live on the sea instead of the land. They would not pull into any port or receive resupplies. After almost a year at sea out of sight of land, Soanya, Reid's only crew member had to leave the voyage and return to land, but Reid continued on alone intent on completing the next almost seven hundred days non-stop at sea to fulfill the goal of 1000 Days.


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