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Jessica Watson, a few days into global sailing odyssey, settling into a routine

October 20, 2009 |  3:59 pm

Teenage sailor Jessica Watson. Reading Jessica Watson's blog makes me long for the type of freedom she's enjoying, only a few days out from Sydney, Australia, and with an entire planet yet to circle as she aspires to become the youngest person to sail alone, nonstop and unassisted, around the world.

On Monday the 16-year-old adventurer wrote: "It's been so long since I've had anytime just to take it easy for a while and the freedom was amazing. No deadlines, nothing to rush off to, I can eat whatever I like whenever I like, no one to send me off to bed!

"It was pretty special this afternoon when the sea glassed right out, it was as if you could see right to the distant blue bottom apart from huge schools of jellyfish floating past. We even had a couple of dolphins drop in to say hi. The other unexpected visitor was a small plane who circled around overhead, just when I thought I was finally by myself!"

This will change. There will be issues, perhaps very serious problems. Watson is aboard a 34-foot pink sailboat and might have to negotiate swells taller than her boat is long. She has eight months of sailing ahead of her, and safety is not guaranteed.

But for now it's smooth going. On Tuesday she wrote: "It already feels like I'm settling right into a routine, grabbing a bit of sleep through the night and into the morning when I can, logging and plotting my position, digging through the food bags for meals and calling in for phone skeds twice a day. There's always something to do or check.

"I've been hard at work eating my way through all the last-minute presents and sweets that were shoved aboard just before we left. Every time I think I've eaten them all I seem to discover another packet stashed away somewhere!"

Watson has critics who believe she should not be allowed to attempt this voyage, but many supporters -- Monday's blog post generated more than 700 comments -- are behind her all the way.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Teenage sailor Jessica Watson. Credit: Greg Wood / AFP/Getty Images