At precisely 1558 (3:58 PM) on Saturday, March 4, 2023 Canadian adventurer and sailor Markus Pukonen stepped ashore on North American soil at Youth Sailing Foundation’s waterfront marine park for the first time since embarking on an around the world odyssey on July 15, 2015. Markus received a rousing welcome from seventy YSF sailors, parents, volunteers and donors on-hand to listen to his fascinating talk about the trip. In the crowd where a sister and two nieces from British Columbia who had not seen Markus for seven years. What made this triumphal return even more remarkable is that Markus walked, biked, paddled, pogo-stick and sailed around the world unassisted by any machine-driven conveyance. Markus covered about 60,000 miles, or more than two times the circumference of the earth at the Equator.
Starting from his home in Toronto Markus walked, biked paddled and pogo-stick across Canada to Vancouver and then south to San Francisco. He crossed the Pacific via Hawaii on a sailboat, walked across Southeast Asia to the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, then walked and biked to a port on the Southwest coast of India before embarking on his newly purchased 27-foot 1978 sailboat “Samudra” to sail to Vero Beach via the Cape of Good Hope, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic and the Bahamas.
Before embarking Markus set-up a non-profit, Routes of Change, whose mission is “to use adventure and entertainment to support the unsung leaders of our planet as they work to create a healthy future for all beings.” His vision “is one of compassion and appreciation for all beings in the universe.”
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is honored to be chosen by Markus as the recipient of the donation of the 27-foot sailboat. Youth Sailing Foundation is in-turn donating the boat to Vero Beach non-profit Called Higher Adventure who operates a fleet of cruising sailboats. Executive Director Donathan Williams, a former YSF senior sailing instructor, said: “It is honor to take possession of a boat sailed half-way round the world. We will put it to good use in our youth programs that complement YSF’s by providing children with the experience of cruising and living on sailboat for short voyages.”
Markus will return home to Toronto by paddle boarding up the Intracoastal Waterway to Georgia, hiking the Appalachian Trail to Albany New York, then paddle boarding to Toronto via the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario. Just a stroll in the park after what he has been through.
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit devoted to eliminating cultural and financial barriers to sailing. Numerous youth programs are offered throughout the year, many of them free to participants. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: www.ysfirc.org.