FAQs

Why a dugout?
To put it simply, I (Mary), wanted to own a boat and couldn't afford one. So I decided to make one. I chose to make a dugout because I felt it simplified things, believe it or not. I liked the idea of sculpting the boat and then patching my mistakes as I went rather than actually following instructions or a plan of some kind. I was counting on the fact that logs must float by principle.

Did you make it yourself?
Yes. I really took this on as a personal project and I wanted to be able to look back and take claim to building it myself. The hull took 4 years to realize/3 years of labor, and the outriggers and sailing rig took 1 month thanks to Amy. If she hadn't stepped in to help, we would not have been able to leave on July 1, 2012.

What's her name mean?
Makeba (Muh-kay-buh) is named after Miriam Makeba, calypso singer and civil right activist, in link to Jacques Cousteau and his boat, Calypso.

Why go around Lake Michigan?
The idea for the trip didn't come up until the boat was under construction. Neither of us remember who threw out the idea first, but once it was said, it became a topic of conversation frequent enough to make us both strongly consider the possibility. Having grown up with the lake as our backyard, wasn't it only natural that this should happen?

Did you have any sailing or paddling experience before the trip?
Our experience growing up on the lake and surfing on the lake is what we pulled from most. We have good "weather eyes" for the Great Lakes and know their common wave and weather patterns. The most experience we had canoeing on Lake Michigan consisted of a few day trips with the Lukas family canoe, a beat up plastic red Coleman. Other than that, we each canoed and kayaked a little on family camping trips as children. As far as sailing experience, we enjoyed playing on a Hobie Cat with friends in high school and had a little Sunfish sailing experience as well.

Who was the captain?
Neither. Both. The two of us are comfortable talking things out and deciding on what to do together. 

Did you train beforehand?
Not really, no. Amy ran some. Mary swam some. Oh, and we filled up on as many tacos and quesadillas as we could get our hands on. Does that count?

Are you a couple?
Nope. We can lay the rumors to rest here. We're heterosexual best friends. Think of us as sisters if that's easier for you.

So you're still friends?
Yup! And we still see each other almost every day - working on projects and playing on the lake.

Were you ever scared?
Sometimes, but that was mostly when I thought we were running low on food. What do you mean that's the last jar of Nutella??

What did your parents think of all this?
They were supportive. Our moms like to say they didn't have a choice...which is kind of true.

Where did you sleep?
We didn't always know where we were stopping from day to day, so chance and weather determined many of our sleeping arrangements. We camped on beaches and campgrounds, stayed in old and new friends  houses, and occasionally found ourselves closing our eyes on boats. Boats larger than Makeba. We never slept in Makeba, other than for a few accidental naps.

What did you eat?
Pretty much anything was game, but we packed and mailed most of our food to ourselves via General Delivery packages. Trail mix, granola, tortillas, Nutella, peanut butter, freeze dried meals, rice, and pasta were our staples.

Where did you go to the bathroom?
We trust that you can figure that out on your own.

Did you write a book?
Yes! You can go HERE to buy your own copy!

Are you making a documentary?

What's next?
We talk a lot about what the next trip will be, but we aren't revealing anything until we officially decide! Now that the book is wrapped up, we can start focusing on our next big idea. (You can pretty much count on it being slow, cramped, and human powered.)


WHAT'S NEXT UPDATE!
We're finally ready to tell you our next big adventure. Amy and I are planning a trip around the remaining 4 Great Lakes! I know what you're thinking, and this time the answer is YES; we WILL be taking the dugout for a portion of the journey. A very small, honorary portion... We plan on paddling, kayaking, SUPing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiiing, rowing, and sailing with the seasons throughout our 350-400 day expedition over 9,500mi of shoreline. We have a lot of planning and fundraising to do before take off so we won't start for another year or two. Read more about it HERE.

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