Maine woman sailing solo reaches Marquesas Islands on world venture

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 3:00pm

A 28-year-old woman from Bremen, Maine, sailing single-handed aboard her 27-foot sloop Gecko, has landed safely on a remote island in the South Pacific, as part of her voyage around the world.

Holly Martin began her journey in Round Pond, Maine on Oct. 29, 2018, sailed south down the U.S. eastern seaboard, made her way west exploring the Caribbean, and then transited the Panama Canal. She departed the west coast of Panama on May 31, 2020, and arrived in Nuku Hiva, part of the Marquesas Islands group, on July 11, 2020.

The voyage from Panama covered over 2,800 miles of open ocean, the longest non-stop leg of her journey so far, a total of 41 days alone at sea.

Since leaving Maine she has encountered heavy weather, equipment problems, and international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holly is not on any type of schedule, so she is taking time to explore and make new friends as she travels.

At 131 square miles, Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands, with a population of approximately 3,200. It is located in the South Pacific about halfway between South America and Australia. Many of the islands in the Marquesas archipelago are known for towering peaks that rise skyward from jungle vegetation. The highest point on Nuku Hiva is over 4000 feet in elevation.

The island has only one tower for cell phone and internet services, making online communication quite a challenge, according to Holly. In order to find a signal, Holly had to go on shore and hike quite a distance up a mountain to make contact with her support team in Maine. She also has satellite communications, but no internet or cell phone, using a Garmin device when otherwise out of touch

She and the Gecko are now on a southerly course, exploring other islands in the Marquesas group.

Holly will next sail to the Tuamotu archipelago, about 500 miles south-southwest of her current position. These islands are very small atolls, usually consisting of a narrow coral reef that partially or completely circles a lagoon. They are often unpopulated.

According to Holly's mother Jaja Martin, “She’s picked out some of the more remote atolls to visit, but she’ll make her choice of where to go as she approaches. It all depends on the wind and current at her time of arrival. She plans to bask in the luxury of being remote and completely detached from communications (especially the internet).”

Holly plans on spending her time eating coconuts, fishing, snorkeling, and walking the beaches, according to Jaja.

From the Tuamotu archipelago, Holly will set a westerly course to Papeete, Tahiti, a relatively large city that is capital of the Society Islands. Here Holly will take care of any shore side repairs and restock her provisions because once she leaves the Society Islands, she won’t be able to land on any other island groups in the Pacific due to COVID-19 restrictions in Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia. This means her next way point will be New Zealand, after another non-stop blue water voyage, this time of 2,600 miles.

To follow Holly's progress, check her Instagram at or her YouTube channel at — These sites are updated depending on the availability of internet, however, they already include plenty of photos and videos of Holly's voyage so far.

For those who would like to support Holly's journey financially, check her Patreon account at