Captain Encounters Giant Shark on Ocean Crossing Race to Halong Bay

During the Clipper Race, a global sailing event circumnavigating the world, en route to Halong Bay, Captain Josh Stickland revealed a thrilling encounter with a giant white shark swimming nearby.

The 11 sailing teams participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race are currently enjoying a two-week break in Halong Bay after a challenging ocean crossing from Australia, battling rough seas and dangers. Lao Dong had a conversation with the sailors of this race, especially with the “Ha Long Bay, Vietnam” team.

Danger and Marvelous Moments

Josh Stickland, a 35-year-old Englishman, is the captain of the Vietnamese racing yacht named “Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.” The team consists of a total of 64 sailors, but only about 20 sailors are onboard for each leg of the race; the rest rotate in and out depending on the leg.

In total, there are 208 sailors racing from Australia to Halong Bay across 4,500 nautical miles. Afterwards, approximately 65 other sailors from around the world fly to Halong Bay to replace those who will temporarily leave the boat there.

However, like other captains, Josh Stickland continues to lead the boat and sail with his teammates through various legs of the race.

Speaking to Lao Dong aboard the sailing yacht “Ha Long Bay, Vietnam” anchored in Halong Bay, Captain Josh Stickland shared that his passion for sailing across the world’s oceans has burned within him since childhood.

Josh Stickland has participated in numerous sailing races and has covered over 150,000 nautical miles across various oceans.

“When I was invited to join and become the captain of the sailing yacht ‘Ha Long Bay, Vietnam,’ I immediately agreed. I’ve always yearned to cross the oceans with a sailing boat,” Josh Stickland shared.

Describing the journey from Australia to Halong Bay, which spans over 4,500 nautical miles, Captain Josh Stickland mentioned that during the race, the entire team encountered a giant shark in Australian waters.

“I’ve never seen such a huge shark before. It swam quite close to our boat, which was quite scary. After a while, it disappeared. We also encountered thousands of fish swimming alongside our boat. It was marvelously beautiful.

And as the boat entered Halong Bay, the scenery was incredibly beautiful, even though the weather was foggy that day, which added to the mystique,” Captain Josh Stickland said. “However, most of the journey involves battling rough seas because we’re constantly sailing across vast oceans, sometimes not seeing land for a month. Sometimes, we encounter storms and even waterspouts.”

Flying Thousands of Miles to Meet in Halong Bay

Since the sailing teams arrived in Halong Bay on February 18, 2024, relatives, friends, and supporters of the sailors have flown from around the world to Halong Bay to meet, reunite, before the teams continue their journey.

Josh Stickland’s wife flew from England to Vietnam beforehand to visit Sapa. She arrived in Halong Bay right after her husband’s yacht docked at the International Passenger Port in Halong Bay.

Wendy Sperberg, an American, flew from the United States to meet her son, who is a sailor on the “Ha Long Bay, Vietnam” team. She proudly showed off a fabric painting she made, featuring the name of Captain Josh and the name of her son’s sailing team.

As the Punta del Este yacht (Uruguay) approached the International Passenger Port in Halong Bay, Almudena Iguesies from Spain, dressed in colorful attire, danced on the ship’s deck to welcome her loved ones and crew members.

Almudena Iguesies flew from Spain but instead of returning home immediately like others, she will join this yacht to experience the ocean race to China.

“I will explore Halong, Hanoi with my loved ones and sailors before shopping for essentials for the upcoming journey,” Almudena Iguesies said.

Meanwhile, Eva De La Cruz Lancha and her son also flew from Spain to reunite with her husband, who is a sailor on the Punta del Este team.

“When my husband and his teammates docked at a port in Australia before, my son and I also flew there. Now, as the team arrives in Halong Bay – a magnificent natural wonder of the world, we decided to come to meet and explore Halong Bay together,” Eva shared. “We won’t meet at the next stop in China but plan to reunite in Seattle, USA.”

According to the schedule, the 11 teams of the Clipper Race will depart Halong Bay on March 2, 2024, to continue their race to Qingdao, China.