This is the story of the historic ship Vega's first missions of mercy-a real-life sea tale complete with vicious storms, exotic locations, heart-rending moments, and priceless glimpses into real life on some of the world's most remote tropical islands. In December 2004, Shane Granger and his partner, Meggi Macoun, had just completed a sailing odyssey from South Africa to Malaysia and were enjoying a well-earned siesta when the Boxing Day Tsunami changed their lives forever. In a matter of hours, unstoppable waves, often over ten meters high, demolished cities not only in Malaysia but also as far away as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and East Africa, making it the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. With thousands of people suddenly in dire need, Shane and Meggi loaded their vessel with donated food and medical supplies, then set sail for Sumatra to deliver aid.
For their ship, the Vega, the mission was a return to her origins. More than a hundred years earlier, in 1892, one of Norway's finest boat builders had launched the legendary ship, specially designed to sail fully loaded with heavy cargo such as limestone, bricks, pig iron, and cement through some of the world's roughest seas. Vega soon became famous for her ability to carry loads other boats her size could not. And now her legacy would continue as she returned to actively carrying cargo, though of a very different kind.
Shane and Meggi's first mission of mercy marked a turning point and evolved into a passion. Every year since 2004, they have undertaken a 7,500-mile journey to carry tons of health supplies, educational materials, and other tools to remote island communities in eastern Indonesia and East Timor. To date, Vega has sailed more than 100,000 miles, delivering everything from pulse oximeters and midwife kits to backpacks and sports equipment and visiting locations few outsiders will ever see. The adventures they encounter along the way are nothing short of amazing.