A Bay area couple is has returned from a trip most can only dream about.
Chuck and Lynn Evans began their journey in January 2006. They have spent the last seven years sailing around the world and Friday afternoon, they docked on the Manatee River in Palmetto.
The couple cracked-open some champagne and talked about how happy they are to be back on American soil.
"Okay!," Lynn said tentatively as she stepped off their boat onto the dock.
"Your first step!," a group of friends, family and other onlookers replied.
"Yes! As cruisers in the continental United States!," Evans giggled.
Chuck and Lynn took their first steps onto the docks at Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto.
"Ah, it's good to be home," sighed Chuck, especially after being on board their boat and circumventing the globe for so long. "Steady as you go; you're going to turn right," he explained to Lynn who was guiding the boat to the dock.
The pair is about to celebrate 45 years of wedded bliss. The make a very impressive team and teamwork is exactly what it took to take such a journey.
"Give it some power!," shouted Chuck back to the helm, a few minutes after Friday's return.
"I'm going to back up, ok?," she replied.
"Back it up!," he shouted back. "Back it up hard!"
Their travels have taken them to every corner of the world.
"We met the best people on public transportation," Lynn explained. "That's where we met the real people of the country."
Listed among their favorite spots on the trip are Fiji, New Zealand and Egypt.
"Egypt for the architecture and the history, fabulous," Chuck said of the excursion to the Middle East.
In order to stay connected to family and friends, the Evans used social media.
"Here you are, right about [age] 60 and you're learning a completely new system of life," Lynn added. "All these new things that your life depends on and you have to really want to do that; it's an excitement, it's an adrenalin thing!"
Chuck lassoed their vessel to the docks of their current residence in Palmetto. The cabin is comfy and well-lived in after 7 years on the water.
Amazingly, they made it through with very few difficulties with weather, equipment and real-life pirates. Sadly, they lost friends they'd met in New Zealand.
"We're saddened on Feb 22nd, 2011, when we got the news, that they had been murdered by the pirates," said Chuck, who called it the low point of their long journey.
Four Somali pirates are scheduled to stand trial for the murders of Seattle couple Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay and two other people. The incident occurred approximately 40 miles off the coast of Somalia.
"The boat just in back of us, a Danish boat ING with 3 children," explained Lynn about another incident involving a boat close to them. "They were taken, so we were in the thick of it, but you can't think about that."
Flags from various countries line their sails, but some friends warned, their American flag at the top might attract pirates.
"We agreed together, that we would not strike our colors and we didn't and we're glad we didn't," said Chuck beaming with pride. He is a retired Navy vet and both of them come from naval families.
The Evans had a toast with friends shortly after they arrived back in the States.
"Cheers!," they yelled as they all raised their glasses and exclaimed together.
The marina in Palmetto even posted signs welcoming them home.
"It feels good," said Chuck smiling. "It's good to be home"
So what's next for these world travelers?
They'll spend a couple of weeks in Palmetto cleaning-up their boat and readying it for sale actually.
They're looking to buy a home and stay land-locked, until their next wave of wanderlust hits, and who knows what journey is next for this very sweet couple.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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