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Cargo of Hope

Voyages of the Humanitarian Ship Vega

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 metres 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.

Shane Granger (1948–until his luck runs out) has been in love with the sea since he was seven years old. Having worked as a radio DJ, advertising photographer, boat builder, director of museum ship restoration, and bush pilot, he always comes back to the sea.

Shane has traveled over a quarter-million sea miles, including thousands of miles on a square-rigged brigantine he salvaged in West Africa and once single-handedly sailed across the Atlantic without an engine or functioning rudder. After crossing the Sahara Desert with a Tuareg caravan and being kidnapped by bandits in Afghanistan, his greatest ambition is to find a comfortable niche where he and his partner, Meggi Macoun, can enjoy the healthy benefits of monotony and boredom.

He and Meggi currently live on the historic wooden sailing boat Vega. Since 2004, they have logged almost one hundred thousand miles delivering donated educational and medical supplies to remote island communities in Eastern Indonesia and East Timor.

A truly inspiring account of a mom-and-pop charity in a 120-year-old wooden vessel. You really feel you are by Shane Grangers side in his plucky little craft bringing succor to some of the worlds most remote communities.
— Julian Stockwin

High seas adventures, remote islands, and the “art of making a difference” all come together in this fascinating nautical account. Shane and Meggi have seen natural wonders few people on earth have. The reader will feel they are at sea on both fair days and in brutal storms, guided by two highly experienced sailors who have a thirst for adventure and a determination to assist others in need.
— Michael J. Tougias, NY Times bestselling author of A Storm Too Soon and Extreme Survival

I found this book vivid, candid, poignant, hilarious, and very important—simultaneously a story of love, adventure, and humanity. Youll be fascinated by the exciting ocean voyages, exotic places on the far side of the world, and the sense of true hope which Captain Granger brings to life. I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves the sea, believes in helping our fellow earthlings, and wants a great book that’s worth reading again and again.
— Robert N. Macomber, author of the multi-award-winning Honor Series

About as far from the typical boring save-the-world tale as you can get and still have a humanitarian mission at its core. If Joseph Conrad had a son, then Shane Granger must be that lucky lad. My advice is not to start reading this book in the evening, not if you expect to get any sleep that night. I am keeping this one to read again.
— Scott Murray, editor, SEA Yachting Magazine

Join Shane Granger (and Meggi) in a voyage on Vega from Norway to some of the most isolated island communities in the world. Through storms, hidden reefs, and jungle, against all odds they bring a cargo of hope, year over year, making a difference to the people in the Indonesian Spice Islands, some of which are just a dot on a chart.
— Des Pawson, MBE, historian and researcher of the rope and canvas working trades

Beneath the authors self-deprecating shipboard wit, there are unexpected dimensions: great courage, to keep risking his boat and crew; incredible resourcefulness, stretching his fuel and food resources to the limit; and exceptional humanity, to try to build futures for the next generation through delivering the basics of health care and education. Without the author and his volunteer crew, and the unstinting support of his sponsors, many people in remote island villages could never hope to find a place in the modern world.
— Earl de Blonville, FRGS; leader of the first Australian arctic expedition

Cargo of Hope is both an exciting sea story and a tale of kindly and compassionate dedication. It’s also a deeply human book, celebrating generations of those who design ships, those who sail them, and the people who are dedicated to making a difference for those who need a helping hand. A great read in so many ways!
— Rod Scher, author of Sailing by Starlight: The Remarkable Voyage of Globe Star and The Annotated Two Years Before the Mast

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