Driven. Haven’t you experienced the feeling? At some time in our lives, we’ve all been driven to exceed, to aspire, to love, or even to forget. Neva Sullaway sits today in her quaint cottage not far from the beach in San Diego. She has no boat now, but she has added a loving husband and two terrific children to her life. She is, as the neighbors say, “. . . a sweet, quiet young woman who fits in so well.”
Once, however, Neva was driven — driven to discover, driven to run. The part of Neva the neighbors don’t know is that she was also driven to escape. She has just released a new book about her travels across the Pacific, Chasing Dreamtime: A Sea-going Hitchhiker’s Journey Through Memory and Myth
Neva lived the stories of Chasing Dreamtime well before her 25th birthday. Now, after 30 years, she lays out her wild adventures and personal journey for all to read. The introductory chapters create the backdrop for the story: an innocent voyage across the South Pacific. It’s the post-Vietnam era of the mid-’70s; a time well before cruising became the popular lifestyle it is today; a time before GPS and on-board electronics; a time when sea gypsies roamed the oceans.
Having failed in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around the world, Neva arrives in Tahiti, where she is soon placed in jail for a visa violation. From there, she embarks on another sea-going journey that takes her from one life-threatening adventure to another.
From sailing with island royalty, to meeting the legendary recluse and beachcomber, Tom Neale, who lived alone on Suvarov Atoll for nearly 20 years, Neva takes us back to the raw adventure and pristine beauty of the South Pacific. Even after being entangled in a drug-smuggling scheme and facing death several times while at sea, she continues her journey from New Zealand to Australia.
The story reaches a climax when Neva mistakenly gets a job on a prawn trawler in the far northern waters of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria, the stark and forbidding Never-Never.
She is held captive at sea, unable to leave the boat, and must rely on her own wits to escape. It is there, on a desolate island in the remotest region of northern Australia that Neva reclaims her freedom and finds redemption in the Dreamtime journey.
Neva Sullaway is the former Australian Women’s Sailboarding Champion, a title she successfully defended for four consecutive years. She built a career as a writer and photojournalist, covering sailboarding events in Australia, Europe and the U.S. She wrote One with the Wind: A Guide to Sailboarding in Australia. During this time she also created a magazine for sailors, Freesail Australia, which became Australia’s top-selling sailboarding magazine.
Neva also wrote Sailing in San Diego: A Pictorial History for the 1992/1995 America’s Cup. She continues to write, edit and shoot pictures with a maritime theme.
Chasing Dreamtime: A Sea-Going Hitchhiker’s Journey Through Memory and Myth by Neva Sullaway (Brookview Press, 2004; 336 pages)