Maryse Kerdraon and Gerard Giraud reinstall a sail onboard Hakea, Thursday, December 9, 2021 in Petersburg’s South Harbor. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Petersburg’s harbors get their share of boating visitors from all over the globe each year. For some, Petersburg is one stop on a much bigger journey.

A sailing couple who hail from the southern part of France prepared this month to leave South Harbor headed south down the coast. They’ve taken their 50-foot aluminum sailboat named Hakea from Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago of Norway to Antarctica and the island of South Georgia. Over a decade ago, they started their sailing adventures with two different trips along the coast and islands of Norway. They’ve also seen abandoned Norwegian whaling stations on South Georgia, and were drawn to Petersburg because of its ties to that country.

75-year-old Gerard Giraud and 69-year-old Maryse Kerdraon sail six months a year and return to their home in southern France for the other half of the year. Joe Viechnicki sat down this month with the two to hear more about their adventures. Local resident Stephanie Hayes agreed to help with some of the translation and you’ll also hear her during the interview.

The couple planned to sail south from Petersburg this month as soon as the weather allowed and spend some time in the Vancouver area before deciding on their next step.

Maryse Kerdraon and Gerard Giraud preparing for departure (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)