Hi I'm Joel Mark (Captain Jex)
The first Grenadian to sail solo across the Atlantic
NOW IT's the WORLD!
Join me soon on my solo around the world voyage
From poor and humble beginnings to becoming a world sailor, honoured by the Grenada Government with the Camerhogne Awards, my goal now is to be the first Afro Caribbean to sail solo around the world. I pray that my voyage will be an inspiration to the worlds youth and that no matter what your beginnings, with faith and determination, you can achieve your dreams.
Joel Jex Mark, (born April 10, 1970) is a Grenadian sailor. On May 31st, 2006, Mark became the first Grenadian to sail solo across the North Atlantic.
Mark was born in Grenada where he lived with his father and 4 brothers. His father was a shipwright therefore from an early age Mark would work on boats with him. Mark grew up in Belmont, St. Georges near Mount Pandy Beach where he developed his interest in boats and the sea.
In 1975, Mark was educated at the St Georges Seventh Day Adventist primary school then in 1981 he went to the Wesley College Secondary School. From the early age of age of 6, he would love nothing more than fishing off rocks with the men from the village. As Mark got older he also enjoyed diving for lobsters and conchs as well as spear fishing off Pandy beach.
In 1984, due to circumstances beyond his control, he was forced to quit school therefore he started working as a bartender at the Spice Island Inn hotel. He continued to work in the hospitality and arts industry until around 1988.
Between 1988 and 1992 Mark worked mainly in the maritime sector. He started working with his father, where he learned boat repairing and carpentry skills. He then moved onto working on Ferries traveling to the Sister Islands where he worked as a deckhand and an assistant engineer. In 1992 he returned to his childhood passion and became a long line fisherman full time in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1996 he advanced to the rank of captain where he skippered his first boat, Rainbow Chaser from Florida back to Trinidad.
In 1998 he returned to Grenada as an opportunity arose to sail a boat named Star to be repaired in Trinidad. In 2000 whilst in Grenada, he worked for the Eco Dive scuba company, where he became a certified scuba diver. In that same year he worked at Neilson’s and became an instructor in dinghy and windsurf sailing as well as receiving a RYA Powerboat rescue certificate.
In 2001, he got opportunity to sail the Ocean for the very first time where he crossed from Grenada to the U.S.A Eastern seaboard to deliver a boat named Indalo. After this, in 2002, he started sailing on a charter boat, which was a ketch; from Grenada to St Vincent to St Lucia then in 2004 he sailed to Suriname then went back to Grenada. In that same year due the powerful Hurricane Ivan strike, he went to Trinidad to repair a broken mast. While he was there, he purchased his first boat named Ga’sietoe for 500$; he described the first moment he saw it as “love at first sight”. He saw Ga’sietoe as beautiful work of art, however the vessel was particularly special as it was the first place Mark could call his own home.
He continued repairing boats and fishing in Grenada until 2006 when he was offered his biggest job yet to deliver a sail boat named Shamaya to the UK. Although this job was poorly paid, he saw that this job could lead to other opportunities. He left Grenada and went to St Martin then arrived in the Azores where he discovered that he was the first Grenadian to sail solo across the North Atlantic.
Between 2006 and 2015, he acquired various sailing and fishing jobs. In 2015, he was inspired by a dream to sail solo again but this time to circumnavigate the Globe. He said that this mission "is not for fame but to show the young people in Grenada that it is worthwhile having a dream". His aim would be to use this journey to build a sailing school/workshop in Grenada to provide underprivileged youngsters with new opportunities.
On February 7, 2016, he received the Camerhogne award from the Government of Grenada for his inspirations and sailing achievements. This event further encouraged Mark to embark on his voyage to be the first Grenadian to sail solo around the world and by so doing raise sufficient money to fund the goal that drives him, to support disadvantaged children with a sailing theme school that builds education, confidence and instills goals.
He started preparations then departed from Grenada with Ga’sietoe on June 22, 2016. He arrived on June 28, 2016, in St Marrten then departed on July 10, 2016. Having spent 52 days on sea, he finally arrived at the Azores On the September 1, 2016. In an attempt to sail to the UK, his sailboat, Ga’sietoe sustained damages and due to weather conditions he was forced to abort until a later date. He intends to carry out all the necessary repairs and outfit the boat to continue his voyage to be the First Afro Caribbean to sail around the world – solo!
As of May 2017, Joel has acquired a new management company. Blacklinks to arrange his sponsoring and support on this fantastic voyage and adventure. Black Links is the worlds leading black business community, building links across all black business owners world wide. The promotional and social management will be undertaken by another global company Excluss. Watch this space........