To Sum up. . .. .
We've had an amazing 9 months away, it seems like it's lasted a lifetime, then again the season is all over too soon, however this year we have. . . ..
logged over 5000 miles, and sailed to. . . .
The Channel Islands
Porto Santo and Madeira
Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria
Sao Vincente in the Verde Islands
St Martin / Sint Maarten
We've done our first English Channel Crossing in our boat, we've done our first overnight sail with just us two, our first crossing of the Bay of Biscay. . . . . and our first Atlantic Crossing. We have spent 36 nights out at sea and have anchored or moored at 49 different ports and bays along the way
We've seen hundreds of Dolphins, tens of turtles, Minke Whales, False Killer Whales and a Brydes Whale, we've been attacked by sharks (well, sort of) and seen thousands of flying fish (mostly alive except for those on the deck of the boat). We've seen a spectacular Geminids meteor shower whilst 200 miles off the coast of Africa and countless gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. We've weathered quite a few squalls some scary thunder storms and have felt what it is like to be over 1000 miles from any land in the middle of the Atlantic with just us two and boat that feels very small.
We've wandered around quaint French streets in Camaret, sampled Port at the old Warehouses in Porto, Sampled wine at the Warehouses in Madeira and Rum at the old steam distillery in Martinique. We loved the palaces in the mountains in Sintra and the sights of Lisbon. We've seen strange bagpipe toting bands in the Spanish Ria's, Steel bands at the carnival in Martinique, all sorts of music in St Lucia and strange performance art in Cascais. We've seen amazing boats racing in Antigua classics week. We've stood at the top of the highest cliffs in Europe in Madeira and walked up the highest hill on little Porto Santo. We've anchored behind barrier reefs overlooking 3000 miles of Atlantic.. . . and in little bays teeming with fish right next to the noisy jungle. We've been covered in mud in the volcanic mud baths in St Lucia and been on a very different kind of Christmas eve pub crawl in Mindelo.
We've done over 40 dives on Wrecks and reefs in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, it's been great to have the compressor and be able to do dives where we see no other boats and no other divers.
We've met all sorts of people from many different places on all sorts of boats and had some good times, some have gone through panama, others back to Europe and some staying in the Caribbean. The best atmosphere was probably in Gran Canaria and Mindelo with all the apprehension and excitement of crossing the Atlantic but it's been great to keep on bumping into people we know at many of the Caribbean islands and to meet new people out here. We've also met lots of really friendly people from the various countires of our travels who have helped us out despite our poor French / Spanish (English!) and pointed us in the right direction.
Stargazer has been fantastic, everyone always wants a bigger boat and we are no exception. . . but all the hard work that Adam put in preparing her has paid off and she's taken us safely on our travels with very few problems and with speed and comfort. Thanks to all those who gave advice and help back in the UK.
I am now going back to the UK to do some work! (about time too), Adam is staying with Stargazer to get her sorted out for hurricane season and to prepare her for next year (I am hoping he'll want to come back to see me though!)
With all the excitement this year. . . . what shall we do with next year?. . . . .. .we're still pondering - will definitely do the Grenadines as we missed these this year. . . . but there are lots of choices beyond that, we have a while to decide, but we feel so privileged and lucky to have that choice.