10000 miles later - we arrive back in the Solent
It's taken me a while to write this one as 'normal life' gets busy again very quickly.
We stayed in Falmouth for as long as we could before making the journey back to Southampton where Stargazer now has a berth in the Town Quay marina.
We considered 'hopping' back along the coast, but time didn't allow - so it was one final 160 mile leg from Falmouth back to the Solent.
Typically for us the wind was on the nose for the entire first day so it was frustrating tacking and also motoring as the wind was often too light to make good progress. I saw Eddystone lighthouse for the first time! The weather was beautiful for us though even though the wind wasn't fair - we didn't expect to be wearing shorts and t-shirts when sailing in the UK!
The overnight was beautiful, light winds, dolphins visiting in the dark with streaks of phosphorescence marking their location, and the smell of the land in summer was amazing - I have never noticed it so much, but as we sailed past Salcombe we were only a few miles offshore - but the smell of 'greenery' and 'cut grass' was carried out to sea by the wind.
Despite a very slow start we managed to reach the Needles in time to take the tide straight in, the solent wasn't too busy - but it was far busier than we have been used to! With the wind dying and the sun shining we floated down towards Cowes, then it was a final motor up Southampton water to our new home.
We have had a wonderful 2 years, we never really expected when we set off to have sailed so far or to see so many places. When we set off in 2010 we had kitted the boat for crossing the Atlantic - but we didn't know if we would do it. After crossing Biscay I think that we were even less sure we would do it as we had 3 nights with hardly any sleep. But we got more experienced, we trusted each other more and we trusted the boat more as we got to know how to set her up for both comfort and speed
I thought I should do a Whale and Dolphin Tally - we tend to think 'we never see any whales' - but then we tot them up. … . . Common Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, Striped Dolphins, Risso Dolphins, Pilot Whales, False Killer Whales, a dozing Sperm Whale, Minke Whales, a Large Leaping whale (possibly Brydes or Sei) off the Verde Islands, a Blue or Fin Whale mid-atlantic, and several other large passing whales that we couldn't identify. So we can't really see we never see any Whales.
We've visited some amazing places and we met some great people. I think we saw the best of the Caribbean this year. . . the Diving in Bequia and the British Virgin Islands was great, and we loved some of the less visited islands that we went to this year. Dominica is a lovely place with great people. Monserrat and Barbuda are very different to each other - but both well worth visiting and we spent Xmas and New Year in the Grenadines. The Azores we could have easily spent another month in if we had the time as we have only visited half of the islands. .. . . but you have to leave something to visit next time around! To have spent almost a year travelling around the Windward and Leeward islands, anchoring in beautiful bays, exploring a new island every couple of weeks, meeting people we would have never met before has been such a privilege - and it only whets our appetite to see more, travel further and do more.
So this marks the end of 'Sailing Adventure mark 1' - we are now working on the planning for 'mark 2'! . . . .. .
Redsky in the morning. . .Sailors warning. . .. ? - not so for us luckily as we were right in the middle of the low with no wind rather than Gales!
Morning view from our mooring in Falmouth - happy to be tied up on a nice sunny early morning in Cornwall
In sight of the Fairway Mark on the way into the Needles - only 20 miles to go so Sadness that the sailing lifestyle will end, but happy to be nearly back (hope we don't sink the boat in the next 20 miles!!)
Passing the lighthouse at the Needles