50 14N 04 02W
We have reached the south shores of the British mainland! It is a bright sunny morning and we are cruising in sight of rolling green hills. It is not at all the rainy, misty, generally dreary grey weather we expected. Instead, boisterous birds, day-tripping sail boats and friendly fishing vessels join us in these coastal waters. Though none of them probably give a toss about us they have made an impression on me.
Seeing land has produced a buzz. Things have gotten noticeably sillier (see the attached photo of all of our silly hats). We are close enough to briefly check e-mails and text messages and we can see little villages tucked away on the coast but, the wind is against us. So close but yet so far! The bothersome breeze is coming right out of the east which is just the way we would like to go. We are thus forced to tack back and forth in a giant zigzag pattern to make any progress at all. As it has been for almost a month, patience is the name of the game.
Also with the sight of land we have begun to feel the end of the voyage. A common sentiment has been expressed several times over the last few days:
‘In some ways it seems like it has been a long time we have been aboard Great Escapes, but in other ways it seems like it has gone by in a flash.’
I think all of us aboard can empathize with this statement but it may seem vague to others. Looking back at the charts and the distance that we have covered your first thought is ‘that took a lot of time where did all that time go’? But when you break it down into events, time seems to compress. How many times did you go on watch? Roughly 70. How many sunsets have we seen since leaving Antigua? About 28. How many times did we put in and take out a reef? Perhaps 15. How many times did we tack? Approximately 5. How many times did the dolphins come around? Maybe 5. How many times did Ben tell us about the time he accidentally took sleeping pills before an important meeting? Certainly more than 7. Then there are all the one-off events like when we passed between two tankers that were steaming 2 miles apart even though they were 1100 miles from the closest land or when the poor exhausted swallow tried to land on the boat but fell into our wake instead. When you look at it like this it seems like it has gone by too fast and you wonder if it can really be over already?
But then we remember ‘the head’, 4am watches in the freezing cold, the rapidly diminishing ketchup supply and Corbin’s hat and we think ‘wait how long till we get off this boat’? And then we think again about solid land, flushing toilets, long walks, fresh fruit, and most importantly everyone we have been missing for the last month and we say to ourselves ‘alright ya it really is time to get off this boat’.
Cruising off of Plymouth,