….c'est la vie

Mon 14 Jul 2014 21:38
July 14th 2014

This blog comes from Yorkshire where Andrew and I have been staying for the past 2 weeks nursing his sister Sarah, who is very ill.  We left Hebe and all our ARCy friends in Fiji.  The rest of the fleet sailed away early in July to Vanuatu and the island of Tanna where I am assured they were all given a wonderful traditional welcome from the villagers.  The ARC gave us all a shopping list and the boats would have arrived bearing gifts of football boots, clothing and food.

Hebe remained in Fiji and Harry and Imogen tearfully waved good bye to the fleet, they have since been caring for her and carrying out much needed repairs.  Andrew and I hope to return eventually and sail Hebe to her final destination, Australia.

In saying farewell to the World Arc I would like to write some of my thoughts about our amazing year sailing under the ARC's umbrella.

Andrew and I cannot speak too highly about the organisation and support the World Cruising Club offers to those who wish to sail across oceans.
We would never have contemplated such a voyage without their training, expertise and help. They really do make you feel you can do this.

Hebe on the start.

My special praise is for Andrew Bishop for his gentle enthusiasm and leadership and for Paul and Susannah our Rally Control leaders who helped us along the journey with skill, tact and kindness.

We have so many wonderful memories of the voyage, Andrew will probably say the best thing was walking down the road in an unknown island and meeting ARCy friends in the nearest bar or bumping into friends as we scootered on land somewhere a thousand miles from anywhere.  It gave the whole trip a lovely family feel.

Being governed by the sun, waking at dawn and leaping off the stern for a morning swim and shower.  Supper watching the sunset, always looking for that green flash.  Looking up at the Milky Way and counting shooting stars and then being rocked to sleep in your cabin. 

Being in touch on the radio with other boats was always special particularly some of the funny conversations. 
The boats taking on the personality of the people on board, I think Hebe had the reputation of being the Party boat.  We seemed such a disparate bunch of foreigners when we first met but soon were all life long friends. 

We were all agreed that there was nothing in the world quite like arriving at an unknown destination by boat.  It had to be somewhere where cruise ships didn't go and fortunately on our travels there were many places that didn't have cruise ships or cars even.  Even better was arriving at night, dropping anchor and waking in the morning to WOW where have we found ourselves !

It was really interesting talking to local people along the way, my one regret was I am not good at Spanish, my advice for anyone thinking of sailing this route is learn to speak Spanish.  

Some things I thought I missed like the newspaper I now find is full of a lot of depressing news I don't want to read about.  Andrew and I find we can't remember any of the names of people in our popular culture i.e.  film stars or politicians and keep saying 'You know that person who did this or was in that'  sounding ga ga.  I think our brains got blown away at sea. 

As so much to see was underwater most of us learned to dive and got our PADI qualification so we could enjoy the coral gardens and the thrill of sharks and rays.  The clearest water was in the utterly unspoiled Pacific island of Suwarrow where the immense manta rays live peacefully, unconcerned with the divers and snorkelers.  That is the one GoPro piece of film Andrew shows to his bog eyed friends - the manta ray encounter. 

I will sign off now and go back to perusing my many photos of our Hebe Voyage…..its just like a dream.