The End 50.50N 1.06W
We did it!
A year after leaving our land based life behind us, and two years after Island Wanderer left UK waters, we completed our journey and returned to the Solent.
The channel crossing was short, fast, and extremely enjoyable. We had forgotten how much fun local waters are to sail in. This went a short way to counteracting our sadness at ending our time afloat. It is hard to believe that two years ago, a channel crossing was the longest journey we had ever attempted. Now it is the shortest journey we have done since leaving the Caribbean two months ago, and it seemed an almost trivial distance to sail.
After an overnight stop in Studland Bay, we entered the Solent in some of the wettest weather we have seen in all our time away. The rain, thunder and lightening were almost theatrical in their appearance. Our foul weather gear was tested to the limit, with only Avril’s standing up the the torrential rain. David was even lured out of the warmth and dry below to experience the drama unfolding around us as black skies lit by thunder bolts welcomed us home and confirmed that we were indeed back in England in the height of summer.
The thin sheet on our berth was replaced by a summer weight duvet somewhere in Bermuda. This has now been replaced by the winter weight one combined with the electric blanket. Perhaps we should replace the air-conditioning with a heating system too. We are now sewn into our fleeces and thermals for the season, although Avril refuses to wear socks on principle, her toes now a delicate shade of blue.
We look back wistfully at our photos and wonder if water was ever such a translucent shade of blue, if ever the sky was cloudless and turtles swam by our bow. Did we really cool off in crystal clear seas or feel the softest of sand as we walked ashore? We read the blogs of those who went on through the Panama canal and are now in the Pacific exploring the South Sea islands. Or possibly the east coast of America and the Intra coastal waterways?
The possibilities are endless........
Total distance covered 12,680.6 nm
Counties/islands visited 35 - counting Grenadines and BVIs as one each.
Currencies use 5
Time zones crossed 7
Most friendly place visited Dominica
Most crowded BVI
Least crowded Barbuda
Most attractive coastline Bermuda
Favourite place Pete – Dominica
Avril – Antigua
Island Wanderer and Grainne in Dominica Antigua
Superstar on the foredeck Helen
Superstar dodging AIS’s at night David
Best cook Doug
Most useful gadget Autohelm
Most useless gadget fishing gear! (In Avril’s hands!)
Books read Over 200
High point Reaching the Caribbean
Low point Cleaning mould off everything in the Azores!
Greatest 24 hour run 197 nmiles (never broke the 200nm mark )
Strongest wind 46kn (Tarifa)
Additional/temporary crew Doug, Mandy, Derek, Becca, David, Helen
Most missed from home
(Other than friends and family) Very little!
Most amazing home based support Derek, who relentlessly and tirelessly found and sent out spare parts, information, weather reports, encouragement (the list goes on) without which our journey would have been very much harder
Would we do it again??? Without a doubt!!
Note on blogging; We started to keep a blog as a simple way of keeping family informed of our whereabouts on a regular basis. We never anticipated it would be read by others and have no way of telling how many readers we have had. However we first suspected it was more than a handful when we were approached in a cafe by an couple whom we had never met, but who had been following the blog regularly. In addition we have had several emails from readers who have had questions or who are about to commence a similar journey. This has been a real encouragement to us and we appreciate the support and enthusiasm of those who have contacted us. Many thanks and best wishes to those who are about to set off on their own voyage.
Peter and Avril