We’d been nurturing it for
while. Several years. I’d bang on about it whenever I was
disillusioned with London. Rachel
was gradually won round, or maybe realised the inevitable...
We wanted to go on an adventure
together. All too often I went to
far flung places for work, while Rachel was busy in London, or at times
Amsterdam/The Hague. (And the last
time, Rachel was also left gutting and rebuilding a kitchen... not such a great
Sailing seemed like the right sort
of all-in-one hit of transport meets adventure; plus it was how Rach and I met,
so why deny fate its part? Not keen on wearing icicles while sailing, Rach ruled
out the Chilean coast or the North West Passage... but then I was lucky enough
to visit Vanuatu several times for work and was hooked by the South Pacific’s
An initial plan was hatched to buy a
boat in the States and sail it to Vanuatu via the Caribbean, Panama, Galapagos,
Tahiti etc. Then someone pointed
out that this was an awfully long way, adding that we could have a whole lot
more time to explore the part of Pacific we really wanted to visit by starting
in New Zealand.
We decided we needed a year. Rachel’s work, after initially being
rather surprised and going away to explore a dusty section of their staff
handbook, amazingly offered her a year long sabbatical. The edit of my latest
series finished in Dec 2009. So
2010 it is.
Just to check we did really want to
do it, Rach and I spent our first week with just the two of us on a boat,
chartering a little ‘Sadler 32’ from Falmouth in July. We made it all the way to the
Scilly Isles and back without killing each other: if we can spend a week in some
islands a few miles off Cornwall, a year bobbing around the world’s largest
ocean should be a piece of cake, right?
It wasn’t intended to be a way of sealing the pact, but later in the
summer I asked Rachel to marry me and she said yes. Suddenly, we were lining up an
adventurous engagement, in all the right ways, we hope...
The house - the infamous “No 69” -
in central London finally had its (7 year long) refurbishment completed in a
flourish of activity; some banker/lawyers unwittingly opted to keep us mangos
and pina coladas by renting it; job projects were hastily concluded; family
Christmases were Christmased; and, exhausted, we boarded a flight to NZ just as
snow began to smother