Woke up this morning after a very long sleep to find that this is now our life. No place we need to be except here on our lovely boat. Kali has run off to find a Tesco and we're sitting in the saloon looking out at the drizzle - well, it is England still. Richard Haworth is due to arrive this afternoon at around 2pm and then it's off down the channel and see how we get on. The guy in the Portland Marina office yesterday asked me where we were headed and I felt a bit ridiculous when I said "The USA via the Arctic" but that is, strangely, true. Like everyone else, he wished us a safe passage and, like everyone else, I think he really meant it.
Our send-off from Southampton yesterday was fantastic. Very many thanks to all who came from Andrea and I. It was all very emotional but I had to keep it together and get us off the dock and out of the marina without any cock-ups. We were really touched that you all took so much time to come down and wish us well, wave and get wet. We watched you from the comparative dryness of our cockpit cover and shed some tears. I loved seeing Josua jumping up and down like he was on springs - good effort!
There were hundreds of yachts on the usual run between Hamble and Cowes - not what we are used to after a winter of sailing in the deserted Solent. We soon left them behind as we turned West. A bit more traffic between Lymington and Yarmouth and then the magnificent seascape of the Needles. With the wind directly on the nose and no wish for a dramatic first day, we just motored down the channel doing 10 knots over the ground, even 12 when we crossed St Aldhelms race. Cind waved to Christine who was walking on the cliffs above Durdle Door as they chatted to each other on their mobiles. Weaving through the wind-surfers in Portland Harbour, we docked gently enough in the marina and had a lovely meal. A calm end to a day that certainly started as a bit of an emotional storm.
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