End of the journey.
Well this is no time to get all misty eyed and tearful, but it was an emotional day on Monday 16th June 2014.
We were up at 0430 hours and soon driving south from Worcester (look it up on Google) heading for Southampton docks where the Russian freighter carrying Serafina and a number of other yachts and craft had docked the previous afternoon – late as ever.
We made good time and after a quick coffee presented ourselves on the ship and found it to be a frenzy of activity and bang on schedule. So as soon as they were able to lend us a ladder to climb on board Serafina, we set about getting her ready for the splash back. This included me removing the backstay and Sarah festooning the starboard side with fenders and two mooring lines. They then slipped the slings round Serafina’s hull and up she went looking very small and very vulnerable in the two slings. (Photos on the website http://www.rhbell.com )
They lowered her down to deck level to allow us back on again and then we were put into the sea alongside the ship. We undid the slings and were away almost immediately. After reattaching the backstay we headed off down the River Test, past the Hamble river and out into the Solent. Tons of shipping today it seemed, but probably only a normal day around here.
There was a bit of sun, but very little wind and so we motored the whole way to Lymington where we made our way all the way up the winding approach, past the Isle of Wight ferries, to Berthon’s marina. We had been allocated a slip close to the car park to facilitate us taking all our gear and inventory off and putting it into a van, but when we approached the berth it became obvious that we had a small problem. Either Serafina has put on some weight during the trip across the Atlantic, or this berth was just too small! We never got the chance to test it out though as we then suffered a small equipment malfunction. The bow thruster which along with the heating system has been a very underused bit of kit these past few years was feeling reluctant and so it was perhaps quite understandable that when invited to push the bow hard round to port it failed to respond at all! In the end I gave up on the manoeuvre before the cross wind put us in any trouble and backed out and invited the marina to offer us an alternative berth which they did, after apologising for giving us that one first.
All that really matters is that we then docked and got Serafina settled into her temporary berth and could finally breathe one last long sigh as we had got her home in one bit. But she was caked in salt and so we gave her a good wash down before catching a train back to Southampton docks to pick up the car and drive home.
We will be back soon with a van to take all our gear off but there is no point in documenting all of this from now on, so this is the final chapter in the adventure which started in May 2007 in Sweden. We have covered some 25,000 miles plus since then and have been to some wonderful and extraordinary places meeting some fantastic people along the way. Many are good friends and a few are outstanding friends and we cannot thank everyone we have met along the way enough for all the friendship help and advice we have received and for making this such a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Rob & Sarah