A time for reflection

Sat 28 Nov 2020 23:41
“14.04.46N 060.56.974W”
Having arrived in St Lucia a few days ago, we are now cleared in and through quarantine.  With time to reflect on the last seven years, I thought I would put pen to paper.
It is hard to express my feelings, especially as I don’t really feel that we have finished.  That won’t be till we sail into St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, probably not till 2022...
When Gill and I left the Isles of Scilly on the 13th May 2013 we planned to be away for two years, just doing a circuit of the North Atlantic.  We were then going to regroup and set off again to circumnavigate.  But then we thought better of it and set off across the Caribbean, rather than the Atlantic.  The best decision we could possibly have made.
We have seen beautiful places, met wonderful people, and the most incredible wildlife.
I have loved watching whales breaching, and to have a humpback swim under you (Cook Islands) while snorkelling is incredible.  We swam with whale sharks off St Helena, they are so gentle. Without seeing them for yourself (off New Zealand) it is hard to grasp how huge the albatross is!  And, blue footed boobies (Galapagos) are just incredible.
Some of the remotest places on Earth are along the way.  Palmerston, Cook Islands, 45 minutes to walk all round the island, 65 inhabitants, no roads, shops, restaurants or pubs but set on a beautiful South Pacific atoll.  Vanuatu, with a way of life that hasn’t really changed in hundreds of years.  
St Helena in the South Atlantic, our favourite place, we loved it!  Perhaps it helped that we rode out at least the first wave of Covid here.  The people are so friendly, and will do anything to help.  Everyone says hello, and everyone waves as they pass you in a car.  The scenery is breathtaking and very diverse.  You can sit at the Yacht Club and watch whales breach, swim with whale sharks, and I heard whale song for the first time in my life. 
Still the hardest place to leave, and who gave us the best send off, was Riverside Drive Marina, Whangarei.  Even I struggled not to cry.  New Zealand is a fabulous place, if only it wasn’t the back end of beyond!
All my life I have dreamt of this and yet I was completely wrong about why you should do it and what makes it so very hard!  Even when we left I worried that I didn’t really have enough sailing experience and yet I look back now and think what a small part the sailing really was.  The maintenance of the boat and fixing stuff at sea are an equally big thing, and hard to prepare for.  
But just keeping going is incredibly difficult, one often feels very, very selfish.  I was not at home when my father died, I have not seen my 90 year old mother in a year, the grandchildren are growing up and we are missing that.  Our 5 year old niece has at the top of her Christmas list “Auntie Gill home”.  I guess if we had rushed round in two years then this aspect would have been less difficult, but...
What an incredible time we have had! 
So, the big question is what next.
Well, the plan is to fly home for Christmas, or thereabouts, then return and crack on with fixing Guiding Light.  Sail both boats up to Antigua in time for Classics, then ship Guiding Light back to the U.K., leave Star Charger and fly back home.  Buy a house, sort our lives out and regroup.  In about March 2022, fly back to Antigua and sail Star Charger back to Scilly.... Simples
Finally, the photograph that still sums up this adventure, is I hope attached.
Hoping to catch up with friends and family that we have ignored for too long, and keep in touch with the many new friends we have made along the way.
Fair winds
Alasdair and Gill

Alasdair Maclean

+1 (758) 723 1430 St Lucia mobile phone
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