Closing the circle

Superted V
Jean & Matt Findlay
Fri 4 Mar 2016 17:54

Well it’s taken us 17 days and 7 hours to get from Ascension to Grenada – a distance of 3150nm and now we’ve ‘closed the circle’. Can’t believe I’ll be able to sit my grandkids on my knee and say “Nana and Granddad sailed around the world”.  I was surprised at how emotional I felt – thinking back to sitting in bed a long time ago and Matt saying we could go to Bora Bora and me thinking where on earth is that!  Or maybe the emotion was in part due to the champagne!  Whatever – I’m really chuffed that we’ve done it.  Can we call ourselves ‘circumnavigators?’


So if you’re interested here is a quick guide to 7 years and 40,600nm circumnavigation with a few of the more memorable highlights of many during our fantastic 7 years!


The first 14 months was spent in the Caribbean (learning how sociable the cruising life could be) where we covered a distance of approx. 2000nm taking in 21 islands (several times) – Had visits from friends, Pete and Pat, John and Anne and David and Sue. We ventured north as far as British Virgin Islands, south as far as Trinidad and Tobago and east as far as Barbados (where we enjoyed being mother ship to our son Matthew and crew in the fireball worlds).


In Aug 2010 we headed west from Grenada covering approx. 1500nm between Grenada and Panama – visiting a few Venezuelan islands, The ABC’s and Columbia (great diving in Bonaire and beautiful old architecture in Cartegena).


We arrived in Panama in October 2010, and spent approx 14 months in Panama (had the boat painted) covering approx. 3000nm from the San Blas Islands in the east to Bocos Del Toros (Matt had a back operation) in the west and a trip north to Providencia and San Andreas. Another visit from David and Sue on honeymoon this time.


After a seven week land trip to Peru and Bolivia, we transited the Panama canal at the end of October 2011 and started our Pacific crossing in February 2012 after visiting Las Perlas islands.


On our Pacific crossing we covered approx 8500nm visiting the Galapagos (fantastic Darwinian experience), 7 islands in the Marqueses (such friendly people and fabulous scenery), 5 atolls in the Tuamotos (snorkelling and diving with several hundred sharks), 7 islands in the Society Islands (Tahiti to Bora Bora) taking part in the Thaiti/Moorea rally, Suwarrow (Cook Islands) snorkelling with manta rays, Samoa and 12 islands in Tonga (snorkelling with humpback mother and baby whales) before the final leg to New Zealand, where we arrived in November 2012, after having spent three days of our 1100nm crossing in a severe gale.


We left New Zealand north island in May 2013 and travelled north again to Fiji (experiencing our first storm force winds on the 1300nm crossing), then New Caledonia (approx. 1500nm) before returning to south Island New Zealand on a 1000nm crossing in November 2013 .


We spent a total of 16 months and covered approx. 3000nm in New Zealand during the 2 visits, doing a complete circumnavigation of all 3 islands (North, South and Stuart) including visiting several of the fjords, where Jean had to be medivac’d out by helicopter because of broken ribs.  Our first Great Cape was quite exiting in the roaring fourties of the southern ocean around Stuart Island at 47 degrees 18 minutes south.


In October 2014 we crossed the Tasman sea from New Zealand to Sydney, Australia – a passage of approx. 1300nm.


In Australia we met up with local friends Don and Christine and we covered approx 5500nm in 10 months sailing from Sydney (New Year fireworks near the harbour bridge) down to Tasmania (and our 2nd Great cape – SE Tasmania 43 degrees 39 minutes south) and back up the east coast then “over the top” via Darwin to the Kimberley (hundreds of migrating humpbacks and incredible scenery) and on to Broome in the north west corner.


We departed Broome in August 2015 for a 5000nm crossing of the Indian ocean visiting Cocos Keeling, Rodriguez and Reunion (live volcano), islands on the way, arriving Durban South Africa in October 2015 (our first visit since we left in 1986 – great time catching up with some old friends Pat and Maurice and Mary and Jeff, from 30 years ago).


We spent 3 months and covered approx 1000nm in South Africa passing our 3rd Great Cape – The Cape of Good Hope at 34 degrees 21 minutes south.


Departed S Africa in January 2016 for our final ocean crossing – the south Atlantic leg of approx 5500nm visiting St Helena (great history and snorkelling with a whale shark) and Ascension islands on the way.


We completed our circumnavigation at Grenada, some seven years and 6 days after it all began, and with 40,600 nm under the keel. We’ve met so many people and made so many friends along the way, all of who have contributed to a great experience. To all of you, we wish you continued fair winds.

Love and hugs

Jean and Matt




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