Some Closing Comments From Everyone
George- It was a bit depressing to see how fast any trace of our last two years disappeared once we started to clear the boat for sale. In only a few days all the books had gone, all posters had been removed, the once lifesaving fans disconnected and put in the jumble sale box...I looked around and abruptly realised that this boat didn't seem like home anymore. So it was lucky, really, that while one floating house was being stripped, our other, less compact, home was being slowly but methodically put back into some kind of order. This was happening in the middle of meeting a melee of friends (so good to have friends again) so progress was slower but now we near completion. Soon back to school, back to real life...wow.
Jack- Very scary. I've been in Sweden for three weeks with our sailing friends from Liv-1 and continuing my travelling. But now I've arrived back to England - the house already half back together, the boat left empty on its own. Strange. Arranging my room, unloading the rest of our furniture from Wales, sitting down for my first meal in our house for over two years. Unusual. Listening to old music, getting ready to meet up with old family and friends. Should be good...
It's strange being back to normal life, living in a house instead of a boat, having a car, not having to look for water or food or somewhere to put the dingy. My room is huge, my bed is ... Great!
But although we now have all the normal home comforts I feel sad that... well that it is all over and I won't wake up in some strange place ready to be explored. We would wake up and we would know that we would have exciting, scary, fun, strange times in every place we go, and we had the comfort of our home floating not far offshore. Some people have said that it must of been like a long holiday, but it wasn't it was just a different lifestyle, if you were living somewhere, then moved somewhere else for two years you would not call it a holiday would you? Its just ... Life!
It is fun finding things we have missed for ages even simple things like coffee tables and shelves. and it is great being in a place where we are not tourists and every one talks English, as I said to dad the other day now I understand people in the street I find the talk utter rubbish.
Now the boat is a boat, and not home I am sad that we are selling it. It has taken us thousands of miles through huge seas, and strong winds. sometimes I have hated it and wanted to get away but now I want to get back to it, sail to some unknown place and hear the wind in the sails.
Bridget- Happy to be home (who could be sad to come home to friends and family who have made us so, so welcome!) but pleased to have had the adventure!
Some downs - the boys needed more peers than we were able to find, which was fine for 2 years but maybe not for longer. - Bad weather, I have never been more terrified at any other point in my life.
But many more ups - I feel hugely privileged to have been so close to George, Jack and Jed for an extra bit of time when had we been at home we would have become more distant. - We have met some wonderful people who I hope will remain friends for life. We have shared some amazing sights and experiences .
Now on to the next adventure.........
Grum- Our voyages and achievements have been great, and the opportunities wonderful.
And perhaps most particularly for the lads who have had to take on serious responsibility in sailing; ensuring our family safety during gales hundreds of miles from land; dragging themselves from their bunks at 2am out into the cold, wet and frightening waves; spending 21 days at sea; being stuck with Mum and Dad 24/7 with barely 50 feet separation; finding themselves interacting with fascinating strangers in new languages; exploring yet another landfall and seeking out the market, the fresh water supply, or the nearest ice-cream!
With 14,000 miles, two ocean crossings, 22 countries and dependencies, and climbing a fair few mountains, the statistics are superb. But I think our special memories will be of the people and special moments. The smiles and grubby kisses of the Amas school children in Peru; our New Years boat race with our Swedish Liv I friends; the spectacle of trekking to Machu Picchu; watching crocodiles, toucan and sloth from the boat in Panama; snorkelling the bluest, crystal sparkling waters of the Caribbean; the joy of crossing the Atlantic and arriving on Christmas Day 2006; hearing Jacks’ guitar and George singing at one of our cockpit gatherings; the peace and quite of a safe anchorage with a setting sun and the background orchestra of jungle sounds.
So many people and so many moments of pleasure, excitement, and occasionally fear. And so thank you to all our friends who gave help, advice and support. But very special thanks to our families, in particular Roni, Mike, Morella and Malc. And sorry we took the grandchildren away for such a long time!