Age is a key excuse for not making a change - read about why its never too late!Read More
Over the next few months our friendship grew as slowly I wormed my way in. If there’s one thing I knew how to do it was to make something happen - big picture and small detail. The deal was I project manage getting the boat and crew ready and deal with all the logistics, and he avail me of his sailing school so I could learn to sail.
Of course by now there was no way that learning to sail was ever going to be enough for me but I bided my time meanwhile wondering when I break the news I could neither sail nor cook and I get chronically seasick.
I had always had problematic ears but nothing major - until I the day after I had my first daughter. I had a stroke or some similar ‘event’ (I don’t think the Dr’s ever quite decided) which meant I lost all my balance and couldn’t sit up or keep my head straight. I got better bit by bit - first able to crawl, then sit in a wheelchair, then finally walk with a wobble and so on. Bring young I got better quickly - all except one thing. Six months on, I realised the chronic motion sickness I had been left with - in a car, on a swing in the park etc was going nowhere. I was stuck with it.
But as far as I was concerned this circumnavigation thing was happening and it was time to bring out my strengths - that being project management. We had one boat, a departure date (August 2018) and now three people. Matt knew someone he thought would be good as well as keen - introducing Rob.
Matt imports yachts to Aussie. The boat he had shown me was brought in as a show boat. When it arrived it didn’t look anything like the glamour marketing pictures I had seen - it was a shell and even the basic bits had to be put together. Nevertheless the day it arrived was pretty exciting. One suitable boat for one planet earth circumnavigation!
The boat was like an empty house - we had the walls (hull) and a roof (rig) and the basic furniture (fit out inside) which was reeasonably plush , but, we had no generator, no water maker, no communications and safety equipment even as basic as the liferaft etc. The boat was originally intended as a show boat not a practical cruising boat and we had only a year to be ready.
I had all I needed to set up a project plan - an end date or ‘go-live date. I had to break it down from there into everything we had to do and have to be ready and break that down into detail. I also had to work out costs from this. It may not sound like much but we had thousands of entries in no time flat!
This may sound over the top but it wasn’t - not if we were going to be ready to go and have s healthy boat fit to travel and not cause us grief all the way. There was the rig - ensuring suitability, the fitout of generator and water maker, the sails needed, safety equipment like a life raft and grab bag, communications equipment - satellite phone vhf hf radios and a myriad of hundreds of things to buy - heavy duty disease killer water filters. Apart from that was the fact that we had s boat with a lot of gadgetry - not least the engine - and none of us had any idea of the underlying machinations of any of it.
Not forgetting I still didn’t know the difference between a halyard and a sheet and still couldn’t cook to save myself - and Matt would soon know I got ‘a bit’ seasick.
Time to get busy………….
Note to selves:
Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses - or you’ll become very unbalanced and fall over eventually!
I have a lot to catch up on here….. but I’m on a yacht and internet is not.
However - here goes!
To explain how this sailing lark started (sailing around the world that is) - here is Chapter 1 of that book I’m meant to write en route!
“Matt meet Syd. Syd, Matt”
”Hi, and what’s that?” (Pointing at a picture on his phone he was showing to someone else.)
“It’s a yacht I’ve bought.”
“Wow!. It looks nice.” (Has as much clue about yachts as has about astrophysics - they both exist and that’s about it.)
“It is. I’m thinking of sailing to New Caledonia on it.”
“Ohh I’ll come.” (Having just met the man this seemed completely appropriate.)
“Well it’s kind of a prelim to sailing round the world.”
“Cooool - I’ll come for sure. Can I?”
“Can you sail?”
“Do you get seasick?
“Not really. “(Blatant lie - I’d get sick looking at a boat.)
“Can you do useful things like cook?”
“I’m a great cook.” (Blatant lie number two - can hardly boil an egg.)
That was the night I met Matt - at a party of the Bold and Beautiful Ocean swim group we both belonged to in Manly, Sydney. We hadn’t crossed paths yet - it’s a big group. I don’t know what made me say all that but it started off something that was to change my life.
Over the next few weeks I saw Matt on and off at swimming and got talking eventually. One thing led to another and soon I had my Project Director hat on trying to whip this guy into shape - well at least into getting on with it and deciding to sail round the world. He told me about this rally he’d thought of joining - the World Arc. He seemed quite set on it so a few days later when he mentioned it again....
“Well have you done anything about it?”
“Not really.” (Meaning no.)
“Well I’ll ring them and see what the deal is.”
I googled and called them. They were in the UK and the time difference was perfect. There was one place left to join the rally from Australia in 2018 . To take it required a deposit which I told her would be with them overnight. Like a sensible soul he didn’t argue and sent the deposit noting that he could always pull out if he sold the boat.
Game on - step 1 complete. A dream and the journey of a lifetime was being born.
Note to selves:
If ever asked if you can do something regarding an opportunity - if it is within your realms of possibility, just say ‘yes’ and then get on with learning how.
It’s YES (I can I just haven’t learnt yet).
The Cocos Keeling Islands.
I love this place!
I really do – its perfect for someone travelling on their own, who is happy doing stuff on their own, and is happy striking up conversations with any unsuspecting soul that comes within talking range.Read More
Auckland has plenty of pretty beaches with scenic islands conveniently scattered through the Hauraki Gulf it lies within on its eastern coast, but drive 40 minutes in the other direction toward the setting sun, and its a completely different story. Here you enter the wild west coast!Read More
I’m not big on cities when travelling or holidaying – especially not with the kids. Kids (my kids at least) want play or action and for us that usually meant water or snow. So, cities – well – I usually give them a miss. However when living in England we often went on long weekend or mini breaks and one of our favorite little side-jaunts was to the city of Amsterdam.Read More
I was living in Australia at the time I first flew away to ‘get my teeth done.’ Yes - before I left I got the standard...
- But how do you know it will be safe?
- Are you joking? Going to Asia to get your teeth done?
Continuing north from Alice to Darwin, there are many many kilometers interspersed with plenty of good stopping points. First, are the Devil's Marbles – a series of huge rounded boulders, balanced in seemingly gravity-defying formations – provide great climbing fun for kids and adults alike (alternatively just interesting scenery).Read More
NZ is not abundant in native mammalian wildlife, with the only native land mammal being the bat! However, there are still many unique and wonderful creatures to see including a number of incredible flightless birds - the most famous being the kiwi of course, and dinosaur age relics - the tuatara, Archey's frog, and giant weta. Some of these are truly difficult to see in the wild, others are not. This list gives any animal lover a few options:Read More
If it’s your first trip you might be wondering what you need to sort out before you go, or, what you might have forgotten. Use this article as a checklist and get yourself on the road with a clear mind!Read More
Renting the house is a great way to either cover the mortgage while you are away, or, to fund your trip if you are lucky enough to be mortgage free (read more here). Whichever it is you want to make sure all goes well in your absence. Read on for some key things to do in preparation:Read More
The drive from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs is over eight hours and really emphasizes how huge and sparsely populated Australia really is. Nothing for 800km but the odd turn off leading to a homestead and the occasional roadkill, just to keep things exciting.Read More
If you're over 50 and on a budget – that means no working holiday visas like the 20-somethings, but it doesn’t mean you can’t travel cheaply or make money on the road. Here I’m looking at a few tricks – quite a few – to stretch that budget and keep you on the road longer (and arguably better)!Read More