Sunday 1 March – eve of departure

It is now the eve of our Atlantic departure. We leave tomorrow. For sure. It, is happening. I can’t believe it. The mood is quietly relaxed whilst resonating a mild sense of shock. Silly really as we have not stopped getting stuff done over the last week. Seemingly endless lists shortened as tasks get done. Millions of trips to town, to the laundrette, the market, the hardware shop, now complete. Chores nearly finished on the boat. Stuff being packed away. And yet I still can’t fathom that I, we, are about to set sail across the Atlantic until 2000 miles are behind us. We are right now on the cusp of (probably) the hardest thing that we’ve done to date. We know it will be tough. We’ve stopped saying we want to ‘enjoy’ not ‘endure’. We know that’s unrealistic. But I also know we will deal with whatever is thrown. The best we can hope for are conditions that don’t leave us too ragged. The first week looks ok. Others agree, there are four individual boats leaving to cross tomorrow. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I am. It’s a big deal. I’m sure some of those others are too. Ben is solid and focused and cautious and considered. And as his sage seafaring father says, foolish is the sailor who is confident about everything. Who questions nothing least all his own abilities. We are in the very best of hands, I know. Still can’t believe we’re leaving tomorrow. There really is no going back now.

Three weeks. That’s how long it will take. It’s an expression I’ve been repeating since this Grand Plan began. I remember saying it around tables of food with family and friends. And imagining it. Well, now I don’t need to imagine it. In fact I almost wish I could keep imagining anything but the bouncy reality. Today, Ben grabbed for the saloon hand rail as the boat lurched and turned and said ‘are we ready…to be holding on for the next three weeks?’ He is right, that is what it’ll be, holding on and powering through and keeping our kids happy and everyone fed. That’s all we have to do.

How strange is it that the first time Ben crossed the Atlantic, in a different boat with two friends, their last port of call was Mindelo, where we are now. He suddenly remembered yesterday that they arrived here on the night of carnival. They left after that for the Caribbean, same as we are about to do. They left on the 4 March 1992, his 23rd birthday at sea. 23 years later, here he is again. Commencing the crossing in early March with his 46th birthday to be spent at sea with his wife and kids. Oh, the symmetry of numbers. Must be a good sign…

Back then, he says he had a great crossing. He has always tried to describe the conditions, the swell, the wind etc, the level of comfort. He says he can’t recall exactly but his overall sense was of a good crossing. They swam in the sea, they would not have done that had conditions been anything other than pleasant. He also remembers they put the spinnaker up, again, not a sign of horrible wind or swell. But of course the crossing is more than a few days and anything can happen. No way of knowing til we are out there. However we are buoyed by the general consensus held by others that from tomorrow the wind although strong still, is ever decreasing. We met a guy yesterday, 17 atlantic crossings under his belt, he says it’s good. He’s leaving tomorrow. I’ll take that. The swell forecast is dropping all the time as is the wind and gust heights. At least both wind and swell will be behind us. We would not go unless we thought it a wise plan, believe me. Here’s to it being good Mr 17 times.

So dear friends and family and dare I say, followers, we bid you a very big happy expectant loving and little bit nervous farewell. See you in three weeks(ish). Please be thinking of this little family of four seafaring adventurers in their beautiful boathome. Knowing that this is not happening by accident, or mistake or coincidence. No. We have worked our proverbials off for a few years now and since leaving the UK, with the sole intention of getting to this precise moment in time. The right here and now and next three weeks, is us living our dream. In every gust and glide westward, in every sunset, in every physical challenge and most importantly, in every happy moment we share with our kids in a pure kind of way within the embrace of magnificent nature. And so. Wish us well, as we do you. And whilst you do so, appreciate every drop of your endless water, the warmth of a deep hot bath, be happy for your cosy static stable home. Have an extra cup of tea, glass of wine, kilo of chocolate for us to keep us going. Thinking of you.

Deep breath in…

taken this afternoon...dont confuse Olive´s expression for anything other than a quiet moment...the pther ones had fingers up noses, chewed apple being spat...you get the picture...this was the only decent one of us all

taken this afternoon…dont confuse Olive´s expression for anything other than a quiet moment…this was the only decent one of us all

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8 Responses to Sunday 1 March – eve of departure

  1. rachel says:

    God speed you safely onwards and tons of love to the bravest little family. Cant wait for hour journey tales and looked forward to arrival xxxx

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Kate Scott-Clarke says:

    How exciting. You really are so brave. Wishing you a safe journey. Can’t wait to hear all about it once you are on the other side. Lovely photo of you all. Much love and massive hugs x x

  3. sueodon says:

    Love, love and more love from us in London, willing you on your way and eager to hear of your triumphant arrival in the Caribbean xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Julia says:

    Good luck! Safe passage. I’m looking forward to the massive update in 3 weeks time. Xx

  5. Elvira says:

    Love love love to you all. Xxx

  6. Clare says:

    Masses of love my darlings. We’ll be thinking of you and whispering good thoughts to the winds. Huge kisses and hugs Charlie, Clare, Bella, Bia and Mimo xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. Karen says:

    Bon Voyage all of you from land-locked Deddington. Look up at the stars, keep writing down your thoughts, watch out for dolphins + birds and we’ll look forward to hearing the story from the other side of the Atlantic. Wow!!!. May the fair weather gods be on our side! The Watt lot XXxxx

  8. Kate says:

    Just had a chance to read this – whilst standing at the stove minding a pot of boiling potatoes going downwind in a rolly sea! Know you won’t read this until you ‘reach’ to use a Caribbean term, but thinking if you every day and hope all is going well. Looking forward to seeing you all when you get to the BVI’s and plying Olive with chips and ooh, maybe ribs this time?
    Much love!! Xxx

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