Saturday 29th July. Distance Sailed: 33905nM
Pete's quote of the day: "What now? I'm trying to sleep!"
Our departure from the Azores was a wet one but as we sailed out into the clearer weather there was a fantastic rainbow over San Miguel. The forecast was good and the weather obeyed it, giving us some great spinnaker sailing. The Iridium texts were great, thank you all. We had some uncannily accurate weather information coming in from Batrachian- if Steve said it was going to rain you put your coat on or suffer the consequences. We also shared the World Cup torment with you- but can anyone tell me what a Blackberry is?!!
Various wildlife joined us en route. An as yet unidentified seabird, who we named Sally, spent 24 hours sat on the deck watching the miles tick down. We also noticed odd mushroom-like things floating past us in the water. After a few attempts we managed to catch one and found it to be a little commune of goose barnacles stuck to something spongy. Very interesting but a little distressing to know there were so many barnacles so close to the boat. As yet we haven't dared to look to see how may have attached!
As we neared the UK we began to pick up the various Coastguard stations. It was great to be able to hear the weather regularly and in our choice of regional accents. Unfortunately this also correlated to a big rise in the amount of shipping around us and led to some hairy night watches. On one such watch I had to get Pete out of his bed to call a ship which was rapidly approaching us and seemed completely unaware of our existence, or in fact of what a yacht actually was judging by his replies over the radio!
The next night Pete went down for his "off watch" with the ominous statement that he didn't want to be woken. An hour later there was a big bang as one of the small diamond shrouds, which support the mast, broke. So much for the unbroken sleep! The temporary repair didn't take long but the loss of the shroud left us motoring into Cork with as little sail as possible up.
We were met in Cork by Aly and Murray who spent a week cruising up the coast of Ireland with us. The first day was a bit rough but after that the weather settled down and we had blazing sunshine most days. Our visitors tried to convince us the weather was warm, and regularly sailed wearing just a t-shirt. We were not convinced, both Pete and I spent most of the week wearing several fleeces and full oilies, apparently we've become soft in our 2 years away!
A great day out was had in Dublin visiting my sister Emma and Al. Em and I hit the shops- hard, and I think everyone else had a nice time too! After that brief stop it was up early to reach Bangor before dusk. We had the dubious privilege of seeing the moon high over Howth to the west of us, shortly followed by the sun rising to the east. It was a long day but the fish and chips on arrival dulled the pain!
New Horizons was given a weeks rest in Bangor as Pete and I stayed with Mum and Dad. The stable bed and constant supply of hot water was great however we're still not too sure about those boxes that sit in the corner and flash pictures and sound at you! Pete was also distressed to find evidence of his weight loss on the kitchen wall. Many photos have been destroyed in the course of the week! Fun was had shopping, walking along the beach and generally catching up, before we headed back across the Irish Sea to Scotland.
The Irish Sea welcomed us back with a day of thick fog. You can imagine our amazement at seeing a submarine diving through a gap in the fog, the final leg and the new experiences keep coming! We spent a pleasant night anchored off Arran before making the final trip into our home port of Troon.
The welcoming party stood on the beach waving banners as we approached the harbour and once we were tied up the champagne corks started popping. It is both fantastic and devastating to be home. The past 2 years have been amazing, a real trip of a lifetime. Of course that doesn't rule out having another trip of a lifetime, and we did want to spend more time in the Pacific.....