Saturday 6th July 2019
We have thought long and hard about when we should write the last sailraya blog, closing this amazing chapter of our lives. We are still feeling tired and rather disoriented but we are starting to integrate back into normal life, I actually have a working phone for the first time in nearly four years, yesterday we bought a car and the hunt for a new home has begun, our minds are slowly turning to life ashore, now, feels like the right time.
This evening I booted up my long ignored laptop and while it charges the screen saver is scrolling our photo collection, a fabulous summary of our trip. How we will manage without all the wonderful sights and experiences, the continual challenges and the satisfaction of achieving each stage of something so special, is hard to know, but one thing is for sure my Instagram page will be taking a turn for the worst.
Did the highs outshine the lows,? On that there is no doubt, every minute of those cold and tiring night watches was worth the five we spent absorbing the song of a humpback whale just 10m below us. Every uncomfortable roll of the boat was worth it to glide along side a manta ray or a whale shark. The exhaustion of a night in a rolly anchorage was easily washed away the moment we put our heads below crystal clear water above a magnificent coral reef and the pressure from the ceaseless demands of keeping Raya and ourselves safe was made manageable with the assistance of so many friends afloat and at home.
It’s difficult to know where to start thanking these people for their support, so many have helped us in so many ways, from those who accompanied us across oceans, Ian, Eric, Hartmut, Jonathan, Sheridan, Penny, Stephen, Richard and Tony, to everybody that sent newsy emails to raise our spirits during those long passages.
Andy who got us through the boat preparations, Peter and Joanna who spent hours putting together our medical kit, the numerous friends who joined us in Southampton to wish us well and Chris who has been there for us from the start to the finish.
Our fellow cruisers whose easy friendship was one of the trips highlights, their generosity and support was nothing less than life affirming. Nina, Toothless, Yolata, Pawpaw, Britican, Into the Blue, Randivag, Alexandra, Crazy Daisy, Knockando, Moonshadow, Il Sogno, Influencer, Vela and so many more, it was a pleasure to sail with you.
Thanks to the folks at Oyster especially Eddie and Regina, Harry at the rig shop for a faultless rig, Chris and Stokey for their weather help through the tricky bits, mailasail for keeping us in touch with the world and Navionics and Google maps for their help keeping us in the blue.
Thank you to all the blog readers whose continued loyalty and encouragement kept me writing, to everyone who opened their homes to us when we returned to the UK that kept us warm and fed and everyone who responded to our bizarre requests to secure boat bits that kept us afloat.
And a huge thanks to our families especially Nana who tracked and encouraged us every step of the way, Penny who, uncomplaining, worked as our unpaid PA throughout and Rachael and Matt who, despite their mad parents selling the family home and running off into the sunset, have yet to disown us.
Finally thank you Raya, our home for the past four years, her speed won us awards at the ARC and has kept the long passages as short as possible, her toughness has shrugged off high winds and large waves keeping us safe and her simplicity of handling has made things relatively easygoing for these two amateur sailors. Her spacious design has meant we have circumnavigated in style, her elegant lines still catch our eye.
Raya, our cruising community and all our family and friends who have joined us, what wonderful times we have shared.