The sky is icy blue, broken with beautiful clouds, every different kind of formation. There is barely a ripple on the surface of the water, a gunmetal grey. There is not another vessel in sight either. We are all sitting in the cockpit sun downers in hand like we have always done in the early evening, but this time instead of the endless ocean there is so much to look at. We are crossing the North Channel. I scan the horizon. There are all the familiar landmarks. Over to the west there is Sanda Island outlined against a backdrop of the Mull. The Mull, the dreaded Mull, not looking nearly the scary place we once thought it to be. Davaar Island, a sentinel at the entrance to Campbeltown Loch, Arran, Goat Fell its peak sharp in the setting sun, finally Ailsa Craig. There are so many layers as island after island headland after headland stretch far and away into the distance. We reminisce, waxing lyrical over time spent in and around the Kyles of Bute. Clyde Coastguard are having a busy evening. A yacht has gone aground in Loch Ranza and a catamaran is adrift if the Sound Of Jura. It is hard to put into words how it feels to be coming home but I must try. I want so much for everyone to understand what a truly wonderful cruising ground, a yachtsman's paradise we have here and right on our doorstep. And today we see it at its very very best. Never have we seen it more beautiful. What a treat, what an absolute treat. Thank goodness few know our secret for if it was discovered some of the magic would be lost. The sun goes down, twilight descends, the sky still streaked blood red and it is now nearly eleven o'clock at night. The harbour lights of Ardrossan come into view. We motor, motor, motor. We might just make it in before dark. We enter the port, the traffic lights showing three greens so we can enter into the inner basin. It looks a tight squeeze but of course as we get nearer there is more room than at first appears. Donald calmly directs David through the narrow gap and as we creep around the last corner there is huge space ready and waiting for us on the pontoon. All the lines are made fast, the log is completed and reads 4578nm, the BVI's to here, twenty nine days at sea. Then comes the moment, we crack open our last bottle of French champagne bought in La Rochelle three years ago. It hits the spot and it is gone midnight when we call it a day and hit the sack. Donald and I sleep the sleep of the underworld but poor David does not. I think he has too much adrenaline flowing through his veins. It is a huge responsibility for him as skipper to see us safely to land but Donald has given great assistance.
Happy to be home
Up bright and early the following morning the weather is looking anything but bright. The barometric pressure has plummeted to 1002, a drop of thirteen millibars since we arrived last night! Well, we knew we had to get here before the new low arrived. The train station is a few minutes walk from the marina and we see Donald off on his way home via Glasgow and Inverness to Glen Affric. Then it is time for me to start the laundry, six loads, which takes all day but at least there is no one else competing for the one machine. David lasts until lunchtime before the central heating has to go on. Either we have forgotten or it is unseasonal for this time of year but we cannot believe how cold it is. Instead of ice cold beers we have cup a soups at lunchtime, possibly a lot healthier too. It rains almost the entire day. I make a pot of soup, we tune in to Radio 4, we phone the family, we are home!
We set out eight years ago to cross Biscay. Little did we ever imagine that we might sail around the world once let alone twice. Two most exciting moments, our entry into the first lock in the Panama Canal. That is the moment when you know for sure that you are on your way around the globe, and now.... going home to our family. Two happiest moments, reaching landfall after nearly three weeks seeing nothing but a vast expanse of ocean and sailing under a tropical night sky. The scariest moment? I was never terrified but there were times when I was scared, on our first circumnavigation when 25nm from Dibjouti in the Gulf of Aden, four men in Balaclava helmets came racing towards us in a high speed rib, negotiating our way through the passes in the Tuamotus, the echo sounder registering zero depth in the maelstrom of water, a gale in the Indian Ocean. We had a dream and lived that dream to the full. Now our next adventure begins.....
Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow
Happy the man and happy he alone
He, who can call today his own
He, who secure within can say
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I (we) have lived today
Latin Poet Horace
Thank you to all those who followed our journey on the website.