After some time back in the UK I will soon be returning to NZ to rejoin my boat Sea Bear. I thought it might be a good time for a brief summary of the trip so far, after all we are halfway around.
Some 2 months after retiring I left the UK in August 2014 aboard Sea Bear singlehanded. My plans was to head for Panama with a loose aim of a circumnavigation, but nothing was written in stone and I was keeping an open mind whether I would enjoy a cruising lifestyle. I had done the necessary preparations, studied the pilot books and passage notes, bought the charts and stocked up with provisions and spares. I had singlehanded before, mostly day trips but this would be the first time I was setting out on a long trip on my own. There was thus a degree of trepidation particularly since I was heading to cross the Bay of Biscay.
After a landfall in Northern Spain I coast hopped south to Portugal then Spain again. At Cadiz, Merel joined me for the trip to Morocco and then the Canaries. She had wanted to cross the Atlantic with me but found she suffered badly from seasickness so sadly but wisely disembarked here.
At Gomera, 2 new crew presented themselves and they came with me first to the Cape Verde Islands and then across the pond to Martinique. Singlehanded again I had originally thought to push on through to Panama but I was seduced by the delights of the Caribbean and spent the next two seasons exploring here. I spent the hurricane season in Trinidad then sailed up the chain of the islands to Cuba. The next hurricane season found me in Panama after a tough passage from Jamaica. Then it was decision time – through the canal or not? After a visit to the delightful Guna Yala islands, I took the plunge, transited the Panama canal and set off to cross the Pacific. A stop over in the Galapagos fulfilled a lifetime ambition then the long haul, 34 days to the Marquesas. It is a long time to be on ones own, hats off to those sailors who tackle the challenge of solo non stop round the world. French Polynesia was wonderful the Tuamotos, Tahiti, the Windwards, Tonga and so eventually New Zealand in time to miss the South Pacific cyclone season.
I had a few days...