I can’t believe I finally get to say this but.... we’re off!!
We will be leaving La Gomera at 1.30pm on Monday 4th January. Although we have a clear weather window, there is a low coming in that will probably provide us with some pretty nasty storm conditions early in our second week. It’s difficult to say how badly we’ll be affected at this stage but we’ve been advised to give it some wellie and boot it south as quickly as possible so as to minimise our exposure to it. (‘Booting it’ is something that Mel and I are rather good at these days, following a rather scary close encounter with an enormous ferry last week! Ten blasts of his horn told us exactly what he thought of us being in his way! Oops!)
The race delay of a month has left us pretty frustrated it has to be said and we are now just itching to get out there. We’re both a little apprehensive but I guess it would be weird if we weren’t. Explore and her crew are as ready as we’ll ever be I think. It’s going to be a very steep learning curve for both of us – more so for me as I don’t possess Mel’s wealth of sea knowledge and experience... but I’ll get there! (Jason – you’ll be pleased to hear that I can now tie a damned fine bowline knot so fast that it makes that poor little wabbit’s head spin!!)
I think the rest of the fleet are also pretty much ready to go too. There’s a few people still messing around with last minute boat adjustments but on the whole, the fleet is calm and looking forward to a great race. We’ve been warned that due to the poor weather conditions, this year’s crossing may be quite a slow one which is not good news for anyone with a record in their sights. Never mind. We’ll give it our best shot and sock it to ‘em good and proper regardless!
I’ve spent the afternoon saying a final batch of emotional goodbyes (again!) on the phone. I don’t think people back home will really believe we’re actually going to do this until we’re well and truly gone! La Gomera will miss us I’m quite sure... We have been somewhat of a novelty attraction for quite some time now and one thing’s for sure... beer sales at The Blue Marlin are going to plummet dramatically although I doubt the owner (Manuel, as he likes to call himself!) will be too upset... He’s probably made enough money in the last month to take the rest of 2010 off!)
On that note, I’m off out for my last supper on terra ferma. I’m thinking steak!
Our next blog will be sent direct from the ocean waves!