At Sea

Homeward Bound

I keep a running list of jobs to be done. ‘Replace head gaskets’. ‘Check rigging’. ‘Clean filter’. Stuff like that. The list is never finished, but I try not to let it get too long. The more important things, like ‘check rigging before next leg’ go straight to the top, and other things stay there for weeks, months or even years.

Today I was looking through the list and came across one or two things that have been put off for a while. ‘Replace engine belt’ and ‘oil change on high-pressure pump’. “I’ll do that in the next port”, I thought to myself. “Where are we going again?” “Oh, wait, that’s right………… we’re going to Bermuda.”

I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that this voyage is finally drawing to its end. Three and a half years of moving constantly from one place to the next, never knowing what to expect, where to buy food, where to get cooking gas, where to buy fuel, or clear customs, or where to anchor in such-and-such a wind direction. What’s the local language and what do we need to be aware of? What’s the crime like? Is it expensive? And most of all, what’s the weather doing? These, and many others, are questions that have been going round and round, over and over in our heads for the last three and a half years. But not for much longer. In Bermuda I will know the answers to all of those questions, the list of things to do will pale into relative insignificance and we will be finding new things to do and new ways to occupy our time. I am approaching that with mixed feelings. On the one hand it will be a shame to lose the stimulation of new places and new things, but on the other we are both definitely ready to move on. The future is far from certain, but I am looking forward to discovering what it has in store.

In other news, it appears that the Bermuda Triangle is indeed jinxed. The engine has developed two (I think) independent issues, either of which could prove to be quite problematic. The first is that approximately a litre of oil has been mysteriously transferred from the engine into the bilge. It’s clearly leaking from somewhere, but once I’d topped it up and then ran it to try to find the leak none was visible. What was, however, immediately apparent was that the lip seal on the raw water pump has failed. Salt water was pouring out of the pump. At least that explains why the bilges were getting full.

We had a spare seal, so I spent a few hours last night stripping down the pump. There were some other issues too, but for now I have, to put it technically, ‘bodged’ a repair and we are waiting for the sealant to set.

Meanwhile, it’s a gorgeous day, albeit stiflingly hot. The ‘wind’ is about 5 knots from astern. We have our large spinnaker set and it’s pulling us along at a sedate 2 and a half knots. It’s Sarah’s least favourite sail. It has nearly pulled her overboard once* and was the cause of a nasty broach a couple of years ago but I’m hoping that moments like this can convince her that it was worthwhile lugging it around the world after all. It certainly looks very spiffy 🙂

We’re about 170 miles from Bermuda, which we hope to cover in about 48 hours. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve caught myself imagining what it will be like to call ‘Bermuda Radio’ on the VHF. In the not-too-distant future that daydream will become a reality.

*Sarah says that’s not true. She says it hasn’t been just once, it’s been “a million times”. It is “like attempting to tame The Hulk with a piece of string”


    • Alan and Debbie Joyce

      Congratulations on completing a fantastic trip around this wonderful plant. Enjoy the blessings of family and Bermuda.

  • Patrick Burgess

    Hello, Alex. I met your mom the day you left – I was the bartender and waiter at Spring Garden where she and a friend met after your departure. She gave me the website and I’ve followed ever since. Welcome home!

  • Chris & Catherine Holt

    Alex and Sarah,

    Huge congrats on achieving your Round The World. Really enjoyed following the blog from Cartagena where we are coincidentally next headed. Enjoy the time approaching and berthing in Hamilton. You both deserve all the respect and admiration you will receive. So pleased for you both.

    Best wishes from South Florida,

    Chris & Catherine

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