Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fair Winds, farewells and new beginnings

Sunday, May 17th began as a rainy gray day. We started the day at 0730 to move the Pjotter from Willemsoord to lie in front of the Waterworld cafĂ© to be on good display for our Fair Winds reception. By the time that the first group of family and friends started to arrive the sun shone through and it became a beautiful day. Thanks to all of you who came by the wish us well. We had a wonderful afternoon and really appreciated the support and all of the thoughtful gifts, each one unique, useful and easy to stow away in the slightly more cosy quarters of our new home. We also had many wonderful messages including words of encouragement from fellow ‘vertrekkers’ on the Mjolner (already underway) and the Elena and Tangaroa (both eagerly awaiting departure). I had a good chat on the phone with my parents before going off to sleep for the last time on land for a long time. This was quite appropriate given that our ultimate destination is their home in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada.

Bumpy ride to Texel

We made a late start to Texel on Monday afternoon and the first step of our journey did not start auspiciously. We expected winds of 4-5 Beaufort, current against us. The current were as always predictable but the winds were blowing gusts up to 39 knots giving us a very uncomfortable ride. Seb’s mother, Linda, Wouter and Caroleijne came along for the short ride and some were a little worse for wear when we arrived in the harbor of Oudeschild. We bid them an emotional good-bye and settled ourselves and Emma and Macsen in for the night, the first night of our new life. I had expected a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of freedom to be finally on our way. Instead I felt completely exhausted, sad and a little overwhelmed.

All is right with the world

Sleep is a great healer and fresh air, island rhythm, happy children and a sunny day did wonders for our mood.

Tuesday morning began with the ultimate puzzle. How can we fit all of our earthly belongings into such a small space? Particularly so that nothing flys around when we are under way. My education and work experience did not prepare me for this challenge! But we took it on with great determination and now the boat is almost ship-shape and ready for our first overnight trip to England on Thursday. It is also full to the brim and I am absolutely sure that I will never remember which nook or cranny I shoved things into.

Apart from the final packing, we had a quick explore of the village around Oudeschild, played in the fabulous pirate ship playground, admired the fishing boats and generally enjoyed the island life. The little monkeys (Emma and Macsen) seem to absolutely love living on the boat and as I am sure all parents will understand when they are happy, we are happy.

We had our first barbeque with the new Magma barbeque, a great device that hangs over the railing of the boat, no mess, no fuss. Delicious. Who needs a Cobb anyway? We stoked up a Cobble stone on the Magma and ate royally. The fish we cooked was purchased rather than pulled from the sea but we plan to change our fish procurement strategy on the way. We eagerly agreed that the fish in the coming months would be more delicious for being gathered in the traditional way. Jeroen, Luise and Sophia, from the Mjolner, have already caught their first fish in Denmark so the challenge is on!

Ahhh, and now I am sitting the cockpit in the soft glow of the Welsh miner’s lamp, with a laptop on my lap, full online connection and a cold beer at my right hand. Isn’t technology wonderful? And Heineken of course. All I can hear are the sounds of the wind blowing through the masts of the boats around us and of Seb messing about inside the boat. The children are sleeping comfortably in their new rooms and all is right with the world. This is what I was waiting for.


  1. Great to see that your big journey just started...all the best and enjoy every single minute of this once in a lifetime experience!!! Best from Berlin Yvonne and Stefan

  2. I've been reading your departure story today, sunny day in Amsterdam, with my two feet on the earth and it made me travel a bit with you during 10 minutes.
    I'm happy that so far you found "what you were waiting for".
    Enjoy each day and see you for the next stories... Kiss the little monkeys for me.

  3. What an adventure! So glad you are blogging as you go so David and I can share your great voyage. Take lots of photos-especially of the little sea monkeys.

    Bon voyage!

    Love from Lynn and David

  4. Gert Jan van Wijk25 May 2009 at 00:12

    Hi Rhiannon,

    What a wonderful adventure you have started!! I have been following your website ever since you send me the link and have been admiring the stories and photo’s of your family and Pjotter, what a beauty she is!
    I wish all 4 of you an unforgettable time, lots of favourable winds and look forward for the updates

    Gert Jan