Friday, 28 December 2012

Getting ready . . .

. . . to pack:  everything from Tilley hat to Bedside Sudoku, life jacket to fins!

Some people will do anything to get away from a Pembrokeshire winter!

Here we are at the start of Mike's blog of his 2013 voyage. In a couple of weeks he will leaving home to join Chris and Simon on Chris's yacht Espirit de la Mer in Trinidad. They will have a bit of a potter around the Caribbean before sailing from Trinidad and through the Panama Canal. From Panama, Simon may fly back to the UK, leaving Mike and Chris to cross the Pacific Ocean by themselves.

Mike's blog, did we say? Well actually, I (wife Jackie) am doing it on his behalf - he hasn't quite mastered blogging yet (come to think of it, neither have I!).

All plans are now pretty well laid and our kitchen cupboards are groaning under the weight of Fray Bentos tinned pies: chicken & mushroom, steak & ale, four of each. He may well be adding the remains of our Christmas cake, a supply of Earl Grey tea bags and his recipe for easy bread.

As well as snorkelling and sailing gear, swimwear and shorts, he is taking with him:

one digital camera for stills pictures
one head-cam for action shots
one mp3 player (he can't go without Katherine Jenkins!)
one heavily loaded Kindle to fill boring hours in the Doldrums, and
one i-Pad, for keeping in touch by email

The intrepid mariners will leave their respective homes in Pembrokshire and Carmarthenshire on 12th Janaury and travel by train to Gatwick, flying out the next day for Port of Spain. In the meantime, there's nothing much to add - just watch this space for updates as and when he is able to access wi-fi and send his progress reports.

And before anyone asks - the reason I (Jackie) am not going too is that I can't bear to put our three dogs in kennels for an indefinite period and yes, I am happy for him to go without me!

 9th January 2013
Things are hotting up now - only two more days before he sets off - bags all packed and ready to go. Six months supply of prescription tablets, several tins of mosquito spray, gallons of sunscreen and, as you can see, he's well stocked up on teabags (300 Earl Grey), eight Fray Bentos  meat pies (four each of  steak-n-ale & chicken-n-mushroom), plus a pot of easy-to-use yeast granules. Yeast? Well in the Pacific they won't be able to pop into the nearest Gregg's for their morning rolls and Mike will have to take his turn at on-board bread-making. 

As everyone who knows Mike is aware, he's never been one to turn away from a challenge, and even though I've been nagging him to 'be more careful' in case he injures himself and puts his trip in jeopardy, he has, as usual, ignored me. So far in the past week he's attempted to climb the 30 foot mast on our boat using a borrowed mast ladder that didn't fit, got himself a bash on the forehead with a squash racquet, bloodied the top of his head on a low beam in the boat-shed and just to top it all, this morning saw him shinning up the roof ladder to fix a fallen slate while I waited below and prayed he wouldn't fall off! 

So what were we doing in the boat-shed on a bitterly cold January day? As usual, the Williamsons were the only people mad enough to want to take their boat out in near freezing conditions! I think Mike just wants to be able to remember what conditions are like here when he arrives in the warmth of the Caribbean! So off we went for a trundle around Fishguard Bay on the first sunny day we've had for weeks. Not for long though - the sun soon dipped behind the headland, sending us scuttling back to our mooring and home for a cup of tea.

We've spent the past few weeks enjoying and appreciating the hospitality of friends, all anxious to have a 'last supper' with Mike before he sets off. A big thank you to you all for your kindness, interest and generosity. Keep checking the blog for progress reports.



  1. What an adventure. Good start to the blog. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Wow! Someone has read it! Thank you for posting - and keep watching! We'll be adding an update very soon!

  3. Belle aventure!
    Bon vent!

    1. Merci JF. Bonne chance avec votre voyage cet ete. Excuse moi - je parle francais tres muavais! Jackie.

  4. Hi Mike have a great and most importantly safe trip Vern&Di

  5. Thanks Vernon, and thanks too to you and diane for a fabulous roast Welsh lamb dinner tonight! Mike just texted to say it's hot, hot, hot in Trinidad, but I bet he'd give it all up for a Sunday roast like that!

  6. Hi Jackie we enjoyed your company and are now enjoying your bookabout Mum brings back loads of memories I guess we have it really easy nowadays!! Looking forward to updates from Mike. Keep in touch.