Bermuda to the Azores!
It’s been a while!
The last time I posted I had just arrived in Ullapool, Scotland after sailing from Iceland via the Faroes, the Shetlands and the Orkneys. I had planned to journal our photo expedition through Skye and the Western Highlands but the days were too full and there never seemed to be enough time. I heard from a number of you who were unhappy that the blog just stopped so abruptly. Aplogies, I’ve given myself a stern talking to and will try to do better next time.
And what better time to start than now… at the moment I’m in Bermuda at the St George’s Club where I stayed last night and am looking down to the foot of the hill, on the top of which the Club is located, where I can see my next sailing ship, the Blue Clipper, waiting for me to board.
She’s a beautiful 3 masted schooner, gaff rigged like Tecla, but slightly larger, much newer and enormously more comfortable. As much as I enjoyed sailing in Tecla it did feel like experiencing first-hand Twenty Years Before the Mast. When I hit dry land my first sense was that I wouldn’t care to do anything like that again, and yet, and yet….
Let me step back a moment, one of my reasons for taking the passage with Tecla was that I wanted to sail with them this summer as they make an attempt at traversing the North-West Passage. I have just celebrated my 75th birthday and sailing the Passage seemed like an challenging way for me to celebrate the event. So my Iceland-Scotland sail was as much as anything a shakedown cruise for me to see if I would be able to handle it. Because of the unpredictability of weather and ice, it’s 50/50 whether they will be able to successfully complete the Arctic Passage or if they’ll have to return the way they came, but at the very least its about 2 months of hard sailing. If I learned anything from my 3 weeks aboard Tecla it was that my ageing and raging body would have been hard-pressed to stand up to requirements and so I reluctantly put that on my ToDo list for my next life.
My reluctance to do another blue water sail rapidly ebbed and by January the itch to do another sail could not be scratched and so I started to look around to see what I could find. My ideal was an Arctic/Greenland sail, or an Antarctic sail around Cape Horn or all else failing, to do a trans-Atlantic crossing. Couldn’t find anything that worked for either of the first two, timing and availability not working for me but did find Blue Clipper who is on her way back to the UK after wintering in the Caribbean. I could have chosen to go all the way to Liverpool with her but decided to stop when she reaches the Azores, about a three week sail, where V will meet me and we will spend 10 days exploring and photographing the Azores.
Should be a very different sail than was the case with Tecla, no stops along the way to break up the trip, no access to internet to post the blog and culturally different, Blue Clipper being a British ship and crew whereas Tecla was a Dutch ship with crew to match.
So here we go again! I board in a couple of hours and will post the blog as long as I have access to a signal and then will catch up on the other side.