Today was a bit of a scramble to get things finished, but I’ve started to notice a pattern emerging on my departure days. It’s very difficult to say how I feel – there is a kind of numbness that settles over me. By this stage most of what can be done has been done, and it’s too late to push to achieve more. So I just drift through the day in a kind of haze, biding time until the hour of departure arrives.
Having said that, there was quite a buzz at the Waikiki Yacht Club today. My team of helpers had been on hand all day, all working hard on boat, medical kit, last-minute purchases, laundry, technology, etc. But at 6pm approached a new contingent arrived – press, cameras, and so on. Tom Stone, the kahuna (Hawaiian priest) blessed my boat.
But the memories that will stay in my mind the longest are of the departure itself. So many people on land and sea there to wish me well. People standing along the harbour wall on Magic Island holding up big signs to cheer me on. A flotilla of paddlers (both seated and stand-up), sailboats and powerboats. The big media boat. The helicopter swooping overhead to get aerial footage.
One by one they turned around and headed back to shore, and after all he noise the silence of the ocean surrounded me. I rowed for a while longer, and had just popped into the cabin to post a Tweet when a familiar voice accosted me. It was Barry Pickering, Mike Marsh and Cindy on board the Blue Lady, a small sailboat I’ve enjoyed some memorable Friday nights on. A final goodbye, and then I was really alone, watching the bright lights of Honolulu recede behind me as I rowed out into the inky darkness of the open ocean.
I’d planned to row a bit longer tonight, but I’m bushed. It’s been a long day. So I’ve just had a sponge-and-bucket bath to rinse away some of the sweat of the day, and soon I’ll get my head down for a short sleep. Conditions are calm tonight – dead silent and only the slightest swell – so I hope I get some good zzz in between waking up to check for shipping. I won’t be able to relax until I get out of sight of land, and well away from shipping lanes.
Just finally, I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everybody who came down to see me off. I didn’t get the chance to say thanks and goodbye to everyone – so please forgive me. Thanks especially those who came from the mainland, and to Captain Vince of the White Holly and his new wife Joanna – they got married today, but still found time to come and wish me well. Congratulations, and very
best wishes for the future!