I was very moved to watch this news report by GWN, filmed in Geraldton on Wednesday, the day after my temporary arrival back on dry land. The bit that really struck me was towards the end, where our guardian angel and host for that first night, Don Ferguson, brushed aside praise for his kindness, referring to “the old Australian way of mateship”, i.e. helping each other out.
With only one expensive exception, everybody that we have encountered from Tuesday onwards has warmly extended us the very best kind of mateship, opening up their homes, hearts and work premises to help out. Monday was ANZAC day, so Easter Monday became the holiday on Tuesday when everything was closed, and yet they came out and opened up shop and extended their hand to help.
I’d especially like to thank the Fergusons and the Gangells for their hospitality, Dan McGrath at Iluka for the use of the crane and flatbed truck, Shane Ferguson and Glen Reeves for their boat repair skills, Barney and Michael of the Water Police, Geoff and Merry of Leeman Volunteer Sea Rescue, and Damian of GWN for his fair and accurate reporting. Also thanks to Col Leonhardt, who created the fantastic video of my departure from Fremantle, who is heading up to Geraldton tomorrow to record Departure II.
Today has been another excitingly productive one. Shane has been doing a highly professional job patching up the dings to Sedna’s hull (inflicted when the crayfish boat hit her), while Glen came over to the workshop this morning with the new box housing for the watermaker pump. We are going to install the spare pump in the forward hatch below the rowing seat, and enclose it inside a box for additional protection. Glen has also managed to salvage the original pump that had been affected by seawater, so I will take that with me as a spare.
Meanwhile June and I have been busy emptying lockers, drying everything out, repacking, and various maintenance and logistical tasks.
We also found time for a quick coffee shop treat. No caramel lattes, alas, but an iced coffee with a delicious fruit and nut chocolate slice. Being back on dry land does have its compensations!
As well as thanking my new Aussie friends, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all my online supporters, who have stuck with me through thick and thin. The flow of messages expressing approval for my prudent course of action, appreciation for my environmental message, and encouragement for my relaunch has been an enormous source of strength. Once again, I have been reminded that I could not do what I do without your love and support. I can’t find words adequate to say how much I appreciate your unwavering loyalty. I will dedicate every stroke of my Indian Ocean row to all of you who represent the spirit of humanity, and of mateship, at its best. I love you.