One foot on the ground
SETTING THE COURSE
After the sun went down, the southerly winds picked up and we found ourselves in a relentless lateral swell on our anchorage. Our stomachs still hadn’t settled from Sunday. After four hours of tossing there was only one thing to be done .. put our bedclothes in a bin bag and head for the beach in our dingy. After three hours sleep a resort security guard passed but kindly ignored us, but by then the midges were biting and the day started. Fortunately the beach was a five star resort, so once we’d cleaned ourselves up we settled into the luxury.
Sometimes plans have to change in response to events. The course we plotted around the Leeward Islands was easy to draw on a map, but the swell created as the Atlantic hits the continental shelf creates waves that turn the route into a fairground ride. Imagine taking a roller coaster from London to Edinburgh. That’s Antigua to Anguilla by sea. So we’ve decided we’re fair weather sailors and we’ve plotted a new course to explore the coves of Antigua with a flight to Anguilla for our meeting with the Governor.
This year has been unprecedented for change. As the world axis shifted geo-politically I found my life turned upside down. After building a software company for seventeen years, before this trip I stepped down from my executive role and I'm now charting a new course. In January, after much soul searching, Miranda and I are moving to Sydney for six months. I’ll be working with KPMG to help build their new Internet of Things (IoT) practice providing Advisory Services to help the government and enterprises apply leading edge sensor and machine learning technologies to optimise the use of resources in urban and rural environments. I'll be building on the experience, knowledge and network I have gained over the last four years developing the NFP Hypercat Alliance, creating new opportunities and partnerships. It’s a course that’s true to what I enjoy best, connecting people and things to make the world work better. And with the platform of KPMG to deliver from, it’s a very exciting move. We’ll be living around the corner from Miranda’s sister and her family in Maroubra, with a sea view. Why not plot a new course and come and visit us?
We're both now recovered and we're feeling great. The pictures below were taken in Carlisle Bay this evening. Less is more.
We can laugh at our horror show now and hope you can. Yes, it was very distressing, and perhaps the scariest moment of our lives, but the experience has built our awareness of the sea - you can't gain that from a book. Going through something like that together, whilst I don't recommend it, is a very powerful bond. We both learnt about each other and I am in awe of Miranda's bravery.
The video itself caught the essence of the situation, but it missed a lot. From first losing our power and steering we drifted five miles on the tide over three hours. We had to stay below and close to the radio which was truly horrible. The official vessel of the island had a hole in it, so we were rescued by a private crew who showed huge bravery, but they left without a working GPS system and it was down to the keen eye of the Captain's son who spotted us in the waves. Connecting two boats together in a large swell was treacherous, the boats very nearly collided. With the tide and wind pulling in different directions it was tough to predict the movement of the boats, we drifted another half a mile during the connection. A search and rescue plane was sent out and circled overhead once the boat found us. After an hour of tow the rope snapped and we had to reconnect again.
Most of all, as we pondered our survival, we both reflected on the really important things in life - our children, family and friends. Our clan. Thank you for all your comments of support.
After our rescue we stayed on Montserrat for a couple of nights to reflect and recover. The island folk were very warm, welcoming, religious people. The local radio plays song after song about Jesus and redemption. A few years ago the volcano erupted and wiped out Plymouth, the main town, so those who have stayed now live under the threat of another eruption. On Monday we woke before dawn to escape the island, the weather was horrendous. Thunder and lightening was forecast but the sea was a bit calmer. Visibility was very poor. Our GPS stopped working as we slipped our mooring so we had to navigate with maps and three compasses all showing a different North. Miranda kept a very keen watch for fishing pots and there were lots we had to avoid. For 3 hours all we saw was sea - when we sighted land again the feeling was fabulous.
We're now back in Jolly Harbour on a mooring rethinking our plans a bit ...
The trailer below give a rough idea of our first and last trip (if we can ever escape) to 'Volcano Island'. See Reflections for more details. There is an old Montserrat folk law that says if you drink the island's water you will never leave .. we had more than our fair share.