As the saying goes, it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.
This is nonsense.
The two are inseparably intermingled.
A journey without a destination is not a journey.
A destination without a journey lacks sweetness.
Many months ago, I had a vague notion that I was going to conquer an ocean. This was also nonsense.
If anything, the ocean conquered me. After the final storm in the roaring forties, I understood a little better.
A little boat does not conquer oceans. Big ships try to do this, succeed for a while, but the laws of entropy eventually defeat this aspiration.
Instead, I spent many days living in the ocean. Bending our will to providence. Sometimes running much sail, sometimes running little. The ocean decided, not me. In return I was given an utterly balming experience that injected the oceans into my bones.
The final 72 hours of my trip were mainly marked by little sleep as I drew closer to the main shipping lanes coming out of Long Beach.
Coastal variable winds played havoc with any ability to predict progress and I made as best as I could, whenever I could.
Finally, I drew through the breakwater and sailed the final mile into the customs dock in perfectly calm water. A joy for Perpetual Succour to be not fighting waves proportionate to the wind. The docking was a little stressful, but a lovely synchronous routine gave no issue.
Customs was not quite as smooth as I had planned (intricacies of entry requirements for private yachts). However, the customs officers bent over backwards to make it work, and make it work they did. Awesome people!
By the time everything custom-wise was sorted, it was late afternoon.
First I had to get the boat off the dock. The winds were onshore, and it’s essentially impossible to sail a boat off a dock in these circumstances, so I did the old trick of running an anchor out 30 metres in an inflatable dinghy, dropping anchor, winching boat off dock, and sailing from there.
The final leg of my journey was to head another 30 miles north and dock at the marina. I decide to run overnight, and sadly didn’t get much sleep through the shipping lanes. I watched the sun rise for the final time as the winds died and pottered down the marina channel. Friends were there, hugs were exchanged, joy was experienced.
My reception has been nothing short of amazing. People see the red ensign and homeport, and I find myself answering questions, over and over again, about my little journey. The excitement and sense of an adventure that surrounds these people is a wonderful privilege to be able to invoke.
There are many thanks involved in such a journey. I desperately hoped I have left no one out.
To the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Your work is heroic.
To my mother Georgina – You taught me everything I know that is worth knowing. You pour out everything within to your children. Pia Pelicane!
To my sister Madeleine – You brightened every day with your messages. The link between me and the world, thank you for your daily toil in keeping the blog running!
To my brother Paul – You taught me adventure. Life must separate adventurers but know that I took you every step of the way. Thank you for your help with the engine!
To my sister Isabel – To anyone who finds themselves stuck in an ocean with a dislocated shoulder, I heartily recommend that you ring Isabel. Thank you for the daily verses.
To my brother John – Co-author of one of the most daring raids in the history of Sydney Harbour. We towed an engineless yacht the entire length of the harbour under the cover of night using a tiny power boat an eighth of its weight
To my brother William – Thanks for not dropping me!
To my sister Jean – I never got lost thanks to your frequent texts telling me where I was!
To my sister Sr Mariam – Beatus vir qui in lege Domini meditabitur die ac nocte
To Bruce – You steered the straightest line a mariner could ask for for more than 8000 miles. Unlike myself, unsleeping and unfailing.
To Perpetual Succour. My companion and my love. For 3 months your soft embrace was the only thing between me and 4kms of watery depths. I pushed you hard through the trade winds, but you loved every minute! Who needs a stinking motor anyway?
To Dr Lee – Thank you for your loan of a berth during my preparations.
To Dr Fischer. Thank you for your medical advice and antibiotics!
To Prof. Fitzpatrick – Thank you for sound advice regarding the doldrums.
To the Hobbs – Thank you for the dried fruit amongst many other fruits.
To Joshua Gereis – A most accomplished antifouler!
To Truong Vu Nguyen – The only man I know who had the guts to go ocean sailing with me twice. Thank you for your friendship and your care.
To Sam, Hadly, and Pat – Thank you for your assistance relocating Perpetual Succour from Mooloolaba to Sydney.
To Michael Plant. Thank you for your support and advice.
To Fr Wong – I think I possess the most thoroughly blessed boat in maritime history.
To Fr O’Neill – You gifted a canoe to two young boys and thus sparked a love sufficient to cross oceans.
To those of W5A – Thank you for your warm farewell. You all brightened many a long evening shift. The watch was perfect!
To Paul, Jeremy, Anna, Grace, and Brigid – Thank you for your books.
To the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre – Such friendly voices almost made it worth dislocating a shoulder.
To the kindly staff of Chaffers Marina, Wellington – Thank you for your welcoming and caring spirit.
To fellow adventurers – May what is beyond infinity give you what you seek.
To those who have donated, too many to list – Thank you for making the world a better place.
To those who journeyed with me. Thank you for your messages, your prayers, your well wishes, and your presence.
To My Father – Requiescat in pace.
Latitude: 33.97598, Longitude: -118.4467, Time: 03:44:03 05-07-2018 UTC