Sunday, February 14, 2016

Circumnavigating the globe

No, not one of Grace's crazier ideas!

I've recently been contacted by one Rona House, who messaged me via Flickr while she was looking through my "Life with our feet under water" gallery there. What followed was a series of messages and emails between us in which I found out that she is a yachtswoman of some decades' experience who sailed around the world in a 27 foot Vancouver Yacht, Cacique, back in 1990-93. She sent me a Kindle document, not publicly available as yet, which is a series of newsletters she wrote on the voyage. Some of what this lady reports very casually is, frankly, scary!

Fourteen days in, her engine "ran away with itself at full throttle", and the new radio, essential for weather forecasts and direction finding, "packed up". 10 days out of New Zealand, she encounters "Winds 55 to 60 knots sustained, gusting higher. Seas PHENOMENAL", when she really believes she's going to perish. "Six feet of very black, very mean-looking snake" tries to nest in Cacique's exhaust pipe. There are menacing pirates around Indonesia. Later, the yacht collides into the side of a freighter while Rona's below deck, sleeping, damaging her boat and breaking several ribs. Shortly after that, she becomes ill, delirious for several days. She loses over a stone in weight. A rope gives way, and she falls overboard, is able to pull herself onto a jib, but can't get any further onto the boat than that. Her only option is to let go, let the boat carry on without her, swim, and hope to be rescued by a passing boat. (She is, and she retrieves the boat.) Then an 18-foot whale crashes into the boat, injuring itself but, amazingly, not the yacht. And corrupt officials abound.

But it's not all catastrophe. It's a very human document, with fond tales of meetings with lots of friends on the way, meals and celebrations, and encounters with many other people in her several spells spent on land. It's not a long document, and not ready for publication as a book, which may never happen anyway. But it's a gripping read, and a fascinating insight into life at sea. Rona's currently reading my book. It's not anything like as exciting as her story, but will give her a look into a hugely contrasting life on the water, as hers gave me.
(Photos from Rona's gallery)

Rona's pictorial record of the three-year adventure can be seen here.

After the circumnavigation, Rona sold Cacique, and the boat's now available for hire, with or without a skipper, in Brixham Harbour.

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