I managed to get away with just a few tears last night during a 23 hour day which ended at 4am after the party on Haslar Marina Lightship last night. We celebrated our Wedding Anniversary, several people’s birthdays, our retirements and leaving to fulfil our sailing plans. The past 3 weeks the main focus has been to get Beyzano ready for ‘her’ party and we have been working right up to the final day. Our Biscay crew Alex and Paul helped me put up the signal flags and fortunately we decided to tie them to an additional line as the strong wind we have today would have torn them down in no time. Almost everything we wanted to get done on Beyzano prior to the party was done with a few hours to spare, so we had a chance to relax in the sunshine before the first guests arrived at 2.30pm.
Thanks to everyone who attended, for all the cards, good wishes, thoughtful presents, donations to charity and for a lovely evening in their company. It was wonderful to see the Lightship full of old and new friends and family, some of whom had travelled a long distance to be there. A special thank you to Kym, James, Gisella and Sian, who spent 2 hours decorating the venue with banners, balloons and dodgy old photographs of Rob and I. Kym and James also gave moving speeches, hence the few tears.
The Hoyle family made us a beautiful cake with a model of Beyzano on top and we had a selection of cakes for the various occasions we were celebrating. The rain held off and we had blue skies for most of the day, which enabled us to take some pictures of the earlier arrivals on Beyzano and by 7.30pm almost everyone had arrived in time for the BBQ and cakes.
I had been dreading the thought of saying goodbye to everyone but in the end it was such a busy evening trying to get a few minutes with every guest and the atmosphere had a positive, forward looking feel to it, so I ended up feeling happy and excited rather than sad. We will miss our family and friends but hope to see many of them in warmer climates over the next few years. Whenever we get an internet connection this blog will be updated and we intend to stay in many places for quite a long time to enable people to book flights and plan a trip.
By the end of the evening a hardy few, including our new ARC friends on Saltwhistle, were left drinking champagne and black sambuca shots followed by a dubious cake eating race!
We have a few things to do before we leave, such as checking our SSB and modem are set up properly with Bob from Yachtcom, so we can stay in touch with our friends as promised. A friend’s son with sextant know-how is showing us how to use Rob’s new toy this week and we have a few evening meals out with local friends. Then we need to collect the last few items from YouBoat and pay their bill, pay the marina as we leave and our crew will move aboard next weekend, hopefully in better weather than this. We will take them out with some other friends from the marina who are well versed in the art of flying the spinnaker, for some practice sessions as we haven’t used our huge spinnaker since we bought the boat. Far too big for 2 apparently!
During the next 9 days, whilst Rob services the engine, changes the filters and puts the mainsail up complete with new third reef and lazyjacks, I will be visiting my parents, provisioning and cooking for the voyages ahead and sorting out the final bits of admin. It was good to have the party ahead of leaving so we now have time to calmly check everything we can think of is done and wait for the right weather to leave Haslar.