Yes, it’s all organised, and I can hardly believe it. I’m going on the tall ship Tenacious, owned and operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust! Tomorrow I get to meet the other five people joining the voyage from Bermuda, and most likely get my photo in the paper, and hopefully a chance to ask some questions. Then in about a fortnight, we’re off on a trip of a lifetime.
So how did this opportunity come about? Well my lovely husband has just one little fault, he thinks I’m amazing and can accomplish anything. It’s so great to have my very own support team, but sometimes I get a little carried away with his enthusiasm. He said ‘The Bermuda Sailors Home are sponsoring one of my clients to go on a tall ship, and sail around the Carribean’. I said ‘So, why are you telling me about it?’. It turns out he desperately wanted to go, but doesn’t have enough leave, so put my name down. Holy moly, I’ve never been on a ship that size, well one that is completely under wind power and will leave the safety of costal waters. I have however walked around one safely secured at the dock. So I said ‘Why not’.
The Tenacious is a completely user friendly purpose built ship for people with disabilities. It is run as a charity from the UK, and until recently part of a fleet with the Lord Nelson, now decommissioned. Everything is designed with disabilities in mind, like wider gangways, railings with indicator arrows, a hydraulic lift between decks, and a crows nest that can accommodate wheel chairs that they hoist people up to take their turn. My role is to support a young voyager who has a vision impairment, flying from Bermuda to Miami, then Miami to the ship in Antigua, and back again at the end of the voyage. When I arrive at the ship, I get to travel as voyage crew, and will be buddied up with another voyager who has a disability; and I expect to advise the person I originally travelled with from time to time if necessary. The ship sails around the Carribean stopping at the islands of Saint Barthélemy, St Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla and possibly as far as the British Virgin Islands, but that is weather dependant. I have heard stories of a four day trip turning into a ten day one when becalmed at sea for six of those days! Everyone on board sails the ship, which means if willing, I’ll get a chance to try out most tasks on board, and support my buddy to as well.
The flights, most of the accommodation, the insurances and the voyage booking are all nearly done, and my t-shirts arrived today as well. It’s very exciting and terribly nerve wracking all at once. And of course not without glitches. I’ve discovered that my Residency permit will expire while I’m away, so I’m off to apply for a landing permit at immigration tomorrow, just to be on the safe side. The new permits are in process but just taking a little longer than anticipated. There’s a bit of a list of items to take, so I’ve been shopping, imagine that! Actually thanks to my travels over the last few years, there surprisingly wasn’t much to get. But I did take advantage of a good sale yesterday, just to be on the safe side. I have to take enough clothing and personal care items for two weeks, as there’s no washing facility on short voyages. I don’t know if I call ten days ‘short’ but if they say it is, then it must be!
The question everyone keeps asking me, is ‘Do you get sea sick?’. Hell, I don’t know! In New Zealand, I went on a passenger ferry the ‘Rangatira’ in when I was nine, travelling from Christchurch to Wellington return. This was an overnight crossing, and I remember the boat rolling me from side to side as I slept. I don’t recall being sea sick. I also went on a smaller ferry across Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island in 2012. The way over was like glass, but the way back the waves were eight metres, and the land kept disappearing then popping back again. There were a few blokes outside on the deck trying to look tough, but we all knew they were doing their best not to hurl and had placed themselves nice and close to the side. I don’t recall being sea sick then either. A Bermudian man asked me ‘Did you get sick on the Ferry down to Dockyards?’. Well no, of course I didn’t. I also love turbulence when I’m flying, so much so my lovely husband said ‘You do know what turbulence is, don’t you?’. Of course I do! However, I got the ginger tablets for my tummy and the sea band for my wrist just in case. Can’t be too careful, and there’s nowhere to go shopping once on board! Now you know why I got the deck shoes……
I couldn’t find a photo of the Rangatira but here’s the information about it from Wikipedia:
Right, I’d better get to it then.
More soon – Sally