It is nice to be back for a few days planning the next stage of the adventure, but I am starting to get itching feet already. Today I am in Den Helder where the whole idea of travelling round the world and the Clipper race began and where the boats will arrive on 23 July. Planning the next stage of my adventure is going well; 4 days with the Clipper teams in Qingdao, a 15 day tour through China and flights to visit Seattle and San Francisco to then drive a 20 day route visiting the National Parks on the way to Cedar Rapids. Can’t wait to get going again.
This has been a crazy week consisting of a hero’s welcome, visits to the medical centre and, much more importantly, a moving visit to a day centre for Agent Orange victims, crossing roads with thousands of scooters and motorbikes whizzing past, repairing a 300 square meter spinnaker sail, a gala price giving dinner with original Vietnam entertainment, a visit to an ancient heritage site My Son and the old town of Hoi An and top all that with an evening sailing parade with 250 thousand people lining the river clapping and cheering. Where do I begin? Should I even try to capture all that?
The race finish has finally been called and we have arrived in Da Nang. Both the crew and the boat are battered and bruised but we have survived 31 days on the ocean in hot, calm and stormy weather with lots of entertainment thrown in the mix. We had breakages on the boat and crew including my hand which is causing some pain and inhibits me doing my job aboard the boat. I hope it is only bruised but I will need to get it seen to in Da Nang. It is one of the many events this week such as having a fishing buoy and rope caught around the keel and rudder, running backstay shackle on the mast broken and being grounded for 30 minutes on the Han river in Da Nang despite having a pilot aboard.
We are going too fast!! Our ETA window (Estimated Time of Arrival) starts at 16th February. This means we cannot enter Da Nang before that date. Another source of exitement are the large container ships and tankers sailing to and from Singapore, crossing our bow or stern in the dark. Did they see us??