Our original intent was to sail off round the world on a family adventure.
Inexperience in blue water cruising, the desire to offer our children the possibility of some kind of social life, and not least the all-too-well-publicised risk of piracy steered us towards the idea of sailing with a group.
Furthermore we always felt that taking off on an adventure around the tropics, whilst at best an awesome adventure for the family and an exciting succession of discoveries of the richness of the world we live in, at worst risked turning into a procession of lying on beaches and leaving our waste behind in tropical countries who could ill afford to dispose of it.
So when we got involved early on in the concept of the Blue Planet Odyssey, a rally not only aimed at highlighting the impact of climate change as it followed the route we had in mind, but also determined to have a positive tangible impact through collecting valuable scientific data (on birds, marine debris, marine life and the oceans themselves), we were easily seduced by the idea of living our dream with a genuine philanthropic purpose. Our enthusiasm was underpinned by Unesco’s recent sponsorship of this project, bolstering the support of NOAA which the rally’s leadership had already secured.
But our primary focus is still having an adventure as a family, and the constraints of a set schedule with all its corollary commitments (whether media events or other mandatory group activities), not least the commitment to sail all around the globe – an aspiration but perhaps not something we’re 100% tied to given the challenge of getting back past Africa (Gulf of Aden or down past Madagascar) – do not sit easily with our vision of freedom to cruise at our pace and explore the world on our terms. That, along with a lack of committed school age participants, swayed us towards the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers for our first ocean crossing.
Whilst we are still as keen as ever to participate in the Blue Planet Odyssey, and we’ll definitely participate in projects (such as Secchi disks to improve our understanding of changes in marine phytoplankton concentrations), at the time of writing we believe we’ll be better placed to commit fully once we’ve crossed the Atlantic and had some experience of blue water cruising with a winter in the Caribbean.
We’ll definitely be doing the ARC in November 2014.
We’ll definitely winter in the Caribbean.
We are likely to do the Pacific leg of the Blue Planet Odyssey – from the Caribbean to Australia.
Beyond that, who knows ….
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)