Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Over and Out

For three weeks now, we have been eating and drinking, behind and before us as we enjoy the familiar company of family and friends. We have been recounting our salty sea-tales and entertaining the locals with stories that never made it to the blog. We have been reliving the best and the worst days at sea, wondering if it was really us who did it and why it feels like it was all a dream.

It still hasn’t quite dawned on us that our journey has come to an end. Most days we wake up and look out the window to see Ashling sitting silently in the calm waters of Old Head Bay. We row out to visit her, unloading clothes, books and food, and tackling the never-ending list of maintenance and cleaning jobs. Some days we head out for a sail around the familiar waters of Clew Bay. It feels like we are stopping off at just another destination and will soon set sail again. It doesn’t feel like we should be sitting down to write the final blog post.

Complete the tiebreaker - 'Sailing from New Zealand to Ireland was ...' For all the money in the world, we find it impossible to condense a journey that contained so much into just one sentence. It was a year of fun and frustration, of tears and laughter, of hope and despair. We challenged ourselves both physically and mentally to fulfil the dream of one, which became the quest of two. It was everything we expected it would be, and so much more. If we had to do it all again, we’d jump at the chance. 

We have grown, both individually and together over the past ten months. We have learned to appreciate the small things in life, like laughing until your stomach hurts, or the feeling of a full stomach, or the touch of solid land underneath your feet. We feel very lucky to have had the health, means and opportunity to embark on our adventure, and believe that this experience will stand to us for many years to come. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and that our adventure has inspired you to embark on one of your own on land or at sea.

As Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." 

From thousands of photographs, we have selected the best and compiled a short film of our year at sea. Click here to watch it (duration 20 minutes). 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thank You

Words or gifts don’t even come close to expressing how thankful we are for the support, assistance and encouragement of so many people over the past year. There may have been a crew of two on board Ashling but we took great comfort from the hundreds of people around the world who were sailing with us in spirit. 

Since Day One at sea, so many people went above and beyond to help us achieve our goal, and we are honoured to call ourselves your friends:

  • To those who followed our blog religiously, encouraging us from afar and buoying our spirits through supportive emails and blog comments.
  • To those who put a roof over our heads, a comfortable bed under our backs and some good home cooking in our stomachs.
  • To all the sailors we met along our journey who welcomed us into their hearts and their homes, on land and at sea. 
  • To the thoughtful friends in Auckland who loaded us up with wrapped gifts to entertain us along our way.
  • To those who flew hundreds of miles to meet us along our adventure, giving us an excuse to take time out and take a holiday.
  • To those who took the time and effort to capture our adventure in poetry and on film.
  • To those who have helped us by providing skills and shelter for Ashling since our arrival in Ireland. 
In true sailor fashion, we promise to ‘pay it forward’ by extending the same open arms and hearts to people we meet further down the road.