Leaving IJmuiden was a highly emotional affair. Opa, Omi, Linda and Jur came to wave us off. After a short coffee in the cockpit full of forced jollity and great attempts to appear normal they helped us fill up the tanks at the diesel dock and we headed out into a choppy sea. Four very special figures waved wildly from the shore and slowly blurred into the coastline which in turn also faded slowly out of recognition. The impact of our departure had been weighing on us all for a few weeks but this was a moment that hit Seb particularly hard.
Our first trip was suitably messy with short waves and little wind and four highly nauseous sailors. The marine traffic between IJmuiden and the coast of England is exceedingly busy so watches were stressful and we were tired from processing our tumultuous feelings. The wind preferred to direct us to Ramsgate rather than Dover and we tied up to the dock after 24 hours feeling worn-out and sad but beginning to feel the freshness and anticipation of new things.
Ramsgate is a resort town filled with fish and chips tents, ice cream parlours, a small beach and many awful gambling parlours with slot machines primarily designed for children. Fortunately, there is a nice walk along the white chalk cliifs (really cool, you can grab chunks of it to draw on the sidewalk).
Our attempt at parenting using negative experiential reinforcement unfortunately failed. We gave both children 1 pound to test the slide machines in the gambling dens sure that they would come out with a solid understanding that gambling is a losing pursuit. Unfortunately, Emma walked out having tripled her money and Macsen with a toy. Hmmm. This lesson will need to be revisited.
Our visit to England was very short and highly opportunistic, when there was a weather window we set sail and kept going as long as the wind allowed. This gave a short but nice stay in Dover (lovely and interesting castle) and a final stop to prepare and provision in Weymouth. Weymouth might have once been lovely but the waterfront is now comically overrun with carnival rides, fast food, cotton candy and other tacky attractions. We would love to have stayed and explored the more lovely towns of the English coastline but we wanted to cross the Bay of Biscay as quickly as possible so Weymouth was the last stop.
Alex Harston 21/09/2017
What a lovely way to start the trip, so many memories, and so many people who miss you here!!! I’m writing this from high in the Austrian mountains, but wish we had been there to wave you off too.
Know that you guys are greatly missed, but we all know that this is one of those things that you will remember forever, and we will be waiting for tales of the high seas, Africa, the battered islands of the Caribbean and much more.
Lili and Max send all their love to the little sailors, and Lili’s class isn’t the SME without Macsen!
Life goes on in Holland, with nothing changing much, but Swift did win the KNVB Bekker last night which was amazing.
Take care and god’s speed dear friends, and can’t wait to catch your next blog, and perhaps meet up with you somewhere on your voyage.
All the best, and masses of love, Alex, Yasmin, Lili and Maxi.
John and Natascha 21/09/2017
Dear family, all the best with your exiting tour. Like a few years ago, we will follow you this time as well. Take care, we wishes you a prosperous sailing tour. All the best from John and Natascha, SY Annabelle, Workum
Fair wind and hope to see all you soon from the Coconuts!