* Dr Seuss
This is Lucy here, Sarah’s fiancée.
I am writing from Chatham, Cape Cod as Sarah and I sit at the kitchen table, beavering away typing up bits of admin and writing Sarah’s will (we know how to do romance) ahead of her Atlantic departure (who knows when) and my flight home tomorrow.
I flew out two weeks ago to be here with her and help prepare, hoping that I would get to see the launch. Unfortunately the weather didn’t get the memo, so Sarah is still on shore and I won’t be here for it, given that I need to fly home to the farm tomorrow. It has been brilliant and the days have flown as we spend 24/7 side by side, helping and supporting each other. It was three months since we were last together in Minnesota at the end of our 2 months of riding through the winter together. Like every time, it felt like we had never been apart. The excitement of flying out to see Sarah was unbearable two weeks ago and equally, the pain of leaving tomorrow is way off the spectrum.
Our days have been full and varied, but with repeating themes of training, physio and massage, boat prep, admin and school talks. In the daily 2 hour gym sessions, I first tried to copy Sarah’s weights before realising she has been training like this for a few weeks before and so tailored them down. There has been some big decision making and exciting progress with thoughts of our life after the expedition and planning our wedding. There have been big decisions about Sarah’s journey and team as well. Besides getting Sarah ready to go, the goal has been to get Happy Socks ready to row too. Fixing and fitting bits and bobs, checking this and that – she is now sitting patiently at Ryders Cove Marina for the electrician to arrive in the morning to sort out a tech issue. She is looking very smart with her new stickers and wind turbine from Marlec and her skipper too is looking in great shape. Sarah’s having some fantastic physio and massage out here from Amy and Joyce, her diet and training is great and generally I haven’t seen her this healthy in months. She is ready.
Goodbyes are tough
I thought I had done pretty good job of convincing myself that this good bye would be easier than all the others, having done it before and with Sarah being so close (relatively) to home. And then yesterday the reality smacked me round the face when I overheard an interview that Sarah was doing with my friend Jen Crook, who has just flown home after a week of filming with us. (That and some great giggles, training and pie-eating)
Jen was interviewing Sarah when I arrived home from some errands, and so I sat on the bottom of the steps waiting for them to finish, listening as I did so. Eventually the questions turned to dangers at sea and the potential for life threatening scenarios. Switches flipped inside my head, pulling down those barriers I thought I had put up so well and the tears poured. I took myself off for a cycle, stopping at a beach to sit on the sand and collect my thoughts and pull myself together. The reality of being apart and of Sarah being alone out there is once again, very huge and very near.
Feel the fear
Today we all took a boat ride out to where Sarah will cross the Chatham Bar and pull away from Cape Cod into the big blue – a very surreal and sobering experience, but exciting too. I envied the seals on their sandbank – they will get to see Sarah leave.
The essence of it all is that I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m terrified Sarah will be totally alone if something bad was to happen, and I’m terrified she won’t come home.
It is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do: to help and support your most favourite person ever in fighting for their dream, being totally immersed in their excitement of the huge experience ahead and letting them go into the ocean physically alone. The goodbye time is massive. To let go, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again is mind blowing. It feels like a huge conflict of emotions running riot in every direction, my imagination going wild and needing to be kept in check – too much is a dangerous thing. I have learned it is not so much as trying to put barriers up but rather letting the emotion in, feeling it and accepting it and working with it, that will help us both get through.
I am constantly reminded how many gems are working with and for Sarah – she has the best possible team behind her. Happy Socks is sound and ready, and you couldn’t ask for any more top notch qualities in a person to get herself and boat home safely. We just need the weather to cooperate.
Since being out here I have been pooped on by gulls twice. I’m not superstitious, but hopefully it means only good things ahead…
So here’s to calm waters, westerly winds and homeward with the penultimate chapter.
P.S: An apology from Sarah for absent blogs recently. Atlantic prep grows arms and legs and she is just about stopped running to catch them up. She will be updating you all shortly. Remember you can also follow her Twitter updates (RHS)
P.P.S: Thank you to Roz and Bill Coleman for their fab accommodation Ship’s Light; Joyce Hutchings for the best massages I think I’ve ever had; Carol and Chatham Health Club for use of their brilliant gym; Ryders Cove Boatyard for all their support; John Dickson for organising the public talk at Monomoy RHS; Bill Burlin for the dinners and company and Rob Eustace and MK3i for shipping – and to everyone else who has looked after Sarah since she has been here.
P.P.P.S: As soon as Sarah and Lee (weather router) make a call on weather and departure, we will post it here.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feeling with all of us. Many prayers and positive thoughts have both you and Sarah in them. She has endured many dangerous challenges and either through them. I’m hopeful this streak will continue.
Both of you are such a lovely couple, I can’t wait to see the wedding pictures!
Keep the faith and continue to share with all of us. We feel like both of you are family.
Chris from Alaska
Here’s to that streak of good luck…. !
Thanks, Lucy, for your very honest blog. This being the very last leg of this amazing voyage must make it particularly difficult psychologically, with many conflicting emotions. So so many people, including the thousands she has met along the way, will be willing Sarah home safe and sound. I look forward to following her progress across the ocean and, all being well, to waving her in from London Bridge.
All he best to you both,
Valerie ( blog follower from Day 1!)
Sending lots of love to you both! x
Right back at you from over here. Warm thoughts to you both and the fam x
Best wishes from Scotland. I hope you get a favourable weather system to head off soon.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m praying for a safe journey for Sarah and a speedy passage without too much tracker knitting… and that she’ll be able to get going soon! I can imagine that this time in limbo must be hard on everybody.
Best wishes for your futures together.
Lucy & Sarah, all of us at Backwoods in Scotland are cheering you on for this final hurdle. You are both amazing xx
We have fond memories of our time in the woods with Patrick and co.
Good luck Sarah!! The last lap of an epic journey!! Still following you on the blog and continue to be amazed at what you have achieved.
May the wind always be in the right direction!
I’ll say aye to that.
Thanks Mrs Owens (Still doesn’t feel right saying Frankie after all these years!). Home soon…
Lucy thank you for your perspective. That has always been a topic that fascinated me: how does the loved one cope with their adventurous better halves and how do they cope with the stress, strain and seperation.
Sarah, I bet the exitement is already making your tummy topsy-turvy. Hope the weather will allow you to depart soon. Be safe. Excited for you.
All sorts of feelings from me (Sarah) – a bit like Lucy’s riot of emotions. It hasn’t hit me properly yet that she flies home today – there is always a lag for me. But the excitement is there too – it’s a tricky one to reconcile.
Hurrah for bird poop. I’m sure that’s a lucky sign! You are amazing in your support for Sarah, Lucy. I watched you in Adak unselfishly support her in every way. She’s a lucky girl! I’m looking forward to cheering her into the UK with you in a few months. 🙂
A very very lucky girl 🙂
Good luck Sarah. May the weather gods take you gently to the other side.
Here-here to that Jean-Guy!
Sorry not to meet up with you and Lucie this time. Another day.
Sarah, you know you are crazy, right? I’m still trying to establish whether I envy you!
Thanks for the update
Hi Lucy and Sarah this is Jude
Thank you for letting me row Happy Socks, and use your Plankton net. Our ice cream party was fun! Please don’t forget to come back for my birthday party , next summer ( mom said Sarah will be rowing and Lucy will be farming this summer) on August 23 2016! See you soon love Jude
We enjoyed the plankton netting and ice creaming too. I hope you enjoy your new net and that the bike riding is coming along really well.
Sarah and Lucy x
Row well, rest when you can and let the currents draw you home.
You’ve achieved and experienced so much already and Tower Bridge is so much closer than it was. All you need to do is cross the ‘pond’.
Lucy, marriage and the rest of your life await and I for one look forward to hearing all about your epic effort since you came to Stamford in March 2014. As you messaged me last year ‘Wishing you fair winds, sunny days and happy times as you take on these challenges. Keep on, keeping’ on….’
God Bless you and hold you safe,
Neil & Maggie
Safe journey home Lucy. You both have so much to look forward to. Stay focussed. Your future together is getting nearer. Love and hugs xxxx
Stay strong, girls! Sarah, I think of you every time I walk my dogs on the beach, here in a tiny little place in the south of New Zealand – I know it’s a long way from the sea you’ll be in, but the feeling is there as I look out, be it a georgous sunny calm day like it is today, or a wild stormy sea. I wish you a safe journey. Know that you have the thoughts and prayers of many people around the world. Lucy – I can’t begin to imagine what the wait will be like, but hang in there. Hugs to you both.
‘Amen’ to your toast to safe travels…
Thanks for all the lovely comments, folks.
Update as of May 7th – the AIS unit on Happy Socks has failed and we are awaiting delivery of a new one.
Wishing you well on the last phase of your incredible journey – God speed and fair weather!