One little week to go now until Gulliver and I head East across the big blue. Gulp. And the biggest of ‘Whoop whoops!’ too. These are exciting, slightly stressful and adrenaline-fuelled times now as I zone in on the start, signing out of land life bit by bit. It is as much mental as physical – there is a To Do List of tasks to tick off, and also a state I need to get to, where I am on my way to becoming an ocean beast again. I feel a little bit like I am in limbo – not quite signed out and yet not quite ready to go yet. But we are getting there. The To Do List is manageable, the week ahead as planned out as it can be and a wonderful network of people helping me out to sea. If you are one of those, in whatever way that might be, thank you. Arigatou gozaimasu.
After two weeks of delicious R&R with my wonderful Mum and the lovely Kris and Maren Hallenga, interspersed with packing, parties, interviews and boat tinkering, I am now up in Choshi, Chiba. Back in November last year I dipped my toe in the Pacific at Choshi Marina, having cycled and kayaked all the way from London. It is from that point that I shall push off in just a week’s time. Yesterday Gulliver arrived at the Marina by truck and I followed on today, via Tokyo for friends and more farewells. Leaving my little home by the sea at Kasa Zima Marina yesterday was rather emotional – the lovely Otake-san and his wife, family and staff now feel like my own family – so it was with teary eyes that I bade my neighbour Fuji-san cheerio and promised I would be back again one day. It was a beautiful day and Fuji-san peered out through a crown of white clouds all day, bathed in gold as the sun wet down. I feel so very lucky to have lived just across the water from such a fine and iconic mountain, surrounded by warmth and friendship.
It’s not all about the farewells at the moment, however. There is also a welcome to make. And that is to Ricardo Diniz, who many of you will remember from my Indian row. I was very sorry to hear a few weeks ago that the indomitable Justine wouldn’t be able to join me in Japan to support my final week of preparation, after taking a rather serious tumble from her bike and puncturing her lung. She is mending well but flying isn’t sensible, so she has promised to recover fully and be ready to greet me on the other side of the blue! I am happy that Ricardo was able to step into the role. He is due any minute now….
I am due a chat with my weather router Lee on Monday to look at the forecasts. We are aiming for a Friday morning departure if possible. “Good weather” just means as stable a pressure system as we can get, blowing offshore – ideally for a few days, creating the best window possible for Gulliver and I to get safely out to sea and away from land.
Until the next one,
Sarah and Gulliver x