Dollars and sense

The long days in Tromsø are filled with the myriad of tasks required to get Widdershins on the water and daylight round the clock ensures long hours of tinkering and organisation and this would-be explorer is pulling out all stops to get ready to set sail. My good old friend Murphy is playing havoc with many plans of course – anything that can go wrong will go wrong – but a good dose of determination and a willingness to work hard seems enough to get over pretty much any obstacle. The countdown is on now but there is still plenty of work to do!

The new sails are installed, the new electronics including radar, Man Overboard safety tags, HF radio antennae, satellite phone, anemometer (wind recorder) and the SCUBA compressor are all installed or will be shortly. In fact with all the new gadgets cluttering the yacht at the moments it’s a bit like being a kid in a candy shop right now. Unfortunately having fancy new toys is no consolation for actually setting sail, and we are both eagerly awaiting the moment when the hull kisses the water for the first time this summer and the sails fill with a gentle breeze blowing us north.

The budget of the trip is also looking a little thin at the moment with many donors citing tough economic conditions to reduce or withheld money that was going to help us get on our way. The trip is definitely going to empty the meagre coffers of our own accounts … but then again, what is the price of freedom? Come what may, we will soon be sailing.

Call it perversity if you will, but while doing this trip on a shoestring takes away the comfort of a financial buffer, it also adds something to our project. One of the major visions we had when planning the trip many years ago was to demonstrate that with a bit of grit and a healthy dose of will power anyone can cast off the lines that bind them to one port and explore the world on their own terms. We hope to bring the wilderness of the world into many peoples home during our journey, but the bigger hope is that we encourage people to realise that the world is a big beautiful place and making small changes in the way we live will pay big dividends. Our lifestyle during the two in the blue journey will best be described as frugal …. but our lounge room will be the open ocean, our ceiling the blue sky and rather than taking our daily dose of wilderness filtered through TV documentaries wilderness will be our home for the next two years.

Of course all the major expenses have already been paid and our main financial wants relate to food, provisions and fuel at this stage…. But then again the seas are filled with fish and the wind is free. That’s not to say we aren’t still looking for additional funding to help us on the way! Every bit helps more than ever at this point, but knowing that we will sail come-what-may is a comforting thought. The wide open ocean awaits and we are ready to take up the challenge!

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