Before leaving England I was interviewed by BBC Radio Solent and BBC South Today TV. Furthermore, our story was published in a variety of small newspapers and some serious sailing magazines. The night before we flew I received a call and was told that our story about sailing around the world with a 3-year-old was going to hit The Daily Mail and The Times. What about life aboard our new yacht?!? It’s more about life with the media after you!
WOW – can’t get bigger than that, now can you?
I suppose I was nervous about the trip, to begin with but the added media coverage has been definitely keeping my mind off of our future adventure! Instead of speculating what might happen in a week’s time, I’m freaking out about how a particular interview might go. At least nothing has been live! The radio and TV interviews were all recorded first. (Note: More on the media further down)
Anyway, let me get to Gibraltar!
My husband, daughter, cousin, and I arrived in Gibraltar around 11 am. When disembarking from the plane I was once again in awe of the huge rock of Gibraltar. The airport faces the monumental rock – the planes land in between the airport and the huge rock. While walking into the airport I noticed that my cousin, Loryn, was looking down.
I yelled over to her, ‘Loryn – have you looked left?’ She turned to the left and said, ‘Oh my God! That’s amazing.’ She stood along the side of the runway for a few seconds taking it all in. I cracked up laughing because she didn’t notice the famous Rock of Gibraltar. Seriously – how can you miss it?!
We entered the baggage area and signs said to go to ‘Baggage Claim 1.’ Both my cousin and I looked around for a row of belts and noted that there only seemed to be one. We laughed and thought, ‘we’re not in NY or London anymore!’
We all piled into a taxi, got ¼ mile from the airport, and then we were held up at some very long traffic lights. Eventually we saw a plane fly across the road and realized why we were held up!
The road closes to allow planes to land and take-off! How funny is that?!
After a few minutes we were finally reunited with the marina that Britican is moored in. I felt very shaky as we approached the boat. I was tired, anxious, and freaking out as usual. When I saw ‘Britican’ on the boom (we renamed her so that was the first time I saw our name on the boat), I felt even more scared. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh – what are we doing?!’ I pointed the boat out to Loryn and she said, ‘Wow – that’s big!’
We got on board and I quickly noticed loads of dirt and dust that accumulated on her while we were gone. Before we left in December, Simon and I cleaned the boat inside and out. Not one inch of the boat was left uncleaned and polished. Simon opened the door and we dropped down into the main living area. She smelled good so I was pleased about that.
Sienna ran around saying, ‘let me show you my room Loryn!’ Sienna gave the grand tour as Sim and I walked around making sure everything was okay. Sienna started to yell out, ‘I love sailing. I love boats. I love my family. I love my life. I love you mummy!’ Hearing all her love pour out made me feel more comfortable about our decision.
And at one point, Sim said, ‘give me a kiss!’ We kissed and he yelled out, ‘we’ve finally made it here!’
First things first – getting on and off the boat
The leap from the yacht to the mooring pontoon was quite a large one. Furthermore, anyone trying to get on had to step in our dingy first (handing on davits off the back of the boat) which was very unstable. So, we decided to put the passerelle out. I’m sure it should be a 5-minute job but it took 2 hours and provided great entertainment for the onlookers drinking at the local restaurants.
Back to the passerelle, or gangplank, as I call it. We had to loosen the ropes (warps) on the back of the boat and winch the front of the boat forward. We also had to put the dingy in the water. We saw a plug that needed to be inserted, to prevent the dingy from filling from water, but we missed another plug that also needed to be plugged.
So..while the dingy was sinking, we looked like a bunch of morons trying to get the gangplank to land on the pontoon. When we first attached and dropped it, the silly thing reached over to the adjacent boat making a bridge. That would have been fine if we wanted to visit our neighbors but the other boaters might have been annoyed at having to climb across the passerelle to get to their boats.
Needless to say, we finally got the passerelle sorted and we all joyfully walked, rather than leap, off the back of the boat. While passing by another boat we noticed that they used a ladder and just tied it onto the boat and hooked a fender under the area that hit the jetty. That looked far easier than our passerelle!
After all, was said and done, my reaction was, ‘who wants to get a glass of wine now?’ I felt as if we did a day’s work and needed some kind of reward. Hehehe.
Thereafter we got some groceries, put all our clothes away, and settled around the table for dinner. We had a fantastic salad and all did cheers to a happy and safe adventure.
BBC Radio 5 Live just rang me!
That was scary. Holy smokes. I’m still shaking. I stayed outside sitting along the quayside so that Sienna wouldn’t yell out my name or try and get my attention. I was a bit cold and I was shaking with nerves.
What happened is this. My phone rang and a guy named Ross said he was calling from BBC Radio 5. He said he’s patch me into the live show so I could hear it as it’s being broadcast. Once he patched me in I could hear the radio over my phone and then I hear Ross say, ‘can you hear the live broadcast?’ I said ‘yes’ and then left the line. After a couple of minutes I heard one of the broadcasters introduce us and our story.
As soon as I heard the broadcaster mention our story I started to freak out
I was shaking uncontrollably and kept saying to myself, ‘stay calm, stay calm.’ The questions they asked were fairly straightforward and I felt that I responded to them in the best way that I could. They asked about homeschooling and they mentioned safety. One of the broadcasters asked me to tell them something I haven’t yet mentioned so I explained my mom’s fear of us being attacked by a giant killer squid. Everyone seemed to find that funny.
And when they asked how we’re going to keep Sienna safe I responded that we just keep her tied down. Now of course I don’t mean that seriously, but I’m a parent just like any other parent and my daughter’s safety is paramount.
Just after the interview finished I had emails from BBC Radio 3 and The Sunday Times in my inbox. I couldn’t help but wonder why my life had changed so much and in such an interesting fashion. I was so pumped up to sail around the world. I had no clue that the media would want to talk to little ole me!
Furthermore, some of the press that I’ve received hasn’t been very nice
The article in the Daily Mail definitely didn’t paint me in a good light. They indicated that I was being irresponsible and putting my daughter at risk. Sadly, I think that even if you were perfect the Daily Mail would find a way to paint a negative slant on a positive story. But some people like to read that kind of stuff and that’s what’s so cool about the world we live in – we all have the ability to choose what we want to fill our minds with and what we don’t.
Next Chapter: 38. Feeling amazing, scared, overwhelmed and useless
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’