30 March 2014

Well, that’s me back home again. All my connections went well from Punta Arenas to Shetland and although there were two night flights back to back I was able to sleep for a few hours on each of them, so it wasn’t too bad. As we flew out over the west coast of Chile the weather looked fine and settled, just what Elsi and me could have done with a few weeks ago.

Punta Arenas probably gets as many gales as Shetland (although the wind gods have been over generous to the Auld Rock this winter). It certainly felt like it, and this was at the end of their summer. What made it different though was that the wind was funnelled and accelerated through the square grid pattern of the streets. One street would be near calm while another would have a hurricane blowing through it. It was chilly too, Santiago, by comparison, felt a bit too warm at 30°C.

I had stayed on in Punta Arenas in the hope that Elsi might have been spotted and there was a chance of getting her towed back to a safe haven somewhere. But as time went on there was no word and I felt I had to accept that she is most probably wrecked.

I know she was only a boat and more practical than pretty in many people’s eyes, a nuts and bolts cruiser rather than a classic yacht. But, she felt more like one of the family than just a pile of steel plates welded together and it feels very odd knowing she is not here.

It is the risk we take when we do trips like this, there was always the chance this could happen, but I just didn’t think it would end in this way. I had so much confidence in her that I suppose I thought she would survive any storm; that she was indestructible and would always be there no matter what.

So these updates will be less regular from now on. I have some photos I took while on passage and I will upload a selection in the coming weeks.

It was a great adventure while it lasted and there were far more good days than bad. The bad days fade away over time but the good memories stay with you always. I’ll have plenty to look back on in my dotage! I’ll certainly remember the support I had from everyone who took the time to write and followed the trip on the internet.

Thank you so much again to all of you who have written emails sent cards and phoned with kind words and messages of support, to Alyson as well as myself. If that could bring Elsi back she would be here now!

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