Back to sea- soon

So this blog has been a bit dormant lately. Let me fill readers on all the changes that have happened since we visited Neyland Marina during the summer holidays of 2017…..

Well, we carried on sailing in Milford Haven until August, with Karisma visiting Lawrenny for a lunch, Dale and the griffin pontoon a couple of times for fish, chips, crabbing and beer, and ending the season with a fabulous bank holiday afternoon at anchor off the golden sands of Watwick Bay.

20525187_1599764053408226_2337278807636471263_n

Jenny, Fionn, Eira and Karisma arrive for lunch at the Lawrenny Arms pontoon. Getting alongside against the strong tide in the Cleddau was a real challenge, but we did it at our first attempt.

20604250_1601379313246700_373238990242822388_n

Karisma finally moors to the Griffin Pontoon at Dale, the beach of my childhood holidays. Fish and chips at the surf cafe were followed by beers at the Griffin inn. My ten-year-old self remembered being one of the little children running up and down the pontoon, casting lines for crabs and ogling the fabulous, mysterious yachts alongside, which one day they might sail off on an adventure.

21122356_1623676061017025_4067545499879443067_o.jpg

Watwick Bay from our deck on a fabulous bank holiday afternoon.

I meant to write blogs about all these adventures but, with a busy family life and a small baby aboard, the record failed to make it from Karisma’s log book to the internet. And then in September our circumstances changed quite significantly; readers may know that I’m a petroleum geologist, and that the oil and gas industry has been in a trough for quite a while. I hadn’t had regular work since my days with Maersk Oil in Denmark, ending in 2015, but in October I found myself (with 2 weeks notice) working full time in Norway for the former BP Norge company (now known as AkerBP). This has meant us adopting an international family life, flying back and forth to Stavanger in Southern Norway on odd weekends, catching whatever time together as a family we can. Fionn still has school to go to in Wales, so we haven’t been able to make a permanent move to Norway.

As a result, I have only seen Karisma twice since the summer, and not at all since before Christmas, which has been a wrench. She has been placed in the care of Windjammer Marine, the marine engineers at Milford Marina, who lifted her out of the water in January for her winter maintenance. She’s been on the hard ever since. She has now had her saildrive and engine serviced, all her remaining original seacocks replaced (following the failure of one of her original seacocks last May) and has also had her saildrive diaphragm replaced (an expensive job, which only comes up once every seven years, but unfortunately was due). Anyhow, she’s going back in the water on the 29th of this month at the very latest, and we are going to have Easter weekend aboard! Our sailing will necessarily be more constrained this year than previously, but we will make our very best efforts to give the kids the best possible adventures aboard, and report back to this blog.

Reflections

One other bit of news. A few weeks ago we received the sad news that our good sailing pals, Simon and Kirsten, have sold their boat Kizzie and, for now at least, given up yachting. We all started sailing together seven years ago and, although we haven’t had time to catch up and chat about their choice, we certainly feel a loss that our partners in crime are not for now plying the high seas anymore. Naturally, this makes you reflect on the time you have spent with your own boat, and I want to mention a hoary adage: old salts in yachting often say that the two happiest days with a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. So I found myself looking back over seven years’ of photographs of us, our growing family, and Karisma; and I can happily inform the old salts that they are talking bollocks. We’ve not girdled oceans or arrived at ports in paradise, but in seven years we’ve faced enormous seas, watched beautiful sunsets, raced (and beaten) the fastest crews, taken our kids to beautiful harbours, clipped through blue waters, and had the privilege of seeing the coast of Wales from a unique and beautiful perspective. We’ve grown as a family and grown as sailors, and we will continue to do so, because I have no need to worry about the day we sell Karisma (it will never come), and they day I bought her now seems a thousand years ago. Every day we sail her gets better and better, so I’ve made a simple slide show to remind us in case we ever forget. Here’s to Karisma, to 2018, and beyond. Fair winds for the new season- we will see you on the water.