Crossroads 


Well we’ve filled this week, we’ve been blasted by jet airplanes at Maho beach, the children have swum under the stars, diving off the boat in the dark, totally fearless. We’ve met Royce an awesome kiwi who sorted us all out with surfboards (ours are on the boat!) even a longboard for me and then drove us round all the best breaks so we could finally do what we came here to do, go for a surf. We’ve been in a number of papers and apparently on breakfast television back in England!! We then had the backlash of the press and received numerous comments about what crap human beings James and I am. This I suppose is the dark side to all the wonderful, kind, supportive comments that we have received from all around the world and all the encouraging things people have said to us! We haven’t wanted this media attention, why would you want the world to know how your life is such a mess? Fortunately we are far away from the brunt of it and with minimal wifi it is easy to disconnect from. I know I would prefer to be in the paper for doing something well, not wrong. 
At the moment it is 8 o’clock at night and whilst I sit writing this James and the children are lying on blow up ‘wahoos’ on the trampoline at the bow, they are planning on spending the night there, watching the stars and I must say it is incredibly comfortable, it’s so warm and relaxing gently rocking and listening to the sea lapping against the boat and a band playing music on the shore. 


Tomorrow is our last day aboard La Vie and oh how wonderful it has been, Isla is definitely in love with this boat, it has acres of space on the bow for gymnastics, it doesn’t roll, we are definitely going to struggle to get her back on a monohull, where at most she can do a headstand on my lap. Heath has loved the freedom of being able to jump in the sea, whenever he feels the urge he just throws himself off, the side, front, back, it is endless. We have done lots of snorkelling and wildlife spotting amongst the mangroves. Tanya and Steve have made us feel totally at home on this boat and it has been a joy to be here and get to know them. We have had our independence through the kindness of Shrimpy, a legend on St Martin, who lent us a dinghy and outboard ‘patch’, it may have only gone at the speed of half a knot but it allowed us to be mobile and slowly get around St Martin. The children have loved him, taking it in turns to drive and clambering around, diving off the sides when he is tied up alongside La Vie. 


The children are having a great time, James and I however are at a stalemate, we’re stuck, James wants to stay, wants to find another boat, whilst we wait for ours to turn up???? Wants to continue the journey and good on him but how? We’ve lost everything, it took us years to set everything up, get everything in place so that we were as ready as possible and it just went wrong. I am in a kind of limbo, I don’t want to give up and go home but I don’t see how we can keep going, how long do you wait for a boat to turn up? Will it ever come back? In the last four weeks we have heard nothing, not one hint of where it could be. We have so many people here ready and willing to take us out to it the moment we’ve got a fix on its position, we just need the damn position. So, as the weeks pass I begin to think let’s go home, not to wallow in self pity and the what could have been, but to get back some structure, some normality, I love my home, I love my family and my friends, I’d get my dog back and have long walks on wild beaches with him, we could go back to work, the kids back to school and slowly fix the damage. At the moment we have a fair split, boys to stay, girls to go, maybe. So what to do? 

Will Marks who helped rescue us on Tilly Mint, is trying to do so again by setting up a just giving page for us and it is wonderful and heartbreaking to see our friends and people we don’t know donate their money to us. I am finding this hard to swallow! why should you guys help us, its not your fault or problem and my pride is definitely struggling. I’m not sure what the future holds at the moment we are living day to day, baby steps, so thank you Mark and thank you to all who have donated and if I do end up making millions off book and movie deals from all this then I promise I’ll pay you back. 

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14 responses to “Crossroads 

  1. Very sorry to hear about your yacht. Have you considered Tomnod? I don’t know if your search would meet their criteria but your plight has certainly created a lot of worldwide interest. Only someone directly involved in the search can submit a search and rescue campaign request form. https://www.tomnod.com/

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  2. Darling Fran,
    Lovely to hear your news and musings again!
    I totally understand the awful limbo feeling you are in and I know as a woman/mother how important the feeling of having your own base/home is with your own possessions around you.
    I am going to say hang on in there a little longer my friend and the answer will come.
    I will give you a little reality check…dark, cold, grey, same winter routine of school, work, kids clubs, Sainsbury’s! As good as I know our life is here and we do live in a beautiful part of the world if I could go back to Barbados tomorrow I would, for more sunlight, sea swimming and to watch the kids having long out door days.
    It’s just the uncertainty doing you in. It amazing to see and hear the experiences your lovely kids are having.
    We will all be here when you come back whenever it may be. Love and long distance friendship, from fran. Enjoy the starry night! Xxx

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  3. P.S. You weren’t in the paper for ‘doing something wrong’
    Every one of you played an amazing part on that boat when disaster struck. You all thought intelligently and with your gut instincts. There is nothing to critisise only admire. ❤️

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  4. Fran, you have got it so right.
    Darling Fran, most people who read the newspapers have read the blog. The newspapers, on the whole, were impartial and used mostly your own words. Those words are still yours to use in your book when you come to write it and just think writing about the media part will add another chapter. I think you should view the media in another way. Very few people would read about you and think your life was a mess, those that are critical are undeserving of any notice. I would think that ninety nine percent would admire your bravery, resourcefulness and sheer grit and the work and organisation, the scrimping and saving that went into the years to set your journey up.
    Love Mum xxxx

    PS the dog is fine, lying on my dressing gown, waiting to beg for some breakfast porridge. Xxx

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  5. Ohhhhh Fran, the pictures are wonderful, please don’t give the media too much thought they are there to spread shite and these days there are millions of people just waiting to criticize, that is a sign that their life is not good and not that yours bad wrong etc etc. Things happen in life that aren’t always the way we want it but the point is how we deal with it and you guys are doing so well, this is evident by the wonderful people you are getting help from, because good people gravitate to good people. I have spent years on and off in the Caribbean and now I look back with such joy to those memories though there were some quite dark times which now I can look back on with humor, ask Aunty Wendy I was in charge of her camera and got it stolen!!!!!!…With the view of hindsight, in your place I would try and stay a while longer, The UK will still be here it’s not going anywhere!!!!! and this is just such an amazing journey for the children. It’s tough for you being the Mom, but please be kind to yourself don’t be so hard on yourself hon, love to you all.

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  6. The bloody media/ and stupid ass commenters don’t know you!!
    Your Family and Friends Do…
    Toss a coin… Ha…
    Love ya xxxxx

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  7. Good morning,
    I have read your story with great interest now for a month. I can not offer you any of the hope that you clearly seek (and deserve). About all I can do is throw a couple quid on your gofundme site and wish you the best.

    You are, however, quite an inspiration. In fact, I would say the word ‘hero’ springs to mind. I have deep respect for the way that you have handled this misfortune. Balancing your roles as a Mum, a wife, sail crew, and adventurer is way more than I could have done.

    I am in my 50’s, live in Colorado, but spent my 20’s and early 30’s living in London and sailing on the Solent. I came right down to the wire of quitting my City gig and taking off on the route that you did. My prospective mates had a similar fate, though they had the pain of watching their boat break up on a jetty and then get ‘salvaged’ in one night by a swarm of thieves for everything on board. No help from the police.

    It was awful for them, they lost the entire boat, which was financed by the sale of their Chelsea flat. They lost all of that. Insurance wiggled out of any payment.

    They ended up in Telecoms in Denver with a nice house and they ski all the time. That was certainly no on their radar when they left Gibraltar.

    I did not go and I did not lose my equity on my little flat in North London and I have no idea whether I made the right decision. Pregnancy followed and the cold morning school runs and the flat grey light of the Sainsbury’s parking lot became my reality.

    That is all gone now for me and I miss it. But the decision to sail off has stayed and I am in the process of restoring an old mono in Florida. I will not be out on I-65 soon enough to help you find your boat, but I wish you best.

    I have not a clue what your decision will be, but I respect the thought processes that have led you to this point. You are quite an inspiration and I have no doubt that you will take the right path as soon as you see it.

    Trust your instincts, they have been good so far! You are not going to sit in the nursing home regretting ANY of this.

    Vaya con Dios, and all the very best
    Jeff

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  8. Fran ,, you al have done a great job ,,, just surviving what happened ,, so well done all ,, when something goes wrong at sea you have to all work together and work out what’s best to survive , non sailors won,t understand that ,,, but a lot of folk will .
    I hope Dove does turn up .
    You will be fine ,, good luck all x

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  9. Hi James & Fran,
    You know the old saying, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” , most people only dream of an adventure like yours. Most of the people who have been critical of your voyage would think it was a crisis if they forgot to recharge their iPhone!!. Whether you continue or quit this adventure now, never stop dreaming!!.

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  10. Hi Fran,
    I have not read or heard any of the crap in the news or comments but I can relate to them. When me and Edith sailed back from Thailland to the Med in 2011 and were caught up by the piracy explosion in the Somalian Sea we were given the same sort of crap because our daughter of 2 was with us on board. We did what we thought was best and never of course with the intend to be in any kind of danger. And yes we were. From piracy but also from the few occasions where we had technical issues on board. It hurt. And there is nothing you can do about it. Just know that it will blow over with the wind and you did what you had to do. The fact that you lost your rudder could have happened to anyone and I could almost feel the situation you were in from our own experiences, losing a sail, breaking a gearbox and so on and so on. It is what it is. Just hang in there, don’t let it get to you and enjoy as much as you can. The pictures of the kids playing in the water say more than the 1000 words people can spend on how you live and what and what not to do….. never forget and super good luck. I’ll be thinking of you guys from the other side of the globe every now and than!!!

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  11. Fran,

    Saw on the most recent posts on FB that the boat could show up somewhere around Anegada. I’m not sure what your next steps are, but if you plan on going to the BVI’s we will be there from Feb 11-18 and could check a bag of necessities for you. Would probably be in Anegada around the 15th.

    Sue

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  12. Adventures should never be judged by how they turn out. It’s the going and the doing and the throwing oneself headlong at life that matter. Everyone is still alive, so call it good. Will you do it some more? Time will tell. Even if you go back to Sainsbury’s now, who says you won’t do it again in the future. But scary things are definitely in the “falling off a horse” category. Getting back on is easier the sooner you do it.

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  13. I love that your family made the decision to live your dream. I once spent 2 years restoring a small boat and sailed with my children. I always encourage people to go sailing with their children. It is an amazing experience. I now live in the BVI. My 9 year old and I hope to meet you and your lovely family while you are here and I hope you will continue to live your dream.

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