Well, we had the last night on board. We had spent the night of 12th April at anchor, off Bembridge, and held the end of passage auction. We auctioned the track chart and the ensigns, and then we had an added bonus. Pip had spent ages on the voyage drawing, and she offered her sketch book for auction. After an agonising session of bidding, the book sold for £800 - incredible ( but then, so are her pictures). Doctor Donald ,also an artist, offered up some of his paintings - small and beautifully coloured, for sale and we received several hundreds pounds for them.
The following morning there were some rather sore heads as we raised the anchor and set off into Cowes. Our Pilots included Neil (Captain/Mate from Lord Nelson), and as we approached the pontoon, what a reception committee we saw. Loads of JST friends and supporters - it was fantastic and made some of us feel quite tearful. As soon as we could, we allowed people ashore and virtually everybody ate ashore- permanent crew had a Chinese take away, to give catering the night off.
Once again this morning, there were a few sore heads. We left Cowes at 1030, as soon as there was enough water, and motored up to Southampton. We had a final happy hour- a number of people were devastated that this was their last happy hour and everybody was up on deck as we approached berth 104, and again, what a great welcome. Loads of family members were there-the Lovell clan were out in force to meet their boy Oli who had been away from home for over 2 years - he went a lovely shade of red!! Within an hour or so, almost all the voyage crew had gone and the ship became strangely quiet!
We are now entering a period of training and meetings, so for 4-5 days and then we begin maintenance for a couple of weeks, so the blog will be a little quiet. But keep watching this space.