Oceans and islands

It’s time for an adventure. Perhaps it’s always time for an adventure of one kind or another? The trouble is, many people live in my head – it gets very crowded in there. The bold, brave me makes plans to have a bold, brave adventure and then disappears a few days before it’s time to go, leaving the meek, nervous me (who’d really rather stay at home) to pack an impossible amount of things into a small bag and face the stress of international airports, connecting flights, meeting new people, sailing new boats and facing rough seas.

the adventurous me….

But the sixties is a powerful decade of life, if you are lucky enough to be in reasonable health. Your diary becomes sprinkled with more funerals than weddings and life gains in intensity. Every day that you wake up brings a deep rush of gratitude. The phrase ‘I’ll do that one day’ has been replaced with ‘If not now – when?’. Some new skills or experiences cost money, some don’t and if they do, you look at the dwindling pot of savings that you’re keeping for a rainy day and realise that it’s pouring and the time is now.

When I tell people where I’m going some of them say ‘Oh how wonderful, I’d love to do that!’ but many others say ‘good grief, are you quite mad?’

I have packed four empty sketchbooks but no camera. Suncream, sunhat, thermal underwear, balaclava, oilskins and waterproof boots. This time it’s no cruise ship, and if you’ll forgive my size 6 carbon footprints of the flights at each end, I’m doing several thousand miles of travel in between under sail. My journey under sail begins in the Galapagos Islands and finishes at the Falklands. I have a thing about islands. I’m interested in the way that the sea connects them all and yet isolates them all, giving each a unique character, and I think islands can teach us much about the planet, itself a little island in space. There are no places left on earth that humans haven’t got at and messed up, but the southern ocean still has enough power and beauty to put us in our place. For some reason I’d like to see it. On Christmas day I will be somewhere off Cape Horn, so raise a glass to me that day if you’re sitting by a toasty warm fire.

The boat I’m joining in Galapagos has just sailed through the Northwest Passage at the top of the American continent (it is rather more ice-free these days than it used to be – I wonder what poor Lord Franklin would make of that?). ‘Tecla’ is a Dutch ketch, steel, and has been round the world before, so she and her crew know what they’re about. Obviously I’ll be out of contact for most of the time but she does have a satellite tracker on board so you can follow our progress on https://www.tecla-sailing.com/follow-the-tecla/

I’ll be back in January, hopefully with some full sketchbooks and a new appreciation of our watery world. If you want to do some Christmas shopping and you live locally, come and see me this week or come along to my final open studio weekend of the year:

Saturday 2nd November 10-5 and Sunday 3rd November 12-4. Get in touch if you need directions (01394 549247)

If you’re not local, don’t worry – my online shop will be open while I’m away as my friend Emma will be popping into the studio regularly to package up and send out orders. Don’t forget your year planner! Mine is on the wall and I have worthy thoughts of working extra hard next year to fill up the empty coffers. No more adventures for a while after this one, honest. Well, for a while at least.

Finally, if you’re tempted to run away to sea but are not sure where to start, I heartily recommend hopping across to https://classic-sailing.co.uk/ – but be warned – once you get addicted to traditional boat sailing there’s no going back!

22 thoughts on “Oceans and islands”

  1. Bob Ebdon says:

    Best wishes Claudia and massive admiration!

  2. Annie Davenport Turner says:

    Wow, Claudia! I am both ‘Are you mad?’ and ‘Oh, how wonderful!’ Have an amazing time, and I want to say ‘Thank you!’ for traveling and sharing your discoveries for the likes of me who could never dare waters like that for real, but who salivates at the thought of it somewhere deep inside!

  3. Avast ye sailing artisan, admiration follows your wake! Oh the new adventures in store! Enjoy and savor each day in the south Pacific round the Americas. Such a life! Bon Voyage~ _/)

  4. Meryl says:

    Enjoy every minute, fabulous trip and look forward to the arty results.

  5. Jane Mackay says:

    Darling Lady, Have a wonderful time and come home safely. XX Ione

  6. John Watts says:

    Have a fantastic adventure. We’ll want to hear ALL about it next year.

  7. Jacqui Myatt says:

    You’re so brave. Beware the dragons, and have a great time

  8. Alcoy says:

    I’m sure you’ll love the Falklands Claudia! Pob lwc I chi x

  9. Claire Cordeaux says:

    Have a wonderful time Claudia- I can’t wait to hear about your adventures! Xx

  10. lindsay bw says:

    bon voyage Claudia,
    best wishes from us both ? ?‍☠️

  11. Colin George says:

    Luck Claudi, your 60’s is just the right time to engage on a trip like that. Then in your 9th decade ,like me, you’ ll find that a gentle sail around the I o W is almost as good fun.!!
    Keep the rust off yer ‘harp strings x

  12. Lesley Walker says:

    You already know how jealous I am!! I will be keeping track of your adventures – especially Cape Horn. It will be awesome!

  13. Clea says:

    Holy flying mackerel!!
    What an adventure. I am brimming with admiration for you and suffering from not a small amount of envy.
    Fair winds Claudia. X

  14. Graham Brace says:

    You lucky devil, Claudia…I’m very envious indeed. Will you be serenading your shipmates en route? What a wonderful experience. Bon voyage!

  15. Pat Calver says:

    Will be with you in spirit as you explore the Galapagos, Easter Island and the Falklands and my thoughts and love will be with you for the journey in-between which I don’t envy at .all…

    So looking forward to seeing everything through your clever eyes. Take care. Be safe. Xx

  16. Carol Paddison says:

    Soooooo jealous. What a dream sailing adventure. Fair winds. Carol x

  17. Neil Gillard says:

    What an experience! So brave, so adventurous – enjoy every moment and the admiration of good friends in which you are entitled to bask. Stay safe, stay tall! X

  18. Florence Cox says:

    All the very best, Claudia. Bin voyage, bon retour!

  19. Florence Cox says:

    Bon voyage!

  20. Frances says:

    Yay! Go for it and enjoy every moment! What WILL you have left on your bucket list after this one? Love Frances xxx

  21. Coral Feenan-Hill says:

    This is brilliant Claudia! What an adventure- it’s going to be fabulous! I lived in the beautiful Falkands back in the 90’s, send them my love.. looking forward to following your journey.. Happy sailing xxx

  22. Wendy Den Bleker says:

    Wow Claudia you’re not mad at all, live to life to the full, (have sailed round New Zealand on the Soren Larsen tall ship but what your doing sound epic) (savings allowed )we only normally regret the things we have not done.
    Staying with Bill and Liz Dewey in Devon fir the weekend , my life long friends from our young days in Needham Market and they had your contact details. So I thought how wonderful to-get in contact again plus Love your art and have ordered some tiles for Christmas presents. Would be just lovely to come over to your unit when you return from your amazing travels all the very best Wendy Palmer that was

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