We are into our last week of our trip.
We have had fun in Hampton, we managed to visit some of the outer banks that we missed in our mad dash to get the boat out of the hurricane zone. The outer banks are really special. Dunes meet Atlantic surf on one side, whilst marshland meets calm waters on the other, divided by only a spit of land in places not much more than 150 metres wide. America has done incredible things with bridges and roads on reclaimed lands to bring the outer banks into the mainland’s family. One such road was flanked by towering sand dunes and reed grass, so special! Where in the world can you kitesurf in flat calm and surf in big waves in the same day? Well, Ryan found the place. The aim was to get the girls’ through their final kitesurf lessons to enable them to kite in England with Ryan by their side. Isla has decided to hold off on lessons until she’s bit more confident, so she surfed instead, she did excellently catching waves and standing up. Jocie boogie boarded in waves far bigger than her, she took a fair few tumbles in the surf and was fearless about getting back on the board, she is now very familiar with the term ‘shoredump’!
Sophie stole the show though, not only did she succeed with getting up and riding the kiteboard, she did it one-handed looking like a total pro. To say we were proud is an understatement, Ryan and I were awestruck by her tenacity and brilliance, great work, Soph!
So, back to the task in hand, much must be accomplished this week. We have lists, timetables, various rental cars, accommodation and flights booked. Large hold luggage has arrived, which now needs to be filled! We have had numerous conversations to try to manage the expectations of children who want to bring the whole boat home with them. In a desperate attempt we’ve managed to personalise Dalliance to such a degree that she needs to have some company in her year away from us. This includes various teddies and other artifacts she will need.
To be fair it was not hard to convince the girls that Dalliance needs to be cared for, because she has cared for us. Dalliance has been more than our home over the last year. She has kept us safe. She has ploughed on day and night through calm and less calm waters to get us safely here. She has been our shell on our backs, our one and only constant. She stands for freedom and family and fortitude.
We will miss her.
So we begin today, cupboards emptied and cleaned. Belongings packed. Sails stripped. The start of the long journey home. Once we leave Dalliance we will drive the 4 hours to Washington airport to catch our flight, we will quarantine in the UK for 2 weeks as per government guidelines, we are due to walk across the threshold of our house on the 10th August. That’s 21 days after we leave Dalliance!
The reality that our year away is coming to an end is odd to say the least, there is an underlying sadness but also excitement. We are going to need to fill this wanderlust with something, but what next? The girls have coped brilliantly with the upheaval and the constant state of flux, I truly believe they are thriving on it, every time we feed them the next piece of information about what we are doing or where we are going they do a little victory cheer! They have all grown and changed immeasurably through this experience, we all have.
This is not the final blog. The final blog has such finality, no I can’t go there quite yet. So up and at ‘em. The first bag to pack is obviously Ryan’s (and now Sophie’s) kitesurfing bag… what else!