The end of a grand adventure is always a special time. Time to take a moment to reflect on the history of the journey, the work, the heartache, the joys, the tears. To remember when it was just a dream in the pipeline, to remember how it came to be reality. It seems a lifetime ago that I was here in Brisbane, dreaming of a boat I had only seen in pictures, and convincing Charlie to help me take her home. Now, two years later, here we are again, in the river-city of Australia amongst friends and family.
In the meantime, we have learnt how to be plumbers, electricians, riggers, mechanics, sailors, navigators, captains… and we didn’t get here on our own. So many people have made this dream a possibility, and it’s you we want to thank. Yes, YOU. For your support, for your funding, for your wisdom and lessons and encouragement. We could never have grown into the people we are today without you. Thank you for helping us achieve this gargantuan goal, and for sticking with us when we really had very little idea or experience. Thank you!
Our Support Team:
First and foremost, is of course, our parents. Mum (Susan Bothmann), Peter Franks, Dad (Keith Barlow), Mom (Pam Alsum), Dad (Charley Brigham). Wow. You guys threw money and love at us when all we had were dreams, and your trust gave us wings. Thanks for taking the time to visit and for helping us achieve so much in that short 9months! Thank you, from the deepest depths of our hearts, for believing in us, and supporting yet another crazy endeavor that kept getting crazier. We’ll stop now for a while, I promise.
Family has always been our rock, and our sisters have always been there to lean on. You guys reminded us what a special adventure this one was, and to keep on truckin’. Thanks! Ella Barlow, Carolyn Barlow, Suzie Norman and Johanna O’Tigham. You ladies rule! Special thanks to Carolyn for making the effort to join in Tonga, and for all the fun we had sailing home to Vila!
There’s one person that single-handedly put Portal in our hands. If not for Mr John Reid, we would probably still be two ragged hitch-hikers, wondering which rope to pull and what the hell a GRIB file was. From the planting of a dream four years ago, to the weather-routing-rescue mid-Pacific, John has never failed to encourage, educate and support us on this mission. He stood firmly as a pillar of support for us newbie sailors, and literally talked us through every step of the way. I would never have even considered this a possibility, if not for his firm encouragement. Thank you for helping me become the sailor and skipper I am!
Our crew deserves a top-of-the-list thanks – Barbara Graf and Lydia Witter. Thank you for putting all your trust in us, for never asking too much, and for always giving your all to this amazing adventure! Thank goodness we had your help!
And to their families: George, Laurie, Werner and Gabriella. For trusting us to sail away with their children, for always lending support, and for taking on the burden of worry so we could have an amazing adventure! Thank you!
There are two people that didn’t just make this trip special, they made it unforgettable. For their friendship, love, support and constant help and hospitality, we could never thank Jess and Duncan of Alliance enough. From the life-saving tows when we were in trouble, to the countless late nights of giggles and good food – we will always be grateful. We love you guys so much!
A big all-round thanks to all the friends and family back home (both in the US and Australia), who sent us words of encouragement and for believing in us. Thanks for keeping in touch, for reading the blog, and for following us on the Tracker. We loved having you along for the journey!
In chronological order:
Jerry Purcell: Our broker in LA, for his rule-bending early on, and the push to get us OUT!
Robert Brown: Our first friend in LA! Thanks for all the buckets of wise advice and never doubting we were going to make this happen.
Mariners Bay Marina: We really owe them thanks, though I doubt they know it! For turning a blind eye to our “sneak-a-board” lifestyle, and having such relaxed marina rules that meant we could use the dock for projects!
Arturo the rigger and Ken of Maritime Communications: For being one of the few voices of reason in California! Honest and knowledgeable advice was hard to come by, so thank you both for being the exception!
Downtown LA Bicycles – Rod and his family: From the beginning you helped make this happen! Thank you for giving Charlie a comfortable and enjoyable work environment, and for always taking such an interest in our journey. Your gifts and support made our life so much easier and safer!
Huckleberry Cafe – For being a fun place to work with great pay and conditions. Thank you for dealing with my frequent stress-migraines and supporting me on this project!
The Ship’s Store – RIP. The last of the Marina Del Rey small business marine shops – you will be missed!
Max and Stefan: We owe you two doggers! Thanks for letting us use your address, and for receiving dozens of bizarre packages of all shapes and sizes – it was a major help!
A big thanks go to Michelle and Ryan, Kevin, Nicole and Wendy, Augustine, Cyprus, Cathy, Jon, Giovani, Travis, Robin and Kevin, Doug and all the other friends that kept us sane while we worked unhealthy hours, pouring everything into this. Thank you for breaking the monotony and cheering us up just when we needed it!
We want to thank the rightful owners and inhabitants of all countries and lands we travelled to – thank you for allowing us to visit your home by sailboat, for letting us eat your fruit and catch your fish. We respect and admire your welcoming attitude and open hearts. Thank you.
Thank you to Laurence, Kai and family of Lilikoi Garden Cafe in Moorea – you guys made our Moorea experience unforgettable, and we just loved meeting your beautiful family. You helped us get through tough bike-theft times, do laundry, and always had a safe haven for us to crawl to! Thanks for the great hikes and the good times!
Thanks to Mike of the Aquarium Cafe in Tonga, for creating such a friendly, useful space for cruisers and always making us feel welcome.
A huge thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to my Ni-Vanuatu family: Gladys, Samuel, Mothy, Mark, John, James, and Jack. You make Vanuatu HOME for me, and seeing you again was beyond amazing. Thank you for welcoming us so truly and completely, as well as our friends, Jess and Duncan. I’ll see you again soon!
A big thank you to Paul James, for all the help and support while we were in Vila!
A huge and special thanks to the Beeson family – your hospitality and help saw no limits! Thank you for really making life in Vila fun and easy, for the delicious meals, great adventures and for the sailing interest! Cam, we loved having you join us, and we are truly sorry it was such a horrendous trip! May there be another someday to make up for it!
Thanks to Mic Mcgra for opening your home to us, and giving me the pleasure (and comforts) of memory-lane!
Thank you to our family-friends Tess, Bernie and Lachlan, for the delicious old-school dinner at L’Houstalet and the wonderful welcome.
To Malcolm and Jackie from Cornwall, thanks for your help in Tanna!
A big thank you to Esteve in New Caledonia, for all the car-rides, and for making the Blue River national park so easy and fun to explore by bike.
And finally, a thank-you to all the people un-mentioned, for picking us up when hitch-hiking, for giving us help and direction when we were lost, for letting us sit in your cafe for hours using the free internet, and for generally making our lives easier as travellers and sailors. Thank you!
Pacific Cruising Community:
These are the friends that accompanied us across the ocean, and you are the ones that made this trip something special. Every landfall was made sweeter by your company, and every bottle of Abuelo and Clos was tastier with you to share it! The camaraderie and support that we received from you often pulled us out of sticky situations, and we thank you for all your help along the way! Fair winds and following seas to you all!
Paul and Celeste of The Beguine: Thank you for all your amazing fishing advice, all the gifts (especially the incredible equator-crossing Scotch!) and for believing in the crazy youngsters with the tiny boat!
Jared and Scott of Reisender (and Pixel, their cat!): for being our very first cruising buddies, for always lending a hand where it was needed and for that last roll of duck-tape – it really came in handy!
Jess, Duncan and Jeff of Alliance – because it just doesn’t get any better than you.
Bruce, Catherine, Luka, and Don of Marionette; from delicious dinners to help with boat projects, we miss you and want to thank you for just being great sailors and great friends. Bruce, you are an inspiration to us all.
Henrick and Morton of Night Hawk; For that first ‘Hamburga’ party, and being the charming vikings that you are. We loved being next to you in port!
Toby, Simon and Louie of Warskavi; 3 vikings on a tiny boat – you won our love from the start, and we thank you for being the good friends you are and always up for some fun!
Travis and Joanne of Calico Jack; For your amazing cooking and wonderful hospitality, and for being part of this years crossing crew!
Neville of Compass Rosey; Thank you for that spare solar controller – it was a wonderful back-up!
The whole crew of Llyr; For inspiring us with your unique research-sailing vessel, and for being such a wonderfully open and friendly family!
Mark, Paul, Inaki of Sikim; Oh, you guys! We miss you and can’t wait to see you again some day – Thanks for always filling life with more laughter!
Robin and crew of FlapJack; For the regular radio help and information when entering a new place – thank you for making our lives easier!
Chris from Santa Cruz; Dude! Thanks for joining our circle for a while, and we hope to see you again!
David and family of Suvarow; Thank you for the wind-vane! And for inspiring us with your dedication and cutie-pie family!
Charles and Heather of Chilli Cat; Thank you for helping us get our bikes back in Moorea! It was great to have you as part of our travelling community.
Graham and Dianne of Maunie; For the hospitality and great laughs – and for loving our cat so much!
Beth-Anne and Doug of Sinbad; Thank you for the ‘golden egg’ theory, and for being so open and humble – your boat & tour was the best of the trip!
Tray, Amy and Ryan of Blue Moon; Thanks for the help in Raietea, and for good meals and good chats!
John of Ocean Jewel; Thank you for that great Brisbane chart and the brand-new boat hook! What a life saver!
Karen, Andreas, Esra and Angie of Happy; It was so great to meet you guys! Thanks for the great bonfires and good times!
Rona of Hello World; Thanks for being so bad-ass and inspiring me to single-hand someday! We hope to see you again…
Phil, Connolly and Travis of Sea Monkey; Thanks for the water that night… and for the fun and hijinks that followed, it was great meeting you!
John and Nia of Zeitgeist; Our new friends! Thanks for being cool and inspiring us with… everything!
Harry and Dagmar of Moyo; Thanks for the offered refuge in Tanna, for the fish and the friendship!
Peter and Vanessa of Akimbo; Thank you for the great hospitality, all the wealth of information, the delicious food and all the fun we had in Noumea!
Peter, Peter and Jess of Quest of Signet; Thanks for being there when we were going crazy, and for going crazy too! We loved the bonfires and late nights with you guys.
Mike and Jules of Sirius; Thank you for keeping our spirits up when the weather wasn’t cooperating – for the fun board games and great nights together.
Mathew and Karen of Gallanego; It was great meeting you both, thanks for the all the fun!
Tom of Earl of Tasmania; Thanks for being such a crazy dude, for having an even smaller/older engine than us, and for really cheering us on!
A last-but-certainly-not least final Thank You, to the most valuable crew ever to sail the south-pacific. Mr Gramps, Auto-helm 2000, despite the ups and downs, became our friend, mentor and right-hand-man. Thanks for getting us here Gramps! We did it together!