Sunday 23 June 2013

Inspiration Sunday - Glenys Graham

A bit of a change of pace this week, have you ever dreamed of quitting work and sailing round the world in a yacht (I haven't because I am not a fan of the sea) but I am sure plenty of people do. Well today I have one of my moms friends as a guest - living the dream....

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.... 

My name Glenys Graham, born in the UK, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, a "potteries girl" The area many years ago famous for pottery manufacturing and coal mining, such a pity it's mostly gone now, the place has had its heart torn out.
My late Dad was a miner a very proud man, Mum did various work and looked after my brother and myself she still lives alone in Stoke on Trent.

My school days, well I couldn't wait to leave and my first job after school was working in a photographers shop, photography was a hobby since about the age of 12. I worked later in a photography lab later as a wedding photographer for around 5 years but grew tired of working every weekend so I had a change of heart and of all things went into the motor industry. That was very different, I worked as a sales representative selling car parts and accessories for 2 companies then started my own motor factory, I did that for 13 years. I closed that business when I moved away from the area and worked as a business manager and fleet sales exec for 2 car dealerships. After that a complete change again into the beauty business I studied at college to take a course in beauty therapy and massage, I did a private course to learn the ancient art of sugaring which is a system to remove unwanted hair.
After that I worked at a few things but never really found my true vocation, photography is still in there somewhere.
As you can see already I have very itchy feet, I always worked and loved to travel always to somewhere warm, cold weather is a BIG NO NO for me I really suffer. I hate the cold, bugs that continue to bite me, some are no seems because you don't see them. 
In the early 90's I moved to Spain with my previous husband, I have since remarried to my lovely present husband Don.

2. Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Hmm inspiration, a convoluted story to come here.
Boats and water, coming from the "midlands" not much water about apart from the rain, most family holidays were by the seaside, many years ago I had various small motor boats that we would trailer to the coast or to the lake district.

3. Tell us about your retirement trip...

When I met my husband Don a former royal navy man who also loved boats said lets buy a boat which we did a motor yacht which we used on the coast close to our home in Javea, Spain. Don was working away for 4 weeks at a time and home for 4 weeks so we had a great time with that, we called her "One Life Live It". After around 10 months the decision to change to a sailing yacht was made, the increasing amount to fill up with fuel was just too much. We met a couple who chartered their own yacht taking out day trippers, I was invited along and and that was "it" so it was our friends that started the sailing bug in our heads. 
So the gin palace was exchanged for our current "home" "Agua Therapy" a 45 ft sloop. We first saw her at the Southampton boat show and later she was shipped to Spain, we took delivery in early 2007.

4. What led you to take this trip.... 

Don and I toured the Mediterranean coast and across to the Balearics pretty much learning to sail along the way, Don went on various courses to get his "tickets" me well, not being good with exams I just followed his lead and here I am, I'm not a "sailor" 
We took holidays in the Maldives twice learning to scuba dive, travel is high on our agenda although Don has seen so many places being in the navy the world sine has changed and his time spent in these places was short. 
We kept in her in Cartagena a fantastic real "Spanish" city for just over 3 years, the marina was a great place to "over winter" which is what yachty people do from all over the world. A great place be listening to people that have done trips and are still circumnavigating this world now, Don said doesn't it stir the cockles, being able to just go for it as the dame Ellen Macarthur said in her book, I met that very brave lady at the boat show, she autographed a book for me. 

So being able to see places, being in your own floating home at the same time seemed the obvious thing to do. However, me being a wimp I did start to feel quite nervous, the thought of crossing the Atlantic, out of sight of land for so long did unnerve me somewhat. In Cartagena there were lots of other yachts much better fitted out for ocean sailing and lots of people giving us advice which gave me more confidence.

Oh boy what a huge task that was preparing Agua Therapy installing the systems necessary to do so Don worked like a trojan for months on his time off from work. 
The house was rented and I moved onto the boat alone in May last year as Don was still working, thankfully he retired last year so in September I collected him at Heathrow, we went to the boat show yet again and bought even more "bits" then returned to Cartagena to start our Big Adventure, to cross what most call the pond, the Atlantic Ocean. We knew that the longest stretch across the pond was going to be tough and we needed crew to help. So we could rest and fulfil our insurance requirements we were lucky to find someone that were prepared to help. 

It was October when we left Cartagena, we stopped at various places along the way, some anchorages and in some marinas and did a few overnighters, non stop so we take turns during the night, its fantastic to see the sunrise and sunsets, they can be very special moments. The first leg was to Gibraltar, we arrived in fog but thankfully it cleared quickly, that is not nice at all. Gibraltar to the Canaries was the scary bit too we were alone, we dodged thunder and lightning storms most of the way, not funny when you have a huge mast to strike, all of the electronic bits like pc's phones, gps and vhf radios go in the oven for protection. We took on crew in Tenerife and I cooked loads of meals, vacuum packed them and froze everything I could. 

Looking at everything we have done so far, there is always a new challenge, like navigating into very shallow waters keeping a very sharp eye out for coral heads. Simple things like trying to not only standing up when the boat is rolling about then making a coffee, the cups have to be held, the kettle has to be poured at the right time while you wedge yourself in. On the crossing I lost 5 eggs behind the cooker. Taking the dinghy ashore, some dinghy docks with high sides with rusty vertical ladders. Getting ashore from the boat can be difficult when the sea is trowing us about too I'm amazed I haven't fallen in yet.

This adventure is continuing until either we are too old or ill and have to stop, all being well we should spend the kids inheritance to do it. We love to try new food or drink, and so far have sampled lots. Currently we are in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Next stop not sure, probably head north towards Chesapeake away from the hurricane zone then the new season starts in November when we will head back into the Caribbean, that will be a whole new story sailing to wards the East, not easy when the wind and sea are against you. We plan to visit Cuba, maybe spend next summer in Grenada but there will be lots of stops in between.

5. What does an average day look like for you?

While we are on a crossing food is normally prepared beforehand so meal planning is something around what ever you can buy in the last place we were in. At sea everything has to be put away so things don't fly across the cabin, remembering where you have put them sometimes can be another matter. When we are ashore shopping trips can be testing trying to find fresh food or even any food can be a bit of a pain. Checking in with customs if you can find the correct building and immigration is another challenge at times. 
While we are ashore with the internet which is not always possible I try my best to update the blog so our friends can follow our journey. Water tanks have to be checked, filled if needed and power consumption be monitored.

6. What is the one thing about your job that makes your heart sing?

I can't really narrow it down to one sorry.
Sunrise and sunsets.

Well, turning the key OFF for the engine and raising our Big Red our favourite spinnaker sail when we sail downwind, its great to stop the noise.
Hearing the sound of the dolphins alongside then watching them play all around us. 
Exploring islands to see just whats there seeing new things, fish, animals and birds. On the crossing we were followed by Orca wales with a baby, that was very special, so graceful they stayed with us for around 40 minutes I was way too excited to take any photographs.
Another amazing thing I saw and have a picture of an optical phenomena that happen no more than a second or two, the only reason I have it was because I was taking a series of shots when the sun went down, I didn't see it until I transferred the image from the camera to the pc I saw it.

7. Share a secret with us that has never been shared online before ...

A secret Ok but its very silly, I was about 13 with this obsession with photography, I bought a developing tank to process the films (remember film?) Not having much money I couldn't afford to buy a changing bag ( a light sealed bag ) so wait for it!
Locked myself in my Dads wardrobe, the key on the outside was fastened around the key, I pulled it closed, the only trouble was when I tried to get out, whoops! Boy it was hot in there, still full of clothes, my parents were out. But hows this for thinking, the wardrobe was in a corner at an angle so I knew there was a space behind it. So with all my strength I kicked out the back of the wardrobe then moved the wardrobe. My parents thought I was very silly and at least they did laugh.

Find Glenys...

Plus their trip updates, you can open google earth to see where they are :

All images property of Glenys Graham except for Inspiration Sunday Banner

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