Monday, February 21, 2011


Sobering stuff and really scary to see it all so close to home. Thinking of all the people in Christchurch, NZ will pull together and we will get through this.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011???? Really???

Well well well, it's been over a year since I arrived back home and despite promises to keep up with the blog I somehow never managed to. So on a Sunday night all curled up in my new room at my new flat starting the second week of my new course I figured I should check in and let you all know what I'm up to!
2010 was a whirlwind year with lots of highs, some awful lows but now things are looking on the up. I'm now enrolled into the diploma year of Adventure Tourism at Whitireia Polytechnic and after my first week think it will be an interesting blog as I am the only student of my age, with a few others older and yet all the rest quite a bit younger. It's a slippery slope but I've already been called Camp Mum a couple of times and I'm going to have to work hard not to become that. But really, who turns up on day 1 without a pen or paper? I feel myself getting the old person head shake and grumble. I'm not even 30 yet, what's happening to me????!
Right, must run now. Am feeling that it's going to take a wee while to get back into blog mode. Watch this space however, as Suzy is back :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Aunty Susana

Hey there, well thankfully I haven't had my head in any diesel engines lately so I guess this holiday is going to plan. Unfortunately though, I've been so busy that I haven't even unpacked my bags!!!! That may be a job for later this week.

I've spent some good quality time with my brother and two nieces and today I'm heading off to New Plymouth for a walk along the beach with Dad and Trish.

Right, we're taking off now, sorry there aren't more entertaining stories of blocked heads or generators! Just family catch up. But I have been sleeping in and it's great!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The one before last!

Trying to get to some wireless internet has been a bit hard but I found this cafe so all is good. Last night I did a really quick blog, but here is the one that I wrote and couldn't get to and was the one I wanted to stick up. Will be back with more news. Currently spinning out as James and I have gone through town and seeing how much it's changed. I'm sure it was only yesterday we were at school but James tells me that was actually in 1998 and that that was a few years ago....Ouch.

So where did I leave you yesterday? I know that I had to go board my plane and now I'm writing this as my friend James drives us towards Napier for the wedding of our good friend Chris which is on tomorrow. But that's another story.

So I think it was Sunday I left you on. It's weird you know, I had been waiting so long for the trip to finish and then suddenly all too quickly it was over and then I was suddenly having to pack up to leave. I still wasn't fully aware of all that had been acheived and that we had actually done it. So when it came to goodbyes with Geoff, Elaine, Tim, Mike and Martine, it all felt surreal to me, like it wasn't really happening and that I would be seeing them in a couple of hours again. The fact that I don't know when I will see them next didn't hit me until a lot later.

Onto the taxi and then picking up Digby, Paula and Francis along the way. We checked in fine and went through for the plane. On the first flight up to Antigua I sat next to a young man on the plane who was asking me about my time in Tortola and was really excited to know about the whole project as he had been following it all on tv. I felt like I had a claim to fame :)

In Antigua we checked through and I managed to catch Richard our pilot who is friends with Geoff and Elaine on his way through. He was flying us back, and originaly we were all going to be on the flight together so he would have been taking Geoff back but plans had changed. Still, it was lovely to see him and as I left the flight I was able to go up and say goodbye and thank you to him. He also showed me an article in the paper where I have made my reputation as 'Seasick Susana' !!!! I guess I did moan about it a lot and I'm sorry :(

The arrival back into the UK was cold to say the least. I had heard about all the snow but seeing it all was a different matter. I eventually got back to Southampton. Arriving to the house it dawned on me that I wasn't sure when I would see everyone again and there was a lot of snow and I just walked into the front door and had a good old cry. Bit soppy but I've been struggling emotionally trying to get my whole head around the trip and realise that we've done it. I keep kicking myself that I let the sea sickness get to me, there was a stage in the middle of the trip where I was miserable and I'm gutted I didn't have it in me to put on a braver face. But hey, lesson learnt and next time (if there is a next time for anything similar) I will know that I managed to get through this one and that I can do it. I am so grateful that Geoff and Digby were there to help me through the rough times though. We were a real little team out there.

So once I settled in (that means a shower and wearing lots of layers of clothing) I made a lot of phone calls and emails and spent the eveing busy trying to catch up on communications. Tuesday was a long sleep in as I enjoyed a night in a bed on land and then a day of packing and then a lot of phone calls and visits. So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday morning there was more snow and after a bit of morning stress (thanks GG for helping me out!) I got to the train station where my train was thankfully on time and then my connecting bus to Heathrow. I was lugging two huge cases as I have packed up the past four years of my life and taken them with me. I got there though and checked in and through security with hours to spare. Still with all the extra snow I was much happier to be early than rushing it all.

26 hours later and you have found me landed in NZ. Dad and Trish were at the airport with James to greet me. We all went for some breakfast and then it was time to take off. I'll be catching up with the family next week sometime but for now James and I are on our way down to Napier as it is Chris' wedding tomorrow. I'm really excited to be going as I'll be seeing friends I haven't seen for years so that's cool. James and I have figured we last saw each other 7 years ago. Time just flies. It's great to be back home, seeing all the places I used to go to, and enjoying the beautiful scenery that NZ has to offer, although we have just had lunch in Taupo and now on our way to Napier where the weather has turned and it is now dark clouds and raining. I came over here for summer!!! Something wrong in this whole setup I think. But tonight will be good, catching up with friends and then relaxing before the ceremony tomorrow. I have been worrying myself the last few days on where to go from here after such and amazing journey and adventure that I was lucky enough to be a part of, and also I've been questioning my own ability on the trip and if I did well enough but now that I've arrived in NZ and seen my family and friends I think I'm starting to relax a bit. I guess the solution is to first rest, revive and then think about things, but for the moment, just enjoy the time I have here.

Home ground!

Oh my goodness, where has the last week gone? So I left you with Sunday, and suddenly it was the flight back to the UK. It felt so surreal saying goodbye to Geoff, Elaine, Tim, Mike and Martine. It didn't hit me until being back in the UK that I don't actually know when I shall see them all next. The flight back was fine, Richard (Geoff's mate) was the pilot so I got to go up and say hi as we were getting off the plane which was pretty cool. Then it was all snow and a bit of a mission getting back to Southampton but I made it. As soon as I walked in the front door though, I realised that I had left all the others behind and burst into tears. Then after that I made a heap of phone calls, emails and then had a night in a bed in a house!!!

Tuesday was all packing up getting ready from my next trip - NZ!!!! Wednesday was getting to Heathrow and now I am home. It's been so weird being here after being away for so long but I am loving it. James was at the airport to pick me up and Dad and Trish were there as well to welcome me home. Then because I hadn't had enough travelling, James and I drove down to Napier for Chris' wedding. Adrian was best man and it was so lovely to be with old school friends. We had a catch up and it was just like old times. I think it's a sign of a true friendship when you haven't seen each other for years and when you do meet up, it's like you've never been away. That's how it felt with these guys and it was great.

The wedding was beautiful, I was so happy to have been able to get home and be there for it. I have missed far too many events like this of close friends so it was great to be here. Sadly there was rain (so much for me coming home to a summer!) but we all had a wonderful day. A big congratulations to Chris and Kris. Love you guys to bits.

Now James and I are in Masterton getting some tlc from his parents and it is great. We did a drive by the house I grew up in and went through town. It's so weird to come home and see how everything has changed. Tomorrow we'll do a catch up with lots of different people, but right now I'm starting to struggle staying awake, and I think the jet lag is possibly setting in....must get some sleep!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The whirlwind stop at Tortola

Thursday was arrival. Friday morning was a very tender head, but not mine, talk to a few others though. I think I was still going on adrenaline. I attempted to try and clean things but it was all just a bit too hard so it ended up being an exercise of pick this item up and put it somewhere else. Not very productive.

James and Lucy were very kind and took me to Snow Leopard where I had a lovely shower and felt like a new girl. Lunch was provided courtesy of Pussers Bar and then it started raining a bit. But the sun came out. Once that happened I scrubbed the outside of the boat with the help of young Timothy who is not a very good aim with the hose, well not when it comes to hosing the boat but when it comes to getting me saturated, he's pretty good. I got him back though, with the help of Geoff providing a decoy.

Todd from the Beacon had been around at lunchtime to take some photos and then kindly offered to take me out to a quiz night that evening and meet some of the team from the paper. It was a great fun night. Although my only contribution was the ten questions on the phonetic alphabet. I got them right thankfully - Papa, Hotel, Echo, Whiskey!!!!!!! A big thanks to Todd for taking me out and showing me the sights and introducing me to a whole bunch of new friends. I just love meeting new people.

Then back to the boat where I got the share a bunk with a hot young guy - Master Timothy! He wanted to have a night on the boat so I was happy to be able to grant his wish. Bit of a hog with the covers though, and we had two!!!

Saturday morning Tim and I worked our way around the saloon cleaning up and we had Doris a cleaner at the marina come and polish all the surfaces. I think it's safe to say we did a pretty good job. It was definitely cleaner.

Mike and Martine arrived with Geoff and Elaine and then I was whisked away by John to go to the Yachtclub for some lunch. I had the Caribbean curry which was just how mum used to make and it was simply delicious. I made another whole bunch of new friends there and was given a yachtclub top which was very kind of them.

And finally an afternoon of relaxation :) We chilled out up at Myetts where I am sure that Geoff and Elaine are really appreciative that I have taught Tim the art of raspberry kisses!!!! Hehehe, I'm such a bad influence.

Saturday night was the fundraising dinner at Myetts which was a nice fun evening. The food was delicious, we had wonderful entertainment and it was just nice to be with everyone.

And suddenly it was Sunday. Time for goodbyes at lunchtime and then I did my last bit of packing and met the taxi. It was all a bit sudden and rushed and I wasn't really aware that I was actually going. I felt a bit numb. Picked up Digby, Paula and Francis and then we were on our way.

Now I just have to run, there is more to tell but I'm in LA airport and my flight is about to board! Such an exotic life I'm leading now. Watch this space and I'll follow on from there :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Terra Firma, well for a bit at least

Hi there. I am soooo sorry that it has taken this long to get back to you all and update you on our arrival. It has been such a whirlwind that I can't believe it all happened. And I hope that you haven't lost faith in me and have come back to see this entry. I think I will keep it going randomly during my next trip home, I'm not so sure I will be able to provide entertaining entries on diesel engine maintanence and plumbing but if I do then it means that something in my 'holiday' has gone terribly wrong!

So the arrival. I wanted to put up a video of us coming in and seeing all the support boats around us however my computer is having a technology hissy so I'll get back to you on that one. But yeah, the arrival. It was wonderful. We had the flotilla come out, Tim was on the RIB and it was just so very cool to see all the people out there waving and welcoming us. I felt like I was this pretty cool person hanging out with the superstar as everyone was clambering to get a photo of him. And there I am going, yeah man, we're mates and hang out. Check me! It was cool.

Geoff and Digby weren't so impressed that it was actually raining when we arrived. Ok, not my ideal picture of our arrival but I for some reason like rain. Put up the MASSIVE flag for Geoff which was great as there are some pretty awesome shots out there of him under it. We headed out to Cane Garden Bay where everyone on the beach was up and waving to us and all the boats were cheering and it was such a cool high. We had the search and rescue boat seeing us round and then we tried to get a mooring (and this is where I wanted to crawl into a hole) but failed after three attempts. It was my terrible attempts to get the mooring, and what made it worse was that everyone was watching! But they all made me feel better by saying that it was a difficult thing to do. Then we bailed and dropped anchor. Works for me :)

Tim and Elaine jumped on and had a glass of champagne with Geoff. Then poor Elaine had to go curl up as the motion was getting to her but in all fairness I think if I had been on the RIB as long as she had then I would have been right next to her as well. Also met Todd from the Beacon who was taking a few snaps of our arrival.

We then headed into Sopers Hole where we had a very tight 'parking' spot and no pressure here people as there was another huge welcoming committe there for us!!!! Geoff did really well though and got ID in smoothly, I on the other hand was terrified that my fenders may fall off or that I had left a breadcrumb trail of fenders for all to follow where we had gone. Then I got asked to throw ropes over but if you recall from New Years Eve, I apparently throw like a girl! We got there.

And there it was. Onto land (I did my little jig/dance) and three big cheers for the arrival. It was a bit surreal. Here we were, wanting to do this crossing and finish it and then when we were there. I was in a bit of a dream state not really believing we had done it. In fact, here I am nearly a week later and I still can't quite get my head around it.

We were welcomed onto land with some pizza which made Geoff and Digby drool. They had been talking to each other about pizza for days so as you can imagine it was WANTED! And it was lovely. In the evening we had a reception on the boat where we had lots of people there and drinks provided by Pussers rum. I'm not too sure why they call them Pussers Painkillers though becuase attempting to drink my cocktail was quite painful. Painmakers I think they should call them!

But it was lovely to see everyone and meet new friends (James and Lucy, you have no idea what you've let yourself in for by giving me your contact details!) and show people around our somewhat messy home. Or should I say lived in!

It was a great evening with everyone, thanks for all the support and generosity from all. I will be back with more of a follow up on my time in Tortola however I am off to NZ tomorrow (wow already?) and need to go pack.

It's all still so unreal to me, I haven't had time to figure it out but in writing these blogs I can sort it all out in my little head. Doesn't take too much for me to overload you see! So watch this space, there is still a whole heap to catch you all up on...