.................A New Life, a Sustainable Life, a Exciting Life, Living Aboard The Golden Cloud..................
This Summer Sailing Around the UK Raising Money for RNLI, and Isle of Wight Society for the Blind,
Commercially Sponsored by The Muck Boot Company
So you may all be wondering why I dragged out a 4 month wait
between the last blog and this one. Well I’ve been terribly busy!
In September 2012, Lloyd of the boatyard offered me a chance
I felt too good to refuse. Golden Cloud, no matter how much we’ve gone through,
with her 5ft8 max headroom is kind of too small. Lloyd himself had a 30ft
Snapdragon for sale. It came with 6ft2 headroom, a toilet, 2 double beds, and
shower. Seemed too good to be true. Lloyd offered me a fantastic price and a
good deal on part exchange. Added to this because of his knowledge that I
couldn’t leave the boatyard without his help, he said I could buy “Ob-la-dee”
in instalments but could move in straight away!.
Ob La Dee is the big red one in the river
So on a Sunny Wednesday morning, after thinking it all over,
I called up Lloyd and said I’d like to go ahead with buying ObLaDee. So started
an amazing series of events.
At Lunch time I went to speak to a good friend (Nathan
Thomas) to tell him the news. During this conversation Dr Alun Hubbard (of BBC
Frozen Planet, and Operation Iceberg fame) overheard, and wanted to give me his
10ounces of advice.
Alun himself could be seen as a familiar face, and a
knowledgeable one. As my 1st year degree tutor he told me during a
congratulatory meeting after getting very high results in exams “Joe you
obviously don’t have enough fun, Go out get drunk more often!”, I went from a 92%
average grade at this point to a 67% final grade in my degree so I obviously
follow his advice intently!
Alun has owned the 47ft Sailing Research Vessel Gambo for a
little while now, and was one of my first ports of call when I needed advice on
getting Golden Cloud. His words in December 2011 were… “A boat is a hole in the
ocean that you fill with money” and after hearing what Golden Cloud was like “You
can’t polish a turd”. Spurred on by his positive tone I went ahead and brought
Golden Cloud. His advice was now again coming at the operative moment.
It was however, not quite as I expected. His words were “If
you want to go to Istanbul in a Yacht, take a few months out, join me in
Greenland on my research vessel for the winter!”
It was an opportunity of seeing Greenland and learning a lot
on boats… I couldn’t resist.
Soon I found myself on a train to Keswick in the Lake District.
I was off to buy expedition clothes spending my boat upgrade kitty in the
process. Later I met my parents to clear out Golden Cloud, and tell Lloyd…“For
now I can’t buy your boat!”
Half packed bag full of gear!
3 days later I was in a van with Alun driving from the Cash
and Carry in Aberystwyth to the Container dock in Alborg, Denmark. I manically
searched the internet on my phone, in attempt to learn how to fill in a Customs
Export Form in time for Dover. Between the M25 and the dock I cracked it and we
were on our way.
Over weighed wheel axis!
Next day I woke up near just outside Anderlecht, the van’s
axel struggling under the load was wearing the bearings in a eery squeeling
grinding sound woke me. It was now also my turn to drive. So it seemed a
perfect opportunity for Alun to inform me about the issue with the Brakes… Brake
hard and they jam open (not braking), you have to brake slowly, and/or engine
brake (in an Automatic!)… Great for the first time driving on the wrong side of
the road! We had 20 hours left to get to the container port, offload the van
into the container, then get to Copenhagen Airport to fly to Greenland at 9am
the next morning, I’d best get going.
With only a handful of miles to go before the German-Denmark Border
(sounds corny I know!) with Alun back at the wheel it looked like our game was
up…. (Continued in Next Blog)