Every Tuesday and Friday, I will be featuring guest bloggers….authors, readers, and other interesting people. Today we have Faith Mortimer, author of The Crossing, which is one of my summer beach reads picks! Without further ado…here’s Faith.
There is life after work!…
When Chris, my husband, was given early retirement, we grasped the opportunity to live our new life as we wanted. The children had completed their education, our parents were in good health and we had no financial worries. A retirement seminar gave guidance on how to plan the future, maybe a little golf, redecorating the home, a few holidays. We thought: BORING and blew the money on a new Yacht! Both Chris and I are qualified RYA Yachtmasters and we decided to make good use of our sailing skills.
We downsized our house, bought a fabulous fifty-foot sloop and after a year’s planning, left England’s shores to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean, by way of Spain, Portugal, The Canaries and the African Cape Verde Islands.
On board ‘Altarial’ we were a crew of three including our eldest son, Ross. The Atlantic crossing was a real adventure. We kept in radio contact with eleven other yachts also crossing, passing on relevant information; weather, and ship sightings, suspicious craft and anything else of interest. Sometimes we saw another boat but generally most were way off in the distance.
How we would spend our days at sea? We’d planned on learning Spanish, practicing the guitar and writing. On arrival in Antigua we realised we had done none of these! Once at sea and away from ‘normal everyday activities’ the body relaxes into a different state and mind set. For instance, everything took twice as long to do. The reason? There was no need to worry about ‘time constraints’. It’s amazing how long one can sit and gaze at the sea. As a writer, I was lost for hours, conjecturing stories within my head.
Ross left us in Antigua to return home and from thereon for 95% of the time Chris and I sailed the yacht on our own. We met may other sailing cruisers, made loads of friends, and soon we were sailing from island to island in company with other yachts. It was a fantastic life; we dived, explored the fascinating Caribbean Islands and in all sailed as far north as New York and as far south as Venezuela.
The following seven years were not without excitement. Stormy weather, dragging anchors, equipment failure, rescues at sea, but really, what a great life! Family visits, time relaxing with friends and, of course, people watching are highlights, with ship maintenance, cooking and cleaning the daily routine of the cruising life.
Whilst sailing off Venezuela we were always wary of suspicious looking craft – some yachties reported pirates and on a couple of occasions we were followed by some dodgy looking boats. In those waters you took no chances, never sailed alone or anchored at night without at least another yacht in company. We didn’t carry firearms, but for those who’ve seen the Nicole Kidman film, “Dead Calm”, you’ll know what damage a flare-gun can do!! We had one and knew how to use it if necessary.
Whilst most people are good and welcoming, there is always the occasional unsavoury character who likes nothing better than to lift ‘nice’ items off your boat. One night at anchor in Antigua’s English Harbour, we retired to our cabin only to be awakened with our alarm blaring around the anchorage. Groggy with sleep, Chris went up into the cockpit to turn the thing off; thinking it was a false alarm. As I stuck my head out from the cabin hatch I spied a tall figure lurking in the shadows on deck. I called out a warning, and I’m still not sure who was more surprised, my butt-naked husband or the intruder!
The six-foot Rastafarian was arrested, but as we caught him before he had actually nicked anything the police had to release him. A week later he and two others were caught and in possession of stolen goods. Justice! We were delighted.
Life went on. I completed and passed the Science degree I’d started a couple of years before. My confidence soared – now I could write my first novel. With six months research, I wrote ‘The Crossing’ whilst living at sea. It wasn’t always easy or perfect, but I loved the experience and opportunity. ‘The Crossing’ is now published in paperback and on Amazon in Kindle format.
In 2008, sadly we sold ‘Altarial’. We’ve settled down in Cyprus and I’ve now completed my second novel ‘The Assassins’ Village’s, a murder-thriller. This should be released in e format later this year. The third novel is well on its way.
Thanks Traci for asking me to write something. I look forward to reading other people’s experiences with great interest.
To contact Faith:
Website address: http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FaithMortimer.Author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/FaithMortimer or @FaithMortimer