The embarkation on to the vessel after I arrived at Portsmouth was delightful. I was met straight away off the train, and one of my new colleagues was ready to take me to our boat, the Provident. Very soon we were underway, on a lovely sunny afternoon. Gradually I was meeting the others on board, and we set the rudder towards the Isle of Wight on a lovely mild sunny evening.
We joined the many expensive yachts around us, and we were fed with an excellent dinner, and then docked in Cowes for the night. The following morning, our Skipper called us together before we sailed. He thoroughly explained all the health and safety drills, and then we set forth on the voyage.
The Skipper also explained the route we were now going to adopt to take us away from the Isle of Wight, and into the open water. He warned us that the sea of yesterday would become more challenging. We set sail from Cowes and then passed the Needles on to the open sea.
As the time went on, the rollers grew higher and higher, and I found it more and more uncomfortable. I started to wish that I hadn't enjoyed such a good breakfast back at Cowes! Then, to make things worse, we were deluged by a big roller. Feeling both sick and cold, I was not at my best! Thanks to the care of my colleagues (several lent me warm and dry sweaters to help) , I got through it. I didn't have another day like this!
It would be a big mistake not to compliment those who produced the meals, particularly the lovely lady who cooked so well and kept us all going.
As you can imagine, there was little space on the boat. Each cabin had two bunks, but I, perhaps because I was the last to join the boat, had what was the spare cabin to myself. Fourteen people queuing for two very small showers / loos made for some congestion, but we got used to the arrangements and coped fine.
There was one lovely sunny day when we were tied up in harbour when one of my colleagues advised me that there was a public - and free - opportunity to have a proper shower! It was quite lovely!
The last full day saw me spending much of the afternoon at the wheel. I found it enjoyable as well as important and eventually we anchored in sight of Brixham where we would be going tomorrow. That last night was superb, with lovely food and much fun.
When we awoke, the anchor was raised and we headed for the land. The Skipper asked me to take the wheel, and pointed out a mark on the land miles away but clearly visible and said to keep pointing towards it to keep on course. This took a mile or two, but gradually Brixham appeared and the Skipper asked me to guide us in. This was an honour - to have been allowed to take it right into the harbour.
Our farewells were completed, and we said our last goodbyes. Our thanks to the Skipper, the three lovely girls, the enjoyable time that we all had and of course, the wonderful Provident.
- Peter Hill booked his sailing holiday through Dementia Adventure, an award winning social enterprise offering a range of activity holidays for people affected by dementia as well as training and consultancy services.