Well it was a really successful trip apart from the fact the Lisa is still here and I am back in QLD.......... just a little hic cup. I have watched Lisa work sooooo hard for 3 years solid towards this moment. She had set her goal and focused on nothing else.
It is amazing how time runs away with you however with the amazing support of the Albany locals she was ready to go. All that was required was a few hours with us all pitching in to load the massive amount of stuff on board. It looked like a lot, but I have done enough boating myself to know that 3 or 4 hours would have knocked it on the head and she would have set sail in the most perfect of conditions.
Luckily someone decided to just test the electronics one last time.......and a small problem reared its ugly head. As her trusty army of helpers put on their problem solving hats and tried to solve the issue, Lisa tried desperately to raise phone support from the UK, the US and anyone who would listen however being the weekend this was to no avail.
As the people who were desperately trying to solve the issue had their tools out and in use, it was also impossible to keep going with loading the boat. Eventually it was decided to delay the start.....much to Lisa's dismay.
So parts were ordered and back we came to Qld, her mum, her dad, her sister, her auntie and most importantly her grandfather who had been counting down this moment with her for the whole 3 years. After a recent stint in hospital where he was told he would not cope with the flight that same dedication took over. Everyday walking the lounge room circuit, pushing himself, getting fitter, getting stronger until eventually they reneged and approved him to fly.......I am sure with bated breath. This is obviously where Lisa gets it from.
So complete with wheel chairs, oxygen bottles, Ventolin and a lot of hesitation we made the trip. A last minute bout of gout just to make sure it was sufficiently difficult and off we went.
From Perth we drove down, taking in the scenic Margaret River route which added a few hours to the trip and we arrived in Albany.............to work........... Lots of work.
The whole town of Albany had got behind Lisa, I have never seen anything so impressive. People working on the boat, people working on the packing, people sewing liners into sleeping bags.....it was all happening.
Lisa was walking around with the phone glued to her ear organising last minute details. I never saw her loose her cool............I am a bit bias but I thought she was amazing......a bit bossy but very amazing. She had a lot on her plate.
Mark from Southern Ocean Sailing had organised a community collection of over 1200 milk bottles to be placed into the forward bulkhead.........just in case she hits an iceberg and puts a hole in the boat. These bottles were placed in a huge net to avoid any escaping if there was a collision. The idea is that it will limit the amount of water that can enter the bulkhead. These were currently housed in a local hall near the marina.
Anyway, Grandpa (Frank Mitchell) was really keen to help so we threaded a rope, (or I think you all call it a sheet) through the handles and made a double row of bottles and Grandpa dragged them down to the boat behind his mobility scooter. He has not stopped talking about it since we arrived back..........everyone in the Palmwoods Retirement Village are now experts in bulk heads.
We were all allocated jobs, along with anyone from Albany who came within cooee. I think everyone was prepared to do the late night to see it all happen.....It was soooo exciting. The adrenalin was happening, the dramas unfolding but progress was good. The end was well within site.
When it was decided to delay the departure it was frustrating........... however in typical Lisa style, she just got on with other jobs and additional improvements which will only improve her situation. She was making good use of the additional time. She did not want to leave mid week as she wants to give the people of Albany a chance to get involved in the send off and if possible this would be best on a week end....................... We travelled back to QLD.
For me it was perfect. I got to see the lovely town of Albany.....which I loved. I got to meet some of the amazing people who have helped Lisa so much. I got to get the feel of being a part of the excitement and then I got to say good bye without watching her cross the line. I think that would have been quite emotional although the media may have liked it. Saying goodbye in large chunks is a much easier way to go.
So we wait here in Qld for the tracker to start so I can be glued to that dot for the next 3 months. This is a culmination of just so much effort, what she has gone through to get to this point is mind blowing. These last few issues are nothing.....................I mean nothing.............. Nothing will stop her. She will leave soon and we will see her back here in 3 months with a few records under her belt I am sure.
Thank you Albany for such a great visit, for making us feel so welcome and for such dedication in helping our little girl make history.