My trip home was exciting enough to make me almost forget my intense disappointment to have left Tin Tin. But here I am in the UK, and my efficient insurance company, Pantaenius, had arranged an immediate appointment with an ophthalmology consultant, who gave me a good going over and then (since I had come SO far) referred me to retinal specialist. After a very intense examination, he concluded that my retina is still attached, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief! I had heard that if they needed to spot-weld the retina back on, then the gas bubble inserted to hold it in place would stop me from flying for two to three months. Thank goodness I can get back to Tin Tin for the last leg.
However Tin Tin was making very slow progress across the South Atlantic, with reports from Mark and Justin of very little wind. My main anxiety was about the steady failure of the batteries and the possibility that the autopilot would stop working which would force Mark and Justin to steer the whole way. It's tiring anyway standing 4 hour watches, and over that distance I was worried that they would get exhausted. I spent time trying to find battery solutions, and to get advice from people in the industry and was reassured to find that we can probably get replacements in French Guyana.
Meanwhile it was wonderful to get swept up in family life again as all my daughters and my six grand-children came to stay. Was kept busy with the many jobs that needed doing around the house and took great pleasure in doing things such as re-roofing a shed. Our central heating had broken down so the cold weather of April kept me busy feeding the log fire, or staying close to the Aga. It was also lovely to spend a couple of days with my parents and generally catch up with friends on the 'phone. It's almost as though the voyage has already ended, even though I've got another month of exploration ahead.
Now the summer weather has come, with the hottest April days for 70-odd years, and on Monday 23rd April I am flying to French Guiana to meet Mark and Justin. Their progress has speeded up a lot now that the wind has finally settled in and it will be interesting to see who gets there first. Justin will be looking for a flight home to get to a wedding, and Mark and I will be joined by Richard and his friend who are coming to explore Papillon's Devils Island, poke our noses up some steamy jungle rivers, and then explore along to Dutch Suriname and the ex-British country of Guyana.
Here's Tin Tin's position approaching the mouth of the Amazon which, I heard on the news, has a newly discovered, and rather unique, coral reef which is now at risk from oil drilling.
Below is the map showing historical hurricane tracks, with the few that have passed near Trinidad highlighted. We are aiming to store Tin Tin in Trinidad which is at the southernmost reach of hurricanes. If Cayenne in French Guiana had better facilities I'd probably park there as it has never been affected.