Mel Thunderbolt | Footprints in the Sand
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Footprints in the Sand

A Very Big Hello to all our online followers!!

Hello from the beautiful Philippines

I am sitting at the Subic Marina yacht club in the Philippines, looking out over the bay watching a glorious sunset.  I cannot believe I am here, about to start a new adventure of sailing through the Pacific while diving for sunken treasure.

Our trip should take around eight months, firstly sailing through the islands of the Philippines, then into the Pacific Ocean to Palau and then onto Micronesia, down to Fiji and finally ending up in New Zealand.

I landed in the Philippines a week ago and things have not stopped since.  With just less than two weeks to do our last bit of preparation and then we’re off, into the Big Blue Yonder.  This will be the last time we are in a marina until we get to New Zealand in November so everything has to be well thought through and prepared, from spare parts, food, safety equipment, dive gear, camera gear, the list is endless.

How strange a few months ago, all five of us crew were living our separate lives on all sides of the planet.

Carrie was climbing rocks in Northern Thailand, while Mark was mining the rocks deep underground in NSW, Australia.

Jane was working hard in Zhuhai, China, while Don was on an expedition in Antarctica and I was working on a Motor Yacht in the South of France.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be part of something so amazing and exciting a year ago.

We have all been brought together for this expedition, possibly by fate, by the fact that we crave freedom and adventure or maybe because each of us carry the sea in our blood.  For whatever reason, our journey is going to be one none of us will ever forget.

One thing is for sure, our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.

Footprints in the sand watching a storm brew

As we are getting to know each other, little similarities of character are starting to creep up between the crew.  For example, Carrie has the most amazing tattoo on her forearm of a compass pointing North with the words “Not All Those That Wander Are Lost”

What a wonderful statement, it says so much in such a short sentence.

Mark was given a gift before his travels of a compass with the same wording inscribed on it.  How strange is that?  Another similarity is that Carrie, Mark and myself are also all reading books from the same author Paulo Coelho… mmm the plot thickens…

I admire and respect each and every one of the crew,

Jane for her kind, friendly and curious ways;

Mark for his infectious zest for life;

Carrie for her free spirit and adventurous soul, and for

Don for his modesty and humbleness, when in fact he is such an inspiration to all of us!

Today is Friday – actually it doesn’t really matter what day of the week it is for us over here, every day feels like a Friday in Paradise but today, Carrie, Mark and myself are heading to Manila for the weekend which should be fun.  I’m sure we will have a story or two to blog.

Crammed inside a Jeepmey

Anyway, Here’s to an unforgettable expedition through the Pacific Ocean.

To my new family onboard ICE:

“May the wind always be on your back and the sun upon your face and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.”

Melissa Van Der Walt