Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Portsmouth. As we turn back north, roughly half way through our year in the Caribbean, four cities with the same name come to mind.
I was born in Portsmouth, England, on the south coast. It’s a big navy city, and growing up there firmly embedded the coast and sea into me. I was not really a huge sailor back then, but living daily next to the sea will imprint you. Salt smell, seagulls, tides and ships, all these became familiar things.
Living in Vermont, our nearest coastline was probably Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Much smaller than its namesake in England, it still was a reminder of those sights and sounds from growing up. We would go there once a year or so,an and it kept being a touchstone to that other city.
As we left the US, we did so from Portsmouth, Virginia. At the mouth of the cheasepeake, it was the jumping off point for our 13 day passage to the BVI. Also a big navy city, as we left in November, we saw aircraft carriers and warships of the American navy. Behind us was three months of New England sailing and ahead of us the Caribbean.
Dominica became the southernmost island we have visited. The land of fresh fruit, rainbows and the pirates of the Caribbean, we turned back north from Portsmouth, Dominica at the beginning of February.
In a way, I have been thinking of these four portsmouths, each different, yet in many ways the same as anchor points for out trip. We are excited to be heading to new islands (and to do some downwind sailing) as we visit Antigua, Monserrat and the Dominican Republic. So far we have traveled over four thousand miles.
One thing I brought from Portsmouth, VA was the chainplate we found a crack in hours before the start of the Caribbean 1500 rally. Only through amazing efforts from my crew were we able to fix it and start the race.
As we are turning around, I found a spot of 1/2 mile deep sea to throw in the cracked plate. Perhaps it can be an offering to Neptune for good luck on our return back.
Now the journey back begins!