4th December 2009
I love the way that minor miracles keep happening to us as we work towards this trip away – things are falling into place so amazingly. We’ve been wanting to use our QANTAS frequent flyer points for the trip to Turkey as this will save us about $6,000.00. However when Cheryl checked yesterday, while we had 321,000 points, we needed 328,000 points for the four of us to fly. This was disappointing as we’d already combined all the points we could and were now faced with having to buy one of the tickets.
Today when I logged on to see what routes and times the flights were, I had 333,550 points. The additional points came from my credit card. Let me tell you the story. When I was trying to pay the deposit for the yacht, I had to transfer some money to the foreign exchange company who were transferring the money overseas for me. Unfortunately as I didn’t have an account set up with them at the time, I had to set up and account and then fund it before they would lock in a currency conversion. As I was in a rush to transfer the yacht deposit before the scheduled haul out, I had to credit the account using my visa card. This was the only way I could be guaranteed of an immediate funding, however it was something I was upset about at the time, as I had to pay the surcharge for using a credit card. It turns out that the additional 11,914 points that were credited to my frequent flyer account came from this visa card transfer – and right on the day we had to book our flights! What incredible timing, another in the growing list of minor miracles as we work toward our dream.
So tonight, with the children sound asleep in bed, Cheryl and I sat together and booked our flights. Our route takes us out of Adelaide on the 4th February 2010 direct to Singapore then onto London. We’re stopping two nights in London and my cousin Lisa (who I’ve only seen twice in my life) is coming down from Newcastle to visit us while we’re there. Then on Sunday 7th February we’re flying from London to Izmir in Turkey. Then the real adventure begins.
On another note, I went and saw my boss at work today and gave my notice. I really hate leaving a job in the middle of a project, so I’m going to be working hard to get the project to a point where I can hand over with minimal disruption. While it would be great to finish at Christmas, then have a few good weeks of packing and readying the house, I think I’ll be splitting my time and working 2-3 days a week at the beginning of January, just to make sure the project is in a good position to hand over.
I was a little nervous to have to give notice - it makes things pretty final. Work has been “on notice” for just over a year now. While I tried not to worry work unnecessarily, I had to spill the beans last year when I needed a week off work to fly to Jamaica at short notice to inspect a yacht. That sort of thing kind of blows your cover!
It went well though, and my boss was very understanding. I knew I’d picked the right person to tell, when after listening patiently to my plans of adventure, he showed me a glossy brochure of his “retirement holiday” - a 100 day motorbike ride from England, across Europe and Russia to Mongolia. I love people with a sense of adventure. Best of all, I have been offered my job back when I return.
7th December 2009
I love the sailing community spirit already. When we were considering Adelina as a broker for our vessel, she provided a reference - a couple called Jim and Carola, from Queensland, who had recently purchased a yacht through her. I rang them initially to discuss Adelina’s performance and since then we’ve stayed in contact via email and the occasional telephone call. They too have purchased a yacht in Marmaris, called “Koza”. They’ve just landed in Turkey and dropped us an email to let us know that while they were walking along the docks they spotted our yacht. Much to my relief they were quick to let us know that she looks very tidy from the outside. Additionally, they’ve agreed to keep a watch on her and adjust her lines from time to time, until we get over. It’s so generous of them and it makes us feel so much better knowing that there’s someone else there watching her until we arrive.
8th December 2009
Tonight is D-Day. We sit our Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency exam. It was meant to be last Wednesday night, but they had to cancel it as they had been issued the incorrect exams from the Australian Maritime College. Theoretically that should have given us one more week to study …
15th December 2009
We just got some mail back from the Australian Maritime College. We both passed our radio operator’s course with flying colours. Cheryl got a brilliant 90% and I got 96% (Couldn’t have Cheryl pip me on that could I - haha). At least now we will be able to operate the radios when we get on board Connect4.
16th December 2009
Ok … we’re all sitting around home feeling sorry for ourselves right now. There are three sore left arms and one sore right arm (Nick’s the lefty). Today we had our first round of immunizations. Now if you know me at all, you’ll know I have quite a dislike for needles at the best of times, so the thought of having five in one sitting, then having to go back for two more visits in the coming weeks isn’t really pushing my buttons. Cheryl and Chelsea took them all in their stride. Me, I’m a wuss, but I tried to be brave!
20th December 2009
Now while we’re on the topic of needles, there’s been something we’ve been working towards over the last few weeks. Because we’re going to be away for so long and will be visiting a number of places where there might not be the medical support we’re used to, our first aid kit is a little bit more comprehensive than we would normally take away on holidays. Our kit contains a variety of drugs, some of which need to be injected, as well as a suturing kit and other odds and ends that should cover a majority of the “injuries” we’re likely to encounter. To this end we’ve found a Doctor who has offered to train us in providing injections and suturing. So this Tuesday we’re catching up with him so we can practice suturing on pigs trotters (dead ones – just in case you were wondering) as well as oranges for the injections and then he offered that it would be a really good thing to practice on each other with saline injections. Now I trust my wife totally, but I have to say that I’m just not that wrapped about receiving needles of any kind, let alone “practice” ones. This sailing trip had seriously better be worth it, because at the rate I’m going, I fear I’m likely to take on water through approximately 50 little needle holes in my personal body!
22nd December 2009
Today after work, Cheryl and I went out to our friend’s house to learn all about giving IM needles and suturing. Brenton, our GP friend, was so helpful, not only for sharing his time with us - without charge, and for allowing us to come visit at his house, but also because he had obviously spent a good deal of time collecting a number of different needles, syringes and other bits and pieces that we would need for our journey. It’s funny, but when we thought about going cruising, we never considered how much time would be spent in learning things like suturing.
First up, we got taught the basics of how to select, open and draw up a syringe. For our first practice, we were using expired ampoules of vitamin B, which was a great opportunity to learn how to open an ampoule and draw up a syringe without cutting ones self, or spilling the contents everywhere. From there Brenton described the process of inserting the syringe into the muscle and delivering the drug, then disposing of the used sharps. Our first “real” practice was performed on an orange. Now while the orange may have been consenting initially, I doubt it was a willing participant after Cheryl’s first attempt to provide it with its vitamin B booster. Truth be told, I’m sure I recall seeing my orange turn a shade more resembling that of a lemon, then try to run for cover upon witnessing this first injection. Let me digress a little - Brenton had patiently explained to us that to deliver a good and painless injection, we should ensure that there is enough force behind the delivery to guarantee that it penetrates the skin on the initial attempt. Remembering Brenton’s words of encouragement, Cheryl went first and with one smooth effort inserted the needle into the orange with such force that it appeared for a moment that not only had the needle penetrated the skin of the orange, but almost half the syringe too !!! Both Brenton and myself looked on in mortified terror for an instant; the prospect that it could (and likely may be at sometime) have been my arm that was the recipient of this needle that surely would have penetrated to the marrow of my bone made me feel as pale as my lemon coloured orange. Brenton recovering first, and remembering that he was going to be the next recipient of Cheryl’s IM needle suggested “Umm, … I might get you to withdraw that needle and try again, perhaps just a little more gently this time”
It was with great relief that her second attempt was much more balanced, and when she gave her first real injection in Brenton’s arm, she did admirably despite her nervousness.
Fortunately, I learned to give IM injections when I was in the ambulance service, so it wasn’t new to me. The only part that was new, was that my patient was conscious. For that reason I was hesitant that I might hurt someone. Glad to say that we can both administer IM injections if we ever need to. We’re hoping that we never need to, but it’s nice to know we both have the ability – which is what it’s all about.
Next we practiced our suturing skills on a pig trotter. Brenton, once again patiently taught us how to administer the local anesthetic and then to perform a series of different stitches. We learned the simple suture, then we learned the mattress suture which is fantastic for closing a wound while holding both skin edges together to form a nice seam. We even practiced a corner stitch for when there’s a corner flap of skin open. Overall, the night was really good for improving our confidence levels and knowledge.
25th December 2009
Merry Christmas to everyone today. We enjoyed a special day with family today, made all the more special because we know that soon we’ll be going away. If all goes well next year, then we’ll be celebrating Christmas in some exotic location like the BVI’s in the Caribbean, surrounded by Poms (English people) who complain that it’s just not Christmas when it’s not white and that Christmas in summer is too hot. Hmmm … pretty much like this Christmas. Guess nothing will be different.