Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

I learned something today about the profit side of our modern air travel and I wish I hadn't.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Catching an Airbus ... Turkish Airlines' very efficient Airbus A330-300. By Masakatsu Ukon - Turkish Airlines, Airbus A330-300 TC-JNL NRT, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
As I mentioned the other day, I flew to Cape Town last week.

The internet was not slow to offer a zillion choices, but I settled for a comparatively good offer from Turkish Airlines who I have travelled with often.

While their captains speak probably the world's worst variation of English, they appear to be excellent pilots.

I planned to spend a couple of weeks in the Cape, but the offer stayed the same for longer periods. I thought, 'Well, why not a month?

'Br-x-t must surely be resolved one way or another by then.'

Astounding views

Four weeks might let me knock the current manuscript into shape while enjoying the astounding views that Cape Town offers.

Ho, ho, ho! I could almost hear Fate laughing. I might have found a reasonable deal at home for the ticket, but I learned very quickly that fat cats loiter, waiting to cash in on changed plans.
The flight began a couple of days later.

I endured a very long wait at a modern, upmarket Istanbul terminal and managed the old long, long haul across the Med and all the way down the massive lump of Terra Firma which is Africa.

This winter in the Cape is raw, much more so than on previous visits. On an evening walk, I was doused with rain heavier than I have felt anywhere but for the Doldrums.

It continued into the next day and night. The torrents were heavy enough to have rattled Noah.

If this is what this winter offers here, time to come home much sooner. I've seldom changed tickets before, but when I have it's never a, well, big deal.

Ho, ho, ho! I could almost hear Fate laughing. I might have found a reasonable deal at home for the ticket, but I learned very quickly that fat cats loiter, waiting to cash in on changed plans.

A whopping extra for what?

I looked online for an economic return and all I found were almost double the cost of my ticket, yet to go half the distance.

Frustrated, I asked Turkish Airlines themselves for help. Well, I took it to be the airline, but the Cape is so exceedingly capitalistic, the agency with the same handle might well not be the airline themselves.

After nineteen emails and a phone call, the price settled at R5,850, except that a special charge of US$65 might be added.

The exchange rate from the common traveller's side is about R17 to a UK £1. So to do one leg homeward bound would be about £344, and the soonest they 'might' have a spare seat would be in twelve days.

I paid £463.42 to come to the Cape and back again. And yet I would have to pay an extra £344 to get back again, while forgetting half of the price to get here.

The outlay would total more than £800 to cover the same distance, yet the original ticket at around half the price must have included a tidy enough profit for the airline....

Frustration and, most likely, a change to the change-of-plans.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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