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.

Here's a brand new off-the-cuff original quotation: Book an airline ticket in haste and you could well pay at leisure.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
It rained, and how ... The rain in the Cape could have shamed Noah's heartiest downpours. Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash
I was bemoaning on these 'blogs' the surprise price of a variation to my air ticket for a break in Cape Town.

Admittedly, the original ticket was a little lower in price than many but it did contain a number of restrictions.

We all know those 'do you agree with this and that', and probably like most people, added a tick or two without actually reading.

A bad move, but then I've travelled with Turkish Airlines often. I'm entrusting my life to them. Why would I doubt the arrangements?

I arrived in this stunningly beautiful part of South Africa, an area where I worked a lot as a professional yacht skipper.

Undoubted beauty

However, in spite of a considerable amount of coastal navigating here, I must have forgotten that the undoubted beauty is often marred by very doubtful weather.

And as if to jog the memory, within the first couple of days I was half-drowned by intense monsoon-strength rain. The studio where I was staying remained perpetually exceedingly cold.

Getting pneumonia or worse in a land with no NHS, nor anything similar, looked very grim. I took it to be a sign to admit a mistake over timing, and return home tout suite.

In my earlier story this week, I mentioned surprise at how much it seemed I'd have to pay to get back early.

The Turkish Airlines' quoted price was about £344, with the possibility of an additional £51. Even so, it did seem a little better than the competition.

Was I living a bad dream? The ticket here – Gatwick to Istanbul, then onto the Cape - cost £463.42. And that certainly included flying back. Yet to travel one way home would be £880, which is obviously much more than twice the cost of the original both ways ticket.
However, the rep couldn't say if a seat would be available. So today I emailed the local airline contact, Mechaela Adams, to see if there was space.

An email arrived from F Karabulut which seemed to be from the airline's head office. It set the price at 14400.00. The currency was not stated.

In rands that would the equivalent of about £880, a mighty leap from the early quote of £344. However, if the figure stood for lira, the price would be about £1,953.

Was I living a bad dream? The ticket here – Gatwick to Istanbul, then onto the Cape - cost £463.42. And that certainly included flying back.

More than twice the cost

And yet to travel one way home would be £880, which is obviously much more than twice the cost of the original both ways ticket. Alternatively, of course, it might actually be nearly £2,000.

I emailed the Cape Town lady again asking about that quoted price.

Ms Adams replied, 'As discussed, please contact/email our offices once you are ready to change your existing reservation. This will be subject to current availability at time of changing.'

Another email came soon afterwards. 'The price is the same for 20th Jun 14400.00.' Currency not stated, and no reference to the earlier quotation.

No prizes, sorry, for guessing which Brit will remain in the Cape till the end of the month.

Thanks very much for visiting the - approximately - 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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