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.

The most extraordinary change I've seen on many visits over four decades to this most beautiful part of Africa, Cape Town, stared me in the face tonight.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Girl in a magical setting ... this young lady climbed down to be beside the South Atlantic, where just over the horizon it joins the vast Southern Ocean. The scenery wasn't required to watch the birdie, though. The smartphone-camera snapped away with many very close-up selfies instead.
I was enjoying an energetic walk right beside the magnificent South Atlantic and taking in the warmth of the winter sun and the utterly stupendous views.

On one side stands astonishingly high mountains topplingly close to the sea - Table Mountain, and the eccentric jutting Lion's Head, and the lesser peaks that add enormously to the fabulous beauty of the region.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
It's international ... Dancers very far from the Cape Town's corner of the South Atlantic pause for a selfie. Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash
And to your opposite side, the mighty ocean, unbelievably blue, with gorgeous lines of washday white surf.

With such stunning scenery - perhaps the most beautiful and most extraordinary in the world - you'd imagine eyes peering into the phones-come-cameras sweeping from left to right, and back, and dizzily right round.

Click-mad tourists

Click-mad tourists were certainly clicking away quite madly in their droves, seemingly from almost everywhere in the world, even though it is winter here, and Cape Town very far from anywhere.

But the phone-cameras were not swinging from side to side, taking in the extravagant scenery.

This is 2019 after all. The tourists, the walkers, most of the population on the path, showed that they were as transfixed by what's become the favourite action of smartphones.

Their gadgets were turned immodestly back-to-front for selfies.

Some were on eccentric selfie sticks, most were held out for back-to-front snapping, some presumably new to the selfie trick were in the hands of friends, and all of the selfie subjects wore very odd expressions indeed.

Apart from the very odd immodesty, the strangest thing is that the phones were photographing what they could just as easily have been snapping at home, albeit that the tiny border around the subject wouldn't be of Cape scenery.

However, no mountains for background edging, please.

The sun sets at about quarter to six these evenings, and rows upon rows of people line up to photograph the mighty orb sinking into the Atlantic.

Smiles for the camera

The sun smiles for the cameras, the smartphones, in every part of the world. Yet this is the somewhat eccentric choice, and not by one selfie-fan, but loads and loads of them.

As we might have guessed, most of the space is filled by the grinning 'selfie', with a little of retiring sun as a little bit of edging.

The internet tells me that 1.43 billion smartphones were bought last year and 1.51 billion the year before.

Just as well the inventors only got active in recent years or the very pricy gadgets - and the nutty craze - might well have meant unemployment rather than famous careers for the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, brilliant Titian, and the amazing Jan van Eyck, plus rather a lot more.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly 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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