By Tom Chidgey, Captain.
Life is all about unexpected events but life onboard Discovery exceeded our imagination, taking us on the craziest journeys we couldn’t have even dreamt of. Our final step off Discovery marks the end of an epic adventure and turned out to be yet another story to tell…
A few days back, in Subic Bay, Philippines…
Here we are packing our suitcases and wrapping our gear in preparation to return to France. Everything is finally ready, Discovery is safely moored at the yard, the new skipper has been briefed about the refit, our cabin is empty…
The removal company rocks up to the boat, loads up the truck and tells us it is going to be challenging to get out of the area.
Subic Bay is a tax free zone within the Philippines, so basically anything coming in and out has to be checked. “What does this have to do with our personal belongings”? Well.. ANYTHING crossing the free zone border needs to get signed off and of course it is Saturday so all offices are closed and we need to get our stuff out of there to customs and onto the cargo ship.
The only option available: smuggle our own personal belongings in the back of a few cars that wouldn’t alert border control. Luckily we are with the right people, those who know a thing or two about under-the-radar trading.
Tom asks innocently what’s at stake if something goes wrong, hmmmm
We approach the check point, merge onto one single lane, three guards in full khaki uniform (the scary kind with some intimidating gadgets attached to their belts) checking each vehicle.
The empty removal van goes first and gets pulled aside, as planned, keeping busy two of the agents. Then, the make believe “surf trip” with the unpacked surfboards pilled up on the pickup truck, to whom the guard throws a Shaka 🤙 along with a “yay surfin’!” And last, the black tinted SUV with all our bags, the driver in a smart polo shirt and sitting next to him angel-face We thought this was quite ironic to finish with such a Discovery-like tale.
Even though stories are easy to tell, words are hard to find to express the emotions felt after four consecutive years at the helm of Discovery. Once again adding up a few world circumnavigations to her total distance logged, Discovery is tied up to the dock ready to relax and get pampered before her next adventure.
We are very thankful to have experienced and lived such extraordinary moments in probably some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Pacific Ocean.
Those moments have been part of a dream since very early childhood, dreams of jumping off the bow of an elegant sailing yacht, surfboard in hand into some of the most crystal clear waters riding a perfect wave.
Kiting over glassy turquoise water while taking in the surroundings of such paradise-looking beaches with palms waving gently to the push of the wind.
Getting your head underwater to discover an entire city of colors and life swimming around you.
The countless sunsets, sunrises, shooting stars and meteorites on the long cloudless night skies crossing.
Moments which can only be physically lived to fully understand the beauty of it all.
However, pushing the limits does come at a certain cost especially when the boat and Mother Nature decide otherwise, questioning how much we can endure, finding ourselves on the verge of pulling the plug a few times. Bearing in mind the responsibility and challenges of keeping everyone safe and sound night and day.
To all of you we hosted, thank you for your shared enthusiasm while exploring the known and the unknown, the ongoing smiles and stories around the dinner table, your support in tough situations and most importantly thank you for your help keeping the legendary Dirty Clubs alive!
Thank you all for making this dream a reality!