The last twenty miles approaching Sanya finally brought us some wind. Flying the kite approaching land peppered with lights was just the beginning of the excitement. Fishing boats with incomprehensible light configurations and an oil rig was pretty disorientating. Hats off to our skipper and navigators as we seemed to pass very close to other boats and gybed before dropping the kite and hoisting white sails for the finish line.
An amazing welcome of ribs and boats with firecrackers as we approach the harbour entrance. Second over the line and third after redress to another competitor. Intense and exhilarating with adrenaline surging through remnants of fatigue.
Our Chinese hosts’ display of dancing dragons and a wonderful ceremony all in the middle of the night was loud, colourful and quite fantastic. We finally returned to our boat and had a few hours sleep before morning brought us a deep clean and many jobs to do.
We have now had over a week in Sanya … the Chinese tropical paradise … busy days on the boat and a little time for exploration of this city. Only in the last 20 – 30 years this now vast and densely populated area has transformed what was previously a farming and fishing community. Hotel complexes abound, with the guides keen to share with us their pride in the growing wealth and booming property development and 7 star Dubai like resorts. Beaches once naturally white now already have sand imported to maintain the tourist beaches.
The climate is warm and pleasant and the mountains provide a verdant backdrop to a beautiful but now scarred coastline… deeply ironic that in making what is naturally wonderful accessible, we disfigure and destroy. Visits to cultural tourist areas intrigue me and provide an insight into Buddhist spiritual traditions and practices and ethnic mountain people and their way of life.
Today is 4 March and we are off to Qingdao. A very different leg ahead. From warm to seriously chilly, heavy winds against current. Upwind sailing. Thankful that we have a great team to support us, some who have seen the Southern Ocean and are able to coach us and keep us safe.
I am not alone in my feelings of apprehension and now we are finally ready and good to go I am looking forward to be at sea again. Yes will be focused as we sail into the city that has sponsored our boat. There is quite a bit of pressure to get results. I am sure this is not incompatible with having some fun too. A happy boat performs well.
Love to all my family, friends and our supporters. Smiles. Susan.