On arriving in Falmouth it felt like part of a circle was able to be closed. Back in 2017 my son and I had taken Rival Star north on what is termed a shakedown cruise. We looked to shake her about and remedy any issues prior to the formal trip occurring this year. As we entered Holyhead yacht club, desperately looking for a beer and pizza, the place was near empty. No food was available but a chap at the bar supplied a take away number and we were allowed to eat it on site. For me, at this point personally, I hadn’t totally committed to the voyage. A year with no income is a long time. I wasn’t confident in my ability to deal with non christian folk in terms of faith, questions etc. so part of me felt that the adventure might be better without me, and I had tried to steer Howard towards us hiring a boat. This was partly to reduce risk but also to maintain an exit for myself if things weren’t going as expected. I feel God works in a tangible way in my life but I wasn’t fully prepared to launch into this just reliant on his timing, after all the Jews waited over four hundred years to be saved from slavery!
The chap at the bar, a nice guy I’ll call Pete, suddenly looked up and asked if I had any interest in the Celts. This was before the trip had started, there was no web site, no branding, no visual clue that might have prompted the conversation. I explained our plans and after a lengthy conversation we found ourselves invited back to his boat. As I sat down he put down two marine green berets and a marine dagger, point towards me, saying ‘tell me about God’. What followed was a conversation ’til four o’clock in the morning and a new friendship. Pete had agreed to join our talk about warfare and faith when we returned to Holyhead, but that was not to be. In the early part of the year Holyhead marina was destroyed and he lost his boat, as did many others. What followed was an amazing response and he found himself working in Falmouth with a another boat upon which to live. It was a great pleasure to present him with a bible signed by ‘Navigators of Faith’ in the operations room of HMCG in Falmouth this evening. The greater pleasure though was the returned smile, the gift’s acceptance and the appreciation of the thought and value behind it. He knows me well enough to note, correctly, that the bookmark was placed in a good place for him to begin reading, Paul’s voyage to Malta and the shipwreck.
It was fascinating watching the coastguards work and to gain an insight into the broard remit their vital work covers around our coast, 24 hours a day. I raise a glass to all of the officers that undertake this vital role but also ask that they may be considered in our prayers.