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We have abandoned Blue Dove in Priozersk, on the western shore of Lake Ladoga. All locked up and bereft of life, she looks lonely and forlorn. I know how she feels. I wonder when we will next meet.

It was a slow journey from Amsterdam to Priozersk. We were beset with light or contrary breezes and it took longer than either of us had expected. Comfortable with cruising delays of one sort or another I wasn’t unduly bothered by this, but Miss Perfect found it taxing. While our personal intimacy didn’t suffer, she was pleased finally to close up shop and go home.

For me, transition from Tainui to Blue Dove was difficult for two reasons: first, learning to be crew rather than skipper was challenging, as was the reverse for Maxine. But we managed. Second, my terminal senescence made shoe-horning into such a small environment testing. Foredeck and engine work could be as difficult as getting soft butter into a cat’s bum with a hot knitting needle. Oh, the brutal effluxion of time!

What now? For me, more refugee rescue work, this time off the Moroccan coast with Open Arms. For Miss Perfect a broad array of plans as usual, some of them mutually exclusive.

I have rich memories of our time together, Blue Dove, Miss Perfect and I. Perhaps there will be more shared adventures. Time will tell.

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