Clive and Jane Green sail back to Wales after 16 year voyage
- 13 August 2014
- From the section Wales
It was supposed to be a week away just to test the water.
Could Clive and Jane Green live together without a cross word in the cramped cabin of a 35ft sailing yacht?
Now 16 years after setting off for a quiet cruise to Spain, the couple have returned to Pembrokeshire - covering 51,000 nautical miles as they criss-crossed the globe.
In that time they have sailed pirate-infested seas, watched volcanoes billow, and studied Komodo dragons. All while learning how to become accomplished global seafarers on their boat, the Jane G.
Mrs Green said: "We have been very lucky to see our planet in such an amazing way - we didn't ever plan to sail around the world - it just happened.
"We would sail to a place and then through word-of-mouth from other sailors hear about somewhere else to go to.
"This has been our life for the last 16 year- it's been an amazing experience."
The adventurers had originally left Neyland for a trial week in Spain in July 1998. And their boat just kept taking them from one port and harbour to another.
- From Spain they sailed to the Cape Verde islands and across the Atlantic to Barbados before island-hopping through the Caribbean
- They sailed up the coast of East America and even spent three days shopping and sight-seeing in New York
- North to Canada and then down to the Panama Canal, they sail the Pacific to Australasia, then through Indonesia to South East Asia.
- Over to India and through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean where they have spent a couple of years.
They rented out their home in Abergavenny to finance part of the trip, as it became clear they were going to circumnavigate the globe.
They lived on £130 a week, bartering their few belongings for food and other supplies - including bargaining with one of Jane's bras on an island off Fiji.
Along they way, they had encounters with turtles, stingrays and, on the most recent home leg, a giant sei whale, which was bigger than their yacht.
They saw orangutans in Borneo, swam with seals, and watched sparks shooting from a volcano in Fiji.
Initially, until their company pensions kicked in, the Greens could not afford to splash out on swanky restaurant meals and had to rely on their own skills to fix problems with the boat they spent £20,000 kitting out.
They also relied on help from the sailing community as they made their way round the world.
Mr Green explained: "It wasn't a holiday, we were on a strict budget so that took some getting used to.
"If we had a problem with the boat we had to fix it ourselves - Jane is just as capable as me, there's nothing on this boat she can't do."
In all they visited 51 countries, stopping off for three-and-a-half years in Australia and New Zealand.
They survived up to 23 days at sea by desalinating seawater, wrapping potatoes individually in newspaper, keeping cheese in cooking oil and packing butter in salt.
Their biggest scare was being followed by a boat in waters inhabited by Somali pirates.
But it turned out to be an Eritrean fishing boat seeking help for crewman who had badly gashed his leg.
"It wasn't very brave of me but I watched as Jane hopped onto their boat to clean and dress the wound before we waved them back on their way."
The couple said, after voyaging the world, they believed the Americans are the most helpful and the Malaysians the most honourable.
"We really have gone full circle - all they way around the world at an average speed of 4.5mph," said Mr Green.
They have promised to spend a few months getting to know family and friends again but are already planning their next adventure - navigating the canals of Europe.
And no - in all that time - there was never a single row in the tiny cabin that was their home.