Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1st full day on land

Hi, this is Paul's sister, Joy, filling in for Paul as he gets his "land legs" back. He had an absolutely incredible arrival in Antigua yesterday afternoon, and was welcomed by what seemed like the whole island. We'll supply video and pictures of his arrival as soon as possible, but for now, I'll give a quick description:

We didn't expect him in until early evening on Sunday, so imagine my surprise at around 12:30 to discover that he was closer than we thought, and closing in fast on English Harbor. Luckily the champagne was already on ice, and although the welcoming committee had been relaxing by the pool, we were immediately running for the harbor. We were able to find a spot on the cliffs at the mouth of the harbor, where we could catch the first glimpse of him. We alternated between cheers and tears at the sight of his tiny yellow speck coming around the corner. The local TV cameras were already on hand to capture every tear, which by that time no one minded.



He looked absolutely overwhelmed as he navigated to the dock, amid cheers from strangers and horns from surrounding yachts. In a moment I will never forget, I was able to make it to the dock in time to grab his hand and guide Liv to the wall, the way I'd done countless times before. Paul will describe the scene in more detail as soon as he's able, but I'll tell you there was an endless procession of hugs, thank-you's, and teary eyes as we were finally able to get our arms around him. He spent the first minute or two on land just surveying the crowd and saying "wow". He eventually composed himself enough to express his gratitude for everyone involved in making Row for Hope a success, and to thank our mom for giving him the fighting spirit to cross an ocean alone. I know how proud she would be of her son, and how much he and I wish she could have been there.



I've gotten endless questions about how he looks and how he's handled the physical stresses of 88 days at sea. He's definitely lost weight, and seems to be trying to make it back by growing an excess of beard and curly locks. He looks a bit like a castaway, and is still a little unsteady on his feet, but is otherwise better than expected. He went straight for Nadine's brownies, followed by an enormous burger and a much-anticipated gin and tonic. He woke up at the crack of dawn this morning out of habit, and spent most of the day enjoying the company of his friends and family, who spent quite a bit of time poking him in the arm to be sure he's really here!



Many more pictures, video, and media appearances are to follow, but for now, here's a couple of shots of Paul's first official reunion with family and friends, at a place appropriately called "Life":






Joy

23 comments:

Glenn said...

Congratulations, Paul! I'm a late joiner -- I only found out about your trip from CNN two days ago. But in the last 48 hours, I read your entire blog and felt the pain and joy of your entire trip vicariously from Seattle! Amazing, inspiring, and way cool is all I can say! Wow! Congratulations on pushing through all the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual challenges of a journey such as this. I've already passed on your info to my friends. I look forward to hearing more about the trip as you slowly reassimilate!

Best wishes!

Glenn in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Wiping away tears as I read this. I felt like I was on the journey with you this whole time!

Lori - Endicott

Anonymous said...

Paul,

You look great! You were definitely the talk of the office yesterday (and I'm sure that won't diminish anytime soon). In the meantime, enjoy yourself. Nobody deserves to relax and enjoy the moment as much as you! (It looks like you already are with all of those very pretty girls in the group picture!)

Take care! We are all extremely proud of you here at GA and can't wait to see you again soon!

- Denise @ GA

wbc363 said...

Wow!! Congratulations, great feat!!

Anonymous said...

Paul, I too am a late joiner. I just read about you yesterday on CNN and have for the most part read all of your blog. You have accomplished something so wonderful and of that you should be quite proud! I know your family and friends will never let you forget what an amazing thing you have done! What makes it even more inspiring are your reasons behind it. You are a true, modern day hero. I wish you the best in your future endeavors! Congratulations on this incredible feat!

God Bless,
Katie in Missouri

Renee said...

Joy,
Thank you so much for the wonderful update. I've been thinking about you, Paul, and your family and was glad to get a glimpse into the celebration when Paul arrived on land. Can't wait to see and read more as you post video and more pictures.
Enjoy your time together!
Renee

Anonymous said...

Paul, I heard about this from the interview you did on 103.9 WFAS back a couple of months ago. I immediately added your blog to my list but didn't start following you until about after you'd been at sea for a month. To be entirely honest, I was very interested in how someone could hold up doing what you did. After I started reading though I was completely hooked. I don't think I know a single person who could've done what you did. One other thing, I had been thinking all along what I would eat first if it were me doing this, and the only thing I thought I would want is a giant hamburger, haha!Congratulations on a successful trip! Take care!

Cameron - Ossining, NY

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
I am so excited for you and so proud. I have read your blog every day since you left and now have tears of joy that you are safe and sound. You look terrific! Can't wait to see you.
Judy W. from GA

Wild Bill said...

Joy,

Thanks for the update on the festivities.

Paul,
Stellar accomplishment; simply amazing !

The Bombay Sapphire will await you in the "Magic Circle" in July.

I have been busy spreading the word about RowForHope and your amazing accomplishment.

Congratulations !!

Sincerely,
Wild Bill [fishnwilly]

Anonymous said...

wow....incredible rid....definitly have to open a pudgies in cuba to top this haaha.

hope your legs come back soon... and pumped you had a G&T waiting for ya!

pick on press connects of you w/ the champagne is definitly a keeper.

proud of yas....now look at your fantasy team...brutal!

MAYE

Laura said...

Please do not cut your hair or shave your beard prior to our first lunch outing. Thanks.
YAYYYYY!!!!!! So excited to see you!!!!!

Zack Bloom said...

I really hope you bring that beard back to Stamford, at least for a few days! Once again, I'm so proud of you buddy, great job! I just made another donation in honor of the completion of this journey!

Anonymous said...

Paul -

You can now add Forbes magzine to your list of appearances. I just got the latest copy left on my desk by a woman here at work - b/c yes, many people at my work also know about what you have accomplished.

Congrats again!

Jodi Malinovsky

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! We can't wait to see you back in Norwalk, beard and all!

Save the date of Sunday, April 19. We're going to throw you a party and hopefully get you some more money for Row4Hope!

Can't wait to take you to dinner and hear the story!

Cheers,
Charles

Anonymous said...

knock knock whow is
there poul poul whow
poul you did a good job

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
We are very proud of what you did and we are glad that you are back safely on land! We like the picture of you on your blog. Our class has decided to collect bottles and cans to raise money for Row for Hope. If you are in Binghamton, we would like to have you visit our class. Congratulations!!
From Mrs. Barber's 2nd grade class
MacArthur Elementary

Anonymous said...

Amazing, Mike the barber would be pumped to cut your hair. Everytime I talked to him he asked where you've been HA.... Anyhow looking forward to your return to binghamton.

~gdovin

Lou Mindar said...

Paul --

Congratulations! Job well done! You should be very proud of your accomplishment. I'm sure your mother is proud as well.

I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2003 and at the time, things did not look good. However, I was very fortunate to have a team of talented, dedicated doctors at the University of Wisconsin looking after me. They were able to cure the cancer and today I am healthy.

I was treated with a type of radiation that didn't exsist just a few years before my diagnosis. It was in due in large part to the targeted radition therapy treatment that I received that I survived and am healthy today. However, this type of treatment likely wouldn't have been available if not for the generous gifts that have been given for cancer research over the years. That's why the fundraising aspect of Row for Hope is so important.

Thank you for your selfless adventure and for allowing us to follow along. Once I close out this comment and wipe the tears from my eyes, I will be making a donation.

Best wishes,

Lou Mindar

Marlene said...

CONGRATULATIONS PAUL!!

I knew you could but it is still amazing. I know that your mom and Robert were watching you the whole way and protecting you as well. Robert was so excited about your trip and wanted to follow it every step of the way and I know he did, just from a different view point than the rest of us.
I recognize those red curls from when I babysat you but the beard is really out of control. My opinion is keep the curls, lose the beard:)
I can't wait to see you in person. Now that you are famous I hope you will still visit Binghamton and wow us with your stories from the wide open seas. Take care and hope to see you soon. Love, Marlene

Eric McQuaid said...

Attaboy. You have made mom very proud.

Eric McQuaid
Plano, TX

Dave said...

Paul,
Congratulations!!!
I saw your story today on Yahoo and just read through your entire blog.
I lost my mother to ovarian cancer in '09 and I applaud your effort to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Enjoy your family and friends!
Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication!
Dave from Seattle

Anonymous said...

yo, your sister and her friends are pretty hot...

Anonymous said...

Reading of your journey. I have read of many small boat journies. Congradulations. Saw you in Time.