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":