Solo sailor Ian Thomson was greeted by friends who jumped on board as he arrived home at Airlie Beach yesterday afternoon. Photo by Zac Bailey.
Solo sailor Ian Thomson was greeted by friends who jumped on board as he arrived home at Airlie Beach yesterday afternoon. Photo by Zac Bailey.

Home after epic journey

AFTER an epic journey of about 43 days, Whitsundays' very own around-Australia sailor Ian Thomson sailed back to his familiar shoreline late yesterday afternoon.

Greeted outside Abel Point Marina by friends and his mother Pauline Salter, he was delighted to see that not much had changed in his absence, as members of the community sailed over to congratulate him on his achievement during yesterday's twilight races.

“To come in and see all these boats out here, it's pretty sweet,” he said.

When asked what he was most looking forward to about coming home, he replied, “companionship -sharing stories with friends, that's what sailing is all about.”

His mother, Pauline Salter, flew from Melbourne yesterday especially to see her son arrive home at Airlie Beach.

She hopped onboard Thomo's boat along with a number of other friends about 4.30pm yesterday.

“It's fantastic that he has done this epic journey and come back safe and sound.

“I'm in awe of this boy. He's an awesome son.”

Thomo cruised into the Whitsundays yesterday, sailing to the top of Lindeman Island across the top of Pentecost Island and into the Whitsunday Passage before heading towards his Airlie Beach destination.

“It has been an epic journey, six weeks of solitude and I am looking forward to being around friends and family once again,” he said. 

“Times like this really make you think about your entire life and where you are going and this journey has really opened my eyes to many things.”

On May 5, Thomson bid farewell to family and friends on his SOS (Save Our Seas) voyage around Australia.

The sailing voyage/campaign was made in the bid to raise awareness about the damage plastic bags do to the marine environment.

Now back on land the big question is what's next for the SOS sailor.

“I am actually going to form a Foundation known as Save Our Seas Foundation Australia or something similar,” he said.

He said it would be a non-profit organisation out to do three things. 

“First of all it will be out to continue raising awareness of the plastic bag issue but also any plastics in our ocean,” he said.

“With 46,000 pieces of rubbish in every square mile of ocean, we need to clean up our act,” he said.

“Second it will be out to promote alternatives to plastic bags and plastics, green bags and eco bags and the like will be promoted heavily by us.  “And finally, action - cleaning up the problem around Australia. 

First things first though, after six weeks at sea the man friends call Thomo said he was looking forward to reuniting with the bare essentials.

“Go Home and have a shower and clean up then it is down to the Whitsunday Sailing Club for a fresh meal, probably the Wednesday night roast and probably a few Coronas,” said Thomo before his arrival at shore.

He was going to be in Airlie Beach earlier but was waiting on his mother arriving on a flight yesterday from Melbourne.

“I have to wait for my mum otherwise it could be a little earlier,” he said before arriving home.

He said his mum had been awesome in her support of his journey so he wanted to wait for her before he arrived home.


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