Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MERRY XMAS! Last Panic!


I have only one more day to get everything organised for Talisker Bounty
Boat Training in Sydney. I live in Hobart and at 0430hrs on Xmas day I head
for the airport to catch the first of four planes, finally arriving at the
bottom of the South Island of New Zealand around 2100hrs on Xmas night. I am
joining ORION an Expedition cruise ship on a voyage to Antarctica. That's my
other job. I am Expedition leader on the ship and with the Captain we take
100 guests on an amazing adventure. I arrive home in Hobart on the 3rd
Feb.then leave on the 4th Feb to catch the ferry across Bass Straight.I then
drive north to Sydney with a Van load of "stuff" for TBB. We all get there
on the 5th Feb. So I have to pack it all tomorrow. At the completion of
training the TBB is back in a container to ship to Tonga. So this is it! The
last chance to pack things.

The photo shows me with our version of a Cutlass, Army Surplus! and other
bits sorting at home. Of course the Avon Inflatable support boat has a leak,
we cannot get Fluro safety orange antifouling for the bottom of TBB anymore
( incase we capsize) and some things are still yet to be delivered, so
plenty to think about.

I have just made the decision to build a new Main mast and Doug has agreed
to do it!!! Not sure what I would have done if he said no!! I have to
wait for a special delivery of Fine grain "Spar" Quality Oregan and new
hardware from England. The original Mast was flexing in high winds and I
want it a little taller.

We have the Liferaft, and most of the safety gear now but worried where it
is all going to fit? Have decided on two anchors, an admiralty pattern and a
grapnel which Bligh refers to. Mike is polishing up on his sextant work. I
will do the same in Antarctica and now that I have finally got rid of a bad
Cold that has been with me for a month hopefully I will start to get fit!!
The biggest challenge though for all of us will be trying to get a sun tan!!
before we set off.

Stay Safe Happy and Healthy over the Holidays...THANKS!! To those who have
given donations to SIF here...every bit counts and it is greatly
appreciated. If you have time have another look at the links here to the SIF

The count down to the Mutiny is about to begin...all the best..Don

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Friends you hope you don't need! The NZ RCC

When TBB sets sail from Tonga next year, we sail over to Fiji then above
Vanuatu before heading to Australia, all the while being under the umbrella
of the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre's (RCC) Epirb receiving
station. We will have plenty of challenges, but should we get into trouble
the first EPIRB alert may go to NZ. They are based in Wellington and as it
turns out I had a chance to visit these friendly professionals yesterday. I
told them about the Voyage of Talisker Bounty Boat and my connection with
Jessica Watson who they track every day. They did not think we were totally
crazy, but were happy to know we have all the right safety gear, experience
and planning. Closer to the time, we will send them all our tracking info so
they can watch the adventure unfold daily. Same too with the RCC in
Australia which is based in Canberra. These two organisations have pulled
off some epic rescues over the years. While it is nice to know they are
there , these are friends you hope you never need.

If we ever did, I need to be sure I can look them in the eye and say that we
did everything possible to minimize all the risks with proper training and
preparation, then make their job easy to find and recover us if that is the
plan. I know I could do that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

4th Man selected! all crew signed on!

Well to all those people who applied ..THANKS!..but we now have a full crew. I must say there are more than a few crazy people out there who wanted to be apart of this amazing voyage for all sorts of obscure reasons, women too! which was good to see. The Spirit of Adventure is still alive in many. The Talisker Bounty Boat crew is very much an international affair. I hope to announce the team soon. Talisker are now developing some great plans and we hope to make the web site Multi-lingual by late January.


The Bounty Boat will be shipping out of England on the 15th Dec for Sydney.


I have finally arrived back home in Hobart after time in China and to the Philippines to check out my other boat ICE. On Monday I head to New Zealand for a one week Antarctic conference on Polar shipping issues, then I am only home for 10 days before setting off to Antarctica onboard the 5 star cruise ship ORION. Margie and I are Expedition leaders taking 100 guests down for their first experience. I return on Feb 4th to Hobart, then that day drive to Sydney to meet all the crew on the 5th Feb. That will be the first time all crew get to actually meet each other…it will mark the beginning of an intensive three week training is all happening fast now!!             

Friday, December 4, 2009

SPARKS! are flying on Talisker Bounty Boat

If I look a little worried in this photo, it's because I have left Talisker
Bounty Boat with Simon and Alex at Planet Generators in the UK, to fit all
the electrical systems and I had just explained to them that they need to
make the whole system work underwater...they both said NO PROBLEM!

I know that they can do it, but it is a big ask. For all those now saying
BUT? Bligh did not have electrics? Well we have to be a foreign going ship
and to be legal we must have navigation lights, and a VHF radio. Importantly
we want to speak to the media and film our efforts to stay afloat too. This
all needs power,so we will be fitting two Dryfit gell batteries and four
Flexi-cell solar pannels to provide power. That power will be used for
charging batteries for the Iridium phones and the video cameras and power up
our waterproof "ndura" rugged Laptop for blogging and sending out photos and
maybe even Video clips. Our Echomax radar transponder may be required during
ship encounters, or to increase our radar echo if someone is looking for us.
That too needs power to operate. Lets hope we get plenty of sun but we are
short on water too so need plenty of rain?

Our 48inch flat screen TV with the home theater also uses a lot of power
when playing DVD's , so much infact, that we have decided to leave it home
at this stage. Simon did mention the idea of fitting fuel cells instead of
batteries, which would greatly increase power output! He is confident he can
make the TV work under water you know why I look worried!!