Sunday, February 28, 2010

That Sinking Feeling?

Well it is 0615 and I am back on the key board. Pete slipped out unannounced
about 30 minutes ago, without a goodbye, headed for an early flight.

My good friend Alex Edwards saved the day again last night..His whole
family, Bob & Margret ( with the Nordhavn 46) sister Fi and Alex's Partner
Mel have been our support crew family for the entire three weeks, supplying
boats and last minute logistics. On top of that,Alex delivered 500 pictures
on a disc..all good stuff,like the shot above, taken on the Sunday
starvation weekend when the crew were pushed to breaking?

Today will be very busy. Stu Flies out and I pack the Van, Drop the trailer
off, then drive to Melbourne after trying to clean the cabin?

Some days ago we met Jack Scott who had sailed on the 1983 Bligh
re-enactment voyage as a young camera man. We took Jack out on Pittwater for
the day on TBB and it was great to hear his first hand accounts of the
experience. We watched the film of that voyage and read one of the Magazine
articles on the day of the Press launch. Next morning Pete was not the same.

He looked a little quiet and disinterested? I was confused and at 1400 that
afternoon(Friday), when there was a lot of work going on, he went for a long
lunch, not returning till that night. The boat was already packed and
everything sorted for the next day to load into the container. This was not
Pete. He is the strongest worker when others are reading books or being
distracted! He was not speaking, but something was up. I though he was upset
with me or the crew about something?, but he did not want to talk about
anything. I asked him that night...maybe another time? We went for our last
dinner together..He stayed home.

Yesterday we loaded the boat , Mike and Dave left. When Stu , Pete and I
returned to the Cabin, Pete went out again not wanting to be around.
Something was up? Stu and I went out for dinner alone. Pete was in bed when
we got back. He was off in the morning and still did not want to talk. I had
to ask what was on his mind. Mike and Dave were also worried, as all had
been fine up to the end and we all thought we had done something wrong?

When Pete said he was worried about Talisker Bounty Boat being able to cope
in the inevitable storms that we will face, I was both relieved in one way,
but very surprised in another. At least it was not a crew conflict thing. It
was the inevitable voices inside us all when we have to face a serious
challenge. I have been through it, as has Mike and no boubt Dave too. Your
gut feeling is something that you have to listen to, as it is a survival
mechanism that drives your emotions and then your body and mind.

Pete read the magazine article of the 1983 voyage that Jack sailed on and
now feels that TBB may not be able to survive such conditions. He has been
out in big seas and wonders how we would cope and if we could. This is going
to be a very personal journey now for Pete. He must come to terms with what
is now happening to him and the expedition. I really want him on Talisker
Bounty Boat as he is a ROCK!..he has all the qualities of an excellent
expeditioner and a truly nice guy. He is not scared. He is making a value
judgement in his own mind and coming up with his risk assessment, so that he
can make a decision that will effect him for the rest of his life. I know
what it is like. I have had to do that many times myself. That is the
essence of what adventuring is all about. It is living at your peak.

This voyage has an unknown outcome. We are doing everything to minimise
risk. Bligh had no option, but we do. We could all stay home. I know this
boat and the crew are now good to go, but it is a very individual decision
when you are at the sharp end.

I had just one major objective over the past three weeks of training. To
shake out and prepare the boat and the crew.I have done that. When we get to
Tonga there is no turning back.

It has also been three week of real fun with a bunch of great guys. I have
lost count of the number of times I was gagging for air from laughing so
much. The catering has been as you would expect with five blokes in a cabin
but I know it will be great on TBB as I have volunteered to do all the
cooking after April 28th. And wash all the dishes!

I was sorry to miss Pete this morning. I told him to make lots of noise when
he got up so I could say good bye. He has a lot on his mind. I truly want to
sail with him on TBB, but I just want him to make the right decision. Only
he will know what that is.

May not get to Blog now till Tuesday,as I am on the road and then on a
ship..I will try. I know we have picked up heaps of new TBB followers over
the past few weeks so tell your friends about it. This is going to be an
interesting ride for us all....Don


Anonymous said...

You guys are AMAZING. I am so excited for this adventure. I pray for safety and a good time amongst all of the work and challenge.

TTFN, Kathy, Bend, OR USA

Bob from Seattle said...

Interesting news about Pete. We all take risks everyday like driving on a freeway surrounded by thousands of pounds of steel moving along at 70 mph. It's a risk most people take. Everyone has a different level of risk that's acceptable to him/herself. Pete will have to decide the level of risk he's comfortable with. Life's precious, we only get one shot in my opinion so it's a tough call. Adventure by its definition has risk.

Anonymous said...

This is not intended for the public blog. Only for the crew...
Some of us have learned over a lifetime that our little voice was always right. Pete might be one of those men. It does not necessarily signify for the whole crew or for the boat itself, but only for Pete, which is an unaccountable sort of thing which nobody can judge. If he bails, nobody will ever know if he dodged a bullet or not. I respect his gut. Don't ask me to prove this intuition thing, because I can't. But maybe his subconscious mind is aware of something going on with him that is going to become a survival issue for him. All I know is, whenever I ignore my little voice shouting in my head, there comes a moment when I realize I knew all along there was a problem coming, but just didn't stop and look long enough to see it.

Anonymous said...

Again, not for the public blog...
Stupid me. I just clued in to the fact that your boat is not a full replica of the Bligh launch, but more like one of Shackleton's lifeboats. Shackleton had his ship's carpenter fit the lifeboat with a full cover tarp for the bluewater voyage, and they took materials along for repairs, and he also reported that without the carpenter on board making repairs during the voyage, as required after storm damage, they would never had made it.

Rubypat said...

An adventure such as this always carries risks - and anyone undertaking such an expedition needs to examine themselves carefully before they commit themselves. I hope that Pete comes to the right decision for him, and that the voyage is successful.

MJ from Brisbane said...

Hey Don - good to hear mostly all going as planned!! Hope you managed to get the Cabin cleaned - 5 Blokes living in it???????? Would've been no easy task cleaning it up!!! Well Pete, I think I can understand your doubts as this is a huge challenge. The decision to go or not to go is only one you can make with your own intuition and your own heart........Don, I respect you for the fact that you openly admit you want him to come along but understand if he decides not to. Good Luck all - will be following you all the way.

johnboi said...

I think I would be more worried if doubts weren't floating around. Its always good to go in to these sort of things with a clear view of what your doing.

Must admit though, Im ready for an adventure myself right now, was just looking at the map in the car wondering where i should go.

magpie said...

Hi Crew,
Thankyou for giving me a deeper understanding of what being an adventurer is.
I've read a few books on adventuring related to climbing, yachting, isolation and a country that brings all 3 of these endeavours together, Antartica. It is always fascinating where the spirit and comraderie come from in a team. Whether it be one, two or several on the task at hand, it's the knowledge of support and training that brings them through.
I nearly missed reading this entry, I'm glad I didn't.
☺☺☺ Hoo Roo ☺☺☺

Tim Stackpool said...

This is the most amazing blog entry yet...a real reality check on the reason why anyone undertakes an adventure. So often the general population forgets that the adventure begins long before the boat sets sail. With such good experience on board, I'm sure the trip will be an absolute success, irrespective of the outcome. The preparation has been as extensive at it needs to be, even moreso. While other posters are talking about the level of 'risk' anyone chooses to make, Don has always talked about 'risk minimisation', having every situation covered with a contingency. That's what makes for a safe and successful (but nonetheless eventful) voyage.

Trudy said...

Hello Don,
what an honest and insightful post. Thank you!
Making such major decisions can be a lonely, gut wrenching experience as you would know yourself.
However the chips may fall, it will be the best for the whole team!
Good luck to all of you,
Trudy, Austria/Australia