Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Agony and Exstacy!!"

I feel I have let so many of you down and only hope you have come back to the blog to check out the ongoing news? you are about to see the adventure did not finish in Kupang…loosing 18kg on a shocking diet finally came to haunt me and even as I write this I am a bit of a mess! I promised myself this morning that I must do the Blog…not the final one I should say. There will be something here each week now to keep you up with activities right through probably till the end of this year.

Sorry I did not get the last Blog up. I have been quite physically exhausted and some would say quite sick! As you will see. Last night in the early hours I was close to going to Hospital.


Plenty of challenges here..we were headed into a bay at the bottom of West Timor and knew we could not make the entrance to the pass leading to Kupang till dawn..we had a 20-25kt wind from behind and there were large currents and tidal over falls known to be there..Bligh speaks of them giving him real problems. We had to slow down in these dangerous conditions (in a 2,5mtr sea that was breaking at random because of these over falls) so that we did not arrive was very intense on the helm and for the last five hours we had to slow to just two knots with only a small head sail up….we survived ( another 41ft yacht that we spoke to at sundown headed into Kupang was POOPED by a 5mtr wave over the back of their boat..they were very worried about us!) and surfed through a final tidal race at dawn into the very calm was a special moment…we felt as if we had made was a beautiful sunrise, we could smell all the cooking smoke from shore, the fishermen were all out and we were only a few miles away and a and just three hour away from Bligh going ashore!

Stu our camera man appeared in a fast boat and there were plenty of big smiles all round..For the past few days we wondered if we would have to row..Bligh did and sure enough the wind died and we started to drift into the pearl farms along the were on the case as we frantically got the oars was a funny scene I tell you!..trying to explain NO MOTOR…NO we cannot be towed..they thought we were crazy!! But the wind returned after about 30 minutes…with a vengeance!…It was 20kts right on the nose!!! For the first time in the entire trip..just six miles to go and it took us a very wet four hours! Sailing to windward..something Talisker Bounty Boat is not so good at..


We arrived off Bligh beach to check it out at 1200hrs and then sailed away as we were waiting for all our friends and media coming in on the 1330 flight…at 1400 we were back as they were all running for their boats and we had a quick sail around the bay chatting to them all and made the official landing rowing up to the beach at 1500hrs on Tue. the 15 June! Six hours behind Bligh.

It was an amazing moment for so many reasons that will be with me for the rest of my life…so we had survived, when just the night before Dave P and I both discussed the very real possibility of it all coming to sticky end in those over falls, so close to the was a tricky ending and made me think of Bligh and his men so wanting to get to the finish, not just to survive, but just to tell the world , family and friends just what they had been through..if they sank on the last one would ever have known!

On the beach I was wobbly on my feet and excited with the reception. Plenty of locals, Govt. officials and a happy atmosphere all round. We were running on adrenalin and enjoying the moment. There were eight hamburgers and Fries waiting for us and yes Dave W ate both his! That first bight was special.

The initial media took awhile, then it was a race with the sun..we had to empty the boat of everything..even the ballast, take the masts down and then with about 50 of the locals swarming all around the boat, we picked it up and carried it about 150mtrs up the beach and over concrete steps into the yard of a foreshore restaurant. It was a huge effort and took some hours..This gave us 24hour security. Dave P. and I both decided this was something we did not really need, as we were running on empty and totally exhausted but it was the best thing for the boat. Chris was in space but working hard..somehow Dave W decide to do his own thing and took off before the move started, checked into his hotel, had a shower and a bit of a lay down, then appeared at the boat some hours latter in fresh clothes ! He asked me who moved the boat!..the rest of the crew were totally unimpressed..Dave W had been very anxious on board in the last moments, to the point of being frustrated as we sailed around the last hour with media before arriving finally on the beach. I did not think it would manifest itself into letting us down like that.

So began a big night when all we should have been doing was dinner and sleep. I had virtually none the night before. It was all International media, a dinner and finally to bed around midnight. That first shower was skin had developed plenty of natural oils but the biggest shock was in the shop buying shampoo and toothpaste etc..there was a mirror!..WOW!! I looked like someone else!! Was that me!! Big beard, silly hair..then I lay on a bed and pillow for the first time in nearly two was really a strange sensation..I had a funny reaction to it..Hard to describe but I just lay there, sank in and did not move for awhile..that has never happened to me before..

Next morning it was straight to see the Mayor Drs. Daniel Adoe who received us all and a large media contingent. It was a warm reception. He was interested in our trip. He has a passion for the environment and I was surprised to hear of Australian Govt. involvement in a 25hectare Marina being built in Kupang!

Dave W dropped another Bombshell during the day..said there was a mix up with his tickets to Jakarta to see his girlfriend. Some one got the dates wrong? and he was leaving tomorrow, Thursday morning. Originally I reluctantly agreed that he could leave on Friday night, as the plan always was that we all stay to sort the boat and gear for three days..I said how much was the ticket..$120..and suggested he buy a new one…so he never went back to the boat..all the work was left to us.

Food became a bit of a game, all new and never say no! I stopped drinking water and took on fruit first mistake!..then it was more media all day and into the night during Dinner. Through all this we had a great local keeping things moving..Graeme Whitford…without him and his great family, things here in Kupang would have been quite different! Second mistake was heading to a night club after Dinner..then moving onto another Karaoke Bar…Dave P and Stu our camera guru did us all proud!! 4.15am I had to head back to the hotel to start more media interviews which were every hour for the next four hours..forget about 0830 I just went to breakfast.


Thursday 17th was my first attempt to get the blog done, but to put it bluntly everything caught up on me..I was exhausted and just crashed out. My digestive system seemed to be coping OK, but I was still not drinking water..just juice?? So in amongst the filming and sorting all the gear off the boat, I started to detect a pain in my right knee. I did not think too much about it. I felt OK but could not believe that I had dropped 18kg or 18litres of water, 18kg of it what you like ..that is a lot..My body is just smaller all over?

Friday was another slow day sorting all the boat issues, organizing and cleaning gear and planning for a cradle to be built for the boat which was now to be shipped to Surabaya as Deck cargo before being loaded into a container as deck cargo.

When I had gout in Tonga the week before we set off, it was the first time for a long time..that was in my right big toe….on the boat during the voyage it was in my foot…now I just thought I strained my knee lifting the boat off the beach..Next morning it was too late. I was so exhausted from a few nights of little sleep I slept through the growing pain…I finally started drinking water again instead of juice…I was not dehydrated but water is important…The pain was intense, so much so that I was bed ridden unable to walk for Saturday and Sunday morning..fortunately Dave P and Chris were able to keep the work schedule going and my PA/friend Jane, who had flown in from China on Thursday to help, kept an eye on me. I had 450 emails waiting for me, but the internet connections and phones here in the hotel are quite challenging the point that I had been using the iridium phone sometimes..

Sunday afternoon I went to the boat and returned to the hotel going into a strange fever..I was hitting over 39 degrees ..for the first time I started to feel and think that my body was finally trying to reorganise after the deprivations of the voyage..I felt strange?

Monday was the big day to load the boat..I was up early to pack the things going back ont the boat for Australia..30 minutes before we were due to leave I felt the first signs of a kidney stone attack..I could not believe it!

I struggled at the boat then at some meetings to sort shipping but had to return to the hotel around 3pm..I left the critical task of loading and repacking the boat onto the truck and then onto the ship to Dave, Chris and Jane..they finished at 8pm that night! I was a bit of a mess by then.

The pains were spasmodic around the front of my groin and every 20 minutes or so becoming quite bad…after one very sever attack I asked Jane to ring Graham and ask him about the local hospital..I could see that I would be using the strong suppository pain killers very soon and after that it gets very serious..he organised for his doctor to visit and set up for a hospital admission if I needed it during the night. At 0500 in the morning I was hitting pain levels of 7-10 and gave myself the suppository….I was not a happy chappy up to that point, as things were not normal..I am thinking this may be kidney problems rather than a stone. It is all a bit different..anyway within 10 minutes I had dropped off to sleep..the first for the night.

At 0630 I woke with no pain and no symptoms?? Strange…I was confused as I had not passed a stone??..anyway, still had work to do trying to organize the 40ft container. Then it was off for a haircut and beard trim..WOW!! still me under there..then this afternoon late another kidney tingle..Back to the hotel and some more we go again?? I took some drugs and was not happy but they died off after a few hours..

Quick get the blog done..It has made me feel bad for the last few days..sorry!

I think this health story will play out for weeks to come..Margie wants me to get back to Australia ASAP for a full medical check, but I have already bought my tickets to the UK Via Hong Kong from here and can’t afford to loose them ..Something is going on, but I know the human body is very resilient. I am eating healthy now.and drinking water.I knew the trip would knock me around a bit..Dave W lost 14kg. Dave Pryce about 10kg and Chris about 3.5kg..amazing.

One of Bligh’s men died a few days after arriving..we are fine!

Talisker Bounty Boat is on a ship now steaming to Surabaya..and I have no one to receive it yet? Bit of a race to try to get it to Sydney for the boat show.

We have a long way to go with SIF and raising money, so please stay in touch with this blog for the latest…there will be a new one every Friday….the book will be warts and all so don’t think you have read it all here…you have’nt..there will be plenty of surprises! And having seen the footage we have been shooting along the way, I recon the doco series will be worth watching.

Thanks to you all for being a part of this grand little adventure..It was always fun knowing that there were a few thousand people out there along for the ride! Thanks for all the blog comments, good and bad…Life is like that..better to have a go rather than not…no one is perfect least of all me but I am happy that we have achieved 90% of what we set out to do....this has been without doubt the best Adventure I have ever been involved with..the crew were truly the best I could have had..fate is a funny thing and I could not have asked for better..thanks guys!

YES! There is another adventure planned in the not too distant future, but for now I am happy to wind this down and enjoy the moment..

One thing you could do for me..please encourage everyone you know, especially kids to have an imagination..that may lead to dreams..without those, we all go nowhere. Those dreams may turn into adventures that you could encourage your kids and friends to get out a actually try. Adventure is something we should all grasp with bot hands no matter what it may be.

To all our sponsors and supporters I hope you felt a part of this..I truly value your involvement.

To William was never really a race, but it was fun chasing you and your men who are close to us in so many ways now..yes it was a game for us, we did not have to do it, but I saw you everyday along side us in all the different conditions and with all our similar frustrations and fears. For me that was special and made the entire journey worthwhile. We could never get the same feel for the things you went through, but we do understand it better now. Saving your life and the lives of your men is part of the human instinct I suppose , but any lesser man I doubt could have done it the way you so admirably did. You are to be congratulated the strongest terms from the crew of the Talisker Bounty have our total respect!

To Margie..thanks for putting up with it all one last time….

To the crew of the next boat to re sail Bligh’s incredible open boat journey….Good luck!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Tummies & Salmon Trout In Timor"

Rachael ( Our Very Special Roving Corespondent in the Far East) has just been able to give us more information on the Talisker Bounty Boat Boy's, she was able to pass this on to us via Bali, as the internet connections where the TBBBs are staying are very patchy at best!

After all the celebrations (Partying) Don has gone down with another severe attack of "Salmon Trout"( Gout), David W is all "Tea-ed up" David P has lost his voice, and poor young Chris has got Kupang Belly.

Don & Chris are due to leave for Australia in 4 day's time! so lets hope that they have recovered by then. As a fellow Gout sufferer I know how painful it can be,and it does not clear up overnight, even if you have the best drugs for it.

It is only to be expected that these brave men would be susceptible to infections and any underlying medical problems would flare up after their 48 day ordeal and diet. It was a price that they were prepared to pay, to help us build the SITraN building.

I have just looked up via Google Earth the location of the Talisker Bounty Boat, and it looks as if it has been moved about 8 times ashore since arrival in Kupang, the reason for these movements would probably be for media photo shoots! it went inland about two blocks,as well as going east & west and is now back close to where the beach starts, land-wood side, I also presume that it must have been manhandled as the TBB trailer is in Australia.

In my book the Talisker Bounty Boat Boys are" The Greatest" and I look forward to be able to thank them in person, on behalf of all Neurological diseases victims.

Watch this space, for details when they are coming to England
Thanks for all your support

"From Our Special Correspondent in Timor"

We have just received this blog after poor satellite links "From Our Special Correspondent in Timor"

OK so the story is that Don and the crew have been inundated doing media interviews since landing - the story has gone global being covered in many Australian and UK national papers. Crew have relaxed and enjoyed some amazing Indonesian food and experiencing Kupang. We had a great night out the night after they landed with the crew hitting the karaoke bars and showing their singing skills off especially Dave P( Quilter) even though they were still wobbly on their feet.

Graeme , an Australian originally but who now lives in West Timor with his wonderful family has organized everything for us and hosted us in his gorgeous house. Not to mention drinking his home brewed wine which was excellent and he has taken us to some authentic Indonesian restaurants.

The crew are staying on for a few days to organize the Talisker Bounty Boats return to Australia. The the majority of the media interviews are now complete.

Meeting the crew and bonding over this very special experience and at this special time has been unforgettable and something I will treasure forever.

Hope this helps. Sure Don will blog when he can, but we just have rubbish internet connections!.

Kind regards,

Rachael Shaw
PR Manager

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Safe arrival in Kupang"

Dear All,
Don has asked me to Blog for him today,They arrieved safe and sound at 3.P.M. Yeaterday!
Since arrival, it has been non stop media from all over the world, any spare seconds Don spent washing his clothes, the ones that he had worn the same ones all the way back from what seems eons ago from Tonga.
As you can see from the pictures above, The Talisker Bounty Boat Boys seem absolutley delighted! and so they should be, what a remarkable achievement, that after the first few day's no Bookie would even Quote odds of success! You will also notice how Slim the TBBB's are. I have been informed by Rachael Shaw PR Manager from the sponsors parent company Diageo, that Don has lost 18 kilo's (Nearly 40lbs or approaching-three Stones).
There is definatly a market for the Talisker Bounty Boat Diet! I don't know what the others have lost but we will all look forward to all their next blogs.
I would like to thank all those who have commented during this historic adventure and to those generous "Friends" Of the Sheffield Institute Foundation who have sent some much needed donations.
Please keep the Comments & Donation coming in, as we have a long way to go yet before we can find the Cure for the Big three generative Diseases. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neurone (ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) or La Maladie de Charcot, depending on where you are in the world; it all spells misery for the victims.

All been well Don will blog tomorrow! Providing he has finished his washing!
Cheers for now Stuart Keane
A very proud Patron Of the Sheffield Institute Foundation, and a privileged moderator to the Talisker Bounty Boat website.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Congratulations from Professor Pam Shaw

Dear Don, Dave, Dave and Chris,

I am so delighted to hear that you have arrived safely at your destination. What
an adventure you have had - a triumph of the human spirit. You have inspired
us all during the last 48 days with the qualities of determination and
endurance (not to mention maritime skills and sheer physical strength) that you
have brought to this journey. There were times I must admit when I wished you
had a doctor on board to ease the pain!!

You are an inspirational team and we are very proud of what you have achieved.
I am really honored that you chose the Motor Neurone Disease Institute in Sheffield as the charitable cause to support in this adventure. Thanks so much for all you have
done and I look forward to seeing you and thanking you properly and in person.
Kindest regards
Pam Shaw

Monday, June 14, 2010

Race to the Finish...the race is nearly over....!

A Fish Called Don'Da...(On the Left)

Normally I do the blog just before sunset while it is still light but not is now was the last sunset so I drifted with it on the helm and enjoyed every minute..we are now just40 miles from the turn point at the bottom of Timor and then we have 12 miles up to is now 1830 hrs on the 14th so we could be on the beach at dawn..about three hours before Bligh..but there is no way we could do that...he has always had our respect and having just about completed this incredible journey my feelings for him and his men have grow very strong.

We chose to do this and no matter what we did to make things a little harder on ourselves we could never honestly get to the same levels of deprivation and fear they had every minute of their voyage...just the thought of traveling all that way and then maybe loosing it at the last minute..everyone on Bligh's boat would have known that no one would ever know their story and what they went through so while they were obviously very happy to survive the voyage I truly believe that would also have been excited and joyous in the extreme that at last they knew the world would know what they had endured...

Bligh was a special man in so many were all the men on his many things happened over such a long is not the time to go over it but I will enjoy putting my perspective on it when I get to write the book and produce the documentary series of this Talisker Bounty Boat has been everything and more than I expected...

We have just dropped the mizzen for only the second time since leaving Horne Island..and the light head sail for the first time...that is the only sail handling we have done over the last 1000 miles..we need to slow up dramatically as we cannot turn the corner till after 0600 in the morning..we needed the daylight and the tide to turn..we are doing about 4kts still in a 20kts following breeze..

We switched over to GPS at 1800 hours tonight..we saw Timor for the first time at 1200 hours today and were very surprised as it was not meant to be there till just on Dusk...working down the coast we discovered ultimately that we have had a current helping us..unbelievably it put us exactly 60 mile ahead of our DR position..that is the exact distance that Bligh was assisted by current on the same leg..he did not realize that though as he made one of his very rare miscalculations..only discovered 100 years or so later when reviewing his note book..anyway I knew of this current in Bligh's journey so was being a bit cautious but strange how it worked out to the same distance..

the last 24 hours have been very relaxed sailing..we had a Flying fish come by and I was able to get him back into the water before it was too late..he became trapped on the foredeck..the amount of rubbish in the water has slowly been increasing which is unfortunate..not so many birds anymore and as I needed to film our coconut scales that we use to weigh out lunch portions we all had a free lunch to the great Joy of the crew!!!

I decided to allocate 4 liters of water to all for washing purposes so everyone but me had a bath for the first time since Restoration Island...I watched the whole process waiting for my time and then I started to refle3ct on Bligh again..we have soap on board but had only used it once when it was washed over in one of the knockdowns..another bar was pulled out today...I just decided in the end not to bath out of respect for Bligh...some of you will think that is a bit strange and I don't quite know who to explain it other than ...I just feel better without smelling all pretty!!...not good for the others on board but??

I took a photo of myself last night just to look at my beard...WOW!! it is long and look a bit older..I mean I am not young but I look forward to a beard trim, shower, food soon!! but again I have to admit that I am not really craving anything...well OK a comfortable seat would be nice..Life has become a routine at the moment and I know it will take awhile to settle down again..this may be the last night on board??..strange..

How about toilet paper..that will be very unusual and seriously I don't think as good as washing but I will survive..fruit will be good..

The Dave's made up our Indonesian flag today which should last a few was like a therapy session for them with the sewing kit out..Margie had organized some colored pillow cases to use..thanks Ted!

So the endgame for us includes a bit of media from Australia and the UK etc who are all flying in...we are earlier than expected so they are not ready for us till about 3pm..OOPPS!!..the plan for us is to anchor somewhere while we wait for them ..the ETA on the beach, Bligh's beach!! for us is now 1600hrs and beside the fat lady singing the looks like there may be a reception of sorts for us.Ian Mojo and.Graeme Whitford in Kupang has been flat out organizing things for us for the past few months. Not sure what we would have done without them...

Still a few tricky navigation issues for tonight and it is very dark out there right now but we are hoping for a big day tomorrow.

You can see all our sponsors on this web site ..none of this would have been possible without just want to say a Huge thanks to you all for having faith in me and this project ..especially to Margie for putting up with it all one last can also see the Just Giving website ...PLEASE PLEASE consider helping SIF..we have probably survived this Adventure...most who now have MND will not survive..If you think we have done something worthwhile here, I would feel happy if you made a donation...I will be working on ideas and ways to build on the current amount raised for the rest of this year..for those that have already made a donation THANKS!!

I have been so busy over the last three months or so that I have not had a chance to put up on the web site some of the memorabilia we have been carrying on board...Coins, envelopes etc..I will do ASAP ..all the funds for these will go to SIF. We will even have packets of our ships Biscuits ( left overs and those that were emergency food) that have been carried on board , signed by all the crew available...

If you are in Australia watch out for the 60 minutes story in about two weeks time and we are hoping to have the boat shipped back to Sydney intime for the Sydney International Boat Show..all the crew will be there so come in and say Hi!!..and maybe make a donation to SIF there..our Bailing buckets will be out to throw your coins in !!

OK..Not finished yet but stay tuned for tomorrow..all the guys will blog off then too...we are all enjoying this last night is very special to us...I know many people will be thinking of us here..THANKS!! it has been so good knowing you are all with us.

Finally I would just like to say well done to16 year old Abbey Sunderland...I just heard about her dismasting and ultimate Southern Ocean rescue..she is a brave young sailor and real adventurer...I can imagine what is being said in the media about the cost of rescue etc..I am glad she is safe . Adventure makes better people and communities..we have produced too many Marsh mellow kids already so encourage your kids to dream and can be full and rich if you do.. See you all tomorrow..Don

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Dawn of the Final Day's......!"

Dancing with the Dolphin's

Dawn of the 12th. Wake up. Brush teeth. Fill water. Get joined by twenty flipper dolphins in the soft morning light. Wait, what? Just when I thought this amazing experience was drawing to a close, something like that happens - I even found myself welling up a bit. It's times like these, it's like my inner monologue chimes in and says, "Hey kid, don't you ever forget this."

So we're almost there, 250 miles to go. Doesn't seem like much at all now. We've slowed to a steady average of 4kts with the breeze broad reaching from the SSE in droves of 10-15kts. However my opinion of the Arafura Sea remains pretty low, it was a bit of a stress sailing in the choppy confusion that was the first week or so past Cape York. I mean, c'mon, we make it basically 3000 miles without a knockdown and then in the space of a few days we get near enough three. The knockdowns themselves? Not so bad at all. I'm pretty confident in my own helming ability and when the seas got a bit tougher I made sure I stayed vigilant. I was telling myself if we're going to get knocked down and capsized, make sure you can look the others in the eye and say, "I did my best. There was nothing more I could do."

I had spotted the wave just before Don, swung the tiller hard over in preparation, but the wave carried so much force I just didn't have the strength to hold it. The best example of our teamwork has been during these tense moments. There's no blame-throwing or snide comments, everyone just knuckles down and strives to keep our little boat afloat. It goes to show how confident we are in our safety gear and in Bounty Boat, that our prime concern when water is rushing in is our gear and not our own lives. I was glad to see my diary survived the turmoil, but it was a damn shame we lost another camera.

Now I've never grown my facial hair this long, so I was hoping I'd have a handsome beard by the time we hopped off in Kupang. A Tom Selleck mustache would have been great. Maybe some cool Hugh Jackman sideburns. But no, each day that passes I look more and more like Abraham Lincoln...

Some of the sights I've seen, I almost cannot fully process them, such is the magnitude of their awesomeness. Burning red sunsets, gleaming blankets of stars, sand as white and soft as snow that gleams in the heat. Perhaps if I'd seen those things in a different context they may not have had the same profound impact, but when you're out cruising in the deep blue, it just firmly seeds itself in your memory. On top of all that I can now stick 'Finding Nemo' in the DVD player and say that I've met near enough the entire cast first hand, good times.

Dave and I were arguing again midweek, I went off at him pretty viciously but not without cause. I understand this voyage has been especially tough on him and he tries hard, in fact he's one of the most trying people I've ever met. He just manages to get on my nerves with ease. In this close environment he does have a few habits and mannerisms that can be pretty detestable. It has gotten to the point where it's's like he makes me want to rip off my own arm, just so I could have something to throw at him. But the kicker is he's so damn charming and polite the rest of the time, it is impossible to stay angry against him. His overwhelming generosity and pleasant company along the way I'm happy to say far outweigh our petty clashes.

I had another look at Bligh's notebook account yesterday and jeez, we've had an easy ride. I'm especially happy that I've managed to get through everything we've faced with relative ease. And that isn't casual arrogance, I honestly thought it would be more like 'The Perfect Storm' all the way, so i'd geared myself up for a serious struggle for survival. Now looking back it has been more of a spectacular cruise. When Don told me at the start, "Chris, by the end of this you'll be a completely different person". I was totally skeptical and yet now I wholeheartedly agree with him.

I'll save all the soppy gratitude's and acknowledgments for my final blog, I've been sat here for too long already writing out this erratic bunch of paragraphs.

Catch you later,
Chris - The Cabin Boy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

300 counting Miles!!!! ..Not KNOCKDOWNS

Photo 1 - Sleeping geared up, ready for another knockdown.

Photo 2 - Tonight's incredible sunset, hoping for a good night.

We love the Arafura sea..these short steep wind waves generated by the relatively shallow water have been challenging..finally they have smoothed out around midnight but not before filling the the boat again right on dinner when Dave P. broached the boat on a surprise wave!.one of the 20 minute specials but NOT what we expected as the conditions had been excellent all afternoon..!

Chris and I were sitting under the dodger..Dave W on the life raft..we were all very relaxed as the sun was setting, chatting about the meaning of life..Chris had just opened a tin of lambs tounges and the next thing we started slewing over to Starbord and going down..the water started flushing over the rail as the mast headed for the water and everythin g in the boat went down AGAIN..I was watching this from my seat with legs in the water half laughing and half in disbelief?? Dave P was not saying anything..every one jumped into Bucketing as the cockpit was full..the lambs tounges were floating in the bilge. I grabed them and passed them to Chris as I bucketed and he ate them was quite a funny scene really and something we are becoming familiar with and well practiced...hopefully this will be the last time.

Everytime this has happened I have mixed emotions..I know the boat will not sink and I know we can fight to get it back up...BUT??

Anyway this, dare I say it, caused many laughs..finally we have all had one while at the helm..Dave P. was surprised but it happens..nice to do it with daylight!! and we did not loose any gear...we have lost our two top cameras to water and the electrical box took a wave while I was trying to fix a leak so most is now inopperable..fortunately we have only 300 miles to go and we are right on track by the look of it..all the crew are totally absorbed on calculating the new ETA..every time our speed changes there is a new one..but I will hold with afternoon of the 16th!

The sun is setting now and all looks good 15kts of SE wind..1.5mtr seas 27 degrees C. and we are sailing at 3 to 5 knts..last night was all stars again and we could smell the land coming off australia..Coast watch aircraft buzzed us again about an hour before Daves Broach and I was telling them about the big one the night is always good to see them fly by..we must bea hard target to find even though we have our radar reflector up? a little speck in what has been some big confused seas..

We have our first Indonesian fishing vessel just behind us..we are just outside the Australian Ecenomic Zone so more should start to apear..we are alsdo seeing more plastic and rubish in the water..yesterday when sailing at about 5kts I went straight past a huge pole..20ft long and 1.5ft in diameter..missed it by about 6feet!!..lots of old fishing gear in the water and some discarded nets..tried to pick one bit up but it is too hard for us to manouver at the last minute..lots of thongs and even a gas bottle!

Happy to report that there was no lunch for some today..had dolphins turn up..not so many birds anymore and yes I reckon we could??? catch Bligh?? this may cause some conjecture here..and it may not be the done thing to do...very un British in fact ..but it will go very close..right down to the wire.....

The atmosphere onboard Talisker Bounty Boat is very boyant..Dave W is the happiest I have seen him all trip and yes we have all given up now and dream heavily on all the delights that Kupang, hotels and food will bring!! now is the time for that so these last miles are very different..I can imagine what may be going through the minds of Bligh and his men at this point..some were in a very bad way and they were getting so close.

We have carried two botlles of Talisker whiskey onboard for the whole will be cracked on the beach in Kupang..the other auctioned later..there are some big times ahead..the end game is close at hand but the fat lady has not yet sung!!

Looks like another steady gentle relaxed cruisy fun night..good for sleeping and being on the helm??..I wish..fingers crossed, touch wood!!!!..Don

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Crazy..... Gets Crazier!"

The past week has seen us rocket across the Arafura Sea toward Kupang, where all our minds are focused. (well except when designing the new micro cabin interior, landscaping or planning the bike ride around the world)

The weirdest thing happened this week too. The Captain in his infinite wisdom concluded that after forty days of starvation rations which has seen us all loose significant weight and result in the appearance of key-tones in half the crew's urine, we were in fact "overeating". Consequently lunch was canceled for the rest of the voyage.

Wilco and I had independently concluded that Kupang, at 600 miles off, was close enough for us to stop eating the "bully beef". It had been a necessary evil as the major part of "bounty boat" diet for forty days. Now I think we are better starving than eating any more of this processed tinned animal anus. Consequently without the handful of nuts and sultanas for lunch and no more bully beef we are eating it out on four survival biscuits.

The most amusing aspect of this was to see the captain and the cabin boy sit down and devour double meat rations at dinner. Having canceled lunch on the basis of over eating they proceeded to consume nine time the daily meat ration of Bligh's men. Clearly "overeating" was not the driving force here and I suspect the call from 60 minutes asking for footage of on board arguments was the cause. What better way to create conflict and unrest than dramatically reducing rations? 36 hours after the cancellation of lunch all was delivered last night when Chris stepped up to the mark and tore strips off Wilco in a splendid performance, agrevated by our laughter and recorded for all on camera by Don. Check out 60 Minutes for the national television release of this truly magnificent outburst.

More drama followed last night with our knockdown and subsequent swamping so I was confident this morning that lunch may have been restored today but alas it was not to be.

Every watch now is an opportunity to sail hard and fast for Kupang, to win my LUNCH! to win my FREEDOM!

Adios amigos, its been fun.

Dave Pryce / Quilter

PS Nuts and Bolts
Still zipping along at about six knots before a 20 knot SE trade wind with all sail set. Light cumulus clouds and a strong sun warm us up.

Night Knock Down......The Worst So Far.......!

Conditions had moderated during tonight and the atmosphere on board was very relaxed...I had four hours good sleep and had just been on the helm for two hours..there was very little breaking seas..about 3 mtr waves and 15 to 20kts of wind....we did not consider ourselves in the danger zone of big seas and a dying wind which can make them dump...I did not have my harness or life jacket was 0100hrs...the two Dave's were asleep below...Chris was on the helm and the stars were booming out from the milky way was good!!

I hears the wave break about 8mtrs on our port side and come toward us at 90degrees to everything else all night..I stood up thinking I would get wet as I was sitting on the life hit hard..the boat slowly lifted as she went over with the mast lingering on the water as the boat continued to move forward as we had been sailing at about 5-6kts...then we stopped dead with water pouring over the starboard side filling the boat..I had been thrown down to that side and watched as the mast started to go under...At that point I knew the Daves were headed out to bucket but I screamed out get your life jackets as it looked like we would be inverted withing seconds...I reached in the now side past the vertical dodger to get my life Jacket...after holding on it's side for too long..maybe only 30 seconds ..fortunately we started to slowly recover..the boat was flooded but we were vertical..waves were now coming freely in to the cockpit as Dave. W and I started Bucketing..Dave W was still getting his jacket on and getting the cooking pot to bail...I told Chris to hold dead down wind and we went for it as fast as we could..Dave W then went into the aft cockpit and used the cooking pot..within a few minutes we were winning the race and the last bit was pumped out..

We have lost a bit of gear over the side but nothing important..most things in the dodger got very wet including the log and one iridium phone but all look salvageable...

Plenty of laughs all round and I suppose it was a wake up is never over till the fat lady sings!!

I am truly amazed about this knockdown..the conditions were totally benign...very pleasant in fact so this one really caught us out...last night I slept in my Harness/life jacket...looks like more of the same for the rest of this evening..

It was a scary sight watching the mast slowly sink below the waves once we stopped..I was sure we were going in and in a strange way it was all the training about to kick in so I was pretty long as we all got to our life jacket/Harness and got out from under the dodger...if not big problems...our harness's are vital..they include knife, Cyalume sticks,Rocket flares and red/smoke flares and importantly all our individual Fast Find 406 GPS PLB's...we would have had a good fight getting the boat upright again all those other things are just a last resort..but nice to know they are there...

I wonder how Bligh would have coped with a similar wave...I think TBB is an excellent sea boat but being smaller than Bligh's launch may be the only weakness...who knows..TBB is a very safe boat well prepared and crewed but I always said from the very begining that this adventure has an unknown outcome which is the attraction.....

We have trained for an inversion...I just prefere it not to happen...someone is looking over us...just maybe it is Bligh...he would want us to get to the end I am sure....

Note my Tilly hat in the photo..I found it floating in my bucket about to chuck it...somehow it floated out from under the dodger where it was jammed in high on the oars????...the boat is very wet but organized and we are making 5kts ( with masts vertical the Dave's just mentioned!!..they are on watch now) on track to is OH so good!!!...Don

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knockdowns,wind,waves and no lunch..............!

It's been a few exciting days and the wind is finally softening a bit. Yesterday we had great sailing,sea snakes and a huge sunfish. Last night it was dolphins and large confused seas with 30kts of wind..if you are following the tracker you will see we have been flying surfing every few minutes and nearly hitting a 150 mile day...but it has been demanding on all of us as conditions were in the danger zone for a roll over and we had another knockdown and a few layovers with water coming into the boat over the rails...Chris and I slept in our safety harnesses as it was a night that anything could happen...

We knew it was building all night, with water all over the was a case of hang on for the ride and do not go over the side..did I ever tell you how hard it is to Pee of Talisker Bounty is very hard...In the morning it was like being back in the Southern Ocean..steely gray with 4mtr seas breaking all over the the afternoon progressed we had what we call 20 minute specials...6mtr walls of water at regular intervals, 3 or 4 one after the other that would send us off in a rush...fortunately only a couple broke to give us any concern but we swallowed hard often..we have great faith in Talisker Bounty Boat..and the conditions, while short and steep( because of the shallow water) are not good, they would normally be just challenging so..but then when I remind myself that we are not self righting, and would float upside down, I focus clearly on the importance of proper we all do...everyone does a great job!.

Dave W was on the helm when we were knocked flat again..Chris ended up on top of me under the dodger and gear went every where..that was repeated a few times to a lesser extent during the day...Now..1800hr we are all thinking it will be an easier night with winds back to 15-20kts , Big swells but they do not appear to be breaking as often...

Of course we played up the fun side of all this speed!! While surfing we calculated that we could be in Kupang around the 14th as we have covered half the distance in just four days..CAN WE CATCH BLIGH???..he was ashore on the morning of the 15th??..I think now we will be there on the 16th?

I am trying for a noon sight every day now to make sure we hit Timor..yesterday was not good and put us about 20 miles north of the DR position and today I just gave up..bad horizon and too much sea..hopefully tomorrow will be better!!

Roger " Clouds" Badam has been our weather man on standby for late Cyclones or bad storms..we have not asked for daily forecasts as Bligh had none, but this afternoon we needed to calculate our ETA for all the media/friends heading to Kupang so we asked for the first time...Thanks for being there during this trip Roger..I am so glad we did not need you to track any Cyclones!!!..based on Rogers forecast I think it will be the afternoon on the 16th?? we shall see.

Dave W was just serving up dinner..Baked beans...he slid off the life raft and crashed into the electrical Box..something went crack...I asked he not do that again?? minute later he slid off again with another wave..he was apologetic..I worried about the electrical....three minutes latter he did it a third time..this time loosing someones dinner in the bilge as another wave came into the cockpit...and then nearly a fourth time!! ..I am yet to check the electrical??

So ..LUNCH..when I mentioned canceling it for fun two days ago there was lots of laughs and comments like push me overboard..lost me marbles etc..when I told the crew yesterday it was for real there was silence...I know we are getting too much food as we are all being picky..Dave P is the only one who eats everything so he will miss lunch..but he had decided not to eat the tinned beef anymore as he can see Kupang in the distance...At last nights dinner the beef was opened and then Dave W said he will not eat it anymore either?? so Chris and I had to eat half a can each..which upset the equation a bit.and Dave W thought I was being a hypocrite for eating it and it should be thrown away if we want to starve as the Dave's are not eating beef..Chris and I will only get a can ever other day...all rather strange ...Now the Dave's are just eating 4 biscuits a protest I think...and Dave P gets three dates for lunch as do Chris and I..but Dave W will not eat them all got a little heated the discussion and it is yet to play out as food can be a touchy subject...but an interesting exercise by the time we get into Kupang..maybe the Hamburger will be eaten after all...

So now things are drying out a bit...yes the dodger leaked and we all got wet... we are hoping for a fast but quiet night....fingers crossed...Don..can we catch Bligh??..

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Oh yes..... We are on the move... this is champagne sailing at its best.... Ever since we left Australia, we have had 20+ knots of wind, SE and pushing us a a fast rate direct for Kupang.... It doesn't get better than this!! we are currently gaining about 120 miles per day! The swells of 3+ meters gives us the chance to surf 12+ knots, the vibration through the boat is thrilling...

The only hope is the wind holds up, and if so we could make Kupang by the 16th.. Oh yes baby... The routine seems to have re-established itself very easily on board, and with the speed of sailing concentration is required, oh yes, and its wet again!!

Sailing in the Great Barrier Reef simply blew me away, I could never have imagined how beautiful it truly is, to witness such a thriving and diverse marine life is credit to the Australian authorities, a fine balance between fishing needs and the environment seems to have been achieved and I will definitely be coming back to learn more. I found it strangely thrilling being so close to crocodiles and sharks, we create such a fear in our own minds at such animals, with no real knowledge or understanding, its such a shame, for we shy away from nature in its purest form. I was humbled by our time within the reef and being able to witness the food chain first hand.

I understand from talking with Don he has put a request for certain foods upon arrival, I am uncertain as to whether he did or did not request a burger and chips for me? To avoid any confusion, or offense to anyone being kind enough to assist, please DO NOT provide me with burger and chips, reality is, other than a few meals at Fresh Beach hut in Tonga, and the fresh fish we caught, I have only eaten junk or processed food since leaving Hong Kong almost three months ago, and I have no desire to eat any more of such when we arrive in Timor, or for a long time!! I long for fruit and fresh vegetable's, I intend to check in the hotel and immediately find a local restaurant that can serve fresh healthy local produce. So I thank anyone in advance if you can suggest any establishment near the Crystal Hotel.

That's all there is to report this week, with arrival imminent, moods are high here on Bounty Boat, and I for one are really looking forward to my nice cuppa tea in about a weeks time

David W

PERSONAL MESSAGE - Hi Lucinda and Isabelle, I cant believe it, only 700 miles to go, we have covered over 3000 miles so far and I will be home very soon. I will call you both as soon as we arrive, I love you Dad xx

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Wierd?..... Counting the Day's"

Only about 800 miles to go and we are all distracted by the prospect of finishing this is really weird and personalty I try not to think about it and stay focused about this little boat on a Very Big Ocean..we have been surfing a bit today coming off the backs of some random 4mtr seas..most are about 3mtr but all of a sudden we can drop into these holes..I have been steering most afternoon and there have been some good ones..the sun is shinning with about 25kts wind and it is warm so pretty ideal for making miles...everyone keeps working out the ETA based on our fastest speeds but I recon it will still be the 17th??

I have been thinking of cutting out our free lunch from tomorrow...really splitting Bligh s rations by four has been quite easy...we are not starving..Hungry yes and Dave W only eats the free lunch and biscuits..often missing the beef...Chris is all for starving us all this last week just to put some pressure on us and get the feel for what Bligh really went through...if I did it I will get accused of playing mind games but I will sleep on it...It was always a free lunch as it was not part of the Bligh total food...we worried in Sydney that we just could not survive on four biscuits a I am not sure??...lunch is only a few nuts and dried fruit..less than 100 grams but it will be interesting to take that away and see how people think...stay tuned!!!

Could not get a noon sight off today as we had clouds so we are hoping to be clear of Cape Wessel..we know it has a light house on it but we will be in the area at about midnight..we have no idea of currents though are quite suspicious as the sea is really strange at times and we know it is shallow...

Last night was just one of those nights you will remember forever..a sailors dry sailing with total clear sky and all the stars above..the Milky way was BOOMING! it was awesome and we had constant falling stars..I kept reminding Chris to pinch himself as it is a long way from the UK but he knows that...

Everything is changing on board..we can smell the finish and there is no looking back..Tonga just seems like a long time was very pleasant in every-way..even Dave and Dave both got heaps of sleep so lots of Chatter going on at the moment as we eat our tinned is still good!!

Tonight promises to be another OK experience as the gurgling and surging of water rushes down the hull a constant reminder of miles ticking by...

I still can't believe I have not opened my bag for weeks..still in the same shirt and shorts...I use my jacket as a pillow in the cockpit when on the helm and for my head under the dodger when sleeping..sometimes I put it on for rain or spray but very rarely...when I made the decision to not use Musto and go normal jackets Mike Perham really was worried..I had real trouble trying to explain how the tropics would work...and I did not tell the crew before but the Jackets I bought are not even water proof..just rain water repellent...just for the challenge..they look the part and are heaps better than Bligh no complaints from any of the crew on that...we all love our jackets but what will they say if I decide ...No more Lunches!!!..could get interesting here soon...!!!

The more I think about it the more Monty Python it is .....I like that...

Maybe Dave will want his Hamburger on the beach then..anyway Chris, Dave P and I have all decided that we will eat it so if someone is putting the order together...go the Hamburger too!!!...and Chris just wanted to remind everyone about the girls!!! yes that is with an S...Plural!!

I think we can get by without the free Lunch!!..let you know tomorrow!!! ...Don

Monday, June 7, 2010

Time Goes By By.........!

Re watches..our $1000 period pocket watches including the Kendall all failed some time we have media commitments we need to know the time so unfortunately we have had to use a normal watch..I mentioned this in the Blogs....beaten by Bligh here.but we did not spend all that money for nothing just to use our watches..?? it modern watch also failed so we just have Dave"s and his is broken but keeps time..

Torches we use for official business writing the blog at night..and for safety of the boat in very trying conditions to look at the compass...we have experienced many many occasions of great difficulty on this trip without torches so understand what Bligh went through is not nice...Dave W. forgot his night glasses so I have had to allow him to use his torch often....

GPS is used for emergencies and as described previously...

Blogging is not an is what sharing this expedition is all about and we have always said we will use the sat. talk to media and blog every day..sometime I wish I was Bligh!!

Must be some confusion re the noon sights as I have never taken daily sights..for this leg to Kupang I will probably only take every other day depending on clouds and where we think we are??..our DR positions have been relatively accurate..the scariest part is just not knowing what is up front...that is different I can tell you and we have had plenty of serious frights...more than enough in my lifetime anyway...I have already decided that once we have made landfall on the tip of Timor...I will use my GPS as Bligh used his local Pilot to get him in..that is going to be challenging but we cannot get a local pilot because of modern customs requirements...all fun!!

Morning and evening calls to Margie are standard safety log ins every day across the after we arrived at the Barrier Reef it is only once a day and we are using Marketa as the safety check in..Margie has gone to Europe and I have not spoken to her since the 29th.Checking into Expedition Headquarters is a critical way to minimize risk with any expedition and the only way things get organized.I am dealing with Media, camera boats, helicopters,Customs,freight agents,airlines,Govt. name just a few...Bligh wins again!! so the calls are very important or we have no expedition..

I think some people are loosing sight of the fact that we have always said safety is a priority and getting close to Bligh and his men is what we are trying to achieve..we have not used one piece of toilet paper and we have little food and a little boat that is being managed very skillfully so far, so we are still at it..I am very glad about that..what we call easy seas..others would be horrified to see...Dave W is always amazed at the seas ..more so than Dave P and I as we have spent many years in the Southern Ocean but we both know that we have been in seas that could capsize the boat any time!!..even now you did things wrong the boat could be upside down without too much trouble....but so far so good...we are and have been very close to Bligh...I think of them out here every day...I really think he would be having fun with us alongside him ...and I strongly believe our sailing challenge is the same boat for boat...we are smaller and very low like I believe we are doing what we set out to is challenging while being as safe as we can make apologies for that...

Always good to get your comments..I will never be half the man that Bligh was...but it is fun being part of his journey!!..Don

"Food Orders for KUPANG"

Hello..anyone in Kupang following this blog?? is our wish list for when we hit the beach in Kupang...Dave W would like hot water for his tea bag, a hamburger with the lot..fries...Dave Pryce would like Nasi Goreng,Veg. spring rolls and a banana milk shake...Chris would like a diet coke, Peperoni Pizza, Fries and loads of Ketchup..( a few good looking girls would please him too??)..and I would like a club sandwich with fries,loads of Ketchup and a bitter lemon and a Mango juice with a sliced mango on the side??..will update you regularly of ETA so it can be waiting on time...thanks!!

We are rollicking along at 6kts at the moment in a rather confused sea..been like this all night so managed a 120mile day which is only just keeping us up with Bligh as he took off in this part of the world too so he is still a couple of days ahead ..we have water coming into the boat every now and then but nothing like Bligh so all is good..the drama for today is all about our cameras..the main Video camera has a glitch in it and now will not turn on..Bummer..we ave plenty of others but even our 2nd camera a High Definition lipstic recorder which was about $4000 has a defect straight out of the box!!..We only discovered it playing back footage at restoration Island so we are disappointed with that...only five cameras left operating on board but that will be OK..

My legs are a bit of a mess now with festering Restoration Island sand fly bights..always something..but everything else is better should be in peak health and fitness by the time we make seems really close now and we run the risk of getting very frustrated if we run out of wind..this will be a roller coaster of emotions and feelings close but so far..

Dave P. is very relaxed with the attitude of we get there when we do but it will be fun on the day..Chris has calculated that if we average 6kts all the way we will be there in a few days..Dave W is still not settled and even though he got 14 hours sleep yesterday at Horne Island and an afternoon sleep he still says he is shattered as he can't sleep because Chris and I talk too much on watch...he is still here though and that is a good thing..he will be there at the end which will be big news for him but last night was funny..Dave P asked him to check that the buckets were tied on..conditions were getting rough..and Dave asked which buckets??.. so maybe he is getting tired or confused?? we only have two and they are both always in the cockpit..

As for my feelings ..I just find it hard to believe that it is nearly all over...anything can yet happen but I am starting to see some familiar elements creep into this trip from other expeditions we have done...plan for the worst and hope for the usually works and has been so far,...just that about now I start to worry that we will have to pay the piper soon and time is running yes I will be happy to get to Kupang...can our luck hold ???

Maybe the worst thing that could happen is no one on the beach to meet us when we get in...the final approach is going to be very tricky with many hazards and wind challenges..Bligh had to pick up a local pilot to help him get in around the corner...wonder what we will get...for now it is the last 1000 miles..??

Our replacement regulator on the solar Panels just died so no power getting into the batteries at the moment but we can hot wire it to bypass that so we can keep things working..there were qite a few ships last night.

Dave W is cracking up again...quite seriously!!.. as I write this.amazing...sometimes he just does not get it!!..he now wants to cancel his hamburger order as he is worried someone will spend two weeks wages to bring him that hamburger and he may not like would prefer to organize his own!!...all three of us just gave him curry over that!!...he got cancel the burger!!!!...but the rest of the team are up for it and Chris has asked me to remind everyone about the girls??

Dave W is looking forward to a good sleep I think??...

For the rest of us the sun is shinning and we are sitting on 6kts!!!...way to go.....Don

...PS..Chris can finally tie a bowline, clove hitch, rolling hitch, round turn and two half hitches...but he did not know what a marina was!!...turning into quite the sailor..last night helming really well in the dark just feeling the compass...WOW!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Awesome.......!

My last blog was pretty weak I must admit. My bad if it came off really whiny, you've got to understand that I was just using it as a means to vent so as to avoid creating unnecessary conflicts in our little home away from home. But now I hope all that business is way behind us.

This last week has really made the expedition for me. The sights - Restoration, the reef, the coast, the cape, the cays - incredible. The people we met on Restoration, as well as those we met in Tonga, it was just an amazing experience to hear their rich and interesting and diverse stories. The food! Ah, huge crayfish tails, plenty of chicken stew (I had five portions...both nights) and freeze-dried meals that were a real tasty change from ship's biscuits.

What has struck me is the great consequence seemingly unimportant decisions have had. Our choice to stop at the Cay the other day, which led to a great meal and Dave W's apology. What if we had just continued on in search of a coastal anchorage? Would he still have got up and apologized? Would the crew still be in the same high morale? The same goes for a lot of things, one tiny decision changing everything. I could have never looked at the paper on that fateful April afternoon, never read that article calling for crew members. Then where would I be? Talk about chaos theory...

By far, the best thing about this trip has been the people. Even if you stripped everything else away and just left me the opportunity to meet them all, I'd be more than content. Just hearing their stories has opened my eyes to lifestyles and ways of thinking that I'd always just brushed off in the past.

Another thing that has surprised me is just how friendly everyone has been! I mean, when we pulled up on the Cay, with the Cossack Pearl in anchor nearby, I just swam over to say hey and before I knew it they were so generously offering us a load of free crayfish. That's the sort of friendliness we've experienced right the way across from start to here, almost at the finish.

I feel so indebted to the other guys for their support all the way, especially Don, without him I'd still be sat at home daydreaming about things like this. Whereas now, there's a new excitement in the pit of my stomach as I'm just aching to get back and sort my life out.

Only ten days to go and we've all got smiles on our faces. Rejuvenated and with some incredible experiences under my belt, I'm all set for this last burst across the Arafura Sea to Kupang. In the words of Bruce, the skipper of Wild-card, "These boys have a back yard as far as the eye can see. And they don't even have to mow the back lawn."

Put simply, everything is just awesome.


Top Day...Kupang Here We Come

The bounty boys hit the tip of Australia!

It was a slow night with 10kts of breeze but again very enjoyable..there were no surprises like reefs or islands and at around 0800 we were alongside Turtle Island where Bligh hid from some very strong that point he became very confused as to what or where Cape York actually was...the Nav publication he had put it about 23miles further south than it actually was...we just stuck to the coast and went through a narrow pass just as we saw the tide turning...there was a two knot current against us but we stuck to the edges of the pass and got some back eddies which helped..only one scare when reef came up very quickly...

About an hour later there it was...Cape York...we were sailing about three miles offshore and then saw a small pass between the Cape and two islands north of that...we decided to cut through it as we are shallow draught and thought we could anchor off it which is exactly what we did..about 15 mtrs off the very tip of Cape York!! what a buzz..I let all the crew swim ashore first as we were in a two knot current and very exposed...they took their pictures and came back so I could do the same was all over in 20 minutes and we were underway again to Horn Island .

Half way across we met up with Stu in the chopper who flew around us for a bit over an hour...both he and I doing some crazy stuff in this time ...then it was all speed to the anchorage arriving at about1800 as the sun was setting...what a great day with plenty of memories..we must have seen 25 turtles during the last hour of approach here...

We spoke to Customs today and we are set to clear Customs and Immigration tomorrow at 0930 on the wharf which is really convenient for us...Bob and Margaret are picking us up in their dingy in the morning to transfer us ashore and if all goes well we should be back on board and away by about 1100 and then it is off to Kupang....we are all really keen now to head back out into the Ocean..Bligh had some real issues with the weather on this leg so we are not expecting our run of good weather to last forever...the boat is good to go and so are we.....a big sleep tonight will top that off big time..!!

We part company with Stu here and he will fly to Kupang ready to film our arrival...Touch wood..not sure when we will get there but we are only two days behind Bligh it may be a close thing...we managed not to eat our normal rations so have at least nine days of rations left....I reckon we may be there on the 16th ??? so it will go close...

Big day tomorrow...Tonga seems like so long ago!!...Don

Friday, June 4, 2010

Parallel Universe...!

Bligh's plight with eighteen men crammed in his tiny boat near starvation still seems along way from ours but I am amazed at the parallels. Last night as we ghosted through the reefs a sea snake swam by and sure enough Bligh had seen one in this area during his voyage 221 years prior.

Last night we also passed Sunday Island unable to stop in the dark. It was here that Bligh's authority was challenged by one of his men and to settle the matter Bligh in turn challenged him to a duel on the beach. The stop at Restoration Island at the end of the epic crossing had lifted the lid on interpersonal frictions and this came to a head as they crammed themselves back into their tiny boat and resumed the voyage.

We were all keen to be on our way again from Restoration Island despite the amazing hospitality and company there. The final stage of our voyage beckoned but like Bligh's men, returning to the tiny bounty boat raised interpersonal issues. Wilco's on again, off again struggle had left a dent in the team I feel and yesterday felt horrible as we all grated against each other like gears that just wouldn't quite mesh. While we missed Sunday Island last night we found our own cay today that Bligh would have loved. 221 years on a duel on the beach wasn't the path to conflict resolution and instead we resorted to frank discussion. I take my hat off to the humility of my crew mates in the way the matter was addressed. An evening of eating crayfish on the sand cay under a stary sky around a driftwood fire, there seems no doubt we couldn't be better placed as a crew to really revel in the final stage. Not to say it wont be a struggle and there wont be moments of frustration but it looks like we have the ability to deal with what may arise.

The race to catch Bligh resumes again. A few moments after sending this blog around midnight we will push off from the beach and head off into the night on a course we sighted today during daylight across what seems like clear water for at least enough distance to keep us safe in the dark hours.

A warm breeze beckons so I will see you next week.

Dave Pryce / Quilter

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leaving Restoration Island & More Dramas.........YUK

What a time at Restoration Island but we are all happy to be underway chasing Bligh once again...we departed at 0700 this morning after just a few hours sleep last night ..we had delays trying to send out High Def. pictures to some media outlets..anyway all done and the other thing was that yes we got hit by sand flies last night and the night before so I have very itchy legs again..these are the Aussie flies..bigger bites..or Pee I should say as they do not bite but pee on that will be fun for the next few days...

We had a very touching ceremony at sunset beside the Talisker Bounty Boat when about 25 local Aborigines from Lock-hart River all came across to the Island to give us their best wishes for a safe journey and present us all with very special "Giddy" beads...I said a few words about Bligh and what he would have been thinking when here and how good it was that about 2600 sq. Km of land all around that area had recently been returned to their ownership..everything is so untouched up here.

We had one more stew our only food for the day and managed to get quite a few jobs completed..the good news is that the solar panel problem was located..a failed Regulator which we replaced and all is functional again so we have power!!

Now a whole new set of to sail through the reef without charts....well we have our planning chart which shows all the next leg to Cape York in about 1 inch so that is useless but I do have then chart that Bligh drew while in the shows where he stopped but it is going to be tough...especially at night...we have already this afternoon had a very close call!!

Dave Pryce was on the helm...Dave Wilkins was on the bow looking for reefs as we were close inshore..I had told Dave W that it is very serious now so stay alert and said look for colour changes..

I was under the Dodger when Dave P called out 'Fish".we hooked up big I rushed up the line broke but I looked over the side and to my horror we were sailing at 5kts over coral about 1mtr below the keel!!

I shouted out to all we were over reef..dropped all the sheets and asked Dave to head up to starboard as the edge was clearly 140mtrs to was very tense as the dept occasionally dropped to less than 40 cm under the keel and a few Bommies were passed to leeward that we would have hit...we got away with it but it was close..this was in the middle of the day in excellent conditions..Dave W was very apologetic and said he noticed the change from water to reef but thought we had enough dept....??

Not sure how we will go or what we will do tonight..we look like not being by an anchorage at dusk so may have to sail on...we are in a big Bay that nearly trapped Bligh..Sunday Island is on the other side of this big bay so in about 20 miles we will be in the dark and not be able to see what is going on..we have shipping around and also some beacon lights so will not ignore who knows what will play out tonight?? but we have to keep going is currently 1700hrs..

We are eating Mackerel tonight..a small one but Chris filleted and skinned it..a first for him..very clever..he also had his first for deck workout today setting sails , Gybing and booming out etc so getting to be quite the sailor now ..but still no good with ropes..we all laugh about that but still a long way to Kupang!!.

Stu has been filming our departure this morning..met up again with Bob and Margaret on the boat about 10am..then left us for a few hours. They are backs along side filming now but they leave at dusk and head for Horn Island so we are on our own for those that worry we have an escort boat to help us navigate!

No Moon...Dark night..15kts wind..half Mtr least the sailing is dry..we are now doing 3.5kts...this is another serious challenge tonight and yes I am little uneasy so will try to be very Cautious..but if Bligh could get through so will we!! He leaves the top end tomorrow to head for Kupang and spends tonight on anchor so we are only 100 miles behind him..the closest we have been for a long time..that feels good.

Our wildlife event for the day was very special..huge schools of Mackerel ripping the water apart all around us when a large school of big Trevally huddled under the boat as we sailed along at 4kts..this was the school that the Mackerel were after so they cut in and our around us killing many and then a huge 3mtr shark cruised into the school from behind only a mtr or so from our rudder..all very exciting to watch!! right under us..plenty of large turtle and Dugong too..

This part of the world is very interesting an very alive..I love it..

We just rigged our radar reflector for the first time..some of these huge tankers are moving very fast!!!

Look forward to reporting in tomorrow...stay tuned!!...Don