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!



Anonymous said...

OMG! You silly old bugger!! How on earth could you feel bad cos 'you think you let us down'!! You have done quite the opposite. You have all taken on this amazing journey/challenge for a cause and come out of it alive and I would imagine a massive sense of satisfaction from doing so. So - NO - you have let nobody down.

Now I think you should listen to Margie and come home for a Check Up. Pretty serious wear and tear on your body taking on that kind of diet! Chris surprisingly lost very little weight. Just as well cos he looks like he hasn't much to come and go on:-)

Thanks for awesome armchair adventure - look forward to your future blogs.

Thanks Stuart for all your posting etc - you will be trying to get back into the old routine now it is all slowed down I guess.

Get healthy quickly Don!!

Cheers MJ

dave hanna said...

Hey don sorry to hear you're not so good, i know you will pull through, great you made it, and will miss the daily blog. If any of you pass through raglan nz theres a bed for you, it would be great to catch up.
All the best to you and the crew
cheers dave and juls

Rach said...

Don and the crew - I want to thank you for the most amazing experience coming out to manage all the media around the end of the TBB and in fact being part of the whole project from the beginning. I will never forget the West Timor experience - met so many amazing people and finally got to meet and know you all. The karaoke night has got to go down in history as the worst venue but a group of people determined to make it the best night out - and we did! I will call you in a moment to finish up the last of the interviews for the now but want to say a huge thank you for being part of this adventure for the last 9 months or so of my life. Can't wait to see you all again on the 5th July in London but for now, rest up and take it easy.
Love Rachael

Anonymous said...

You didn't let anyone down Don. Well, maybe just the people that had to listen to you all sing. lol

To Stu, Pam and the Talisker crew.
I have found another institute for the research into cures for MND and they are in Queensland Australia.

Another victim of MND was Kevin Hart (Pro Art) (A famous Australian artist)

I was checking out there web site and thought that they should have a blog on it so we could also talk to them but also saw things on their site that maybe you guys could do, such as enrolling your schools and selling pins etc...

It's just a thought but wouldn't it be cool if both of you're institutions could work together, like two countries united to show our governments the lengths you are going to solve this.

This is the web site into Pro Art Awareness...

If only those there could comment your site and everyone here could comment theirs. They have a contact section where I am going to ask if they can set up a blog for us to comment and maybe others could do the same.

It's cool that Mike and Jesse commented. Well done you guys! (Legends)

Hey Jess!!! In 2010 the youngest ever girl sailed solo non stop around the world and in possibly the same year (Today) that Australia elects our first ever female Prime Minister.

WoooHoooo LEST WE FORGET 2010

Anonymous said...

You didn't let anyone down Don. Well, maybe just the people that had to listen to you all sing. lol

To Stu, Pam and the Talisker crew.
I have found another institute for the research into cures for MND and they are in Queensland Australia.

Another victim of MND was Kevin Hart (Pro Art) (A famous Australian artist)

I was checking out there web site and thought that they should have a blog on it so we could also talk to them but also saw things on their site that maybe you guys could do, such as enrolling your schools and selling pins etc...

It's just a thought but wouldn't it be cool if both of you're institutions could work together, like two countries united to show our governments the lengths you are going to solve this.

This is the web site into Pro Art Awareness...

If only those there could comment your site and everyone here could comment theirs. They have a contact section where I am going to ask if they can set up a blog for us to comment and maybe others could do the same.

It's cool that Mike and Jesse commented. Well done you guys! (Legends)

Hey Jess!!! In 2010 the youngest ever girl sailed solo non stop around the world and in possibly the same year (Today) that Australia elects our first ever female Prime Minister.

WoooHoooo LEST WE FORGET 2010

Anonymous said...

Here are some other Australian organizations dedicated to the research of MND.

It would be interesting for us tax payers to see and be able to monitor their progress and findings annually.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland Inc
(MND Queensland)

PO Box 259
Corinda Qld 4075
Phone 07 3372 9004
Fax 07 3278 9871
MND Queensland members' social support groups

Darling Downs 07 4632 139
Gold Coast 07 5539 3468
North Brisbane and Caboolture 07 3204 4162
Sunshine Coast 07 5446 2688

National and interstate MND associations

Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW Inc
Building 4, Old Gladesville Hospital
Gladesville NSW 2111
Locked Bag 5005, Gladesville NSW 1675
Gladesville NSW 2111
Phone 02 8877 0999
Fax 02 9816 2077

Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria Inc
265 Canterbury Road
(PO Box 23)
Canterbury Victoria 3126
Phone 03 9830 2122
Fax 03 9830 2228

Western Australia
Motor Neurone Disease Association of Western Australia Inc
Centre for Neurological Support
The Niche, B/11 Aberdare Road, Nedlands WA 6009
Phone 08 9346 7355
Fax 08 9346 7332

Motor Neurone Disease Association of Tasmania Inc
PO Box 379, Sandy Bay TAS 7006

South Australia
Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia Inc
302 South Road Hilton SA 5033
P O Box 2087, Hilton Plaza SA 5033
Phone 08 8234 8448
Fax 08 8152 0447

Motor Neurone Disease Association of Australia Inc
Building 4, Old Gladesville Hospital
Gladesville NSW 2111
Locked Bag 5005 Gladesville NSW 1675
Phone 02 9816 5322
Fx 02 9816 2077

Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc.
P O Box 990, Gladesville NSW 1675
Phone 02 8877 0990
Fax 02 9816 2077

Motor Neurone Disease Association of New Zealand Inc.
PO Box 24036, Royal Oak, Auckland NZ 1345
14 Erson Ave, Royal Oak, Auckland
Phone + 09 624 2148
Fax + 09 6242149

Anonymous said...

Don, Dave, Dave and Chris. There are no apologies due. We have been fascinated by the blogs about your adventures and hardships in the wake of William Bligh and I look forward to reading the book.

While you attempted to make it largely authentic, Unlike Bligh, all your crew completed the voyage, you didn’t have anyone speared by island natives, only welcomed by them.

I hope that the return to a more healthy diet and normal life is bringing better health to you all without too much weight gain.

Perhaps Arnotts could be encouraged to produce a line of ‘Bounty Boat Biscuits’ with Talisker Whisky and chocolate added to make them more palatable.

See you at the Sydney Boat Show.


Pacific Sailing School said...



Sahaja Sam said...

It is not for anyone to judge...I will simply share with you that I have both laughed and cried while reading this blog.
Don...thank you so very much for everything you have done and shared.
I, for one, will be eternally grateful that I have been able to follow this adventure without having had to survive rations or certain attitudes and behaviours !!!
Thank you.
In deep respect for your achievements, and in the hope of a full and speedy recovery for your health and weight,

dave hanna said...

dave said

Well done guys, i don't know what we are going to do now that the blogs have stopped, so looked forward to the daily saga, as for the health don iknow you'll bounce back, you look like a tough stick.
all the best
dave and juls

Patron of Sheffield Institute Foundation said...

Dear William Watson,
Thanks for showing the list of MND associations in Australia, These associations just Like the MNDA in the U.K. do a wonderful job in the care and support of the victims of MND. and like their UK counterparts do make generous donations to research Institutes, like the Sheffield Institute Foundation,
Keep up the good work Billy, I guess you will have to re-write another letter to your new Lady Prime Minister in Australian?
Cheers for now Stuart.

Patron of Sheffield Institute Foundation said...

Dear All,
Thanks for your comments, Please keep them coming,Don't despair Don will be blogging on a regular basis with news where you will be able to see the Talisker Bounty Boat, and more news about forthcoming events,
I no doubt will be doing the odd blog- so keep watching this space.I don't know how I will fill my time, nw I am a redundant moderator
( Well Nearly).I have really enjoyed the daily blog and all the comments.It has truly been an adventure to be a small part of the support team- they are a great bunch of Guy's and Gal's.
Lets all keep in touch and hang in there for the CURE
Cheers for now Stuart

Bob from Seattle said...

Don ... It was a fun ride! Glad you didn't capsize. Try not to put back on the whole 18kgs :-) Hope your health improves so you can continue to enjoy life's many adventures. I especially liked your references to Bligh as my opinion of him was based solely on the way the movies portrayed his treatment of the crew of the big ship, being ruthless without compassion. So thanks for adding to my sense of history. Have fun in the UK.

Dave P ... Good luck with you and hope you team again with Don in the future. Sounds like you're a great mate.

Dave W ... I think of you as a multitask-er who had many things going on in your mind. We all have different personalities and that makes life interesting and rewarding.

Chris ... Being the youngest by far, you probably had the greatest experience of all. Hope to hear of you again to see what becomes of you. What an impressive start for the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dear Stuart!
Thanks for being a good blog moderator and for always getting back to me.

And just following on from The Pacific Sailing Schools comment. If you Talisker Crew ever find your selves in hot water, on the run or in trouble with the law over there, you can always crash out at my joint! lol

It was cool what you all did and the voyage was funny!

I'll write Julia Gillard Stu when I find her web site. The whole computer thing and writing is still pretty new to me. (Maybe someone from here could give me her site address)

Our new PM worries me a bit but I hope she does well. I think that Kevin Rudd was a good man but he needed more time. I think what he was planning would have worked well in the longer run and the small businesses complaining would have shot right back up there if they could have hung in there. I reckon he was tricked and betrayed by his own party along with Tony Abbot's constant badgering. (Politics are stupid and a waste of money in Australia) They should practice what they preach without all the games, personal fame and greed.

Take care everyone!

Make more noise!


Anonymous said...

Now that Don and crew and Jessica Watson have successfully completed their adventures, who can we follow now?

Jamie Dunross is about to sail into Darwin. That is quite remarkable because Jamie is quadriplegic and is sailing single handed around Australia.
Jamie left Rockingham, near Perth, on March 18.

There is Stuart Trueman who is paddling a sea kayak, solo, around the coast of Australia. He started from Broome and is now in Perth.

Plastiki, the dream of David de Rothschild is well on the way from San Francisco to Sydney. Plastiki is built from recyclable material and is highlighting the harmful effect of waste plastic on the creatures in our oceans.


Kay - Ohio - USA said...

Just wondering how things are going. Hope you are feeling better. A little worried since we haven't heard anything in days. You have NOT let us down, but I worry about your health. Hope to see a short post saying you are getting better soon! Please take care and know that a lot of people are praying for you.
Kay from Ohio

Anonymous said...

Hey William Watson - Well said - you have done a top job Stu and we ALL hope your son's death was not in vain. And yes you must be enjoying relaxing a bit now. Have you taken the 'Doggy Bath' out sailing lately??? :-) And did Lynne go willingly??? :-) We must all sit up and take notice and some accountability to raise funds to help out in these situations for these causes.

Disagree with WW on the Julia Gillard thing - I think she will be heaps better than K Rudd but time will tell! I'm not allowed to vote cos am a Kiwi - only been here 21 years, allowed to run a business, buy land, pay tax but not allowed to vote............kick the Wallabies arses, go figure!!

Hope Don is feeling better by now - Stu can you give us a quick update on how they are all feeling etc? But if not we shall wait to hear some more from the horses mouth!

Take care all - down to 5 degrees in Brisbane tonight which for Queenslanders is 'bloody freezin'!! Won't be but a moment before we are all whingeing cos it is too hot!!

Cheers all,

magpie said...

Don and crew a big hearty congratulations on your epic voyage. No let-downs what so ever.

Your writing with brutal honesty made this a very enlightening experience.

True adventurer's seemingly find that the external elements are not the biggest hurdle. The internal elements of team building and socialisation is where most of the discoveries are made.

It always amazes me how you heroically chide each other for stuffing up, while at the same time knowing that you need each other to share the burden.

It was this great balance of human frailty with nature's uncertainty during your re-enactment of Bligh's escape that grabbed my imagination.

Nahh, on second thoughts, it was really the fact you didn't take any loo paper ☺☺☺

Time to donate to SIF ☺
Thankyou, Hoo Roo ☺☺☺

Anonymous said...

Congratulations but disappointed that the rest of the crew haven't posted their final experiences - where are they Don?

Anonymous said...

Don we hope you're feeling better. Can't believe that one of your crew bailed on you without completing things. I'd love to see or read about your "On boat" conversations-in particular when Chris blew up at Dave W. When will we be able to do so?

Ailsa said...

Hi Don and crew,
Congratulations on an amazing journey. Well done. Please take care of your health Don and I hope you're all soon in tip top condition.

Many thanks for the long blog and the great descriptions. I certainly look forward to the book and the documentaries.

Congratulations again to you all and many thanks for allowing us to follow your journey.

Cheers for now.
from Melbourne