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 you...so 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 challenges..how 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 boat..it 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 time...as 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 windward...it 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 them...so who knows what will play out tonight?? but we have to keep going now..it 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 sea...at 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

15 comments:

MJ from Brisbane said...

Whoa that's a big challenge with all the reefs and yes you will all have to be so alert. That must have been awesome watching the mackerel etc and then shark - nature at it's best.....have fun and be safe!!

Queenslander said...

More heart stopping moments...

It does sound like someone is watching over you, but I cannot help thinking of the joke/parable about the canoe/boat/helicopter... let's hope your "black box" is full of brownie points...

John

Queenslander said...

@ Dave (previous blog about font)...

I must have missed something because I do not see small font blogs.

Anyway, there are ways for YOU (sitting in your comfortable lounge chair) to make the font bigger... on my laptop [Fn]+ [Space Bar]... your browser (Firefox - View - Zoom)or you can "copy & paste" into an editor and make the text as big as you like...

Anthony Phillips said...

Just looking at the map. Timor only another 20 days or so from Singapore. I vote you go one better than Bligh and keep going. That way Dave W could do some business when he gets there as well!
Well done at keeping the team together!

Anthony

MJ from Brisbane said...

Hey David that complained that you couldn't tell the difference between the two Daves and the font was too small. I reckon you must have an awesome life if those are problems to you. These guys are spending days wet, cold, hungry and miserable for the cause of MND and they aren't complaining. Don't you think that is awesome compared to us in our lounge rooms having a little trouble reading their blog??? Mate appreciate what these boys are going through.

Bob from Seattle said...

@Dave ... or simply ctrl + to increase font size.

Reefs, fish and everyone's getting along. Sound like a great time.

Profpaul said...

just checked the position chart @ 2135 UK time (0635 Sydney) - they are right in the middle of four large reefs - must have hove-to overnight - at least it must now be getting into the dawn. What a tricky passage ahead. God speed.

David said...

I read this blog everyday and imagine myself in their position. I understand Don's gout problem as I suffer from the same complain. I can not imagine even considering drinking less than three litres of water a day. I visualise then going about their tasks and imagine then occupying their various areas of the boat. But having to break into this imagine to work out which Dave is which is a downer. I just hope that in the book and the video/film of this reenactment that the narrative is equally considerate with the use of 'W' and 'Q'.

Concerning the font size, I only raised it in a 'Comment' as the web master has not had the courtesy to provide a mechanism for providing feedback. The entry has been corrected and I do feel aggrieved that such a trivial issue had to pass before a member of the 'Bounty Boat' crew. They have much more serious issues to occupy their time. They are doing an almost unimaginable job, in massively fatiguing conditions, and then the person who is supposed to be supporting them in this endeavour isn't even concerned enough to present their effort in a clear and correct manner. I consider myself an IT professional and find the lack of care with the presentation and spelling unprofessional and borderline incompetent.

JiffyLube said...

I can't believe that Dave Wilkins is still with you! I think that is going to be a big mistake.

Sarah said...

Your position tracker indicates that you have either run aground on Bushy Reef or have beached on purpose as a reward for successfully navigating through all those reefs - hope it's tha latter!
Safe sailing,

Sarah (Canada)

magpie said...

Holy Mack... ok, someone had to say it. Those reefs would rip bounty boat good and proper. I don't know how you've got this far.
That description of the fish feeding frenzy was awesome.
☺☺ Hoo Roo ☺☺☺

info said...

Hi there guys,
Wow, what an adventure ur having... I have been reading your blog religiously daily and although I will never truley know what ur going through, I would like to say that it is an inspiration to me...
I'm an Australian who's been living in Kupang for the past 20 years and I will be on the beach in Kupang to help u pull the boat out of the water after this incredible journey... Yes, of course I will have 4 large cold beers in my hand to pass u as you pass me your ropes... Again, GOOD LUCK and everyone in Kupang is looking forward to welcoming you ith open arms... Cheers and smooth sailing to u all...
Donovan Whitford.

Sarah said...

OK, now I'm worried ... hours later, the tracker shows you still on the same reef ... hope all is well.

Gary said...

With regards to the comment having Dave w still with them being a big mistake,get a life


I wonder if bligh would have written comments behind his crews back?

I think don should manage his team and stop this public character assasinstion behind dave w back


If they are on a reef now and dave w saves their life


as he has mine before then maybe things will be viewed differently.
L
Leave them to get on and send them all dome karma

Anonymous said...

What a set up for Wilco! With Capt Don and Quilter being old mates and Chris being so young .