Friday, April 30, 2010

"North West coast of Tofua which is where Bligh's Cave is situated."

After a night drifting around in light breezes waiting for dawn we found it challenging to make the North West coast of Tofua which is where Bligh's Cave is situated. The wind was from the west and the ground swell made any approach impossible. By mid morning we decided to anchor on the Northern coast and carefully sailed in to drop our anchor in deep water coral.

During the night we had damaged our tracking system test light and pulled the VHF Aeriel of the mizzen mast so there are a list if things to de before setting out from here. I am surprised at the ongoing damage we are getting but we are prepared for it. The camera support boat has followed us here to film and will come no further returning to Nuku Alofa maybe tomorrow night.

The westerly winds are no good for us as we only sail about 70 degrees into the wind so there is no way we would be able to head to Fiji till it s wings around so we are stuck here like Bligh was waiting for weather.

Chris decided to swim ashore to explore the island,I replaced the rudder pin toggles with bolts as they were falling out,set up a safety line for moving forward onto the bow, repaired the tracker and caught some small fish for bait. Quilter kept busy doing plenty of odd jobs and checking the anchor. As I write we are running anchor watch all night as I am worried that the rope will cut on the coral.

At about 3pm Stuart our camera man wanted to trek to Bligh's Cave as a local living on the island knew where it was...I stayed with the boat for safety reasons but the others headed of..it turned into the epic it was not meant to be? climbing down cliffs and finally returning to the beach well after dark..with some tall stories but they got to the Cave!

I was worried that they would eat food outside the TBB rations but it was only a coconut..they stank when they got back obnboard with me though as they broke the rules and had a bath..salt water..on the support boat! Dave Wilkinson who is having really problems with the lack of food and other issues broke the biggest rule and used the toilet and paper on the support boat which really annoyed me as that is not the spirit..but what can I say..for me it was in the water for a swim and go to the toilet at the same time..no paper needed!!

Looks like we will be here for two days then off to Australia..I hear the Google earth maps are up now...you can see the volcano and us..I am in the cockpit under the volcano writing this..it has been steaming all day and is now going OFF!! the red glow is illuminated in the steam..amazing place this!!

Strange thing..with our small rations I am coping ok and still have a ships biscuit left...I ammo full..true!!...Don

"Anchor Watch"

Hey, I guess it has been quite some time since I did my first blog, even though I've been on this laptop almost every night. I just haven't felt that enthused about writing up a blog lately as I just didn't have a lot to add to anything. Now i'm going to take my time writing this one as I'm first out on "Anchor Watch". The rope holding the anchor could snap off on coral, so we have to be ready to bail out of here at a moment's notice if it does.. I still have a couple of hours left but i'm already stupidly tired. It has just been a very long day. A long week in fact. Eurgh, I hate sleep pangs.

Alright, this blog may make little sense as I'm glancing over my shoulder every few seconds, almost paranoid of our positionm.

Back at Kelefacia, it was obvious that tensions were beginning to fray and we haven't even set off yet! Dave shouted at me for watching a film, no doubt he was just venting his own insecurities. But at that time I was perfectly chilled and didn't really need someone interrupting my calm state of mind. And a healthy mind is worth much more in these final moments than some last minute survival revision. Anyway, I'll delve into that more when i'm more awake. If I daydream about past events, my mind wanders and before I know it I'm almost asleep. Honestly, I'd make a terrible night watchmen.

So after Kelefecia, we had a really nice sail up to Tofua. Monotonous. But enjoyable. We spend most of the night just circling the island and waiting for dawn to light our way to a landing spot. We managed to get our anchor out once we arrived, but it's unstable) Hence the anchor watch.

We had quite the epic journey exploring the volcanic landscape of Tofua. A great story there, but I'm too tired to tell it right now. I promise I'll catch you all up with the interedsdtin news tomorrow.

Goodnight to one and all,
Don't tell Don I skimped on the blog-writing tonight,
Chris xox

"Comunication Nightmare"

Dear All,
To everyone who has suggested that we post the position of The Talisker Bounty Boat "Flagged Leaving a trail"------ a la "Like Jessica Watson's website does" Let me assure you all that it has been the intention from day one to display it like that.
The backroom web boy's are working frantically to resolve this Issue, if it can be resolved we will apply it to the website PDQ, rest assured they are doing there best, we realize how important this is to all our many followers world wide.
Thank you for been so patient,
Cheers Stuart

p.s. If NASA'S top communication expert would like to offer advice we would gratefully accept it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lost in the CYBER SEA'S

For Some Mysterious reason this blog has just arrived to me, it is obvious that it was sent before the Talisker Bounty Boat Set Sail!- Had It Got Lost in the SOUTH CYBER SEA'S?
Cheers Stuart




Another..... day anchored of this beautiful Island while the westerly winds delay our departure. I confess to feeling a tad frustrated and along with the rest of the crew, simply want to get on with it.....

Ita 5.30am and I am on anchor watch on board "IanThe Cardiff" our support boat after another restless night in the hammock on the deck. Just reflecting on what I have to report? Last evening, while tieing Talisker Bounty Boat along side, Effie one of our support crew was standing on the foredeck, facing the ocean and singing, oblivious to us around, she sang from her heart, it was beautiful to witness and I found myself envious of her serenity and willingness to just let go and express herself this way. How often do we let go and so here I am, on the fordeck while the boat sleeps and I am going to sing myself, though a little less volume to avoid awaking my fellow crew... With a full moon to keep me company I break out with some of my favorites, Dire Straights, Communique, money for nothing, Clash's Londons calling, even Lenard Cohan's Chelsea Hotel and I concluded my repertoire with Sex Pistols version of My Way, and I confess to feeling very liberated!!

Other than this, I simply hope that we will leave VERY soon and in the interim that Chris will read "Heay Weather Sailing" rather than watching Forrest Gump....

PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR MY DAUGHTERS - Lucinda and Isabelle, I am sorry I was unable to call you before we left. Can you please phone Nigeland Carina to check Max is OK hes never been away from us all before. Hope you are both well. I love you
Dad x.

"CHASING BLIGH"

We are chasing Bligh in earnest and hope to catch him tomorrow at dawn. We departed the anchorage at 11 o'clock this morning after a wild night. I slept alone on Talisker Bounty Boat at the end of a long rope with waves breaking into the cockpit at times. We made the decision to head out and try for Tofua. Last minute gear was transfered from the support boat and everyone was aboard quicker than expected and in no time we were off.

The sail toward Tofua has been spectacular with some cruel ironies. We've been looking at three blocks of chocolate and a tin of baked beans, all waiting to be stowed. Food is already on the agenda...as we've yet to eat today. We're on our water rations of 2 litres a day. And we all agree, it's good to be short. Quilter is 6ft 2" and simply does not fit into this boat, but fortunately the sailing has been gentle and we have had the time to work out our own space. The sun has just set and the moon slowly rises behind us as we sail in about 12 kts of warm breeze at about 3 kts.

Plenty of laughs today. Hunger pangs. Flatulence. Flatulence at close quarters I might add. Discussions about the most desired things we hope for in Kupang. It's all hard to believe this is all actually happening now - Dave just broke wind, I believe that proved my point. More laughter.

We get to enjoy our first sea biscuits at one minute past midnight. We've managed to stow about 12 coconuts and over100 limes. Dave burps and quickly proceeds to beg me not to write it into the blog. More laughter.

Life does not really come any better right now. The boat is dry, but the compass is awfully hard to see in the darkness. We're hoping the full moon will illuminate Tofua as it rises higher into the night. Tofua looms 15 miles away as I type. We haven't set up a navigation routine yet and there's still plenty to organise but like Bligh we hope to get fully organised once we reach land.

Spoke too soon. Wave just broke across bow. Boat now wet. Shame.

We know the landing at Tofua will be challenging so we hope for favourable weather at dawn.

I am currently dictating this words to Chris from my comfortable seat in the cockpit while he does all the work, in order to convey my status and power. *Steers off course* I might add that my two-finger typing is highly ineffective, so no doubt I will rope the cabin boy into more writing at dusk.

Don.

Talisker Bounty Boat is underway!

Talisker Bounty Boat is underway. We sailed out of the anchorage at 1100 local time , heading for Tofua to catch up with Bligh and see what happens ! We are now on Talisker Bounty Boat rations. Stay tuned.

Don

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mutiny Day +221 Years


Mutiny Day dawned here exactly 221 years since Bligh had been cast adrift from his ship but with markedly different conditions. In contrast to the calm conditions that Bligh experienced we had a steady northwesterly. Right on the nose for us to head to Tofua from our paradise island.

Not to be deterred, we went onto a no food / no toilet paper regime and prepared for sea hoping that the conditions would improve and start complying with the gentle south easterly breeze forecast. It was almost lunch by the time we realised that enthusiasm wasn't going to be enough to give us the conditions to set off. You might think that we were disappointed but actually we raced down to the galley and knocked back a late breakfast before preparing for lunch. How are we going to manage on Bligh's limited rations??

The afternoon was spent sailing around the lagoon in the Bounty Boat while cameraman Stuart filmed firstly from the masthead of Ianthe, then the deck and finally from below the turquoise waters in Scuba gear.

It was a great day but all the antics took its toll on our precious craft. A rope got caught under the forward hatch damaging its latch and an eyelet was pulled out of one of our solar panels. A sharp blow and reminder to be every so carefully with our delicate gear in a tough environment.

The support crew whipped up a great meal again tonight which is going to make the "hard tack" diet even harder to take. Don has been cast adrift astern, as the Bounty Boat was being tossed around like a rodeo rider alongside the Ianthe as the wind whipped a nasty chop up across the reef.

Fingers crossed for a fair breeze and better conditions for mutiny tomorrow.

I wonder whether Bligh might have been saved the mutiny that day if the weather had been more demanding??

Dave Pryce / Quilter

Message from The Honorary Patron of the Sheffield Institute Foundation, The Duke & Duchess of Devonshire


Dear Don and all your intrepid crew,

This comes with very best wishes from Stoker and Amanda Devonshire in England. We have been following your progress so far on your web site and we are confident that you will have an epic and extremely successful journey. The support that you are giving to the Sheffield Institute Foundation for Motor Neurone Disease is hugely appreciated and we both look forward to seeing you on your return to congratulate you personally.


The Duke of Devonshire KCVO, CBE, DL






Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sheryl from Los Angeles, a member of the Diageo Support crew, attempts to stow away.



Wow...I am in Expedition mode as I am using my $10 plastic glasses now and they are not as good as my Italian ones that are now packed...we just had the most amazing Roast Turkey dinner on board Ianthe with Talisker Bounty Boat still tied alongside.The anchorage is very rolly as the wind is now from the North west and has been blowing Hard all night , 30kts with incredible Tropical down poors and low vis.

I am sleeping on TBB by myself with the others crashing where they can on the support boat. The Cover on TBB is leaking like a sieve so that is going to make life miserable in the weeks ahead but hey we know that. The bad news is the the conditions have been too bad and the wind from the wrong direction for us to move. As I write the wind is dropping and it is slowly changing directions so we are confident of getting underway tomorrow. We will not be on the site of the Mutiny by dawn however!! which is disappointing but risk minimization is our priority at the moment. We are all set to go but will have to have our Mutiny celebration at dawn tomorrow on the anchor here.

This anchorage is a tricky place to get out of with reefs everywhere so we will probably not move till around midday and then head out to the Mutiny mark and sail through the night to Tofua..I am now hoping we have enough wind to sail as it is dropping fast. Bligh had no wind on the morning of the Mutiny and rowed all day for Tofua arriving just after dark and standing off till dawn...

Bligh is on my mind every day now. We are doing final checks and eating as much as we can..but that creates the problem on plenty waiting to come out and no toilet paper remember!! so I am starting to taper off now...I have lost a bit of my 7Kg that I have put on over the past few months but feel OK about the idea of Bounty rations.

Margie has been picking up all my work load and now she and I both know that there is nothing that I can do but get out there and get this thing rolling. She has to clean up the mess and keep shore-side happening!

Yesterday was frustrating sitting out the weather but it has made us all raring to go . There is nothing left for us to do. everything is set. As Capt. I have everything I could want to do this as best we can the way Bligh did. The Boat is fantastic, the safety plan ready to go and the four of us NUTTERS! are really one team ready for a bit of fun.

This is not going to be easy but it is going to be worth watching. Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us, the commitment of Diageo and Talisker, all the people working behind the scenes, our supporting sponsors and friends, everyone who has helped to get us here. There are too many of you to mention but I will say that Margie continues to be the hidden strength backing me up! Please remember we are doing this for SIF too. if you ever want to help us now please go to the just giving site.The crew on TBB want to see the numbers raising steadily while we are out there. I said right at the beginning that we have a far greater chance of surviving this trip than do sufferers of MNd, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) or La Maladie de Charcot, depending on where you are in the world; it all spells misery! We will fight hard till the end so please think about that.

Oops! What have we done? I guess there is about to be a Mutiny! Don

"Genius" and "Madness"


"Don, I am writing this to you and your crew as I sit here thinking that it
is just a few day's now before you set sail in earnest.
I still vividly remember when we first met at the Diageo offices to "launch"
the Talisker Bounty Boat to all our employees there. You definitely
convinced me that day that the line between "genius" and "madness" is very
thin indeed!
Of course your adventures to date already make your life remarkable and make
most of us look very boring. Changing your crew at the last minute for added
excitement seems entirely in keeping with your spirit to me!
And although this may be "just another adventure" to you and the crew
.....for me as a SIF patron it's an adventure with an enormous "cause"
behind it.
I believe Pam and her team will find a cure for MND and you and your team
will be a part of making this happen.....part of history.
Without doubt there will be "dark moments" during your voyage and I hope
that knowing that we are all rooting for you and that you are part of an
amazing possibility will sustain you all!
So I wish you and the crew smooth seas, following winds and above all, good
luck.
With all our thanks..."

Nick Rose
CFO Diageo



PLEASE SEE SOME MORE MESSAGES FROM THE PATRON'S OF The Sheffield Institute Foundation in The Comment Folder Below- Thank You

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bathing In Luxury!

Another day in Paradise dawned here at Kalafesi Island. In contrast to yesterday it was completely overcast and rained increasingly as the day developed. None of us were inspired to head ashore and instead we made final adjustments. Cut a few lines for lashings, tried to find things and in the process lost a few more in the jumble of dry bags that are stowed in the Bounty Boat.

I had a close look at the passage plan as basic as it is given our limited navigation equipment. Fiji seems to be our greatest navigational challenge with the first obstacle cropping up only two dayts out of Tofua. So much coral reef for several days on end.

The pay off for a rainy day was the chance to wash in fresh water which we collected in buckets and cooking pots. Wow did that feel great after days of accumulated salt from swimming and salt spray. It was all I was needing to be ready to set sail. At least we will start feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Mark ran a few old Polynesian movies inspiring us about the Polynesian seafaring history which is very impressive. Their fast multi-hull craft navigated the Pacific populating from the west by sailing. They were fast, weatherly and look like so much fun.

Tonights dinner was perhaps our last cooked meal as all going well we may set sail for the mutiny site tomorrow afternoon. It is all getting very close. We should be feeling some anxiety but it has crept up so steadily that there seems no surprise. I wonder what the other guys are thinking?

We're waiting for the bad weather to pass, hopefully it will be clear skies for us tomorrow. If we're that lucky, we'll be making our way to the point of the mutiny and from there, onto the island of Tofua. But if the weather is against us, we'll just play it by ear.

So much ahead of us. I hope you will hold our hands through this one.

Quilter

"WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?"


Good wishes from Professor Pam Shaw

Director of the Care and Research Centre for Motor Neurone Disease, University of Sheffield

It is such an honour that Don and his brave crew have chosen the Sheffield Institute for MND as the charitable cause that they are going to support from the Talisker Bounty Boat Expedition.

May the good forces of the Universe keep you all safe and well and your spirits high during your amazing adventure. The Sheffield MND Care and Research teams will be thinking about you every day and rooting for you every mile of the journey.

Your strength and courage which will be mustered to help those robbed of their strength by the devastating illness that is MND, are inspirational. The endurance and hardship of your journey will be turned to tremendous benefit for the victims of one of the worst diseases in medicine.

At the end of this adventure you will have wonderful stories to inspire your grandchildren
and I hope a warm glow of pride at the good in the world you will have achieved.

We are so grateful to you for your support and for sending this beacon out to call for support for research into MND and related conditions.

Good luck and God speed.

Warmest regards

Pam

SEE MORE GOOD WISHES IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, Thank you Stuart Keane.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"WHO LOST THE CAPTAINS COCONUTS?"


Paradise is not the word to describe our anchorage here at Kelefecia.Talisker Bounty Boat is tied alongside our support boat Ianthe in a hole amongst the reefs and about 100 mtrs from the most beautiful Island you can ever imagine...in fact everyone has been ashore today relaxing a bit as we are poised to head out to the site of the Mutiny only about 20 miles away from here.I could live on this Island forever!

In amongst it all I have my own frustrations with so many things . I have to admit that I just finally lost it half an hour ago as a few too many things have become a game for the crew.. I am not perfect and I do plenty of things wrong and maybe it is a bit hard saying that it is a game but I am faced with a huge responsibility covering every subject form safety to food to fun. I try to delegate and keep control at the same time.If it is not done then I am always responsible because some/most would say it is my expedition?...I try to delegate to create some ownership of the Adventure to the crew...and I suppose they are trying their best...in fact I know they often are...but never the less..sometimes they do not understand the importance of the simplest things that could ultimately lead to disaster, because it was not done right or I trust someone to do something, I am told it is done ..and then latter I find it is not.

Unless you have had your life depending on equipment or obligations depending on some things having to be done by set times you may not understand. Fortunately because I have such a good crew we can always get away with an alternative..BUT..one day we may not...so I am starting to feel a little like Capt. Bligh and we have not even started yet!..Ironically I know that when we are out there none of this will be an issue as they will have to and indeed will want to do every thing to survive and enjoy the experience...so all will be good. Having said that some things were not done/managed correctly yesterday,simple things to many..but they could have had disastrous consequences. Other simple things were missed when I had asked three times if it was good and three times I was told OK and then ..OPPs...no it was not..some jobs were just half done or were put off to latter when in reality they should be done now.

All I will say about yesterdays Blog is that it was delegated..then unbeknown to me, delegated to another and even though I was told it went up, it was not..that was not half as bad as finding out that the ships coconuts were left in the back of a taxi two days before, even though I was assured all was well, ( did I tell you that someone stole Bligh's coconuts and that started the mutiny!)all the fresh veggies for now had gone off as they were not stored right and yesterday when I decided to check our precious limes for the trip, they were going off stored in plastic bags in the heat below in the Support boat.

The one saving feature of this final stage is that I left plenty of time to get settled here in Tonga. I am so glad I did. Today with the help of Mark out local Cultural adviser we got our own coconuts off the island and I just organised for last nights blog to finally go up and now you will get this too!

All the gear food and water is on TBB and we did a load test. She is very ;ow in the water but exactly where I have always estimated...the bottom of the second planned is just in the water so it is OK. Now the winds are starting to pick up with the expected blow due in tomorrow. I am hoping it will drop fast or we may not be able to get out to the spot on the 28th??As I write this on the bow of Ianthe it is blowing about 25kts of very mild temp wind. I have slept on board alone the last two nights tied astern with the rest of the crew on Ianthe. Last night with wind and tide against each other we had a few collisions so not much sleep. Maybe tonight it will be better.

The moon is growing but we will loose it before Fiji which will be a real challenge as there are so many reefs..the swells are crashing on them here and all I can think about is ..How are we going to do this, each nite on the boat I use my head lamp..how are we going to feel around in the dark and yes I am still using toilet paper at the moment???

HARD TO BELIEVE WE ARE ABOUT TO SET OFF!!..Now that I have had my Bxxch!..I have to say I am incredibly happy about my crew. We are a strange lot but the perfect blend of professionalism,enthusiasm,fun and sheer determination so I could not wish for better really. I said to a reporter two days ago as I was leaving Nuku Alofa that we have a lot of fun together and that we will be laughing right to the end ...where ever or when ever that may be!!.. I mean that.

We are going to need all the luck we can to succeed , but I am feeling good about it...Don

Three Steps Closer To Heaven!


Writing this on board the support boat "Ianthe" at anchor within the protection of the reef, of Kelefesia, a beautiful island 40 miles off mainland Tonga and three steps closer to heaven than I have ever been.

The journey here was much less ideal, with Chris and Don being towed 8 hours on board Talisker Bounty Boat, Chris was introduced to the agony of boating life, if not yet any ecstasy! I was feeling very pleased that I had got to travel in the splendid comfort of Ianthe, until I looked around and thought I was in the sick bay on board a hospital boat! Four crew members were stricken with sea sickness, some more dramatic than others, Stu our cameraman was able to project vomit at least ten foot. I felt sorry for the crew on board bounty as they were down wind though may have been grateful for the addition to their lunch! I understand Chris only vomited once, so clearly his sea legs are establishing themselves...

As we motor sailed with no land in sight and a swelling sea all inboard looked tired and drained. And then.... As if a mirage.. A group of three islands were in sight, including our desired location, the island of Kelefesia! Only now Ianthe's skipper and owner Mark Whitehead was looking pale, when he saw the reef that surrounded the island, with only limited access available, both he nerves and skill were put to the test!!

A great meal, has revived everyones spirit and laying looking at the clear sky and stars is reward enough for me! Tomorrow is another day closer to our start line, for now I will savor this moment..

David

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR MY DAUGHTERS - Lucinda and Isabelle, I managed to sneak on board our Grey sweater and I am very grateful for it as I am sleeping on deck, that was $5 well spent as it is keeping me lovely and warm...Night and I miss and love you both very much Dad x

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lucy & Lula

And now it's Chris, just to say something quick. Happy Birthday to Lucy and Lula! It sucks I can't be there to celebrate it with you, but we'll definitely go out for a belated party when I get back :)

See ya
Chris

Big Mama

Hi Its Quilter here. (Dave Pryce actually but as the second Dave I have assumed my name from the first expedition I took with Ted (Don), sailing to Antarctica.

Tonight finds us anchored with the mighty support yacht Ianthe off Pangaimotu Island under a half moon that is illuminating our little piece of paradise. Dave is responsible for food and so this afternoon, faced with the prospect of cooking, spotted a grass hut at the end of the beach. He asked Big Mama on the beach whether it was a restaurant, what was on the dinner menu and most importantly whether she took VISA card. In a flash he had dinner sorted and as the sun sank into the sea we moved into Big Mama's Yacht Club where a small group of locals were seated around a TV set watching snowboarding. The contradictions of Tonga.

Its been a great day. We have only made a few miles today but we are out of port of Nukualofa and heading in the right direction. I slept on board last night in the sheepskins which was great and we have all now moved aboard and nested in the Bounty Boat. Nesting is so important with our pared down essential items in such a small space. Knowing where everything is stored and ensuring its all attached with lanyards has been the priority today.

We are off to Falifisia Island tomorrow which is about 35 miles up the chain, so will set off at first light. Falifisia is one of the most beautiful islands, so standby for some stunning pictures tomorrow.

Thinking of you all as I tuck into my bunk and send you warm tropical trade wind breezes.

Have fun and see you next Friday

Quilter

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ready set-Don't go!!


They went without me!
The day started Ok checking out of the Royal Sunset resort. Sybilla from the Ministry of tourism rushed our life Jackets through customs and procured a badly needed battery for our camera lights, found us a bamboo running pole and drove the crew around for some last minute things..the plan was then for Quilter to sail Talisker Bounty Boat to another Island and the support team , having now moved onboard the support boat would all meet up on another Island about five miles away...I would go out on the resort boat a couple of hours later . So everyone left..and then I found out there was a problem with my credit card paying the bill...19000 tongan dollars...all technical issues so I had to stay and talk to my bank etc...looks like it will now be sorted in the morning and I will be able to get back onboard TBB...right now I am sitting at the Royal Sunset resort by myself..I did not realise how tired I was getting until I stopped!

So we are another day behind but I get to spend some Quality time by myself in a bed for the last time till June 14th...Margie is frantically still trying to sort comms plans and crisis management plans that need to be in place within the next week and logged with the Rescue Coordination Centres in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Fiji so still plenty going on. I have been doing quite a few radio interviews and many outlets are after me as Jessica Watson is getting closer to home...she has some tough weather behind her so it will be hard work right to the end for her but what a Champion!

Our forecast is now suggesting the blow is moving further back, so not looking good for the 28th..when Bligh had the mutiny they were becalmed..it is now looking like 35kts for us on that day, in that spot??

I think we are about ready to go..the tracker did not move on the web site when the boat moved, so Dave our web builder is working on that, but the wait is just about over!

Just to let you know how organised we are...it was in 1990 that I last had to use a sextant for real..that was when I sailed solo from Sydney to Tonga as my 2000 mile qualifying voyage before the BOC Challenge single handed around the world yacht race...I can still remember packing my sextant away when I dropped anchor just a few miles from here ..I have never used a sextant in earnest since..anyway I now have to learn how to do it again...I will be using an Octant.. Bligh had a head start but hey..I like a challenge!. For now I am off to that bed!..Don

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Talisker Bounty Boat Letter will take some Licking!


It would be really neat to not have technology sometimes..write a letter slowly , lick a stamp, walk to the post office, then wait in anticipation for the reply...but no..we live in a world where instant gratification is the expectation, so I was rightly annoyed when the generator went down for four hours tonight , loosing my big email in that instant and not being able to finish off all the other things I needed to do.! back on now so Blogging.

I did get to read the previous blog from Chris and Dave feeling slightly envious at their ability to relax there minds enough to write like that..I enjoy reading them...This crew is like a fruit salad!! and I am very happy about that and my decision to bring Chris. He is a breath of fresh air and truly has what it takes. Unlike theirs my mind is absolutely full trying to keep things happening. Quilter has taken over the boat preparation totally a HUGE relief.

The support boat is now about ready to accept us and Talisker Bounty boat is just about ready for sea! None of my gear is packed of course . it is all over my room!..Still chasing some last minute satellite issues but the tracking system is now operational so you will start to see TBB on the move on the Google earth map.

Dave Sherring our web builder has the new web site up and in a few days you will be able to get our regular Audio Blogs...real live updates from on the spot for those who can't read or just want to hear the wind in the back ground..could be interesting in a blow!.

Our Life jackets arrive tomorrow from New Zealand so we are just about out of here..BUT!!!.. there is a storm headed our way...if you get onto www.Passageweather.com and look at the animated forecast for Tonga you will see that on monday there is a forcast 45kt blow right on top of us...I now have to think of options as we would be hold up in an anchorage with potential hazards around.?? Quilter and I will watch that closely..

The support crew made up our limited edition letters today..we will have 49 onboard, all with special Mutiny/Bounty/Bligh stamps on them. They will be numbered , one for each day of the voyage and then a hand drawn then hand coloured sketch of the TBB done on each..we are post marking the stamps here in Tonga for the start ..then in Kupang at the finish. They will carry the official expedition stamp and be sealed with a replica wax seal of Bligh's personal seal. All the crew will sign each envelope. We will then auction them off for SIF. We are also carrying some other very special items onboard that we will tell you about later...they will make the ultimate treasure from this trip and will be auctioned at the end of the voyage also...so I like Letters!..especially Talisker Bounty Boat letters carried on this voyage!..I truely hope you do too..more on this latter.

After that great official Tonga send off it does feel strange still sitting here, but this expedition is all about minimising risk , so we will watch the weather and "do what it takes!" ..Don

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Cabin Boy!


Hey everyone,
Chris here, writing my first blog of...well ever and hopefully sending it via satellite phone to the site. I'm kinda hoping this works first time, otherwise it just means more work for me.

Okay, so where to begin. I guess it has been an average three weeks. Y'know, fly to the other side of the world, stay in an incredible city, travel to a tropical island, meet the PM and King of Tonga. Pretty Standard.

But seriously, these mozzies are ridiculously annoying. I have been chomped on daily by those little buggers. My ankles and feet are covered in bites and my arms are close behind. But what's even more annoying is that they're barely touching anyone else. I've been bitten three times while writing this short paragraph. Awesome.

So its all been a bit of a blur so far, things happened so fast I couldn't really do anything except just go with it. I count myself fully lucky for getting this oppourtunity, purely because I've met some really amazing people that I probably wouldn't have ever crossed paths with if it weren't for this.

Lately though, it has all started to get very real. Yesterday we sailed back to the island of Atata on Bounty Boat, which was my first time properly sailing. And, as expected, I felt very seasick. But hopefully with some time out on the sea (and plenty of tablets) I'll start to find my sea legs.

On top of that, I've been assigned a lot of quite important responsibilities, which I didn't particularly expect. The main ones: keeping track of all our water, working with the laptops and satellite phones, pretty much all our medical gear and logging important details, so we don't become hypoglycaemic or stumble into a cyclone or worse..... Honestly, I don't think i've ever had this much responsibility or worked this hard towards something in my life...and we haven't even started sailing yet!

As for crew relations, I'm getting on great with everyone, though the generation gap is becoming pretty apparent. Here, if I dropped in a quote from Anchorman or a Pegg/Frost film into normal conversation, I'd probably just get a weird look. Whereas my friends and I do it all the time because we're a lot more involved in popular culture. Luckily, Stu, who's a lot nearer my age, kinda bridges that gap to an extent.

There's a fooseball table here in the bar, so whenever we get a real break me and Stu are straight on it. But I still haven't won a game yet. We must have played at least twenty. Before we leave I want the esteem boost of beating him at least once....it could happen.

Anyway, more on topic. Right this second, I'm not feeling worried at all about the voyage. In fact I really want to just get out there and get this thing underway. But that isn't to say I haven't been scared or overwhelmed by what we're undertaking, this is pretty daunting, but lately any worries I've had have been unfounded. I've just got to keep myself focused on the jobs assigned to me and I shouldn't have time to overthink anything.

All I need to do is cover my bases.


Thank you Tonga.


I am writing this at 6am, in the safety and comfort of my bed, our temporary home, a lovely simple beach hut in at the Royal Sunset Resort on Atata island. As I lay here under my mosquito net, I have an overwhelming sense of apprehension at the prospect of setting sail, possible due to the pouring rain and wind I listen too outside, and that technically, we should have left and I should not be here typing this blog while the fan sweeps across my bed, but rather on board Talisker Bounty Boat, wet, and uncomfortable! Alas I'm not.... thanks to the delay of flights from london, on board one, is our vital safety gear, life jackets! So while I wait, the wind howls and the rain pours outside I shall appreciate my extended comfort with gratitude!

Its been an interesting week to report on, our visit to the Prime Minister's office and to His Majesty King George Tupou V, I felt very humble on both occasions. As I did at our official send off from the navel docks; I've never been present with so many dignitaries at one time. Meeting one of Captain Bligh's descendants was great, he provided us with his family tree and this all contributed to an amazing event and the depth of experience for the crew of Talisker Bounty Boat.

As we rowed out from the docks and set sail across the bay, I had no apprehension! On board was the full crew, settling in, finding precious space to store belongings and learning our way around Talisker Bounty Boat. Chris was suffering from sea sickness while taking far to much teasing.... All of which was claimed to be laughing with him, not at him, until he pointed out that he wasn't laughing! Good point Chris! and as sea sickness subsided his humour and wit returned!

The Royal visit was a special occasion; Your majesty.... Your..... Majesty.... Youuur majeeeesti... I practiced it most of the morning prior to our appointment, I confess to not addressing royalty in my usual social circles, a few friends who maybe think they are royalty! and a few who claim to be queens... but this was the first time for me to meet Royal Blood as they say.

I expected his highness to be high brow and that I would feel rather tiny in his presence, but if kings are measured by how comfortable they make plebeians feel, then His Majesty King George Tupou V is high on my ratings! His manner made me feel quite at ease! Though I'm not sure I could have spent as long with him as Don did, not without tripping up on my words. But I am certain Don will report on his private interview.... For this plebeian it was a very pleasant experience.... Your Majesty, thank you, for your time, generosity, your attention and support for our expedition and MND. Thank you for making us feel so welcome in your Kingdom. It truly is a wonderful one! And if your are reading this, thank you for reading our blog!

A highlight of my week was the opportunity to spend some time with the Tongan people, the visit from the local school, fascinated by the boat, it was wonderful to witness the children singing on board while Talisker Bounty Boat sailed around the bay. Our visit to the local church was interesting, even if I didn't understand the language, I understood all to well the wagging finger, retribution it would seem is still alive and kicking! On a separate occasion I had the most recent copy of Asian Literary Review under my arm and was thoroughly refreshed by discussions with a Tongan on the availability of literature in english language, not western writers, but from such diverse cultures and nationalities. We read poetry by asian authors and I felt so proud that Asia is my home and the home of so many creative writers, artist and minds. We discussed Tongan writers, they were unaware of any who's works had been translated into english. (If any readers know of any please let me know) We discussed at length the culture of the Tongan people and as we talked I found myself in such admiration for the Tongan people. They shared openly how they face their challenges with day to day life in Tonga. This all reminded me how easy it is for me to see the differences in other cultures, to differentiate myself, when in reality what we are and desire is so very similar; To prosper and improve our lives, a good education and future for our children, to share love, with our families, our friends, partners or lovers, to be at peace with ourselves and have dignity and self respect.

Tonga is a beautiful country, the people have great qualities, they are generous, warm hearted and have a attitude to life that us city dwellers should learn from.....

Come visit, savor its culture, share with its people and you will leave with a lighter heart and a skip in your soul! I certainly am!

Thank you Tonga!


David

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tonga is Great!-The King & I


Tonga is GREAT!

Well today we had the most amazing official send off that you could ever want for any expedition. The Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese Ambassadors A host of other dignitaries and the heads of the Defence forces along with the Tongan National traditional Dance troupe all made for a very special day that I will not forget for some time.

Sorry I have been so busy to even get these blogs up and even know it is still frantic in so many ways but there is one thing that I have to tell you...Tonga is a very special part of the world, like nothing else I have seen or experienced so think about coming to spend time here..not just a holiday...and for all the pictures and Talisker bounty Boat action PLEASE got to the TONGA HOLIDAYS web site..links in the previous blog...and you will see what I mean..there are many posts on all the things we have been doing and plenty of great Photos...

So here a a nuts and Bolts of the past few days....

We hit the ground running with a press conference on Monday straight off the plane, then sorted some paper work to clear the container for opening the next day. Tue we found the Travel lift was not working so organised a crane for wed, met the head of customs who was a Bligh fan. The crane broke down on Wed so we accepted the offer of a Tongan Launch for Thursday and met with the Prime Minister that afternoon which was quite exciting. He too has been very helpful with direct involvement for so many things associated with the Expedition for which we are very grateful.

We slipped the boat into the water in the poring rain...see TongaHolidays web site..and towed it out to the Royal sunset Resort four miles offshore..that was a great moment I tell you..that night we received word the His Majesty the King would like to meet us the next day...YES!! we were a little excited and nervous.

His Majesty is truly a great man and he is a Bligh fan also . We discussed may things and to my great surprise he told me of his meeting with an American who attempted the Bligh voyage in 1975 in a replica single handed..he had an outboard motor , charts etc. I had been given a Photo of the boat at Thursday island about nine months ago. The capt. had stopped there and could go no further because of the Timor conflict, but no one knew anymore about it...Except the King of Tonga, who suggested he may be in his 80's now if still alive.

I was able to present to the King a bound Facsimile set of letters Bligh wrote to his wife and Banks when he finally arrived in Kupang at the end of his epic voyage. These had been organised by the Mitchell Library (who hold the originals) and Louise Waterhouse the Hon. Consul for Tonga in Sydney who has been our great supporter for so long.

The King gave me a beautiful Brass Hour Glass for our boat which was very fitting. It was a special moment and I have to tell you I was a little nervous! but so proud to be a part of reliving an interesting part of Tongan history. The Kings personal assistant is from Hobart..Please see the Tongan Holidays web site for all the Pic's.

We are staying on the Island of ATATA and there is a small village here so we asked if the school children would like to see the boat. They arrived at 11am in Traditional dress, about 18 children from the age of 6 to 10..we all went sailing in the Talisker Bounty boat on a beautiful day with them all singing at the top of their voices..back at the beach they sang while four boys did a traditional dance in front of the boat and then when I thought it was all finished the most gracious little girl stood beside the boat and did such a beautiful soft traditional dance to the singing of the other children it made me cry...I don't know why..but I could have picked her up and just taken her to another world she was so Cute! That moment is now burnt in my mind....I will never forget it

Sunday was busy preparing and loading the boat for the official departure today.

In amongst all that we have had serious troubles trying to get out Iridium satellite gear and computers operational. Dave Pryce arrived on thursday and with Chris as Back up they have just about sorted it. It has taken days of frustration with all out camera gear but finally after buying another $4000 of SD cards and installing some new software they all seem to be working.

Our support boat went missing in action so I have been busy organising another charter boat here in the harbour but it turned up late today, GOOD NEWS!.. so no we did not leave today but are back at the Royal Sunset resort waiting and working. We now hope to get away on thursday morning if the support boat is ready ,so things are bunching up...Some of our support crew are stuck in the UK and the Netherlands because of the Volcano and we will have to leave without them..the BAD NEWS! is that they were bringing our safety harnesses and the Inmarsat Bgan system to transmit video from the Boat...Margie has been suffering through all these dramas trying to plug the holes, organise substitutes etc. so today has ordered new harnesses from NZ to fly up tomorrow but we cannot replace the Bgan...beside the fact that we are running out of money we do not have the time...

Yesterday while ashore a huge storm cam through and I was trapped onshore not able to get back to Royal sunset so checked into a hotel with three of the support crew, My Big toe got very hot and Painful from a raging Gout session which I had been holding off with some drugs that were all back on the island, so not a happy night..Margie is now worried about my Kidney stones? but all is good....during the night two more of the Royal Sunset resort boats sank , that makes four in the last 10 days so they had to charter another to get us around. When it rains here it REALLY rains.

The Mozzies are hungry, the humidity is high but I love this place. So Happy to have Dave Pryce here backing me up, as tomorrow I think I will be on the computer and phone all day...yes I really want to just get out there!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Troubleshotting in Tonga

 

 

We are all very busy here in Tonga and today met with His Majesty King George Tupou V there are a lot of pictures and details on the www.Tongaholiday.com links below, worth a look to check out the action.  At the moment we still have no satellite email link, the SD cards for on board video camera are still not compatible and support boat from New Zealand has not arrived yet!!! Now the volcano in Iceland is delaying our support crew who are carrying vital safety equipment for us.  So all is good at the moment!  Don

Meet prime Minister

http://www.tongaholiday.com/?p=4519

Boat in Water

http://www.tongaholiday.com/?p=4533


Life is for Living - Follow us at www.bountyboat.blogspot.com/


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stuck in Tonga (Paradise)


It is surreal to be contemplating discomfort while sitting in front of my beach hut, watching the flat calm ocean gently kissing the sand. Absolute beauty, even the mosquitoes can't ruin this tranquility.... Slap... Ouch.... The bugger....The ship yard have yet to fix the crane so Talisker Bounty Boat remains firmly in its shipping container while the crew relax and undertake less demanding task, for me that involves writing this blog, sat here, armed me my ever faithful cup of earle grey tea, its official.... I am happy..... The calm before the storm springs to mind....Tonga... A beautiful island... so rich in culture. A significant part of our shared history we now plan to re-enact with this expedition, this has been embraced by the locals, both pleasing and a surprise to me.... "Are you the crew on Bounty?" A local asked while going about my business, yes I replied with a sense of pride and humility. While the pride may be premature, humility is appropriate when you learn of Tonga's rich history on the water. I am grateful to have met Mark Belvedere an american who has made Tonga his adopted home for the last ten years. Mark proved extremely knowledgeable and passionate about igniting interest in the Tongan's history on the water. Painstakingly rebuilding a Cahlia, a historic boat, I believe unique to the islanders. Admiring the Tongan craftsmen skills while they worked, I talked with them, listening to their stories I had to pinch myself to be sure I really was here. Over lunch Mark captivated our imagination while discussing the potential speeds (in the late 30 knots) of a modern Cahlia while we compared to the expected 5 knots on board Talisker Bounty Boat, our more graceful pace, not compensated by comfort or style.... I wondered if Don was already planning another adventure? How far did the Cahlia's sail? A race across the pacific in Cahlia's? Who knows.....If anyone knows more details about the Cahlia please leave a comment for us.Chris is settling, though seems a more introverted this last 24hours, I wonder if he feels a little daunted or overwhelmed? It is a very BIG step for him, and this expedition will no doubt shape the rest of his life. I confess to experiencing a healthy dose of envy of him to be embarking upon a life of adventure so early. The rewards will be well deserved.... He is clearly focused with a degree of emotional maturity that I couldn't claim... Until.... Oh.... Maybe 20... 30... 40.. Ok, some day soon... Its an honor and privilege to have Chris on board! Now bulk up on the food you skinny runt!David

David's touch of paradise

It is surreal to be contemplating discomfort while sitting in front of my beach hut, watching the flat calm ocean gently kissing the sand. Absolute beauty, even the mosquitoes can't ruin this tranquility.... Slap... Ouch.... The bugger....

The ship yard have yet to fix the crane so Talisker Bounty Boat remains firmly in its shipping container while the crew relax and undertake less demanding task, for me that involves writing this blog, sat here, armed me my ever faithful cup of earle grey tea, its official....  I am happy.....  The calm before the storm springs to mind....

Tonga... A beautiful island... so rich in culture. A significant part of our shared history we now plan to re-enact with this expedition, this has been embraced by the locals, both pleasing and a surprise to me.... "Are you the crew on Bounty?" A local asked while going about my business, yes I replied with a sense of pride and humility.  While the pride may be premature, humility is appropriate when you learn of Tonga's rich history on the water.  I am grateful to have met Mark Belvedere  an american who has made Tonga his adopted home for the last ten years.  Mark proved extremely knowledgeable  and passionate about igniting interest in the Tongan's history on the water.  Painstakingly rebuilding a Cahlia, a historic boat, I believe unique to the islanders. Admiring the Tongan craftsmen skills while they worked, I talked with them, listening to their stories I had to pinch myself to be sure I really was here. 

Over lunch Mark captivated our imagination while discussing the potential speeds (in the late 30 knots) of a modern Cahlia  while we compared to the expected 5 knots on board Talisker Bounty Boat, our more graceful pace, not compensated by comfort or style....  I wondered if Don was already planning another adventure?  How far did the Cahlia's sail? A race across the pacific in Cahlia's? Who knows.....

Chris is settling, though seems a more introverted this last 24hours, I wonder if he feels a little daunted or overwhelmed? It is a very BIG step for him, and this expedition will no doubt shape the rest of his life. I confess to experiencing a healthy dose of envy of him to be embarking upon a life of adventure so early.  The rewards will be well deserved....  He is clearly focused with a degree of emotional maturity that I couldn't claim... Until....  Oh.... Maybe 20...  30... 40.. Ok, some day soon... 

Its an honor and privilege to have Chris on board!  Now bulk up on the food you skinny runt!

David

 

Monday, April 12, 2010

I was impressed by the toughness of the bounty boat boys as they planned to sleep on the floor of Auckland airport last night in preparation for their early flight to Tonga but Dave’s five star mind set overruled the decision and he treated the boys to a soft bed in a motel !  I suppose it could be a lesson in night navigation ? How do we find a motel in Auckland close to the aiport. The boys have safely arrived in Tonga with their mounds of excess baggage. Everyone is so friendly and helpful . Tonight as the boys checked into their “Base Camp”, the reality of the situation hit them. Perhaps it was when they walked the 15 metres on the white sandy beach from their room to the ocean , plunging into the water with the sun just setting they truly believed  this was the beginning of the next stage  !!!!

The start of the beginning.

Sorry about my communication problems of yesterday. Laptop went down and my phone wasn't getting any signal. Its great that Don and all the boys have arrived safely in Tonga at their base hotel. It sounds idyllic for their final preparations. 4 years of planning and hard work has gone without a hitch??? Let's hope it only gets better from here on in. Confucious said 'The hardest part of a long march, is the first step'. The crew are now at the end of the first step.

Cheers for now. Stuart, and all at the Sheffield Institute Foundation.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Alex Edwards fixing our "technical "issues

Our computer guru Alex deep in concentration with the bank of four laptops
trying different internet settings and you never really know until it
happens. Standing in the middle of the Rocks in Sydney at 11pm with two lap
tops connected to two sat phones trying to find a signal amongst the
historic buildings is probably not everyones idea of a fun night out ! When
you see five bars of signal strength come up on the phone, your legs go
weak, when the email is sent a tear does fill your eye. BUT, the moment of
elation is when you return to your hotel room to check laptop number three
and YES the email has arrived. It works ! A huge thank you to Bob, Margaret,
Alex and Fi for all the support you continue to provide to yet another
Expedition.

Communication problems from the Norfolk Broads, England.

I'm having signal problems, I shall try to do a fuller blog tomorrow.

Still no sat phone data link!!

Well another full day with last minute shopping, packing , sorting and trying to get the Iridium emails up??..now midnight and at least with the help of Alex Edwards, our Training support back in Feb, we have both computers operational and data going out…but some things not quite right just yet…Margie has been frantic for the last few days on this and hopefully we will have a successful test tomorrow before getting on the Plane to Tonga. There is another local press conference organised for when we arrive and looks like a couple of full days…we do not get into Auckland till just after midnight and then have to book in again at 5.30am so looks like a sleep in the lounge tomorrow night…right now I just want to get out there…and get more sleep..I really have had enough food!! …Don  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chris and Margie sort half of the Cameras!

CRAZY!!

Dave arrived in Sydney at 7am yesterday , Chris the day before..Pete too..so started with the media shoot at 8.30am the to the Mitchell library and the Bligh Artefacts/Press launch which was awesome..then team meertings in the afternoon..Dave went shopping!...another late night with UK media and now up at 6am for some morning TV…all CRAZY here..Chris is a cool DUDE!! and will fit in well so everyone all smiles here…will come back with more later today…MY room is covered with all the Camera and satellite gear…still no Sat emails??.Margie is BUSY!.Every one in Tonga is gearing up for us..they have been fantastic!!...time is Flying…have to go….DON

Friday, April 9, 2010

It Begins for Dave!

Has a week passed already? Departure imminent, today actually…. My last night in the comfort of my own bed, I confess to running a very deep hot radox bath and savoring every moment of relaxation, I am certain I will be visualizing those candle lit moments for days to come… There has been so much going on, interviews with Sarah Passmore at RTHK Radio 3, she was very kind to me and having listened I realized I must have been nervous making silly mistakes such as referring to Timor as an ex Portuguese colony, when in actual fact it was east Timor that was ruled by Portugal not West… Sorry… For the full interview visit http://programme.rthk.org.hk/channel/radio/player_popup.php?pid=3189&eid=&d=2010-03-30&player=media&type=archive&channel=radio3

Interviews with varying publications and I also managed to squeeze a necessary business trip to Singapore and Jakarta last week, under my arm remained a rolled up navigation chart of the journey, this has become quite a companion. I went about my business whilst sharing with my associates the journey ahead. I had the pleasure of spending and evening at the Changi Yacht Club in Singapore, in the company of Scott and friends whom offered to very useful tips to help me on the way. Thank you!

Arising the next morning at 4am to start at the office and then to Jakarta in the afternoon to spend some time with Holin as I won’t see her now until after the expedition. I remain grateful for her positive support, it continues to make such a difference.

Upon boarding my return flight to Hong Kong, I was upgraded so looking forward to some rest, what a pleasant surprise, sitting back in my recliner and opening the South China Morning Post to see the a well written and balanced article by John Carney. So Talisker Bounty Boat is attracting media attention in Asia!

I arrived back home weary at 11pm to the welcome greeting of Max my dog, there really is no place like home.

At 7am the next day Stu Kershaw our documentary filmmaker arrived from the UK, so were busy over the next few days while he filmed and interviewed me around Hong Kong. I took him to experience some of Hong Kong’s wilder side in Wanchai, I hope he didn’t film to much… He suffered a lot from jet lag, claiming power naps very frequently..

NEW CREW!! Its an interesting twist with two new crew onboard, and along with any apprehension I feel positively assured at Don’s selection process and very much look forward to working with the new team. When we arrive in Sydney we will have to get to know each other very quickly and this will be fun. As I said before, it is a great shame that Mike and Pete are not coming, but I strongly believe you never know the person until you have sailed with them, often a very different person emerges at sea and therefore there is little difference in the crew change as none of the previous crew had completed any long haul sailing together, it was always an unknown factor. I am also VERY grateful for Pete offering to come to Tonga in support prior to our departure. I hope the new crew will also have the personal courage to talk more openly with regard how we personally deal with our fears and anger, two emotions we most certainly will experience in large quantities. With self awareness and communication we can create a stronger team and support each other throughout the difficult times, of which I am certain there will be many!!. I have no doubt, to understand my own emotions, manage them but not bathe in them, will enable me to aspire, grow and provide positive support for my teammates as we participate in the collective expedition and personal journey ahead. For David, it is truly an exciting prospect, a personal journey of courage and discovery.

As I leave home, say goodbye to Max for the office, one final check before heading for the airport, I confess, I feel sick… Nothing I have eaten, pure nerves…

I have left my home and Max the dog care to Listya, my superb home help and organizer, I am so grateful for her help and support, I seem to leave a trail of things I selected to pack then threw them down as I remembered how little we are permitted to take. And yes I have cut the handle of my toothbrush…

David

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CNN.com story

The story went up yesterday and was on the front page of CNN.com for a while too!

Dean Irvine was the reporter..Thank’s Dean!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Margie Loves Satellite gear!

The saga continues. We have the best Ndura computer in the world and iridium
phones, but after another day Margie is still struggling, even with the best
support from our Sat. team in the USA...anyway I think we are just about
there..it is all new systems and we have two different model phones, some
faulty software for the phones and even a cable problem, all throwing a
fruity at us..Life was once simple...all this will be vital for keeping info
coming off TBB. We will also have an Iridium Pager to get messages to the
boat, re media commitments during the voyage and an Inmarst Bgan system to
try sending out video clips occasionally...all we have to do is get it all
working and keep it working!

Running out of time here at home. Still chasing gear, screen printing logos
on Jackets, picked up our Smitten Underwear today..very good stuff.. All my
drugs for all my problems, tee tree oil for salt water sores, some
soap!..(Bligh may well have had soap) and answering a growing list of Media
calls, My 32 KG of camera gear is now having to be sent to Sydney, as ran
out of time to get it to Hobart. We fly out tomorrow at 5pm for Sydney. Just
discovered that our emergency Garmin GPS Hand Help Waterproof Chart Plotter
was missing a chart of Queensland so that is being rushed from Singapore, to
Sydney. The last storm sail has just been finished in China, so Dave in Hong
Kong is trying to get that before flying out tomorrow night. Camera man Stu
is now in the air headed to Sydney. I am trying to clear customs with TBB in
Tonga. Louise Waterhouse is organising our papers to enter Tonga on one way
tickets...numerous people in Tonga are trying to help us organise a "meet
the people" event while we are there next week. Last minute safety gear was
delivered to one of our support team in the UK to fly out with them next
week.This is just a small part of what is going on.

The highlight of the day was determining what we would/should call
Bligh..Capt? Commander? Or Lieutenant Bligh? on future despatches!!..at the
end of the day they are all correct...so we are going to leave it as Capt.
Bligh..now that could start an interesting debate!!

Heading toward midnight here and Margie is still out in the office..I have
to head out very early in the morning to the TV studio for a live Update on
Jessica's latest situation ( I am guessing a May 2nd arrival) then back home
to start Packing..the floor is covered with stuff! TOO late now!...got to
go...Don

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Get it OFF!

This is Dave Pryce in what he used to wear sailing…but not anymore, NO sailing gear allowed on Talisker Bounty Boat.

Very frustrating day today trying to get satellite comms and Ndura computer talking to the sky so I can send out emails and photos etc..no luck yet. Margie has been at it for most of today. Camera gear is all arriving late and so many things bunching up to deadlines. Why am I not surprised? It is always like this, even after four years. I wish it were not this way, but that is how it goes.

Stuart Kershaw and Dave Wilkinson have been filming Dave’s life in Hong Kong, but right now they are taking great delight in emailing me live photos of their nightlife. Stuart is unattached… I think?

Great bit of logistics planning was achieved today and I am dribbling thinking about it…I have organised for a couple of frozen chickens, and three cabbages to be delivered to Restoration Island in the great Barrier reef. Bligh stopped there and got Palm hearts, Birds, oysters and berries for a big feed..the Chickens will be the birds, Cabbages the Palm hearts…after 26 days at sea that will be the best stew ever!!! …

Chris is in the air now. Dave Pryce sails out tomorrow on Blizzard for his birding trip and will meet us in Tonga on the 15th April…Don

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wilde ride!!

Chris Wilde is flat out and leaves the UK on Tuesday afternoon, 3 days after being told he is onboard Talisker Bounty Boat. I actually woke him up at about 10am on Saturday Morning to start talking about it. That was maybe the last decent sleep he is going to have for awhile. Top job to clear the decks so fast…he will pop up on the blog once he slows down after Sydney.

 

Dave Price has been out “Shopping” today…maybe it is a “Dave” thing?…but he sails away on Wednesday onboard “Blizzard” for a birding Charter booked six months ago. As soon as he is back he leaves to join us in Tonga, so he has only one more day to prepare and pack his bags.

 

Beside emails, I have been repairing the Octant case with the help of Doug Campbell who built the boat, checking the pocket watches we will use, writing final lists, sourcing extra medical monitoring gear for onboard TBB and answering the phone! So what is the final time line?

 

On April the 9th at the Mitchell library in Sydney, we will hold our final TBB send off and get to view many of Bligh’s personal artefacts including his “Note book” that he wrote whilst in the boat sailing to Kupang, his log book, telescope, personal seal and some letters he wrote to his wife after the Mutiny and the open boat voyage from Kupang . It will make for an amazing day and really create a profound sense of time and place for us all. I am very excited about this amazing opportunity. All these items are now owned by Australia and only rarely on display…go to the “Resources” section/button of the TBB web site and there are links to the materiel…also check out the great animated Bligh site (while there) that the ABC in Australia have set up..it takes a bit to down load but it great fun.

 

On April the 12th  we arrive in Nukualofa in Tonga and set up base at the www.royalsunset.biz resort for a week before, setting sail on the April 19th to sail north to the site of the Mutiny and the official start of the expedition on April 28th….what happened to the last four years??? Don    

 

 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

We are all Happy Easter Bunnies-Now!

Yes, everyone are Happy Bunnies now that Don, has got a new full compliment of crew!
Congratulation to the new crew members, David Price an experienced "Old Salt" and the very young new adventurer Chris Wilde from England.
Welcome aboard the Talisker Bounty Boat expedition 2010. Lets not forget Dave the only original crew member quietly waiting for the "Off", doing his last minute shopping in Hong Kong!
It seems to have been a very long week for everyone concerned, and I bet it's a big weight off Don's mind now that he is back to square one with a full crew? I know how much work goes into planning expeditions! I am going to the Norfolk Broads on holiday next Saturday for seven day's with my wife Lynn,my son & daughter James and Danielle,we are taking my new boat UG-LEE 1 pictured above.( I bet you all thought it was "Son of Bounty"? well you would have been wrong, I won my boat on the internet, and paid the princely sum of four pounds and ninety nine pence for her( £4.99), Lynn say's that I was robbed!)
She was commissioned as a fishing boat for sheltered waters,(Lynn say's it should have been for a Sheltered Home) but when I got her she layed very much bow down in the water, I have spent several day's having the Bow made more buoyant, I have also put on a Lee Board on the port side and a "La-teen" sail of some 5o square feet. She goes for her final " Sea Trials" tomorrow at a local lake, so keep your fingers crossed. Incidentally the Norfolk Broads are an inland waterways of some 120 miles long that were man made by workers cutting out peat over several centuries, which eventually flooded and became a usefully way of transporting cargo, it is a very testing area for sailing, with High winds and narrow twisting channels, it is where Admiral Lord Nelson learned to sail as a boy.
I seemed to have been ages preparing for our little expedition with my UG-LEE 1's, which is obviously nothing near the magnitude of Don's TBBE 2010. well done Don, a good week for you!.

Did someone mention weight in a previous Blog?
Was it 99kg's?
( FYI 99kg = 217 lbs or nearly 15 and a half Stones)
That's heavy for a man that's only five foot two inches tall in there stocking feet?
It should bring the freeboard down some?
Don, the Chemist scales were not wrong, but next time have both legs on the scales!
Have a Great Easter Y'ALL
Cheers Stuart Keane Patron, Sheffield Institute Foundation
p.s. We all look forward to the International press launch this week


WILDE NEW CREW!!

18 year old Chris Wilde of Warwick in the UK (above right) is busy right now..He has five days to get to Sydney to start the ride of his life as part of the Talisker Bounty Boat crew. His mother read the story in the Telegraph on Wednesday and told Chris, who was then one of the first to apply for entry details. After considering all the Options, I chose Chris ahead of others, even though as he says in his own words “ I cant say I have any boating or sailing experience at all” but he has the one key element I look for…absolute blind passion. I know this will get him through. He is a student in his Gap year, works as a Lifeguard (so swims well), enjoys climbing mountains and is up for the mental and physical challenges ahead. This will change his life and be a story worth watching. At 65kg he is now part of the “seefood diet”..see it, just eat it!

The shortlist for the other spot came down to a German, an Italian, one seriously amazing woman and three other Australians, including Dave Pryce one of my closest mates! He has wanted to go since I first thought of the idea many years ago, but I said no..I want “New Blood”. When ever Dave and I are together we are scheming new adventures and crazy ideas. It is one of our favourite past times ..He has done quite a few himself, skippered one of our yachts around the world on an expedition, via Cape Horn and three times to Antarctica. He was on the crew picking Margie and I up from our year of Isolation living in a box in Antarctica. He has raced many of the solo ocean races, skippered the Western Australian Clipper around the world yachts a few years back and now runs his own adventure expedition yacht “Blizzard”. Check out www.blizzardexpeditions.com for a rundown and Dave’s CV. Margie and I sold him “Blizzard” back in 2003 before starting to build ICE in China. It needed a full refit, which Dave did and has since sailed her around the world supporting many other adventurers. I asked Dave to come. He thought about it for one second and said OK! He is just about to set off on a Birding expedition and will not be able to get to Tonga till about the 16th of April, has never sailed in Talisker Bounty Boat before, but is all rearing to go! Dave has more experience than me, but we match each other in the “crazies” department.

Talisker Bounty Boat is back on track with a great crew and only days before we get underway. Watch this space!

I weighed myself at the chemist today..99Kg? one is wrong? Hope it is the Chemist!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter.97.3KG..New Record!!

I am home in Hobart at last , greeted by Noddy our pet rabbit, having
"Waddled" my way through airports and planes. I feel very self conscious for
some reason! I hit the scales at 97.3 kg. tonight, an all time record for
me. Before I left my China apartment in Doumen, I had a big breakfast of
Dumplings, ate plenty of cheese and crackers, big pork chop for lunch. At
the Zhuhai ferry terminal, tucked into two pieces of KFC, Chips and two Egg
Tarts..then at the Hong Kong Airport , Sweet and Sour Pork, rice, short soup
and about an hour or so later, before getting onto the plane , I polished
off three BIG tubs of Jellied fruit I had carried from Doumen..Only had
plane Food on Qantas which was good, then straight into the Sydney Qantas
club lounge for a four hour wait to connect to Hobart. Problem is, food and
drinks are all free there..so why not!!, Pea and ham soup, cheese and
crackers, chocolate cake, Banana cake, slipped in some healthy noodle
salads??, by mistake..lots of juice and a few chocolate biscuits. Arrived
home and Margie had an apricot chicken, slow backed in the oven in Apricot
nectar..so why not!! They are little ships biscuits on Talisker Bounty
Boat?..but wait to you see the new me in Tonga with my shirt off?? Margie
thinks Dave is "little Britain" from the TV series and now she is calling me
"Little BUDDHA!"

Now I am into the crew applications..we are looking good!! Plenty to do as
the clock never stops!! Did I mention the Easter eggs?? They taste really
great!!