Monday, May 31, 2010

Restoation Island Tomorrow.... Batteries DEAD....

The wind has kicked in and we are on GPS which showed us 50 miles further ahead than we thought..our ETA off boat Passage by Bligh Reef is around 5am tomorrow..the tide turns in at about 0700 and our great friends Bob and Margaret Edwards will meet us just outside the entrance at 0730 in their beautiful globe trotting Nordhavn 46 that they have just sailed up from Sydney..they are going to be camera boat for the next week and Stu is on board..

Mixed emotions for me at the moment..hard to believe we have come so far with the days all molding into one after the other...there have been a few occasions over the past 10 days when I was on the verge of getting emotional for various reasons..yes that means crying??..not sure why...never did but it was close and it really surprises me..I had to stop talking a few times on the Phone to Margie and when speaking about some things on the boat..weird!.there is always this pressure on the organizer/Capt. I suppose? the health issues did not help and I don't think the diet is conducive to good nerves either...maybe it is because things have been so good for so long that I am getting worried about when it is going to hit the fan so to speak..or when we have to pay the piper???..I know I was shocked when David W just calmly said he was thinking of walking out on us at Restoration Island...but the three of us will do OK without him if that is his decision...Dave P. is a tower of strength and truly my right hand man.. but I must say Chris is more than pulling his weight so we would be a good team..

The boat is good all except for the batteries that gave up this afternoon while trying to charge one of the cameras so I have enough for this blog and will hopefully have the solar system working when at the Island so been a bit of a juggling act but we survived..we can still charge our sat phone direct off one panel so our safety link is still live..

So this is the end of the next goal for us..just to get here makes us all feel very HAPPY!.

Customs arrive at the island around midday and I recon we will get there about 1300hr so there is a bit of anticipation on board..I have to keep reminding everyone to keep focused on Kupang...myself this is just a quick stop over and some of the trickiest parts are yet to come...we will leave at first light on the 3rd so only one full day stopover..Bligh left this morning at 0400hrs

Last night we had one of those special moments..a Booby was trying to land on the rolling mast at sunset..which he did a few times before getting flicked off by the motion and he was cruising past so I said to Chris who was on the helm..I was filming it..Stick your arm out Quick!..he did and as I thought he landed on his arm! this is no little bird! something the size of a big Chicken..of course we were both laughing like crazy and "Brioan" his new name was wondering what the big deal was about..anyway we brought him on board to show the other watch below asleep..more laughs and the first bird poo!..and then we took him and put him on the back of the boat where he stayed all night with us keeping us company till an hour after Dawn when with one last Poo!..about 12 in total..he flew off..a very "COOL!" wildlife encounter..

Saving power so at the moment we have 20kts ESE wind right behind..sailing at 5kts, trade wind clouds with a little rain about..surging along with occasional water splashing into the cockpit,25 degrees and a 2mtr sea with some big rolling on the boat every now and then..but tomorrow it is inside the Great Barrier Reef and tonight it is tinned corned Beef again ..then 24 hours latter..Boiled Chicken Stew!!!..YEEHAAA!

Stand By for a couple of BIG days ahead..will send plenty of Pics when we get more power...Oh yes..Chris picture was really me..I swam ashore without clothes of course..I have been wearing the same shorts and shirt for a month now..never had any fiber pile layers on..only worn my wet weather pants once in the cockpit and once below in the dodger..hardly ever open my life is simple...same with Dave P. BUT..Chris and Dave W get into Pajamas every night...I just dive in and straight to sleep..tomorrow night I am on the beach!!!

Life is good!..Don

" Captain Bligh, caught nude and stranded on the sand cay"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting There.......................

What up. So we're still just cruising across the paddock. I guess by the time it gets to Sunday, you've already had all the juicy happenings of the week from the others, so my bad if I'm just reiterating all that has been said.

Highlights of this week? Well early on in the week I blew my top at Dave, his clumsiness, laziness and unreasonable attitude finally got on my last nerve. Something needed to be said, for my benefit at the very least as I was bottling my frustration. Let me paint you a picture with my imagination brush. It was probably Monday, just arriving at noon, the heat of the day pummeling our little boat. Having been off from 6am to 12pm, the last few hours of my morning were spent squaring away my daily duties. It just hit the hour, Dave was set on just going straight to sleep, no questions asked. So after a little complaining that I was now "on shift" - I was under the floorboards getting out water - I suggested he make the most of the oppourtunity to sort his single responsibility as quartermaster and sort the food out to make more space for me. To which he expectedly replied, "I'll do it later".

"Why don't you just do it now Dave?"
"I'll just do it tomorrow when I have to."

*I try gentle persuasion with no result*

"You're fully annoying. Why can't you just do your job?"
"It's my job. You just worry about what you're doing and I'll worry about what I'm doing."
"Seriously, all you have to do everyday is pull out food and divide by four. If you don't do your job efficiently, it makes it harder for me to get my own stuff sorted and in turn the boat suffers."
"Stop being so childish."
"Stuff it."

Okay, I may have cleaned up the dialogue a little...anyway, it got pretty heated for a little bit but by the end of the day we talked about it, apologised and things were cordial again. I have since made it my personal challenge to deal with Dave's habits with a Zen-like attitude to avoid any further conflict, there is after all, a long way to go. I think I might be giving the impression that Hong Kong Dave is a real hindrance, but he's a great guy, I've just been venting my aggravation from him onto here. Since then there has been no other real arguments. Good times.

Well, apart from Quilter's over-reaction at my souvenir shells. Bad times. To cut a short story shorter, I picked up a couple of colourful shells on the Sand Cay we pulled up at, as a memento of this picturesque shore leave. He spouted out the green cross code's old motto, "Take only photos, leave only footprints". Which, reasonably, I take as a subjective guideline rather than an absolute rule. The beach was made up of a fine, coral sand, so soft in places it felt like walking on fresh snow powder. Quilter dumped a load into the bilge from his shoes when he got back. Probably an amount equal to, if not more, than a few eroded shells. He followed up with the overused line, "If everyone did it, there wouldn't be anything left". Not everyone does it and if they did it would probably be deemed socially acceptable, making it a moot point. Now I really do my part for the environment, but that was just a bit silly. Quilter is so passionately dedicated to environmental awareness and conservation, which I wholeheartedly admire. But he also seems to go by, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem".

Got buzzed by an Australian Coast Watch surveillance aircraft, who are dedicated to protecting the coastline. We had to answer a few questions and give them our particulars, all pretty standard and the really low fly-by was a nice interruption from a moment of boredom. Spent a few hours unraveling twine for a new fishing line, SO MUCH FUN. I think I'll take that up as a hobby when I get back.

That's pretty much all I can dramatise from this week's events.

I spoke to a freelance reporter the other day, she asked what I was looking forward to in Kupang. "Bit of culture, a soft bed, warm food and a well earned rest". Since then my thoughts have shifted to all the logistical issues I'll be faced with at the finish line, but with such little contact that's just one thing I'm going to have to just set aside, I can't do anything about it out here.

I had a few lesser revelations this week, just a few smaller aspects of my own life I need to adjust, a few friendships I need to renew.

Anyway, every thing's awesome on the boat, Restoration is just over the horizon and I can pretty much taste that chicken stew.

See you the other side of the reef,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Govt, Help, and Fishing Good & Bad"

We started our mandatory reporting to Australian Quarantine ,Customs and Immigration today as we approach Australia to make our entry . Unfortunately Restoration Island is not an official entry port which I have known for many months and I have been in close contact with the Govt. departments about procedures...I was hoping that maybe there would be a customs vessel in the area or?? in the end the only way was to fly a team down from Thursday Island at the tip of Cape York by helicopter which would cost about $10,000!!..or go to Cairns...not an option...

I am SO HAPPY to tell you that The Australian Customs service, and AQIS and Immigration all believe that the voyage of Talisker Bounty Boat is of Historical and National importance, and significance so have agreed to cover the cost of the Flight in their National Operating Budgets which is absolutely FANTASTIC news...I cannot thank all the Heads of Departments enough and the relevant Ministers who no doubt had to give approvals and sign this off as a special one off...I was told about this possible opportunity unofficially back in late February during training and just kept my fingers tell the truth if I had to find $10000 right now I would have challenges so THANKS AGAIN!!...look forward to seeing the team on the beach soon.

Not sure when that will be as we are still only sailing at about 3kts..very pleasant though and not hot, blue sky, 1mtr waves and plenty of action today..

Two big catches on the fishing line..the first was unfortunately a Blue footed Booby a bird that is about the size of a small turkey...luckily he must have only been on the line Before we saw him..I quickly got Quilter to stop the boat, told Dave W to don gloves and get the multy tool/pliers/knife ready and Chris to don gloves too while I slowly started pulling him in ..I had to stop occasionally to let his head up for air and give him some breath by backing off the line and eventually we had him alongside, reached down and grabbed his body..luckily he was only hooked on the last hook and it had gone through the soft membrane in the center of his lower beak..Chris was carefully able to back the hook out and then we had to cut just a small part of that membrane to remove it completely...the bird was very helpful and full of energy so a final check and he was off..he decided to land and workout what the hell had happened...he was flapping and checking wings etc, shaking head and generally a bit confused but he was back in the air after about four minutes and flew back to us to see what we were about..I am confident he will be fine but we were all a bit disappointed it happened...we had not seen any bird interested in the lure before but this has happened to me back inn 1997 and of course it is a major bird killer in commercial long-lining...

About an hour latter another Booby came past interested in the lure so I was holding it ready to give a quick tug at the last minute if he dived on it...he had two passed but nothing then all of a sudden I almost lost my hand..we were hit big time by a 15KG yellow fin tuna..hard to get in but Brilliantly tail roped by Dave W. just as one of the lure hook in his mouth pulled out alongside the boat and the last hook was straitening...we started eating him withing minutes and now the rest is drying around the amongst all this we lost all the line and lure as it was not set up correctly when it was put out earlier happens but still a now we have to try to make up another one.

Love the moon..Temp, tail winds, company in fact life is good at the moment ..but Kupang is looking like a long time away...get me to Restoration Island!!!..Don

Friday, May 28, 2010

SURPRISE - Sand Cay...........!

This past week has been some of the most delightful sailing I can remember. The Bounty Boat has been swept along by gentle warm breezes for the most part at a time when I thought we would be hanging on for grim life before 25-35 knot trade winds that threatened to swamp our small craft. I seriously wondered whether we would survive this stage but instead have been pleasantly surprised.

Never have I been more surprised however than today when we saw the bottom of the ocean and shortly after came upon a small sand cay. We looked at each other and there was no question that a landing was required. It had been three weeks I think since we pushed off from the beach in Fiji and Restoration Island seems continually beyond our grasp.

Ted maneuvered us into the lee and we threw the anchor into a sand patch close to shore. A coral reef protected the sand cay so we swam ashore and scrambled over the coral to reach the pristine beach teaming with life. Hermit crabs busied themselves near the tide line while birds massed on the top of the cay in numbers akin to a Hitchcock film. Masked Boobies were nesting on up to two eggs and one poor juvenile stumbled in the sand. His parents were nowhere to be seen and his life was likely to be short. Noddy birds that have been visiting us at night looking for a perch in the rigging were there on mass while the occasional frigate bird circled overhead. This was an amazing experience in a remarkably pristine wilderness, the only debris being a couple of water bottles, fishing floats and of course the old faithful thong (flip flop).

There were miles to sail so we swam back out to our faithful Bounty Boat, up anchored and set sail again. Our interlude was over and we reflected excitedly about what we had seen till Chris produced a bag of shells he had souvenired from the rare piece of wilderness we had visited. Why? When will we humans learn to rise above our basic instincts to aquire and control our environment? When will we learn to appreciate our rare wilderness regions? Why do we feel it is acceptable to bag and souvenir our natural heritage? Would it be Ok to wander into Stonehenge and knock off a lintel for a garden sculpture?

As adventurers we often have the privelege of visiting wild and remote wilderness regions but with that comes the responsibility to behave appropriately. The simple premise of "Take only Photos and leave only footprints" is a good start but as the detrimantal effects of human activity acumulates we should probably expand this to a more proactive policy of "Take only photos and plastic debris and leave only footprints". This way those who enjoy these regions have the opportunity to make a positive impact and contribution to its future.

On a less serious note we concluded that Bligh would have hit the jackpot landing on this cay. He would have walked up and grabbed a bunch of boobies, lots of eggs and caught many fish. In response we cracked open a tin of fruit salad we have been drooling over for weeks and spilit it four ways. It capped off a great day with less impact on our sand cay than it would have suffered 221 years ago!

Dave Pryce / Quilter

PS See Ted's Blog above for all the nuts and bolts info.

BIG SURPRIZE and Lots of Luck Again......!

We finally started sailing at 1900 last night and had a good run at about 4-5kt. At around 11 am we hooked a small tuna that I had in pieces in minutes so we could down the lot was great and the liver was the sweetest which Chris and I enjoyed. As I came off watch around midday to get ready to take my first noon sight for many days, I looked over the side and thought WOW!..that is the bottom..sure enough we were watching the sand and coral slide past deep below..this was NOT expected..Chris donned goggles to see how deep and we estimated about 30 mtrs??..we were all eyes on the horizon while I waited for the sun to finish climbing in the sky..I asked Dave W if he was keeping a good lookout ..he said yes but nothing seen??..then in between sun shots I spotted a sand Cay!!!..NOT EXPECTED!!...that was the start of some interesting the end the noon sight confirmed we were nearly 70 miles further south than expected and that then concluded that it was probably Diane Bank, which meant that we were also about 65 miles further west than expected!!...

I am not the pedantic navigator like Bligh I admit and having gone through many cloudy days with no sight ,then Kidney stones etc..then calms etc..I have not been refreshing the latitude and we do not look at the one chart we have on board very is only for planning purposes..this chart covers an area from 175 west to 100 east..or from 600 miles west of Australia to 400 miles east of is of no real value, but is something of an equivalent to the navigational info the Bligh had with his publications giving the then known Lat/Long of the key points he needed.

We also have the challenge of wanting to get to Restoration Island..through the same boat Pass that Bligh used..Bligh just wanted to get to the Australian coast below Torres our challenge is a little different. In an obscure way Dave P. and I are really enjoying the challenge/risk of flying a little blind//..but we also know again it could have been a little different if we hit that Cay..surrounded by reef in the middle of the night..

Anyway our game plan has always been to approach Bligh's boat Pass from the SE. We do not want to get caught with the wrong wind direction in the last days as we do not sail well to windward..that is why we are south of Bligh's course and are now making our war up toward the was time to make any final approach course changes today..but we got caught we think by the currents during the calm..they may have sent us south..the further distance to the west could be us underestimating our speed or the extra current too..all part of the unknown we face...anyway we know that Osprey and Shark reef are right on our path now so we must be vigilant..we looked at the chart to confirm everything today so at least we have a new known departure point and I am happy about that..I will take a noon sight now every day to check our progress north and we continue to religiously fill out the log every like Bligh it is fingers crossed...someone was watching over us again..

When we think we are withing the last 100 miles we will use the GPS to locate and navigate through boat Pass as that is the only way we can do it...if we were just Bligh we would wait till we get to the reef , sail north along it till we came to a good pass and slip in..but we want Bligh's option!

Dave is about to do his Blog below on the days events..but last night on our watch there was a noddy tern trying to land on the boat..I said to Chris put you arm out and he will land on it...he did..and it did but at the point of landing the camera flash scared him is fun out here..

Currently 20kts SE wind,1mtr sea,26c,sailing at 4-5kts..and getting ready for a special dinner....Don

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Slow Days!............. Another Mutiny!

Yesterday was my worst day for some time...not sure why but I was totally lethargic,no energy at all to the point of concluding I could not go for a swim as I did not have the energy to pull myself back onto the appetite at all, headache and glands in my throat bulging out and hurting..I wondered if the Flow-max tablets were having a side are supposed to take them after a big meal??..or was it the rebound from the stress of the Kidney stones ..but one thing for sure I had an infection as my thought was killing me..very hard to swallow...

We often share spoons on board as we are down to one good spoon and one fork? was a very hot day so I was not happy..I have since my first Gout session weeks ago thought I would have to crack open the tin of fruit salad in the emergency food to give me some more energy and some food other than Protein..this diet on board is bad for me no doubt...but I could not face the others if I did that so I am sticking with it...

Last night when I was not good I thought I may have to crack a tube of condensed milk to give me an energy kick...but today after taking some cold and Flue tablets I am OK with just a raging soar I cannot take the condensed milk..even though I know I should as my body is telling me something...I will stick with what we get..I went for a swim today and got back OK!..

On that we have to start cutting our rations..we had 6 weeks at the current rate and knew it was 7 on the Great Barrier Reef stage we will try not to use any of our food and live off the land.

We are drifting again today..about less than 1kt average so the last two days we are going I recon we will be at Restoration Island maybe the 2nd ?? and Kupang the 17th/18th...Bligh is roaring ahead

As for life on board it is hotting up..Dave W and Chris had a falling out yesterday over jobs and when they should be done..quite heated and lasted about 15 minutes..Dave Pryce and I just shut up and said nothing. Dave Has a few things on his mind at the moment!

We bare not supposed to be having any outside contact..except for media and expedition logistics and there is plenty of that going on..But Dave really missed his kids so a few days ago I folded and said he could make a call to his my great surprise it turned into everything but..all about business..could not get the kids..then next day he asked to try again and had to sort his return air fare..that turned into calls to clients in the UK , checking the Dow and stock-markets that are all moving down..I said to him then that this will have to stop as he owes it to himself to keep his head on the boat..he did not agree...

Ive had for some time, the feeling that Dave is not settled into the boat..always uncomfortable,cant sleep as we make too much noise...still unhappy about the food...always just something..most of the time things are fine and he is great I was not surprised today when Dave said he will need to make calls to check on Business things and see how it is all going..if it is no good..HE WILL GET OFF IN RESTORATION ISLAND!

What I have agreed to is that he can ring his partner and ask two are things good or bad?...Do I need to come back to Hong Kong...that is all..if he then wants to leave then nothing I can do about that!..we shall see..

Last night we had a bird on board all night..a Booby..sat balanced on top of the main mast..beautiful night and spectacular place to be ..But we want to make miles..we are slow slow we now have 9 Goose barnacles on the hull which we will get off before Australia..the amazing one this afternoon was a Cricket crawling out into the cockpit unexpectedly..I freaked and said grab him...and we put him over the side..unbelievably about 10 minutes latter after swimming for a bit he flew back on board...we sent him off again....and when Chris was swimming again about an hour later..there he was hanging onto the side of the boat!!..I said KILL HIM!...gave Chris the cup but he swam away...we have been on watch for a few hours but we think we finally lost him....We also had a big Dragon Fly cruise around today..and plenty of birds..

Wish we were faster!!..Australia here we come..One Day!..currently 28C, cool 5-8kt breeze , a few clouds and a frustrated crew!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Where Is The Wind...............?"

Becalmed again, since 5am this morning we have been without wind, a boat speed of between 0.5-1 knot is painful to say the least. We are 550 miles from Restoration Island and at current speed will cover between 12-20 miles per day!!! Off course we will see a wind change, it is however a sobering thought when you are completely Dependent upon the elements.

After the usual becalmed swim, wash, deification there is little else to do and no where to hide from the scorching heat, even under the canvas it is very hot and unpleasant but one can at least avoid sun burn. Moods are affected in the heat and as boredom sets in, the only one who seems unaffected is David Q, his mood never seems to change, just hums his way through the day, though I do wish he would extend his repertoire of songs, Christmas carols in May in the Pacific Ocean is rather unusual to say the least..'

As each day passes, I am more and more concerned as to what is happening at the office? I have never been out of contact for this amount of time and confess to not liking it!! Fortunately my business partners are very supportive and I have a great team to work with, still I feel anxious, when you have sunk your heart and soul into your business so passionately for five years it is difficult to stand by and not know how it is going! I am personally struggling with this and daily find myself wondering what is happening to the markets, and our business.

My biggest challenge is I am missing my daughters terribly, however good company the crew on Talisker Bounty Boat are, they do not replace the love and happiness one feels when with there children, I look forward to being with them, in the mean time I have to just take one day at a time!!

I am concerned at the potential delay, if this continues, how far behind Bligh we will fall, and how long I am able to wait. By the time we reach Restoration Island, we will have covered 2400 miles and with 1400 miles to cover before Timor I wonder if I will have to jump ship in Restoration, return to my real life, my children and the business. It would be a big decision, and one that I will need to assess and we proceed to Australia, and discuss with Don, if it looks at all likely. I respect Don's view and know it will be an honest opinion.

The objective for me was to continue a personal journey and grow, learn and have an extraordinary chapter in an otherwise, ordinary, but extremely pleasant life, on this I am happy with the outcome so far.

One major realization for me, this expedition has compounded how important my relationship with my daughters really is, for all of us! The relationship between father daughter is extremely special and they are growing far to fast! Soon they will be off to university, then into their own adult life, with one at 14, the other 7, there is precious little time to share adventures, and this expedition has made me realize that sharing adventures with my daughters can be the greatest joy of all and then they may grow up with their own hunger for personal adventure, not just computer games and TV. Using Don's definition, an adventure is where the outcome is unknown (I like this) then there are numerous adventures we can share, they do not have to be on this scale and this I wish to make my focus for the forthcoming years, I have many ideas but will wait until I am sat with my daughters and discuss!! I hear them now, saying "oh no, what now" :)

I reviewed the food stock today, we have 19 days of food, including what we are allowed in Restoration Island, and approx 23+ days to go. Therefore we are starting a process of reducing our intake and saving some food for the later week, I confess to reducing Corned Beef is not a problem for me.... On the hunger, I am doing much better and not feeling hungry, my appetite seems to have been reduced, my weight is diminishing which is motivating me, though I am missing some health food....

Hopefully, next time I writ, we will be on Restoration Island and all my concerns will have been alleviated!!

David W (not Quilter)

Personal Message for my daughters - Hi Lucinda and Isabelle, Good gosh I am missing you both, please see the note above about adventures.... I am serious, so put your thinking caps on!! Lets have some fun... I Love you Dad xx

Don is feeling really bad, his worst day so far, no energy nor appetite, sore throat, hot and sticky, maybe side affects of drugs for Kidney stones, which are supposed to be consumed after big meal!! or he says maybe an infection from sharing spoons and forks!! Still thinking of Bligh's men he says.... Silly me, I suggested it could be the appalling diet... surely not... No... can be....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another kidney Stone Attack!..........Aaaaargh!

At 0900 this morning it started all over again but faster and much more intense on my right side..another stone on the move...I could not believe it..everyone was at the ready knowing what to do and 10.30 when the pain was at about 4 out of 10 I had a pee and got rid of two small grains again and the pain was lucky was I!!..Margie was convinced all along that they were only small stones that were on the Cat Scan before I left Hobart so all was good..very unusual though to have two like that together..

So do you think I was surprised when 90 minutes later I passed a HUGE 4mm stone!!..Consider me lucky..the first one I had that sent me to hospital in a bad way some years ago was only 3.2mm....YES my stone collection on board is growing..what a fine specimen!!..That one could/should have blocked..Lucky day..

Hopefully that is the end of it all now and I can start thinking of Restoration Island..Progress is very slow at the moment as we drift along in the blue at 2kts..last night was better with steady 20kt winds and two ships coming very close.. so we were all very the heat has been getting to everyone ..

When Bligh arrived at Restoration Island he cooked up 13ltrs of stew for the crew ..Birds ,Palm hearts,Plant roots,berries they called peas and that really made all feel good...he did that a few times sailing north in the reef, taking Clams and anything they could find..We cannot kill the birds,or the palms or the clams so we have organized to have two chickens,three cabbages,6 potatoes and some dried peas waiting on Restoration Island to make OUR version of Bligh's stew...all on board are excited about that but today it all got a bit messy..

Dave W has wanted it to be Barbecued..but I have always made it clear..or thought I had, that it will be stewed to save all the fat and goodness as this is survival food barbecue it in a fire will loose all sorts of goodness...we did joke around a few days ago about him Barbecuing his own leg but we joke about plenty of the emergency food too like the tins of fruit salad...but we cannot touch apparently Dave has been thinking about his Barbie chicken leg lately...He Hates Boiled Chicken...and when I mentioned again that it will be Boiled he took offense and said I was a hypocrite and that I was moving the goal posts and this whole expedition was a waste of a lot of money! Food seems to be driving most of Dave's discontent I thin at the moment..none of us are perfect ..but no one else on board could confirm what Dave thought I said..I apologized if I had miss-lead him or made him misunderstand me for some reason, but no response so we will have to wait and see..Dave hates the corned beef and reminded me of that in strong terms today again ( but that comes up often) and he has now vowed not to eat the boiled chicken...I hope he does as this is not meant to be a food cruise..what would Bligh think.

Restoration Island is going to be strange..David Glasson lives on the Island now and we are expecting our camera boat there with Stu on board plus a 60 minutes TV film crew and maybe some news reporters. Dick Smith ( Sponsor)may be flying up for the day and he is bringing Roul and Marketa from our crisis management team in Hobart..Marketa is a doctor and will be giving us all a major medical..on top of all this Dave may be inviting some of his local friends over to the island to meet us and have a party with crayfish and prawns etc..this will be tough as we will not be able to touch any of it..( Dave W thought that was bad and we should not allow the Party).but that is cool...we are guests on Restoration Island thanks to Dave so we will go with the flow and have our worlds a nice way..for one day and two nights..with all that food around I just hope Dave W gets back on board when we leave..he is a total pleasure to have on board ,always makes us laugh and often looks at things from the other side which is great

Bligh had trouble on Restoration Island too..half the crew wanted to stay..the other half wanted to get to Kupang as soon as possible..?

Another day another milestone..less than a Sydney Hobart race to go to Restoration Island at the moment!! it is great out here right now....Don


Monday, May 24, 2010

"Please see some more comments from Donators to the Talisker Bounty Boat DIET DAY"

NIGHTMARE!.... Kidney Stones

Flying Lamb's Tongue's. Yum! 

There was only one thing other than a late Cyclone I did not want for this expedition...a Kidney stone moving as it is excruciatingly painful..well today it happened and the parting words of my Specialist in Hobart were ringing in my ears this morning.."it will not kill you but it will be very very bad"..Having had two bad experiences in the past few years I was not feeling good when at 7am this morning I felt one on the move...more in a minute.....

Chris could not get his blog out last night because of satellite problems and we were not impressed as he decided to write a book..I was waiting outside the cover for over an hour waiting to get some sleep as we were off watch..we blog under cover to keep the water out..anyway we joked that he wanted to send a small one but he did not have time?? and said anyway it was just for his friends not ours?

Saturday night was challenging as we had another cloud front come through and got dumped with rain big time...but I did manage to get a bath to catch up with the Dave's!!..all at 10pm and it was cold..Chris tried to stay dry under the space blankets ..I just got very wet..we also sat becalmed in all that for three hours .0 miles!!.Sunday was then the most amazingly relaxing day with gentle breezes , flat blue sea..we all enjoyed it and dreamed of other things..the only problem is that we were not getting to Restoration Island in a hurry.

A Noddy tern landed on the boat Sat. night and the Dave's could easily caught we got a tin of lambs toungs..none of the others could eat it so I ate the lot!!..great.

Last night was a mixed bag but we had the moon which is really something and we have kept moving..two day average was about 95 miles a day so not too bad and today has been rollicking along. I seem to be cracking up..I had to laugh going onto the bow to change sails..everything hurts..I have a huge black bruise the size of my hand on my right buttock from the whack I took during our knock down weeks little toe still sticks out..I cant kneel in my right knee yet as the launch day gash is still weeping and left thumb is inflamed and infected and to top all that off my pants kept falling down trying to get back into the cockpit because I am loosing weight..It was a saga I tell you!! and very funny..

The kidney stones were not started at 0515 this morning..had the urge for a pee that was strange but resisted as I was up on watch at 0600..then had a pee with some funny 0630 I suspected a Kidney stone was moving so started drinking heaps again hoping I would pass 0730 I was getting worried as the pains were moving to I went to the toilet to empty my bowels twice in case I would be having suppository pain killers 0800 I told the crew..and had a tablet to open my urethra to help pass 0900 I was in raising pain..I rang Margie for advice and she started things rolling in Hobart with our doctor..I was very emotional at that point as I knew I was in trouble..yes I was scared! looking at the world as a condemned man about to go through maybe 24 hours of serious pain that in the past had nearly made me collapse in the first few hours..Dave and Chris had the first aid kit out and we made plans for the suppositories and everything up to Morphine..the good news was that I could still Pee..

Anyway as the pain had built in a scale to 4 out of 10 and I was about to start everything happening...I sat down to check with Margie again and all of a sudden there was a knife edge pain in my penis and Bang..withing two minutes all pain was gone..My colour came back..I stopped perspiring and felt fine..all while on the phone to a much relieved Margie and Dave Pryce..about to administer the first Suppository..for me I was just in heaven...anyway I took two Panadol and rested taking heaps of water and for the rest of the day peed into a bucket looking for the 0430 this afternoon I got three pieces of kidney stone in the bucket!!..YEEHA!!...Happy chappy!!..I have kept them and may think about auctioning them off for SIF!!

What a saga...what a day..what an A was comforting to know Margie and the team were onto it and as for the Talisker Bounty Boat crew they were great..thanks guys!! Been sailing at 5-6kts all day and some thunder squalls are on the horizon so not sure what tonight will bring but who cares..after that little scare life is good...700 miles to go to the reef..wind 20kts from the SE ..sea 1.5mtr,,7/8th cloud cover..Temp 29c .I really did keep the stones!!..all smiles...Don.

'Time Passes Slowly'

'Time Passes Slowly' - Bob Dylan,

I've had that stuck in my head for the past few days, somewhat ironically - we're not making especially fast progress, sometimes not moving at all. Still, I'm trying not to concern myself about it, we'll make it eventually. So this week I've noticed a subtle, steady change in the group. We're talking a lot more. I've been trying at times to get a decent conversation going about something from popular culture - good films, tv series, books. But when no-one else on this boat watches anything on tv but the news, only watches the occasional film while mid-flight somewhere and have completely different tastes in the little media they expose themselves to, suffice to say it was like trying to get blood from a stone. They're considerably more out of touch with world media than I expected.

Still, while passing time we've found ourselves talking over maaany different things. Childhood to adulthood, family, friends, religion, hopes and plans and dreams. And of course food. Food. Food. Food. I don't think we've gone a day without musing about what delicious something we want to get our teeth into. Though, while I find myself immensely inspired by the others, our talks have made me a lot more thankful for having a strong sense of my own mindset and way of life. While these guys do live amazing lives, there are definitely certain aspects of their lifestyles I'm really not envious of. Erm, how do I explain...Okay, for instance, the other day I found myself in a discussion, a little in shock, defending monogamy vs infidelity and affairs in relationships, with all three of them against me!

That, along with many other things we've talked about, just reminded me how vastly differently we'd formed our own beliefs and the effects our very different societies have had on us. Nevertheless, 'each to their own', as they say. Our talks on the whole have been extremely beneficial to me. With the helpful advice, guidance and words of experience from the others, i've reached conclusions regarding my own future that will no doubt prove invaluable. I think I'll endeavor to pick their brains right up to Kupang to gain all I can from the tales of their successes.

To be honest, all those real, spontaneous moments over the weeks have rarely occurred on camera. Considering there is going to be a documentary on all this, it's a bit of a shame. As for being on film, I struggle. I'd like to think of myself as quite composed but point a camera at me and I turn into a shy, blabbering wreck. So pretty much all footage of me up to now will be me making an ass of myself. Which fills me with apprehension when it comes to doing more pieces to camera. For now, I'm much more comfortable being in the background or capturing the others, who are considerably more articulate on film.

Fully hard to write this blog with the others distracting me every two seconds. It's hard enough to amalgamate a week's happenings into this tiny window of time I get. It would be so much easier if we all blogged least on me at any rate. Still, "rules is rules". Pah.

Impossible not to think of back home with all the spare time you have around here. A huge barbecue, with everyone over, beers on ice. Chicken, burgers, sausages. Standard. That's definitely on the cards. Aaaand there's a huge pepperoni pizza back there with my name on it. Damn, I'm really going to have to show some self-restraint when I get back because if I give into these mega-cravings I'll be morbidly obese in hours. Roast dinner, granny smith apples, orange juice, diet coke aaaaand a massive bowl of noodles. Om nom nom nom.

My ipod playlist is burned into my mind, so I'm constantly shuffling that to keep myself from going insane. Though it's making me get more and more psyched for Reading Festival. That's going to be so awesome. And films too, can't wait to get to the cinema and catch up with all the new releases. Iron Man 2, Clash of the Titans, Shutter Island. Oh and that Spielberg - Hanks, Band of Brothers-esque thing looks swweeeet. 'Pacific', I think it is.

Heh, okay, so I'm pretty strongly attached to media, I guess this shows how large a part in my life it plays. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way!

Hopefully by the time of my next blog we'll be at Restoration Island enjoying some much wanted...restoration, in the form of boiled cabbage and chicken stew, nice.

Remember to donate to SIF if you haven't already,

Stay Classy,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Agony & Ecstasy!

It was a tough night last night..just after Dave wrote the blog a local front came through with a sudden wind shift,very dramatic cloud front,rain and sudden wind increase..we were kept busy for awhile getting settled then with the wind forward of the beam is was a very uncomfortable ride under the cover with one falling on the other ..of course the saltwater was getting through so it was good to see the light of day and a drop in wind with a shift astern..can't complain really as Bligh was getting hammered regularly in this part of the world with much stronger winds and bigger seas. Food has been the topic of the day..everyone has been randomly bringing up all the stuff missed the most..we are all hungry now and can see weight dropping off..our water has a funny white algae in it but still tastes OK..Dave W is impressed as he thinks his double chin is gone and he is hoping to be at his ideal weight when we get to Kupang..but will he/we be able to keep it that way...the strangest thing is when we go to the toilet..I know you may not want to know about this so skip to the next paragraph if that is the case.....OK ...still here??..well we are not eating much food right..but the amount coming out is amazing..for every one unit going in we recon there is at least 2 units coming out!!!..we are all surprised..the toilet is bum over the down wind side by the back of the Butt is right at the water line so water washing is no problem and you have to have all your clothes off because if the boat takes a roll at that moment you go under water to your waist which happens most times...but washing is far better than paper so that issue is a non event..we do not miss it! We have been making over 100 mile days for the last three but have slowed now..we are about 850 miles from the entrance to the Great Barrier Reef so my estimate is that we could arrive there on the morning of the 30th at the earliest just over a week will be good to get in behind the reef..we have had some big seas and a few times layed over but we all know they could very easy be bigger?? so far so good...for those thinking of coming to Kupang my ETA now is about the 16th June at the earliest, probably the 17th? so we still have not caught Bligh yet..we are moving faster in the water for equivalent weather but Bligh just had stronger winds..on that basis I am happy to be behind him still.. We have some blue sky at the moment, temp about 30c,wind from SE 10kts, sea about 1.5mtrs ,sailing at 3 kts....still no Noon sight today as overcast again but we just add up our speed estimates and courses to give us our Dead Reckoning position.. The two Dave's stink at the moment..they both had a fresh water shower in one squall..Chris and I were off watch in the Tent and remain real men..what would Bligh think!! I think of them in their boat out here all the time ..wonder what they would have been talking about and how they would have raced to sail their boat fast to port..calms would have been very frustrating.. All good here....Don

Friday, May 21, 2010

Running Like Mad Across the Paddock

Wind Speed : 20 knots Boat Speed: 6 knots Cloud Cover : 8/8 total cloud cover all day has kept the temperature down to bearable levels. Barometer: Just risen a couple of millibars.We are romping along again after a lull today that ended abruptly with the arrival of a cloud bank 15 minutes ago. The wind swung to the N abruptly and I scampered forward to retrieve the drifter sail and bring in the pole. A little unnerving as we have been having a glory run with lovely SE winds pushing us along at about 100 miles a day since passing through the Vanuatu island group. It has been great to make some serious miles on this, our longest and most vulnerable leg of the journey. Progress is good and we estimate we are about 900 miles from the boat passage in the Great Barrier Reef, our gateway to safety. It is all very encouraging but I for one still feel very vulnerable in our small boat on the big ocean. The focus is to sail as fast as possible and get as many miles under the keel to minimize exposure. Exposure is one ingredient of risk we may have a small level of control over. Life on board is going well and we are really performing as a crew now. An unlikely bunch of guys bonded by the need to survive. A few days ago I noticed we started having long conversations about a wide variety of subjects, such a trait of voyaging on small craft. Life is good and going well aboard the Bounty Boat. Dave Pryce / Quilter

Fast Sailing & Lost Lunch

Well they look like the trade winds , smell like the trade winds, feel like the trade winds but I am still not convinced they are..the clouds and fog/mist/haze make me a little cautious but who cares..the sailing is great!..last night and the night before had us moving at 5 to 7kts with no water on deck a few stars and the start of the moon was just too exciting to think about sleep so there were long conversations in the shimmering light..the days we a bit lumpy and the 25kt winds dropped off leaving strange seas for awhile and makes us think there are some current eddies that will sometimes go against us..last night the seas were way down in relation to the wind strength so we suspect we had a strong current going with us..but we will not really know till we find Australia soon..we think there is about 1035miles to go so still Chasing Bligh?

The routine continues watch after watch and for the first time I am starting to sense a loss on energy not moving around but when I go to get up after sleeping food intake is very little..same as the others but Dave W and I usually only take one Biscuit morning and night..but do not feel hungry..strange..BUT!! I was annoyed today when I lost my LUNCH??

Chris is excellent on the helm but he will only watch the compass and is not aware of what is happening around the boat..I have for many days been trying to get him to watch the clouds ,waves and sails to get the feel for the Boat..under protest at night he has to if it is dark and we all hate that unless there are stars out...but during the day he still stares at the compass...and not his surroundings..anyway about an hour before lunch I had a go at him and said watch the sails and the boat but he said NO ..he likes staring at the compass and daydreaming!!

So lunch was all served into our mugs..nuts raisins and apricots..Chris is on the helm ..staring at the compass and wallop!! he missed a wave and did not recover fast enough ..the boat went down the wave came into the cockpit..and my lunch went into the bilge..others over the seat under the tent..

I recovered three apricots from the bilge water and ate them but as Dave W has a pussy foot infection and there are lots of other grimy bits around the rest was committed to the deep..everyone had a go at Chris..he said it was his first wave and continued staring at the compass!!..he had his lunch which was a bit more training required there..he is a worker though so all part of a package which is very good..I am pleading for a few apricots for dinner tonight...there was not going to be any as it was not one of the five nights for dinner but a bird landed on the main Yard so that allows us to have a small can of turkey luncheon meat!! Yippppeee!!

All very gray as I write..a 2 mtr confused sea but yesterday was a 120 mile day and today another 124 mile day so we will put up with anything..Dave W is having real trouble reading the compass at night as he has the wrong glasses and to his horror I made him aware that as his hair is growing out from being shaved about 25% are coming back Grey!!..he is impressed with that!

We have all been caught by random waves today taking a drenching..Dave P caught a big one while sleeping in the bilge..I got mine while on the helm this morning so the salt grime is slowly working through things..we are just so happy to have caught that water days ago..we have had no rain since.

Yesterday we passed a huge container ship about six miles away..the sea was big but he saw us and it was good to chat with him..he was going to check out the web site after the call....Oopps...Just had a wave crash over the boat and Dave W was laying on the life raft..he is now VERY wet..he was too scared to lay in the bilge but it got him anyway..tonight could be fun??

Wind about 15kts ..sea cloud..temp 22c...sea warm!!..BOAT SPEED 5.5kts...way to go!...Don

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Love Corned Beef

Another week has passed.... WOW.... We have been at sea now for 21 days and if i'm honest it still feels like a very large mountain has to be climbed! I am trying to cease counting the days as I find I am unable to live in the moment and enjoy the beautiful moments at sea, and there are plenty! It is the agony and the Ecstasy for me, and I have to take each hour as it comes. Our moods seem directly linked to the winds, the better, the faster we go, the happier we are, when becalmed, in the relentless heat, it all seems so futile. We are all very grateful for the rain fall as now with 200 litres on board, we are not restricted to 1 litre a day, which was difficult for all of us, 2 litres seems to suffice without discomfort.Don) have considerable weight, I guess for me around 6kg and, my thoughts were with Bligh and his men, I often wonder how they felt at this stage in the journey, I don't think we can recreate the hopelessness they must have experienced, when I need to lift my spirits, I imaging boarding the Cathay Pacific flight home, to Hong Kong. The comfort of business class lounge, and on arrival I will be greeted by my daughters, Max the dog wagging his tail, deep hot baths, flat screen TV's and the wonderful cooking of Listya my (now wonderful) home help. Bligh and his men had to look forward to 18 months journey back to England, faced with so much uncertainty, hunger, thirst and discomfort I often wonder how they kept their spirits up, I have utmost respect for all of them!!

Our days here are pretty much settled into a routine of sleeping, watches, and individual responsibilities, I have the easy task of food!! The irony of it....

I (and Don) have lost a lot of weight, I estimate myself around 6kg and as a result feel continually tired, weak and lethargic. My stomach has shrunk to the extent I can no longer eat the full rations and surviving on around 50%, I am monitoring carefully to ensure I am eating sufficient, to avoid the previous mood swings. For the record... I HATE corned beef!! I dream of port sausages on the BBQ dipped into whole grain mustard, I can smell them now!! I continually think of a nice cuppa tea and reflect back to on board Ianthe (the su0pport boat) and the yummy teas that Mark and Sam would make there, along with the porridge... Oh stop..... Create the opportunity to sail with them, you can even learn welsh...

As strange as this may sound, I am so grateful to be a part of this expedition, it is challenging every part of me., In my professional life, as with most men of my age, I consider myself a master on my own field, here, I am not, and this makes me vulnerable, this is good for me!!

The following lines I have noted these few weeks, they amused me and I hope you!!

Yum Yum,,,, Ooooh Divine...,. Oh yes delicious... Those white lumps must be the olive oil setting... I love it.... meow meow.... Woof Woof... (eating corned beef)

I'm so grateful for loosing weight, I can almost fit in the bunk...

You must be grumpy because you've had too much sleep (oh yes.... nice one Don)

Thank god I don't have to use toilet paper while hanging on like this...

Can I go home now... (me :))

Its really lucky for a wooden boat to leak (Don) Forgive me.. but please...

On a final note... Before leaving Tonga I had my head shaved for practical reasons, for some reason, it has grown back completely Grey6.... OMG!!!

Well, talk in a week, hope you have lots of yummy food grhhhhhh


Personal Message : Hi Lucinda and Isabelle, Hope you are both having fun and eating lots of goooood food, I promise you both, I Will NEVER make you eat Corned Beef... It is revolting... See you soon.. Love you Dad xx

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We had a fantastic night of sailing at 6 & 7 kts headed for Australia with high hopes but then at 4am it stopped..we drifted for about four hours then sailed at 1 to .5kt all day till about 4pm when it has finally returned..there is not the feeling of Trade winds out here at the moment so I have a feeling this could be a long trip..hope not but I cannot see the fluffy white clouds..Bligh is going to get away from us??

Near disaster today..I had some lime pips in the bottom of my drink bottle and I was trying to flick them out before refilling it..I had to flick it really hard as they were stuck in the bottom..when..gone..I dropped it over the side..I yelled out .MY BOTTLE!! not seeing it float past and to my amazement it was caught in the side of the lee cloth of the cockpit..a amazing one in a million chance..I would have been in trouble without my bottle!! Our limes are all going off fast now so we will run out in a few days I recon..

We have a lucky dip tin for dinner tonight..we have no idea what is in it..they are usually Backed beans or Corned beef..and we only get them 5 nights out of tin split four ways so who knows what it is??

I woke very hungry this morning again and my stomach is very flat comes up in conversation every day now..water no problem..still unrestricted for now but will go on 2 liters a day on Friday..went for a swim again today and a HUGE Dolphin fish or Mahi Mahi fish swam slowly past..we are trailing the lure but nothing for many days...

No good for noon sights for the past five days as always over cast so we are Dead reckoning our westerly course by adding our speeds each hour and taking that off the distance to Australia or our last known departure point..this is the same as Bligh..most people do not realize he had the Latitude and Long. of many of the places he was bound for in a navigation publication on the boat..he had also planned the trip home in the Bounty by this route and has studied all the available charts and Publications on the Bounty in great detail before he was cast we are not looking out for the Barier Reef in Australia yet but just hoping to get breeze to get us there...we also have the very real challenge now of trying to get to Restoration Island..a destination or point that Bligh was not trying to do..he just wanted to hit Australia and get inside the reef at the first pass he came across..he had been there some years before as Navigator with Capt. Cook.....

The routine continues..we are sailing well now at about 4kts and looks like we will have breeze so fingers crossed..wind south 15kts sea slight 7/8 cloud cover temp 26c..

Today's excitement was talking with Jo Royle the skipper of Plastiki..see Jo is a great friend of Dave Pryce who helped build this crazy Cat..from pet coke bottles and now sailing from San Fransisco towards Sydney to raise awareness of Marine is a great project and an amazing adventure for the crew..we sail better though!! when we have wind but they have real food!!..we have seen a bit of debris about but not as much as expected...



Monday, May 17, 2010

See all the comments from "TBB Diet Day" from Donators

Through Vanuatu!Restoration Next Stop

We had a windy night last night with water coming into the boat on regular occasions..a few sneaking up without warning and one nearly getting under the moon or stars as usual so very challenging on the helm with 3 mtr seas and some bigger sets but we were fast who cares!!! we were doing 9 to 10kts on some of the waves but if you were in the tent it was very hard to get any sleep as the motion was very is a funny move to get your wet gear off outside, slip into the tent before the next wave,try to suda cream your bum and put on some dry thermals before laying down on the damp lambswool..but who care!! we were headed west...

It has been a bit frustrating knowing Bligh is still out front.

I woke up this morning really hungry and for a split second thought I would get a big breakfast..then realized where I was..strange..still hungry all day today and we get only two biscuits for dinner..Chris just gave us the finger pricker to check blood Glucose and everyone is normal so things can't be too bad.

For all those giving us ideas on our solar panel problems I forgot to mention that our multimeter spat the dummy..which makes it hard to track problems..anyway Margie has organized a couple of flexi panels from Chris Bray to be sent to Restoration Island just in case.

We hit the islands in Vanuatu pretty much as we expected early this morning which was good for DR nav and compass course..we had headed a little south of Bligh as there was the risk that we would have to stop for water on one of the islands..but now we have enough water on board for 3 liters a day!! cool

Dave P is starting to get an allergy to all the mold on the boat..a few are sneezing..yes there are some interesting clothing smells around as it is hard to air Tilly hat has a nice layer of black spots!

The drama at the moment is our ships clocks..I have a very expensive 1882 pocket watch and another from 1834..both have gone on the blink..Bligh lost his watches on the Queensland coast...I have regular media calls and now have had to flash up our watches again!! Bligh wins again..Bummer

So the big topic for today was the various states of growth!! on face and head..the bald heads now have a small cover but Dave W beard is non too Chris..follow the pictures for me luckily we are not eating anything with gravy!! it would be all over my face fuzz!

Now the wind is 18kts from the SE,total cloud cover,1.5mtr sea,temp about 24c and we are making about 4kts so hopefully we will have a fast but comfortable dry night..the funny part about this next stage of the voyage is we just hold the one course all the way for the next two weeks..hopefully we will catch "HIM!" and make Restoration Island on the 29th??..we shall see....

Thanks to all those who joined the Talisker Bounty Boat Challenge and made a donation to SIF after starving for yesterday..hope it was fun..I am hungry right now!!...Don


So much for a hectic night last night...we went glassy calm at about 8pm and did not get any wind till about 4am this morning..we dropped the sails and just sat there with stars in the sky and on the water, all very beautiful unless you are trying to catch least it was not raining? the morning was a very slow sail till about midday when a breeze filled in from the south. we have 100 miles to go to the first of the Vanuatu Islands..big day tomorrow!! but a very slow trip across here.

A few days ago we had a bird,Noddy Tern land on the boat for a few seconds which meant we could eat a bonus tin of lambs tongues..YES!! took us a few days to find the tins..Dave W would not touch them, Dave price the same and Chris had one mouth full and said no thanks..I got the whole tin..very small ..and more protein which is a worry for my gout but I am washing it down with heaps of water way will I pass up food other than the survival biscuits..two a day is my limit.

My favourite Antarctic birds are around at the moment..Wilson Storm Petrels..they have little orange webbed feet and fly along dancing on the water..I call them Jesus Birds..they pick up plankton with their feet and then eat it off while in the air..They breed in Antarctica in Summer and were with us on Cape Dennison when Margie and I lived there for a year in 1995..they were also with me during the BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race in the middle of huge storms they would be dancing around making me smile and worry less..they are the size of Budgies..

Tried to hot wire our solar panels direct to the battery today and set up a charging system from Panel direct to appliance..that worked and we were able to charge the iridium phone direct..but the computer may be a problem as we have to go through an inverter..our Batteries are close to 55% now and we are trying every thing and are even trying to get some new panels sent to restoration Island..this is all something that Bligh did not have to worry about we are still on the air at the moment..

Kept thinking of Jess eating all that fresh fruit and new food last night!..not to mention a bed..we sleep two only under the dodger and one in the Bilge in the cockpit while the other is on watch..we sleep on sheep skins which we fight to keep dry but they are getting a bit manky now..the other night in the rain Chris used his to keep the water off him ..there were a few grumbles about that!!

The routine continues here..our limes are going off fast..the last of the coconuts were thrown over the side today as they went moldy..still trying to catch fish but no luck..I am hoping for more Birds to land on Talisker bounty boat, we are enjoying free water greatly and all on-board are hopping that you are not feeling too hungry with the Bligh challenge..It's good hey!! thanks for the support..I look forward to reading your comments on our just giving site..

Just before signing off..Dave W has just come off the helm and is now lying in the Bilge..SNORING and Gagging g just minutes after getting his head down..there is plenty of sleeping going on in the TBB..all good..temp about 28degrees, wind 15kts ,total cloud cover,1.5mtr sea occasionally splashing on-board, 5kts boat speed..thinking Restoration Island!!...Don

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fast, Food & Donate

This week seems to have passed surprisingly quickly. Then again, not a lot has really happened. Half a week of sweltering heat, then a few days of sporadic and sometimes torrential downpours. We haven't made a lot of ground, though that doesn't bother me as much as the others. We're moving, slowly but surely, so we'll get there eventually.

In the days before our first decent downpour, I got a taste of what it was like to have an unquenchable thirst. A litre a day sounds like a lot at first, but I found you really have to drink conservatively in order to make it last the whole 24 hours. It wasn't an unbearable feeling, just...uncomfortable. Like having gravel in your shoe, or an itch you can't scratch, or like really needing to pee with no toilet around. On a deeper level, it allowed me to empathise with the peoples of third-world nations, where water just isn't available without extreme effort. I mean, any of you could do what I did, a few days with less water. But to live a lifetime like that? I know I couldn't. So after those days, I was left with a new found respect for those who humbly make do with very little.

And then it rained. A lot. We were soaking wet but our spirits soared. We no longer had to stop to procure provisions at the next set of islands. We'll easily be able to make the water we gathered last, which is a good feeling. I'd much rather us making it to Kupang self-sufficiently.

Crew is less tense lately, and Hong Kong Dave is much less annoying since he almost dropped out. One thing I don't understand is why he continues to complain about the quality of our food. Sure, it's not a perfectly cooked Fillet Steak, topped with peppercorn sauce avec pommes frites et petit pois. But it's a damn sight better than the food Bligh and his men ate. Bligh rationed a small piece of bread and a mouthful of water a day. We get up to four survival biscuits, a decent amount of fruit and nuts and a decent amount of baked beans or corned beef. Bligh's crew would be lucky to hit 200 calories a day, whereas we're hitting 1200-1600. WAY more than we need to survive and the food is more than palatable. It's not great, but it's not bad. If he whines with this much food on your plate, I dread to think of what he'd be like if we cut the rations to a quarter. I suppose he's just used to a certain standard of living, which no doubt makes being in this situation all the more a shock to the system for him.

I guess my point is that this thing, so far, hasn't been hard to endure. Hopefully it will remain that way.

Anyway, there is something of particular worth I have to say today. I want you all to remember while following this expedition, that any hardships we face along the way, the sufferers and families of those with Motor Neurone Disorder have it a thousand fold worse. Just head to the Donate area of the bounty boat website to get the link to the Just Giving site. Give something, anything. Doesn't matter if it's 10p or ten pounds, it all counts towards the real goal.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Somebody Forgot To Turn the ?????

We have water big time..last night we had a monster dump so over an hour or so we were able to fill everything on board..we set off with 108ltrs of water and now we have nearly 200 it is free drinks all round..I worry about the 200kg of weight so we will drink up for awhile and then start rationing again...I had gone back to 1 ltr so I am very happy to drink heaps..we would get our ration in the morning at 6am so I would drink 600mls by 6pm and the rest during the night..funny thing is that now we have drinks we do not crave them and have instantly gone back to thinking of food!!

The other drama of course was that someone forgot to turn the tap off and it poured for about 12 hours..we all were drenched and inside the dodger also..I put my waterproof pants on when I got inside to sleep and that is the first time for the trip..fortunately we had a few hours to dry out today before another major rain dump and squall with 30kts of wind then nothing and swinging all round the compass again a mixed bag for our chances of catching Bligh..he is moving away from us again but we did get some good sailing in Heaps of Gybes and sail changes, getting wet in the rain then burnt in the sun?.

I have hit my little toe again a few times..poor little fella sticks out on his own and catches everything! My knee gash has finally healed but my beard is the big deal for me..the others shaved there heads before the start and now cannot grow a beard?..mine has gone very bushy but have no mirror..just itching a bit..

Our dick sticks are showing up some interesting things..much to Dave W concern he is the first to show Keytones so he is using up muscle..he thinks he has lost 4kg..I recon I am at least that too...we are all surprisingly happy with the amount of food we are getting ..I think it is because we are not using up energy..Dave Pryce recons he is putting on weight as he gets everyone's left overs..we all get plenty of sleep and are sticking with watches 6 hours on and six hours off during the day and 4 on and 4 off during the night.The two davs are together and I am with Chris.

I am really excited about not having to stop in Vanuatu for water so this is our world at the moment..the boat has become bigger as I knew it would. We all have our space and know the routine but I have to say it is all a bit too comfortable at the moment..we are managing to keep our living spaces reasonably well organized and dry..I know it will get tougher in the days ahead..we are not into the trades yet which I expect will kick in after Vanuatu..right now there are thunder storms all around so could be a busy of the squalls today was a white out with I recon up to 40kts of wind and just missed us by about half a mile!!

Great to see Jessica safely home ..I am looking forward to catching up when I get out of here..I can imagine the food and showers she is about to have.

So we have about a month ..or so?? to go..all is happy..ARE YOU READY ?? for the Talisker Bounty Boat Challenge tomorrow??..every Dollar, Pound counts so please have some fun and give generously..THANKS...Don

Friday, May 14, 2010

Water and Speed

Chris helms as Don & others gather much needed rain water.

Amazing how the mood changes when you start sailing and get water,,very exciting stuff!..we are now at least two days behind Bligh and chasing him was a fast night sailing passing another ship..that did not stop to offer soft drinks??..and a bit more rain but  not worth catching..this morning the wind went soft for awhile and we all held our breath but it has held up pretty well and one squall had us sailing at 7kts again...

We still have no answers on the solar panels which is a worry as voltage is down again so trying to save power every where which is hard as we only use this computer and the phone and the cameras??...but we can only put in about 1.5 amps at 12v a day..not much..

My gout is gone but I keep hitting my little toe as it sticks out permanently now..have been in agony twice today so will have to live with it taped but the good news is that I have finally stopped itching..the fresh water bath last night was good but I left my shirt under the dodger which is now a bit on the nose?..we all have some interesting odours I can assure you..

I have the new dilemma now of not trying to eat all the protein in our diet..everything except the fruit is protien onboard..we have extra fruit but how can I ask the crew to do it tough if I am eating fruit..I have joined their water ration again so back to one litre a day..but may have to up that...we get the water at dawn..I try to drink no more than 600mls by 6pm at night then the remaining 400 mils during the night...after I drank the 3 litres the other day I still did not Pee till the next day which is a sure sign of serious dehydration..not good for gout or Kidney stones...

Margie has the biggest challenges though back in the office..I report in morning and night to her on progress and she is trying g to manage everything else in my life at the same time so not sure what I can say about that...we are trying to maintain our isolation but I have to put up with and organize many more things than Bligh did..the sat phone is a blessing and a curse at the same time
and dealing with modern society is far more challenging.

Tomorrow is the big day for Jessica Watson..Happy to be here but it would be fun to see her in..I can't believe all the knockers that apparently are coming out of the woodwork know Adventure is a very positive thing for anyone to be involved with..and she is an inspiration...WELL DONE JESS!...see you when I get out of this ....

So are you gearing up for the Talisker Bounty Boat Challenge...only our food for sunday!! and one litre of water...toilet paper optional and then the money you save on food send into SIF as a donation on our just giving site..with a fun comment...when I get to read the comments I will give the funniest one one of our special numbered envelopes we are carrying onboard...we have one for every day of the voyage so you will get sundays envelope..they have Bligh stamps,a hand drawing of the boat and are post marked in Tonga and Kupang , have the official expedition stamp and will be signed by all the crew..there will only be 48 envelopes..I hope? very please make a donation on that day and a funny comment when you put it in...

If you want to make a bid on one of the other 47 envelopes I will tell you how latter..all money will go to SIF

So lets hope we keep sailing and make power..the water is looking better now...still sinking a little and very definitely need your help on Sunday...THANKS...Don

On The Road Again

We are off again after days of drifting slowly away from Fiji. It feels great and above all it is cooler. Our days had become a routine of swimming round the Bounty Boat, sitting on the bow with my feet in the sea and then steering in the sun. Soaking the shirt in the sea provided regular relief from the intense heat but it wasn't long before the shirt had to be wet again.

The cooler SE trades brought rain which has not only washed the Bounty Boat clean but means there is water in our tanks. A very nice feeling as we head across these latitudes. The temperature dropped markedly and like Bligh I began to feel the cold by dusk last night. The sea water was hot though and I could easily see how Bligh ordered his men to soak there clothes in the sea to warm up.

It is never all plain sailing however and this time the solar panels just aren't putting in what they should. Picking our brains for a solution to that one.

Half way to Vanuatu feels good but a small step in the big scheme. The next step heading out from Vanuatu toward restoration Island is the most daunting. The week ahead looks exciting negotiating the Vanuatu group. Long may these fair breezes last and the odd squall fill our water bottles.

Petit Bateaux, Grande Aventure

Dave Pryce / Quilter

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Hot and Going Nowhere

Tonight there is a lot of water about and not possible to write the blog and this message was phoned through.
Everyone is well onboard. It’s been a stinking hot,  dull day. At 5pm a front came through and the  wind changed direction from a north easterly to a south easterly. It rained for an hour which allowed us to catch 32 litres of water. It’s great to have a bit of water and a freshwater shower! Now we are sailing again at 5knots. I  drank three litres of water yesterday and  managed to get rid of the gout  in my foot. We still have an electrical problem which is puzzling us so trying to conserve power....Don

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food For Thought!

Well, what an interesting week....   I wont report on positions, courses or sailing matters as I am aware that Don is reporting on this and therefore don't wish to duplicate.  Having said that, Don has been hit with a dose of gout today, started at 7am this morning, seems this delightful diet is just not too good for him, as a result he has had to drink four liters of water today, dose up on medicine and everything seems to be settling down, it does leave a question on his diet moving forward but will leave Don to report on that.

I always knew the diet (or lack of) would be the biggest challenge and this has proved to be the case, I have experienced two major blows as a result of food deprivation, the first at Tofua Island and then at Naighai Island after the knock down.  It was sudden and left me disoriented, I found myself isolating from the others and my mind set became very negative, I could only see the doom....  and this is not good, while repacking the food after our knockdown I became depressed when I realized we really would be living on Corned Beef for over 60% of the time, not just corned beef, but the worst I have ever tasted, saturated in salt, it really smelt, looked and tasted like cat food.  Unlike the two old salty sea dogs here, I seem unable to convince myself that dog poo can actually be a delight to eat...  I spoke with Don, expressed my concern and said I would like to secure some edible provisions, which I believed were available the other side of the island.  He declined... What a pettle...   I slept on the matter and awoke in the morning deciding I was to leave the expedition, return to my children in Hong Kong and within a few days I could be with them, flicking the channels while discussing the adventure I had  walked away from.  I could see no alternative, I really did not believe I could survive on the provisions, I was already weak, extremely hungry and miserable.  I told Don and the crew of my decision and Don as expected handled it very professionally, he did not try to convince me either way, discussed the reasons and suggested I thought on it for an hour and then let him know...  I was out and what a relief....

I walked up the beach, sat alone and thought long and hard, I recalled how I had felt like this in Tofua and that 24 hours later I was fine, I realized I had completely mismanaged my foot intake, I had not been eating the sea survival biscuits, instead storing them as if a good meal lay ahead, my sudden mood change I realized was simply food deprivation, of my own doing...  I thought about some of the difficulties I had faced in the past, to now be beaten by a tin of corned beef seemed so sad, I thought about my daughters, if they had sunk so much of themselves into a project and were going to give in, then sort my advice, would I just say, "thats OK, just walk away"  I hope not!  I returned to the crew, explained to Don that I wished to continue, he discussed the reasons why, his concern was that I may be trying to avoid letting the rest of the crew down, it wasn't even part of my consideration, this was personal, much more personal....  As we sailed during the next few nights, at one time with dolphins following us for an hour, I shed a private tear, grateful that I had found the courage to continue.  I now manage my food intake very carefully and force feed myself sea survival biscuits at least every two hours.  Don't misunderstand me, they are still disgusting and I cant eat the sodding corned beef (as it dehydrates me) but I am eating sufficient to keep myself going.  Its tuff! The water is now limited to 1 liter per day, I am managing on this, but know I will struggle on less, we have had no rain so this is possible.

The mackerel caught by Don was delicious, this lifted my spirits very much, but again, I was surprised how much this dehydrated me a lot.  Still, it was worth it....

When I get really hungry, which is 75% of the time I try and think of those people in countries of famine and this seems to give me the gratitude I prefer.

We have been becalmed for another day now, yawn...  swimming has been a welcome break.... so has being able to submerge yourself in the water for number 2's...

All the crew seem to be getting along fine, though there are moments...  I am learning more about my own character defects, which is frustrating and irritating...  I never realized how grumpy I can be when I am tired, ( I can hear those who know me laugh) I had to apologise to Chris the other morning for ripping his head off for not vacating the bunk within 2 minutes after my 2-6am watch had finished.  I find Don and David Q amusing characters, sometimes I think they are straight from an adventure novel, I mean it respectfully, they are fascinating characters.  Mostly, they do stuff, like men used too, stuff that I watch and think, why can't I do that, for example, we had leaks on the lee cloth, two bits of wood, bit of old sail and rope, needle and thread they made covers to tie on, its simple with hindsight, but definitely a skill....

That's all for me this week, its an adventure for sure, and i am glad to be part of it...  1 secret....  In my Tilley hat there is a hiding place for keeping $100 in case of an emergency, I have stored in there 4 tea bags, two breakfast and two Earle Grey, oh I dream of arriving in Kupang, finding the nearest kettle and making myself a lovely cuppa tea, incidentally I have two hidden in my life jacket too, never be caught short where a cuppa tea is concerned....

Private Message - Lucinda and Isabelle, almost 25% of the way, becalmed, 360 degree view of water horizons, its really beautiful, dolphins have been following us at night, its very special, but I am missing you both very much and don't wish to be away from you for this long again...  I love you both x Dad

Captain Cracks First

When I woke at 5:30 this morning, my left foot felt a bit strange. I thought I must have worked a muscle getting out of the water after a swim. By 7am it was becoming stiff and pain was increasing from the centre of the foot. It occurred to me it may be gout. For the past 17 years I have taken daily tablets to prevent this. But dehydration and a high protein diet are the worst conditions for this problem. By 8am I had discussed the issue with the crew, said I would "immediately have to drink 4-5 litres of water today." At which point, they all thought they had similar symptoms. After a day of rehydration and a handful of anti-inflammatories, I have stopped the onset of a very painful ailment, which was critical. If I had not done that immediately it could have developed into days of sheer agony. I had a gout attack when I first arrived in Tonga. Probably due to stress?

This is all tough for me as the challenge of Bligh rations is part of this adventure, but I now have to be mindful of not only gout but the possibility of moving a kidney stone. We're all thinking about this over the next 24 hours. If it doesn't rain we will have to stop in Vanuatu to restock our water provisions. Many rain clouds are on the horizon as I write this. This is a real blow to me. But at least we're on top of it. Bligh had his headaches, I've got my gout. Don.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


We need your help! 

We are starting to do it tough here at the moment.  Still no rain, 436 sandfly bites on my left leg below the knee  - yes I counted them and I have two legs and the rest of my body so estimate that I have around 1200 bites. Really hot today so very uncomfortable in the dodger and only drifting along at 1-3 kts most of the day.  So really chasing Bligh again and the biggest thing on my mind today is our JustGiving site raising money for SIF!  I hear we have some donations coming in but how would you like to live part of this voyage and help SIF at the same time?

We get two small biscuits for breakfast, 50 grams nuts and 50grams dried fruit for lunch, two small biscuits and 85grams of tinned corned beef for dinner.  If you want to help us and SIF we are going to make this Sunday 16th May TALISKER BOUNTY BOAT "Challenge" day. We want you to only eat the same as us on that day and only drink one litre of water for the whole day and if you really want to be keen you could try going without toilet paper too!!  Then we want you to work out how much money you saved on food that day and donate that amount of money to SIF on our JustGiving site. You can all make silly comments with the donation.  I will read every one when I get back and be very grateful for your help. Why not ask all your friends over for the day.  Feed them Bounty rations, remove the toilet paper and have some fun then get onto the JustGiving site...PLEASE?

We may do this again one more time during the expedition so I really hope this works.  You may only end up donating five pounds but that would be great!! And it will make us feel good about going without on the boat here. Tell all your friends to tell all there friends...I dare you...THANKS!!..More later but have some fun with this and think of all the people you will be helping.

Last night we drifted around in the dark..all slow and today it got so hot I decided it was time for a swim. The best thing I have done in ages.  It was really cool.  Took some interesting shots and did not want to get out. The others followed. We are really chasing Bligh now so hope we catch him. No sign of rain which is a worry.  We are down to 60 litres of water now and I really hesitate giving out less than a litre. You have no idea how much I dream of drinks each hour. I only eat one of my biscuits in the morning and evening. Still can't face them. We have dried some of the mackerel which looks good so get that tonight.

Big drama for the day is a problem with our solar panels. Can't work it out but only getting about 20% charging so will pull the system apart again tomorrow. Power is very important for all our comms so fingers crossed.

How exciting to think of Jessica Watson getting home on Sunday!!  She is an amazing little lady. Wish I was there in a way but it is pretty cool out here too. Just that it is taking so long to get moving again.  I think we were just very spoilt with our high speeds to Fiji.

As I write the sun is setting with little fluffy clouds about, the wind 10kts from the NE and there is a long 2-3mtr ground swell with a calm sea rolling in from the south and the north so when you are on the top the wind picks up but no wind in the troughs. The wind is dying slowly as it always does at dusk and dawn but there are no rain clouds around at all!!..BUMMER!

Last night we passed a small boat.  We have been dreaming of meeting another all day and maybe he can pass us over a few cans of soft drink. Bligh would be OK with that!!

PLEASE HELP US! Thanks so much...all the best from a happy but thirsty ship...Don

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nearly Lost Dave and We Are Leaking!

It is so good to be out on the ocean again after the calm seas in the lee of Fiji. We broke out last night and my personal nightmare is my sandfly bites.  They are driving me nuts!  My feet and legs are a real mess and we all suffer together but we are now making 5kts for Vanuatu so no complaints.

Dave W. has been doing it tough over the last few days and it all came to a head on the last day on the island when he decided to leave the expedition.  He was happy with the boat, safety and the challenge ahead  - even the crew.  But he had decided that I was being reckless and irresponsible feeding him tinned corned beef and such short rations?? He worried it would permanently effect his health and he cannot eat it.  This all came up during the first night on the island.  I had caught a fish and we found a bunch of bananas but the reality of eating corned beef in the weeks ahead was not appealing. During the day a boat arrived from a resort on the opposite side of the island.  It was only a one hour walk....they took credit cards.  He really wanted to go over there and buy more baked beans but I would not allow it.  I had to remind him that not only did he help with the shopping for all the food in Sydney, but we had posted the menu on the web site about 18 months ago! And then he personally was responsible for making and packing the individual weekly food bundles.  He then agreed that he did not realise how bad it was at the time.  I reminded him we had all signed on for the deprivations a long time ago!

I could see there was going to be an issue and said to Dave Pryce "I think we will lose Dave".  The next day in the afternoon he came to us and said he cannot continue.  I asked him to think hard about it and give me his final decision in an hour as it would mean some logistics issues for me. Myself, Chris and Dave P. were up for it by ourselves but we still had an emergency reserve  - Zach Sunderland from the USA (Abbey Sunderland's brother). The 18 year old solo circumnavigator (whose record was taken by Mike Perham) had been in touch two days after I had chosen Chris. When he heard about the vacancy he agreed to be on standby so I was ready to ring him. But after a tough time looking at all the issues and to his great credit Dave said he had to finish this thing so all ended well. It was a challenging time for all.

This trip is not easy.  I am REALLY thirsty and craving a cold soft drink!  I am not so hungry and can only eat half my biscuits.  I have no appetite.  My infected knee gash from launch day (forgot to tell you about that) is nearly better but still cannot kneel and my crutch rot is not getting better.  Chris and Dave W. have the same.  My little toe that took the hit in the knockdown is not quite fitting in with the other toes as a team ( I am laughing)!  My side muscle injury from the knockdown is coming out as a HUGE bruise.  I have been in the same clothes for 6 days and all the sandfly bites have made my legs swollen.  I just ate marinated mackerel in lime juices - all good but now the thirst sets in with a vengeance and I have only 500 ml of  water left for the next 12 hours.  The thirst for me is the pits!!  Someone said that by now all our food intakes should make all our flatulence the same but I can assure you that is not the case.  So there are plenty of reasons to get off this boat but I am happy.  Dave was just tempted in his mind on the island by the distraction over the hill -  normality!  I am so glad he is here with us as I know it would have been his biggest regret not finishing this trip.  Anything really worth having is worth fighting for.  He cannot get off now!! Dave is great fun and makes us laugh often - I like him. 

Things have been calm for the past few days with no water over the boat but we noticed the bilges keep filling.  We are technically sinking now with about 2 litres an hour coming in somewhere.  Nothing we cannot cope with and we think it must be the centreboard case so cannot fix it till the end when we take the boat out of the water.  The centreboard was jammed with sand after beaching it and it took nearly an hour for us to get it down again.  Dave W. was underwater with hacksaw blades working it free while we were hammering from above.  This may be the cause of the leak. Did I tell you that it is bad luck for a wooden boat not to leak? 

Now we just want rain.  Winds are from the NE and  the sky is overcast so we should get something good soon I hope. We are sailing at 4kts after two days of drifting which feels very fast.  The boat hook is holding out our headsail and the solar panels are giving no input so the little boat battery is getting low. Sun or rain?  RAIN PLEASE! Bligh is still beating us as we chase him to the west now.  He came onboard last night and killed our compass light.  We were drifting onto reefs at about 1 kt as the sun set so I decided again things were dangerous and had to use the GPS and compass light to get through. There was total darkness again.  Three hours into it the compass light went out.  I think Bligh thought we were cheating.  I make no excuses for using the torches/GPS when it would be certain disaster without them.  It has made me realise how lucky and impressive Bligh was on a few occasions, running straight over reefs without knowing.  I am really starting to think he is watching us - strange! Anyway we are doing it tough, but having fun and I would not want to be anywhere else at the moment ...except in Kupang at the end once we have done it.  What will the next five days to Vanuatu bring? WATER I hope!..Don