I feel I have let so many of you down and only hope you have come back to the blog to check out the ongoing news?...as you are about to see the adventure did not finish in Kupang…loosing 18kg on a shocking diet finally came to haunt me and even as I write this I am a bit of a mess! I promised myself this morning that I must do the Blog…not the final one I should say. There will be something here each week now to keep you up with activities right through probably till the end of this year.
Sorry I did not get the last Blog up. I have been quite physically exhausted and some would say quite sick! As you will see. Last night in the early hours I was close to going to Hospital.
THE LAST NIGHT!
Plenty of challenges here..we were headed into a bay at the bottom of West Timor and knew we could not make the entrance to the pass leading to Kupang till dawn..we had a 20-25kt wind from behind and there were large currents and tidal over falls known to be there..Bligh speaks of them giving him real problems. We had to slow down in these dangerous conditions (in a 2,5mtr sea that was breaking at random because of these over falls) so that we did not arrive early..it was very intense on the helm and for the last five hours we had to slow to just two knots with only a small head sail up….we survived ( another 41ft yacht that we spoke to at sundown headed into Kupang was POOPED by a 5mtr wave over the back of their boat..they were very worried about us!) and surfed through a final tidal race at dawn into the very calm Pass..it was a special moment…we felt as if we had made it..it was a beautiful sunrise, we could smell all the cooking smoke from shore, the fishermen were all out and we were only a few miles away and a and just three hour away from Bligh going ashore!
Stu our camera man appeared in a fast boat and there were plenty of big smiles all round..For the past few days we wondered if we would have to row..Bligh did and sure enough the wind died and we started to drift into the pearl farms along the coast..security were on the case as we frantically got the oars out..it was a funny scene I tell you!..trying to explain NO MOTOR…NO we cannot be towed..they thought we were crazy!! But the wind returned after about 30 minutes…with a vengeance!…It was 20kts right on the nose!!! For the first time in the entire trip..just six miles to go and it took us a very wet four hours! Sailing to windward..something Talisker Bounty Boat is not so good at..
We arrived off Bligh beach to check it out at 1200hrs and then sailed away as we were waiting for all our friends and media coming in on the 1330 flight…at 1400 we were back as they were all running for their boats and we had a quick sail around the bay chatting to them all and made the official landing rowing up to the beach at 1500hrs on Tue. the 15 June! Six hours behind Bligh.
It was an amazing moment for so many reasons that will be with me for the rest of my life…so we had survived, when just the night before Dave P and I both discussed the very real possibility of it all coming to sticky end in those over falls, so close to the finish..it was a tricky ending and made me think of Bligh and his men so wanting to get to the finish, not just to survive, but just to tell the world , family and friends just what they had been through..if they sank on the last night..no one would ever have known!
On the beach I was wobbly on my feet and excited with the reception. Plenty of locals, Govt. officials and a happy atmosphere all round. We were running on adrenalin and enjoying the moment. There were eight hamburgers and Fries waiting for us and yes Dave W ate both his! That first bight was special.
The initial media took awhile, then it was a race with the sun..we had to empty the boat of everything..even the ballast, take the masts down and then with about 50 of the locals swarming all around the boat, we picked it up and carried it about 150mtrs up the beach and over concrete steps into the yard of a foreshore restaurant. It was a huge effort and took some hours..This gave us 24hour security. Dave P. and I both decided this was something we did not really need, as we were running on empty and totally exhausted but it was the best thing for the boat. Chris was in space but working hard..somehow Dave W decide to do his own thing and took off before the move started, checked into his hotel, had a shower and a bit of a lay down, then appeared at the boat some hours latter in fresh clothes ! He asked me who moved the boat!..the rest of the crew were totally unimpressed..Dave W had been very anxious on board in the last moments, to the point of being frustrated as we sailed around the last hour with media before arriving finally on the beach. I did not think it would manifest itself into letting us down like that.
So began a big night when all we should have been doing was dinner and sleep. I had virtually none the night before. It was all International media, a dinner and finally to bed around midnight. That first shower was weird..my skin had developed plenty of natural oils but the biggest shock was in the shop buying shampoo and toothpaste etc..there was a mirror!..WOW!! I looked like someone else!! Was that me!! Big beard, silly hair..then I lay on a bed and pillow for the first time in nearly two months..it was really a strange sensation..I had a funny reaction to it..Hard to describe but I just lay there, sank in and did not move for awhile..that has never happened to me before..
Next morning it was straight to see the Mayor Drs. Daniel Adoe who received us all and a large media contingent. It was a warm reception. He was interested in our trip. He has a passion for the environment and I was surprised to hear of Australian Govt. involvement in a 25hectare Marina being built in Kupang!
Dave W dropped another Bombshell during the day..said there was a mix up with his tickets to Jakarta to see his girlfriend. Some one got the dates wrong? and he was leaving tomorrow, Thursday morning. Originally I reluctantly agreed that he could leave on Friday night, as the plan always was that we all stay to sort the boat and gear for three days..I said how much was the ticket..$120..and suggested he buy a new one…so he never went back to the boat..all the work was left to us.
Food became a bit of a game, all new and never say no! I stopped drinking water and took on fruit juice..my first mistake!..then it was more media all day and into the night during Dinner. Through all this we had a great local keeping things moving..Graeme Whitford…without him and his great family, things here in Kupang would have been quite different! Second mistake was heading to a night club after Dinner..then moving onto another Karaoke Bar…Dave P and Stu our camera guru did us all proud!!..at 4.15am I had to head back to the hotel to start more media interviews which were every hour for the next four hours..forget about sleep..at 0830 I just went to breakfast.
MY HEALTH TAKES A DIVE!!
Thursday 17th was my first attempt to get the blog done, but to put it bluntly everything caught up on me..I was exhausted and just crashed out. My digestive system seemed to be coping OK, but I was still not drinking water..just juice?? So in amongst the filming and sorting all the gear off the boat, I started to detect a pain in my right knee. I did not think too much about it. I felt OK but could not believe that I had dropped 18kg or 18litres of water, 18kg of potatoes..call it what you like ..that is a lot..My body is just smaller all over?
Friday was another slow day sorting all the boat issues, organizing and cleaning gear and planning for a cradle to be built for the boat which was now to be shipped to Surabaya as Deck cargo before being loaded into a container as deck cargo.
When I had gout in Tonga the week before we set off, it was the first time for a long time..that was in my right big toe….on the boat during the voyage it was in my foot…now I just thought I strained my knee lifting the boat off the beach..Next morning it was too late. I was so exhausted from a few nights of little sleep I slept through the growing pain…I finally started drinking water again instead of juice…I was not dehydrated but water is important…The pain was intense, so much so that I was bed ridden unable to walk for Saturday and Sunday morning..fortunately Dave P and Chris were able to keep the work schedule going and my PA/friend Jane, who had flown in from China on Thursday to help, kept an eye on me. I had 450 emails waiting for me, but the internet connections and phones here in the hotel are quite challenging ..to the point that I had been using the iridium phone sometimes..
Sunday afternoon I went to the boat and returned to the hotel going into a strange fever..I was hitting over 39 degrees ..for the first time I started to feel and think that my body was finally trying to reorganise after the deprivations of the voyage..I felt strange?
Monday was the big day to load the boat..I was up early to pack the things going back ont the boat for Australia..30 minutes before we were due to leave I felt the first signs of a kidney stone attack..I could not believe it!
I struggled at the boat then at some meetings to sort shipping but had to return to the hotel around 3pm..I left the critical task of loading and repacking the boat onto the truck and then onto the ship to Dave, Chris and Jane..they finished at 8pm that night! I was a bit of a mess by then.
The pains were spasmodic around the front of my groin and every 20 minutes or so becoming quite bad…after one very sever attack I asked Jane to ring Graham and ask him about the local hospital..I could see that I would be using the strong suppository pain killers very soon and after that it gets very serious..he organised for his doctor to visit and set up for a hospital admission if I needed it during the night. At 0500 in the morning I was hitting pain levels of 7-10 and gave myself the suppository….I was not a happy chappy up to that point, as things were not normal..I am thinking this may be kidney problems rather than a stone. It is all a bit different..anyway within 10 minutes I had dropped off to sleep..the first for the night.
At 0630 I woke with no pain and no symptoms?? Strange…I was confused as I had not passed a stone??..anyway, still had work to do trying to organize the 40ft container. Then it was off for a haircut and beard trim..WOW!! still me under there..then this afternoon late another kidney tingle..Back to the hotel and some more pains..here we go again?? I took some drugs and was not happy but they died off after a few hours..
Quick get the blog done..It has made me feel bad for the last few days..sorry!
I think this health story will play out for weeks to come..Margie wants me to get back to Australia ASAP for a full medical check, but I have already bought my tickets to the UK Via Hong Kong from here and can’t afford to loose them ..Something is going on, but I know the human body is very resilient. I am eating healthy now.and drinking water.I knew the trip would knock me around a bit..Dave W lost 14kg. Dave Pryce about 10kg and Chris about 3.5kg..amazing.
One of Bligh’s men died a few days after arriving..we are fine!
Talisker Bounty Boat is on a ship now steaming to Surabaya..and I have no one to receive it yet? Bit of a race to try to get it to Sydney for the boat show.
We have a long way to go with SIF and raising money, so please stay in touch with this blog for the latest…there will be a new one every Friday….the book will be warts and all so don’t think you have read it all here…you have’nt..there will be plenty of surprises! And having seen the footage we have been shooting along the way, I recon the doco series will be worth watching.
Thanks to you all for being a part of this grand little adventure..It was always fun knowing that there were a few thousand people out there along for the ride! Thanks for all the blog comments, good and bad…Life is like that..better to have a go rather than not…no one is perfect least of all me but I am happy that we have achieved 90% of what we set out to do....this has been without doubt the best Adventure I have ever been involved with..the crew were truly the best I could have had..fate is a funny thing and I could not have asked for better..thanks guys!
YES! There is another adventure planned in the not too distant future, but for now I am happy to wind this down and enjoy the moment..
One thing you could do for me..please encourage everyone you know, especially kids to have an imagination..that may lead to dreams..without those, we all go nowhere. Those dreams may turn into adventures that you could encourage your kids and friends to get out a actually try. Adventure is something we should all grasp with bot hands no matter what it may be.
To all our sponsors and supporters I hope you felt a part of this..I truly value your involvement.
To William Bligh..it was never really a race, but it was fun chasing you and your men who are close to us in so many ways now..yes it was a game for us, we did not have to do it, but I saw you everyday along side us in all the different conditions and with all our similar frustrations and fears. For me that was special and made the entire journey worthwhile. We could never get the same feel for the things you went through, but we do understand it better now. Saving your life and the lives of your men is part of the human instinct I suppose , but any lesser man I doubt could have done it the way you so admirably did. You are to be congratulated Sir..in the strongest terms from the crew of the Talisker Bounty Boat..you have our total respect!
To Margie..thanks for putting up with it all one last time….
To the crew of the next boat to re sail Bligh’s incredible open boat journey….Good luck!