Wednesday, March 31, 2010


If you have read the Tele story Today and want to sign on, you should email for details and an application form. HURRY applications close midnight Thursday 1st April. All it will cost is your airfares, medical examination, pocket money and maybe some hair…this is a real Adventure..JUST DO IT!!!..crew selected this weekend.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crew Applications closing soon??

If you are in the UK you need to check the Tele on Wednesday now..especially if you are thinking of applying to sail on Talisker Bounty Boat..there will be some big news for you. It did not make it today. All the crew applications close at Midnight on Thursday and then you will have to wait till the International Media Launch in Sydney on April the 9th to see all the crew together for the first time. The selected crew will find out over Easter.


I am very busy as you can imagine, but things are slowly coming together. There is a huge group of people working in the background to make things happen ..starting with Margie in Australia. She is busier than me and again today the Tongan Govt. have assisted by solving some important logistics issues. I can’t thank Louise Waterhouse the Honorary consul for the Kingdom of Tonga in Sydney enough.The support from staff at Talisker has been nothing short of solid under some trying conditions at times, as it has been an interesting few weeks.


Dave is out shopping and so am I funnily enough, getting all the last minute stuff. Even though Pete will not be sailing onboard TBB, he is coming out to Tonga which is great news. Thanks Pete!  He will give us a hand with preparing the boat and the many logistics issues that will take place. This is great news as we all get on together and he has great skills to add to the support crew assembling in Tonga. We have a 65ft yacht and six Diageo staff coming across to sail with us 130 miles north west to the start of Tofua. More on that latter. Plenty happening..Get those Applications in!!      

In the UK..Read the Telegraph tomorrow!


Monday, March 29, 2010

DAVE IS 100% Crew position still available!

 Goodness Gracious…  I don’t believe the speed that time is flying…  My children are leaving Hong Kong for the Easter break in the UK, tonight is the last time I will see them until I return after the expedition, sometime in mid June, I feel sad so will need to focus on the task at hand and preparation. 


Mike you are an inspiration to me, I often wonder where you found both the courage and emotionally maturity for your achievements to date, as a father, I hope my daughters will learn from your attitude to life and experiences.  On a personal basis, it’s a great shame I won’t get to share 50 days hungry, wet and miserable with you, I respect you for listening to your Dr’s advice and the decision you have made. Take care, get well and strong and I look forward to following your next adventure.


Pete, ayaaaaaaa….  I can only respect your decision to pull out, the risk is real, it would be foolhardy not to acknowledge this, the decision to participate or not is too personal for anyone else to comment and can only be received with respect. I hope to see you soon


For me? This has been a severe blow, I had thought through so many scenarios at sea and played the tape in my head, each team member fulfilling their natural role and using their strengths.  How will we deal with capsize?  What if we de-mast? Who has the physical strength and practical ability to jury rig a solution, what role will each of us play?  An accident, requiring medical treatment, Who is the likely back up for celestial navigation?. Each rehearsal projects in my minds eye played with a team member fulfilling a role.  Now, with 50% of the faces gone I feel a sense of panic washing across me…    Off course, this is all in my mind, the reality is always very different, my assumptions of  who will play what role, are just that, imaginary roles, people are very different at sea, you truly cannot assess how a person will behave at sea and what role they will naturally take.  For David, the only known factor, is how I behave, that is all I have any influence on, and that has not changed.   So reality, for me, I continue at my desk, preparing in terms of exercising daily, reading, studying the charts and preparing my mind as much as possible for the adventure ahead.



There are numerous practical matters to be addressed and I shall raise these with Don and the new team over the coming days.


For now!! I’m in 100% and the adventure has commenced…



MIKE can't go!!

Hi all,


This week I had my final medical and I received my test results back and I'm totally gutted to report that it's become clear that I won't be fit enough to participate in the Talisker Bounty Boat expedition. The doctors who I have been seeing whilst I've been recovering from my operation won't sign me as fit and are saying I shouldn't go.


Although the tests I've had to take have came back clear, the lymph glands in my abdominal area are still inflamed despite the time it's been since the operation which according to my doctor implies that there is still stuff going in on my body following the operation. The doc also said that this would explain why I am not putting any weight back on at the moment.


What with having my appendix out, I've lost just over a stone and I haven't been able to put any back on since arriving back home. The doc said it's as if my body has been through the trip once already and is still not far along the road of recovery. I real fine mentally and am raring to go, but physically still don't have anywhere near the amount of energy I used too.


Everyday that I've been home I've been hoping that the next day I would improve further and faster but it just hasn't really been happening. I had fully expected to be fit and dandy by now but it seems that my body just isn't recovering as fast as we'd all like it too.


So feeling really hacked off; I'm now announcing that I'll be off the boat simply down to health reasons and so now there is a place on the boat to fill. Anyone want to go and fill my spot?? 


The good news is that the book launch is going really well and I have probably signed over a hundred books for different people. I am actually really chuffed at the way it has gone and it is very satisfying to think that my story is in bookstores all over the county and now I am officially an 'Author'. I wonder what my English teachers must think of me!



Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Come on all Ye Talisker Bounty Boat Beauties"

Why didn't I think of that?

What a good idea that Don had, opening it up to Lady Sailing Adventures, after Dear old Pete pulled out last week.
He has his reason's only known to him, it's just a pity that he left it this late in the day to inform Don.

However Don as always is resilient, and came up with this stroke of genius!
I wonder how it will effect the dress rule if it was slightly altered, to be advantageous of the Talisker Bounty Boat Expedition!
For example if the crew were allowed to wear Nylon Stockings it would be a dual purpose item, they could also use them for Fishing, is this where the term of "Fish Net Stockings" came from?
After all the many problems that Don has had in the organization of this expedition, he will be looking forward to setting sail and relaxing in 54 foot waves and the odd Hurricane!

Well the show must go on, and at the Southampton Boat Show last year there was one Lady who kept coming back insisting that she would be allowed to be a crew member, I hope she is following this blog now.

Don, tongue in cheek asked me last week when learning that Pete had just pulled out, "How I was fixed to Crew?"
Knowing full well that I am in such a bad shape physically that I have to have a Medical in order to visit my Local Pub, and that the shear weight of tablets that I would have to take with me for such a long voyage would put the free-board 40cm
under the water, not the 40cm above sea level that it is now when fully loaded with all the crews,supplies and equipment.

Bligh's boat had only 20cm of free-board when fully loaded. So Don's crew will be having it easy by comparison! They are so Lucky?

I would have liked to think that I would have had the courage (Bottle) to be part of the crew if I had been fit? Who know's? You only get to know ones self when you experience these situation's first hand. Talk can be very cheap!
I am in full admiration for Dave,Mike, Don and the final crew member whoever She is?.

The comments are really starting to come in now fast and furious now, especially this last week, (Please Keep it Up) but it is only a rumor that Professor Richard Beard one of The Sheffield Institute Foundations
original Patron's has volunteered his wife Irene to become a member of The Talisker Bounty Boat Beauties Crew.
Irene is the honorary secretary to S.I.F. although I am sure she would be the first to volunteer if she was well enough? ( She certainly has the Beauty).

She works very hard being the Hon Secretary of the foundation despite suffering Motor Nuerone Disease herself.

Well that's all for now folk's

Come on all
"Ye Beauties" join the "Beasts" on the Talisker Bounty Boat Expedition.

Stuart Keane.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can Women do it? Maybe!

Jessica Watson can do anything! Something just happened (read about it in
the book!)that has possibly made me change my mind about Women on Talisker
Bounty Boat. I will keep this very short. If you are a woman and think you
have what it takes to be part of this adventure, then get in touch fast! To
all the women in the past who I said no..sorry..I may be prepared to change
my mind? Life is like that!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Well this was the Starvation weekend back in February when with not much
food and sleep ,the crew were all feeling a bit low. Shortly after this shot
Pete went down, Dave felt off and Mike was contemplating the next steak! It
was only days later that Pete started questioning everything.

Yesterday I had 98 emails in and 87 out, so another crazy day behind the
screen getting the word out about looking for new crew. The plan now is that
the doors are open and people are thinking about it.Have they got what it
takes? Can they afford it? Will they be able to face the reality of finding
out who they are for the very first time, will they regret it if they don't
do it?

We will have it all sorted by the International launch in Sydney on April
the 8th. We all then fly to Tonga to start final preps and what will be two
weeks of training before setting off. So now is your chance. You must be
committed though, as it will be tough. For your interest that makes 9 the
number of people in the last 12 months, who have been offered the chance to
sail on Talisker Bounty Boat and then changed their mind, for what ever
reason...where will it end?

That is the beauty of this have to check back for each exciting
episode. I have to tell you there are plenty of comments going around in
Australia at the moment about this crazy little boat about to set of with no
food, toilet paper, sailing gear...and no crew by the look of it. I spoke to
Jessica on Pink Lady about it and she recons you are always better off with
stuffed toys as crew, even though they do not help with the washing up! Not
a problem on TBB.

We will all look back on this as part of the adventure that started 221
years ago..Bligh must be wondering what we are all made of and having a
right chuckle, but he new at the beginning we were all slightly mad for
wanting to do this for fun anyway. I just want to get out there now and get
on with it. Want to come!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pete Has Ducked out! I am Looking for crew!

Well it is official now. A few hours ago,Pete from Minnesota emailed to tell
me he can't do it. He feels the Talisker Bounty Boat expedition is not for
him and considers the risks too great. He has signed off from the crew,
which is a real loss, as he is a great guy and would have been fun to sail
with. As I said here late Febuary, at the end of training, when Pete had his
first reservations, you must listen to what your heart is telling you, so I
wish Pete well and know he will be watching us every day on the boat.

He is just getting his thoughts together and will hopefully come back with a
blog to sign off later. I am sure all would like to hear from Pete.

In the meantime, it is back to plan B for me and yes I am looking for crew
again!! Interested? You have to be quick, healthy, Passionate about doing it
and in Sydney by April the 8th??? Don't regret not contacting us!! It is a
good thing to grab life in both just do it!

Good luck...Don

Having one of those days!!!

Nigel Millard took this photo some time ago while we were sailing Talisker
Bounty Boat out the front of the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye. It
was freezing and he kept telling me to throw more water over my face for the
"effect!"..that is what I have been doing today!! I started in front of the
computer at 6am and I am still here at 12pm so 18 hours of "Expeditioning"
and everyone thinks I have a lucky lifestyle...actually not complaining, but
it has it's Moments.

You may have noticed that Mike's Blog got up twice...I didn't, as I can't
see them..went to the Philippines on the weekend and had an email Blackout
with the marina wireless internet down, so as soon as I got all my emails on
Monday night (57)including Mikes blog I just pushed it up thinking it was
late..not knowing Stewart had already done that...yesterday was Pete and
today was supposed to be Dave...but I Know he is busy as we have had many
emails back and forward today just befgore I go and hide beneath the
doooona!..this shot is how I feel right now..time is flying //we will be
sailing the boat in a few weeks, I am plannigna final list writing session

The final count for video cameras going on the TBB is three Point of View
lipstick cameras with their own HD recorders, one professional JVC HD
handheld, a JVC waterproof consumer handicam, a HERO HD cam, and a Sony Prof
HD camera with Night shot..that is seven video cameras...can you believe

Off to bed..stand by for Daves Blog!! And did I mention it was Mikes
Birthday on the 18th..he is 18 now!! Yeha!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pete Dreaming of the raod!


I dreamed a dream..Les Miserables

As D-Day draws nearer, or in this case, TBB-Day, I have more and more dreams about the voyage.  I figure my subconscious mind must be trying to analyze all the information, concerns, worries and possibilities of this trip.  I guess I still have not come to terms with all the dangers and safety concerns I have.  I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how we will and how we should handle the situations that will arise.  Now that there is no sailing gear how will our already weakened bodies handle being wet?  How will we handle the salt sores?  What happens if we have one of the storms that the Tonga area had last week?  How will our little open boat handle 30 to 40 foot waves?  Just last week that area had two storms (did you check the website with waves around 54 feet!  Wow…anyway, just some of the thoughts that have been entering my mind as of late…


Speaking of excitement, last week we had a senior housing apartment building catch on fire.  We had to help evacuate, transport  and take care of around 40 residents while the Spring Valley Fire Department put out the fire and got the residents out of the building.  Boy, do we have wonderful emergency services around this area.  The ambulance, the fire department, Red Cross and emergency management worked together and were able to take care of everyone in a very short time.  We housed the residents at the community center until they were able to go back into the building or had other housing arrangements.  Some residents will be out for some time as the elevator has to be completely rebuilt.  Luckily, no one was injured and it was amazing to see so many people working so well together with one common goal.  I believe all these people are the true heroes in this world!


One thing all of you should know is that weather is a BIG topic here in Minnesota.  So I have to touch on that topic…SPRING IS HERE!  To commemorate the equinox I took a noon sighting with my sextant.  If any of you know how to use a sextant you will know that on the spring equinox the sun is directly on the equator and the numbers/reading on the sextant are exactly our latitude—which means not having to do calculations!  The easiest reading I have EVER taken! 


Now that the weather has become nicer my thoughts are turning to riding my Yamaha 850.  Time to clean out the pipes, change the oil, dust her off and get out on the road.  I have seen other motorcyclist hitting the road and I am getting the itch. 







It's been action packed as ever. Last weekend I headed off down to Cornwall for a weekend away with two friends to see where one of them had been working for the last few months renovating a hotel. It was really interesting to see where he had been all this time and it was a good little adventure away from home.

On my return, Monday morning I was up bright and early to film with London Tonight for a piece the same evening which was very impressively pretty long. They had managed to get hold of some footage that was shot by the media of us sailing under the Sydney harbour bridge and the TaliskerBountyBoat looked superb. Very small, yes! but still great!

Tuesday brought about my 18th birthday which I'd been looking forward to a lot. I loved waking up and having a nice breakfast with the whole family. In the evening we went out for a really nice and relaxing meal at a local restaurant. It was just what I wanted to do. I missed my last birthday as I was in the middle of the southern ocean and really wanted to spend this one with just my family in a nice chilled out way.

Wednesday I was picked up once again bright and early and was driven into London to do a whole load of radio interviews. The morning kicked off with Libby Purves' midweek show which was great fun as I got to have a good old chat with the other guests on her show too which was a real eye opener. After the show we went around to another BBC studio to do quite a few more radio shows down the line to other regional radio stations. I got home at around 4 and promptly fell asleep!

Thursday was the day of my book launch for 'Sailing the Dream' and I headed into Piccadilly to their Hatchards book store to do a signing there which was loads of fun I have to say, I've been constantly impressed time and time again at how good and professional my publishers are and a huge amount of credit for the successful launch of the book has got to go to them!

Yesterday morning I was off to start off a sport relief fun run at one of the local schools around here which was tonnes of fun. They were raising money for sport relief and I'm looking forward to hearing about how much was raised once they've tallied it all up.

Well that's my week really. It's been very busy and chaotic at times but I wouldn't change a bit.

Also I read with envy, how the other crew members are putting on lots of weight. I'm trying my hardest but haven't managed to put any on which is more than frustrating.




Monday, March 22, 2010

Blog from England to China, To Ice and back To England then to Blogland

Hi Stuart,
I sent this to Don yesterday but I've just reliased that he probably won't be able to put it up as he is on ICE...
If you could post it with the picture attached that would be excellent,
The building progress looks excellent in the blog you just posted..
Many thanks,
What a week!

It's been action packed as ever. Last weekend I headed off down to Cornwall for a weekend away with two friends to see where one of them had been working for the last few months renovating a hotel. It was really interesting to see where he had been all this time and it was a good little adventure away from home.

On my return, Monday morning I was up bright and early to film with London Tonight for a piece the same evening which was very impressively pretty long. They had managed to get hold of some footage that was shot by the media of us sailing under the Sydney harbour bridge and the TaliskerBountyBoat looked superb. Very small, yes! but still great!

Tuesday brought about my 18th birthday which I'd been looking forward to a lot. I loved waking up and having a nice breakfast with the whole family. In the evening we went out for a really nice and relaxing meal at a local restaurant. It was just what I wanted to do. I missed my last birthday as I was in the middle of the southern ocean and really wanted to spend this one with just my family in a nice chilled out way.

Wednesday I was picked up once again bright and early and was driven into London to do a whole load of radio interviews. The morning kicked off with Libby Purves' midweek show which was great fun as I got to have a good old chat with the other guests on her show too which was a real eye opener. After the show we went around to another BBC studio to do quite a few more radio shows down the line to other regional radio stations. I got home at around 4 and promptly fell asleep!

Thursday was the day of my book launch for 'Sailing the Dream' and I headed into Piccadilly to their Hatchards book store to do a signing there which was loads of fun I have to say, I've been constantly impressed time and time again at how good and professional my publishers are and a huge amount of credit for the successful launch of the book has got to go to them!

Yesterday morning I was off to start off a sport relief fun run at one of the local schools around here which was tonnes of fun. They were raising money for sport relief and I'm looking forward to hearing about how much was raised once they've tallied it all up.

Well that's my week really. It's been very busy and chaotic at times but I wouldn't change a bit.
Also I read with envy, how the other crew members are putting on lots of weight. I'm trying my hardest but haven't managed to put any on which is more than frustrating.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hot & Cold's

We have had some interesting comments this week!
Everyone seems to have the "The Hots"for Don's boat "Ice" and rightly so, what thought and planning went into her, I have told Don that I would love to sail in her!

Then we have had lots of "Cold's" for Don's new Uniform suggestion! ( Is it just a Suggestion?)
I have had to reject several that were downright offensive in the use of reproductive suggestions, it seems that the person(s) who write the most of the offensive ones are alway's anonymous, come on " Guy's", you can still get your points over without swearing!
All I can say about the clothing issue to Pete, Dave & Mike is that at least Don has not suggested going native, has he? "So alway's look on the bright side"

I had a vary nice e-mail from the Duke of Devonshire ( The Honorary Patron of the Sheffield Institute Foundation.) He follows the TBB Blog all the time, no doubt he was very amused to see his very own Dave Spencer modeling the new Talisker Bounty Boat Uniform! Dave is the Domain Senior Supervisor to the Chatsworth House Estate,( surely the nicest stately home and estate in the U.K.)
Don was invited by the Duke to attend his Country Fair in September last year with the TBB, and he met Dave there, who's hobby is Old Naval Uniforms, and he is a leading member of a Historic Uniform Society, Dave very kindly dressed in the way a sailor would in the day's of the Bligh period, and you can see the display on the ground of all his worldly goods. Dave gave lectures to the crowds and he also arranged for my late son Shaun and his family to be driven to the side of the Talisker Bounty Boat so he could meet Don.Thanks Dave you are a "Star"

I wonder what uniform Don would be suggesting if he had not been Invited to the Country Fair?

I had a meeting in Sheffield a few day's ago with two of our Patron's Sarah & Stephen, so I took the opportunity to have a look at the progress the new SITraN building, which you can see in the picture above, it is on schedule for a November official opening "Great News"!

Thanks for the link to Tonga-it seems an amazing county to visit. lets all go there to see the wonderfully happy crew, in all their splendor and Talisker Bounty Boat set sail!

I have just had my next door neighbor Ken bring me round a copy of yesterday' Daily Telegraph, It has a full half page on Mike & the TBB, so the word is spreading.

Please keep on commenting and donating.

Well that's all for now folk's, Ive got to go, as my wife Lynn has run the bath, and she doe's not want it to go "Cold" for me?

Friday, March 19, 2010


This is me tomorrow I hope..Of to Subic in the Philippines tonight, back to
China on Monday night. I have to check out my "other" boat will be
good to get off the keyboard for at least a couple of days. I have been busy
on ebay..managed to get some 200 year old wooden bowls, and some very old
Horn beakers to go with our new "NON Sailing clothing. I still do not get
the comments to the Blog in China and Stuart in the UK who is posting them
for me now, says there are a few interesting comments about not using
Musto..I asked him what are they saying..he said they think I am nuts!..I
told him they are realy getting to know me now..

So Mike will blog tomorrow, Stuart on Sunday and Pete on Monday...I just
love deligation!!

I just noticed my legs from the knees down all peeling from the tan I got in
Febuary. That is going to be a big issue. We all wondered how Pete was so
brown arriving in Sydney from the mioddle of the snow! He had been to a
solarium? I think we are going to be challenged to get an even, all over tan
as quick as possible once we get to Tonga. I am in Doumen at the moment
which is about 1 hour by car from Macau across from Hong Kong. It is not too
sunny at the moment with fog, polution and clouds, so I have to start my tan
again. One thing about China though, a Bounty Belly is considered a bit of
status..they think if you can afford to buy that much food to eat, you may
be worth knowing?

This will be the first and last holiday for a long time..and just so you
don't think it is all fun, yes I am taking the computor, just to check in!

Not long to go!! Don

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Only three weeks to go before leaving Hong Kong behind for Sydney.   It’s a tight schedule organizing my business, family and home life while preparing for the adventures ahead.  The Photo shoot went well on Monday,  Elden Cheung did a  great job and gets a big thank you from me, he even managed to make me look quite handsome, apparently…. A big thanks to DB Management Company for permitting us to use the Bounty replica for the shoot, it was great to walk around her and get a real sense of what life must have been like for Bligh and his crew.  Looking at this picture on board was a stark reminder of how it must have felt like as a loyal Bligh crew member being cast off for certain death, avoided only as a result of Bligh’s leadership and outstanding navigation skills.

I purchased the navigation charts this week, chart 4060 covers the entire journey, I left the ship store, met a friend and we proceeded to review my purchase while drinking our coffee….  Wow….  It’s a long way… don’t misunderstand me, I knew this, but to see it laid out in front of me just brought the reality home….   I appreciate the chart will have to stay here in Hong Kong on my departure, for now, I am enjoying charting Bligh’s journey, wondering to myself how I will feel at varying stages, however hard I try not to, my mind returns to the hunger ahead.  So I pop to the fridge for a comforting piece of chocolate… I worry about the hunger more than anything, I know this will be a very big challenge for me.

The more time I spend reading varying aspects of the adventure the more at ease I feel, I wasn’t so happy to read Don’s change in heart on the clothing, I know I speak for everyone when I say how grateful we are for his experience and dedication, he is such a caring petal, but more on the clothing later….  In truth I am not happy!

I purchased several Astronomy books to broaden my knowledge on the subject and have become very excited at the prospects of studying the stars during our voyage, anyone who has lived in Hong Kong will appreciate, due to the pollution; stars are not something you can see very often here.  (other than Jackie Chan that is) 

I continually think how I will fill the time, when I travel on business trip, I am known for taking a library of books as company, indecisive I take a selection of genres, just in case!  Now here I will have many potential reading hours (when not capsized) but no books.  I am an avid mind mapper, and the other day became quite elevated at the prospects, as while I cannot take a vast supply of mind mapping material I realized, I have the largest template available to man, the sky and its stars!  I hope to create my mind maps, literally using my mind and imagination, the stars as focal point for each branch, I think Tony Buzon (original mind mapper) will be very proud of me. 

That’s it for me, its 1.30 am, an early start tomorrow.




If you are a student of the Chinese language and want to see the Blog in English and Chinese you now can!  More importantly you can actually read the blog in China now. Jane our interpreter has set up the Talisker Bounty Boat web site in Chinese, here is the link. She translates every word for us. Thanks Jane! Why..because we are expecting a growing number of Chinese followers! Yes they think we are crazy too.



I hope it works..if not you will find a little Chinese flag at the bottom of the English home on that..enjoy the read.


You will not visit once!

Well everyone in and associated with TONGA are being very helpful. I have
only been there once in 1990 when I had sailed 2000 miles solo from Sydney
during my Qualifying voyage before the start of the BOC Challenge solo
Around the World Yacht Race. I was stunned it is so beautiful.

Do yourself a favour and check out and you will get
the feel for this great Kingdom which is like no where else on earth. They
say if you go there, you will not visit once and I am very happy to be going

I know there are many people in the top half of the world freezing your
BUTTS OFF! at the moment, reading this, so why not come down for a
holiday..we are there with the Talisker Bounty Boat from the 13th to 19th of
April, so you may see us sailing around Nuku Alofa..see you there!!

We are basing ourselves out of with Talisker Bounty boat
pulled up on the beach. Bligh never had it so good!

Dave was out Shopping for green yesterday! Happy St. Pat's Day to all for
yesterday. Dave's Wed. Blog will get here soon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FW: Pete's Blog...



This past week I have switched up my training a bit.  Instead of everyday runs and whole wheat bread I have followed the example of Don and Dave in Australia.  I have increased my caloric intake and have now added pastries and whole, chocolate milk to the menu!


I am not exactly sure how many pounds I should pack on for this expedition, but when beginning all the training in Australia I weighed in at about 175 pounds and I can now confess that I am  up to 180 pounds with Kentucky Fried Chicken on the menu for tonight.  (T-bone steaks last night-with potatoes!)  I think I am doing well as long as I do not have a heart attack before the expedition begins.


Not much else is going on.  I am a little concerned about the new decision to wear no sailing gear.  I fear that we are going to be very, very cold and well as quite hungry.  While reading Bligh’s journal I found that his crew suffered an incredible amount due to being cold and even complained more about being cold than being hungry.  Hard for me to believe that with so little food that being cold would matter as much.  In order to remedy this Bligh ordered his men to dunk their clothing in the salt water, wringing them out and put them back on.  Bligh stated that this helped bring the men relief and warmth.  We’ll see what we will have to resort to…


My life sure has changed in the last few months.  I was skiing right before leaving for training in Australia, had a good time there and now back  for the muddy mess Spring creates in Minnesota.


Speaking on the weather front, Minnesota is FINALLY a bit warmer.  The snow is melting and we are only having to deal with mud.  I did see a robin yesterday so spring must finally be upon us…that being said, snow is in the forecast for Saturday!  It is times like these that we Minnesotans ask ourselves “just what am I doing up here.”


I have medical conferences this weekend and we are having a get together with friends out at our farm this Saturday night…bratwurst, burgers and shrimp on the barbeque (we keep a path shoveled to the grill).





Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Well it will become the biggest topic of the whole voyage! Whether the weather will get us. Wether you are into the Weather or not, it is worth checking out Right now the poor people of Fiji have just been hit by a big Cyclone and in the past few weeks Tonga has also been hit. Passage weather will be the best way for you all to follow what we are getting when we are out there and it also gives a forecast into what we are likely to get. We will not have access to any of that in the TBB as Bligh did not. This season in the tropics seems to be very hot so there is already some discussion about the possibility of a late Cyclone! Hope not! The season usually finishes at the end of April, but Global Warming is having an effect, with more likelihood of late and early cyclones.


We have a full contingency plan if a Cyclone were to form up in our general area, but we obviously would prefer not to see one at all! put into your favourites and you will see what is happening and for now you can follow the cyclone out there and think of the people getting hit!


Pete’s Blog is a little late! Will be up tonight I recon. right on top of Dave’s Wed. wonder..I am looking forward to that!    

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a Week for Don!!

Dear All,
Yes what a week for Don?
There he is stuck in China and can't moderate!( Is that Pain-full?) He very kindly asked if I would help,I did not hesitate to give it a go. I started about 4 hours ago and have just finished, I will get quicker with practice? especially when I learn to "reed and Sphelll?" Hopefully all the back comments have now been posted, apart from about seven that were not suitable for publication.
Earlier Don had the problem with the Talisker Bounty Boat regarding the shipping from NZ to Tonga. Which he got sorted.
Ever since I have known Don many problems have been thrown at him, Well I have never known anyone like him in a crisis situation,If it were me I would be Jumping up and down like a Flea on a Monkey's Back, cursing & swearing, pulling my hair out!
Not so with Don he is so calm cool & collective, and how he reacts to adversity reminds me of Rudyard Kipling's poem IF which starts:
"IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs, and blaming it on you,"
This is definately how Don reacts when things go wrong, He already is a Great Captain of the TBB, I would love to be with him on board from Tonga to Timor, but I failed the fitness test?
It's been a good week for SIF having received nearly £20k in off line donations, Thanks to all who have contributed, Please keep them coming in.
"Well that's all for now folks, I better cut it short or Captain Bligh will Keel Haul me for going on to long"
Cheers, and keep on commenting. Stuart

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Official TBB Uniform!

GOOD LOOK HEY! I made the decision today that for the first time since 1982,
I am going sailing without my MUSTO! We are going to use NO sailing clothing
at all! Nothing built or made for sailing. It will be just outdoor gear and
normal clothes to get a bit closer to Bligh..we should still stay warm and
maybe dry, but we will have a few more challenges. I know there will be the
purists out there who will be saying take Bligh clothing, but I have safety
considerations as well, so it will be interesting to see what we come up

The plan is an outer dry layer, inner warm layer and wool underwear, two T
shirts, two long-sleeved shirts, two shorts, two long pants, some undies, a
Talisker T shirt and Musto business shirt for onshore occasions in Tonga and
Kupang. That's it! Why do we need so many clothes? So we can throw some
overboard when we are chased by natives as Bligh did. He actually had too
many clothes onboard when they set off.

We have this dilema,that what ever we take to Tonga has to go in TBB to
Kupang. We cannot get anything back from Tonga, so there will be a bit of
juggling I think as we are in Tonga for two weeks before we set off.

If you wondered about the Temperatures we are going to get. In Tonga average
min will be 18 max 28 humidity 80% with many days of rain and by the time we
get to Thursday Island the Temps will be Av. Min. 24 Max 30 and 80% humidity
but only about 4 days a month with more than 1mm. Of rain so we will be
getting thirsty then!

I have two new bloggers on the site now and should by Monday be able to
publish the comments again. Stuart Keane is my mate at SIF..and we have been
working together for a very long time. He will write a Sunday blog for the
next few weeks until we head off to Tonga on the 11th April and then will
help us with the site during the voyage. He will moderate and publish the
comments each day while we are in TBB. Margie is the other possible Blogger
incase we cannot get something off the boat one day I may be able to ring
and she will post that. Power will be a big issue for us Talisker Bounty
Boat crew, so we may not get to see the comments till we finish in Kupang.

When we get the new web site up "soon" you will see an "Audio" button. Yes
you will be able to listen in to me, maybe every day, for the Talisker
Bounty Boat News report. I will make a sat call as often as possible which
will go online within minutes of me hanging up the stay tuned.

The last few days have I been buried in Camera and satellite gear specs and
purchases. Still hoping to post video blogs from the boat. I am about to buy
all that gear and hope I can keep it working. Much rather buy a mattress for
the boat! and how about a fridge...and what would Bligh be thinking?

Mikes car is bigger than TBB?

Hi all,

This last week has been busier still as the countdown has been ticking
away until the launch of my book. Only 5 days to go now! There have
been loads of interviews happening and I'm always pushing home about
this project which should get more and more interest ramped up.

On Monday I visited a secondary school in south london do to a talk
about my round the world trip and I was really thrilled with the
response that I got. It was one of those talks where you just get a
really good feeling at the end. I love seeing the guys eyes light up
as I describe what it's like to sail in the southern ocean and nothing
can really match that feeling.

Some of the questions I received were brilliant as usual too. 'Was
there a toilet?' No, it was a bucket. 'When you lose sight of land and
there are like no land references how do you know where to go?' Once
upon a time, someone invented a little thing called a compass.

This weekend I've decided to get away for a bit and go on a road trip
down to Cornwall with two of my closest friends for a bit of good fun
time out and banter. Sometimes it feels like life is nonstop at home
and so I always ensure that I have some good quality time out.

I contemplated us sleeping in the car due to the pure ease of doing so
but in the end I packed in one of my good sized tents and a few blow
up beds and sleeping bags. Very basic I am when it comes to camping. I
don't like all the mod cons, I just like everything to be simple and

I've now booked my flight back out to Oz so the departure date is
certainly getting sooner which is dead exciting!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dave, not born yesterday!

 Since returning to Hong Kong, I am frequently asked WHY?  Why would you volunteer, and PAY to participate, in an open boat voyage with four strangers for 4000 miles, and no toilet paper! Some roll their eyes muttering about  “ midlife crisis” others look genuinely perplexed.  


My stock answer? Because, I cannot think of any reason Why NOT?   This is truthful if not a little simplistic and so in the comfort of my own bed, while the wind howled outside I last night reflected further and came up with the following conclusions


Firstly, I am happy to say, is not a midlife crisis! as I plan to live until 110 I am a long way of my midlife! I can report; for me, one of the many benefits of being over 45 is improved self awareness, less conceited than my 30’s… though more self aware, I like this, it is a gift that comes with growing, of age! This adventure is an important part of this journey; it enables me to learn about me, what defines me? Who the raw inner person is?  This upcoming experience of discomfort, isolation from my loved ones, food deprivation, cold, wet and likely on many occasions very miserable, all contribute to the discovery of my basic human instincts, and that of my fellow crew.  I hope I will approach this with playful curiosity, for the sake of my and others sanity, I accept I will emerge a different person, not better or worse, simply different, that is my adventure, that is the unknown outcome, for me, that is WHY?


 The dependency upon complete strangers, fellow crew mates to survive, the stripping away of self façades, emotionally naked and back to the basic human beings we all ultimately are.  To really learn to trust others, forced to remove rigidity in my perception of people,  to appreciate strengths, rather than the lazy pre-judging and stereotyping that comes with such ease in our day to day living.  Our lives will depend upon the decisions of each other and that will take trust and faith. Ages nationalities, cultures, achievements and previous losses will all mean nothing, our ability to survive will on the decisions made at that moment.


It is so terribly exciting, that is WHY and WHY on earth would I NOT embrace this opportunity and adventure…


More mundane… Exercise regime back in place, eating well and savouring every dish put before me... and getting very nervous…  Discovery Bay Management (where I live in Hong Kong) has kindly permitted us access to the Bounty, a replica of the original Bounty for a photo shoot to help raise awareness of the expedition here in HK.  Thank you for your support!!...DAVE



Dave's BLOG on Wednesdays?

Still waiting for it? Apparently Hong Kong is very good shopping? See the Sydney training blogs if you have just joined.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comment too humbling not to publish!

The 7:30 Report story was good I thought. You obviously have the true spirit of sane madness mixed with meticulous planning, preparation and eye for detail essential for all those possessed with pushing adventure to the limit and getting away with it!! - adventures which help transport us into a world of possibility while reminding us of the nature of our history. I am sure many like myself will hold you and the team in our prayers and best wishes daily, inspired by your audacity and courage. Anonn.

SHIPS? and 7.30 report

Well we had a sudden change of plans today with the ship due to take our container on the first leg from Auckland in NZ, now delayed. We ran the risk of missing the connection from NZ to Tonga, so there were a few frantic emails and instructions to load the container early onto another ship. I had some help from the Tongan Govt. departments locating an agent in a hurry and Margie plugged some gaps in Hobart. We are back on track again.


Dave reported in that his doctor would not stop laughing when he asked for his medical examination. He thought Dave should be seeing a specialist Psychologist type person, instead of a medical practitioner?


In Australia the ABC ran a 6 minute story on TBB..(Google ABC 7.30 report and you will get the program, then click on the Talisker Bounty Boat story) will see that Dave did a great job,..he had his sun glasses right over the top of the Talisker logo on his hat..he is such a Gem! But you have to laugh and it was the ABC going National around Australia Prime time!.


I have been on the computer all day today..why am I not surprised?..but looking through all the pictures from the Sydney training session, I am starting to wonder if my efforts to get a “Bounty Belly” in preparation for the voyage is being TOO succesfull!!..again you have to Laugh hey! I am at 94 KG at the moment and am trying for 97kg…that means I should get to 81kg at the end of the voyage??


OK so the blogs are getting through the Chinese system, but the comments are not yet..I am in China and I am the moderator..I receive all the comments on my emails,so to publish them from here, I have to have the Blog web site up at the same time as my emails and then hit publish…the issue is that I cannot get the Blog site up in China, so no comments publish…but I am sorting a new moderator which will solve the problem …and then they will all get comments are not lost…like all those complaints about Mikes weather report!!


Off to cook some rice!  


FW: Pete's Blog...

 We’re Not In Oz Anymore…


As you can deduce from the picture, I returned to freezing temperatures and snow.  Way different from the conditions of the environment I was able to live in during the month of February.  Although most Minnesotans are happy with the “heat” wave of 30 degrees (-1 C for all the rest of you) we are having and are shedding their down coats with glee, I find I am cold and the only one still wearing winter attire.


Life in the “real” world has been quite nice to get back to:  family, work, friends.  It reminds me that life stops for no one and either we are moving forward or moving backward as there is no just standing still.  So life moves forward here in the good ole USA and life is good.


Daily life consists of getting up, running on a treadmill (I really miss the beautiful runs I had in Australia), going to work, ambulance trainings, reading up on sextant and Bligh’s journey and to bed again.  Last Friday, I got to go out with a group of friends and that was a lot of fun.  They had lots of questions about the trip, have been following the blog and it was funny that they seem to know all the crew and who I was talking about, what they looked like, etc.  Guess the blog must be working.  I really didn’t expect people to know so much about it.


Sometimes it is hard to believe that we were just training and now we are all back to various spots on the globe.  I sure can agree with Dave’s sentiment and emotions swinging from fear to excitement and back again.  When you are back at home the adventure seems almost surreal.  When I consider all the possibilities and probabilities that can occur on an adventure of this magnitude it makes my stomach quiver.  I really enjoyed getting to know all the others that are a part of this trip and do believe they are fine people with many talents and enough diversity to keep things interesting.  One thing is for certain, we will know each other VERY well by the time the adventure is complete.


Still adjusting to the cold...




Foot Note from DON..we can get the Blog up from China but having trouble getting all the comments up as comments posts through the BLOGGER web site which is blocked? Working on it though!!



Monday, March 8, 2010

Chinese test!

We may have a problem Huston! Blogs and Face book are banned in China which is where I am now. I have an apartment here and have just been trying to post the Blog comments but no luck..I am locked out! I know I cannot read them but thought I would be able to send them?? Maybe if you are not reading this I am still alive but if you are, looks like I can at least post the blog???  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mike in London!l

Today we can expect cloud across Scotland and eastern England which
will spread west through the day with some patchy rain at times but
gradually easing with some western parts remaining dry. Most areas
will see some brighter spells although parts of Scotland will remain
cloudy. A high of 11degrees, a low of 5degrees.

Alternatively, over the next 24hours we can expect; wind, northwest
veering east 3 or 4, veering southeast later, sea state, moderate
decreasing slight, occasional rain, then mainly fair with moderate or
good visibility.

I've been finding myself waking up exceptionally early and going to
bed rather early since I got home from Oz due to the pretty harsh jet
lag. It's a frustrating feeling being up at half 4 in the morning wide
awake with sod all to do as no one else is awake.

It's been nice and busy back here at home in London as things are
really ramping up for the launch of my book 'Sailing the Dream' on the
18th March. I've had a few photo calls and a number of interviews
which have been good fun. I always find it interesting talking to new
people about the world trip and they're always excited to hear about
this new project which we're embarking on.

I've begun cracking on with all my college work too which as ever is a
priority when I'm not off adventuring or getting up to mischief in

I was in the middle of London, at the heart of the city yesterday and
I couldn't help but think just how unfresh the air in the city is
compared to Australia. it's amazing how polluted it is and I didn't
like it one bit. I imagine Dave in Hong Kong must be having similar
thoughts too..

I'm off to run a string of errands today, such as cleaning the car,
going to the waste tip to get rid of a load of junk out our garage and
as per usual going out with friends in the evening. Should be a good
day, especially with these 'brighter spells' we should be getting
later one. However first of all, I need to get out of my big
comfortable bed which is where I'm currently writing this blog from
this morning, typical me. Oh how I'm going to miss this bed with it's
memory foam mattress on the expedition!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Back to the Future!

Our McMurdo Fast Find 406 GPS PLB's arrived a few days the one hand
I have my Octant, Technology of the day 221 years ago, While in the other,I
have a tiny PLB that will send out a distress signal to Rescue Co-ordination
Centres within a few minutes, giving your exact position and all our
details. Times have changed for sure, but we are treating this expedition
very seriously and hope never to have to use these PLB's. We do not see them
as an easy way out for when things go wrong. We are doing all the work now
to make sure things stay right!..but if we ever do get caught out, we have
to be able to look our rescuer in the eye and say with conviction, that we
had done everything to minimise risk and then importantly everything to
minimise the risk to any rescuer,tasked to assist us, by having the right
gear to make their job as easy as possible...that is my we have the best
user friendly PLB's. We will live with them 24/7

That fish bowl in the bottom left is actually a was the
communicators award I received back in the 1990 BOC challenge solo around
the world yacht race, when we used HF radio..!The model is of Capt. Cook's
Endeavour. Bligh was a navigating officer onboard his last voyage.

I fly out to China at 5am in the morning and will miss the Sea Shepherd
ships arriving in Hobart. They are returning from the Antarctic Whale Wars
with the Japanese. I was happy to be able to report the position of the
Japanese Whaling fleet to them in January when I came across them by chance.
It was not a good day for the Japanese. This enabled them to make contact.
Shortly after the ADY GILL the high speed protest vessel was cut in half and
sank! I was in Antarctica onboard ORION..see early Blogs. At the time I was
Sea Shepherd's new best friend, so it is great to see them all home safe
after a successful season..all my friends are going out to welcome them in.

Mike is going to Blog Tomorrow..stand by for some late breaking epic news!!
Well maybe??..could just be a weather report??

Octant and Pocket watches

This is the Talisker Bounty Boat "Octant" ( these preceeded the sextant and
were used by the junior officers for reading the sun, Sextants were usually
reserved for the chief officers and Capt.) and two pocket watches we will be
using. We will also have a sextant the same as Bligh( he had both)..this
Octant is from the same era as Bligh, cost a fortune, is in full operational
condition and should be in a museum. Got it on eBay. It is about to get very
wet and salty?..the Magnifying glass is from the same period used to read
the scale on the Octant and Bligh used it to light the fire on Restoration
Island. The pocket watches are antique, also from eBay and the one on the
left is an original Kendal and Dent model. For those who have read the book
LATITUDE and know about the Harrison Chronometer, you will remember that
Harrison had to find a watch maker to produce three copies of that first
unit..he chose Kendal to make those copies. One of those copies was onboard
Bounty as the ships Chronometer and was taken to Pitcairn Island with the our Pocket watches have a direct link to Kendal and were made
in the same era about 30 years after the Mutiny. I will try not to get them
wet...they keep OK time and will be the only way to tell when to change
watch onboard so that will be interesting.

To answer some of the questions being asked by those commenting on the
Blog...No, Bligh and his men did not have toilet paper in those days..on the
ship the toilets were up in the bow, just a board with a hole and a rope
hanging down to the bow wave of the ship..that rope was used to wipe!! In
the Bounty Launch sailing to Kupang they very rarely went to the toilet, as
they had no food to speak of..infact most did not go for the whole 26 days
from Tofua to Restoration Island, so no rope was even needed..they could
have and probably used a rag?..we will use salt water and a rag maybe?
Trailing behind- no pun intended?..stay tuned and we will let you know as I
am always brutally honest on all my expeditions!!

Yes we do have emergency food onboard, but hopefully we will not have to use
it..same with torches..they will be onboard for emergencies. If we use one
we will tell you why when and for how long on the Blogs. We do have Nav
lights on the boat as required by law. We are a foreign going ship so must
have certain safety gear minimums. Yes we have a VHF radio installed to with
an MMSI number and DSC calling.

Tonight I had some medical friends over to discuss crew medicals and also
the final checks and monitoring we will do during the voyage. We will be
doing full checks in Sydney before we get started, then at Restoration
Island, Thursday Island and Kupang. We will weigh in and have full blood and
urine analysis done on each occasion. I recon I will lose about 16KG during
the trip??

MEMO..drink more milk shakes!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dave in the real world!

It was mixed feelings for me leaving Sydney and returning home to Hong Kong, excited about seeing my daughters, relieved that Bounty Boat preparations were complete, seeing her being lifted in the container triggered a great sigh….   Spending time with the crew and coming together as a team was a fun, how we would get along and gel together was a major concern for me,

 it is difficult to imagine spending so much time in such close proximity for such an extended period of time with someone your close too, let alone complete strangers!  We are all very different, each member compliments each other and it is an honor to be part of the team.  We share a common goal, mutual respect (though I don’t I personally get enough) and a positive outlook on the challenge ahead, I am certain this will considerably contribute to the increased probability of success, with the addition to the team of lady luck!! Please drop by when you are available!

Being back home with my children is wonderful, I am going to miss them terribly, my eldest daughter at 14 has a better understanding of the expedition and my reasons for participation.  My youngest at 7 does not, so I have been busy thinking of ways to involve her without unnecessary worry.  I am scouring the book shops for a large map on which I can mark out the intended journey and she can follow. I’ve bought some great children’s books by Patrick O’Brien on Great Ships and the Bounty, this is an adventure for the family, not just Dad! I need to remind myself of that.

Back to my real world, in the office it very busy completing my regular work load and then managing my affairs in anticipation for the trip.  (Meeting with the lawyers to update my will was a moment of WHY am I doing this) My business partners and staff are very supportive, if not a little perplexed.

I have had deep reservations about the expedition since returning, the pendulum daily swinging between fear and excitement, as I write it is heavily on the excitement side, yesterday was very different (might be connected with Will updating) I remain considerably  outside my comfort zone, for me, the adventure has already began, if only at least emotionally.

Meeting with Eddie Chambers tomorrow, my fitness trainer and he plans to put me back on a strict regime…  Oh Great….  Cant wait.. See you tomorrow Ed.

David Wilkinson

Life is for Living -

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back in the OFFICE!

It took about three hours to clean the cabin after everyone had cleared out
so the timing of the replacement Key was about right. I checked out with a
HUGE thankyou to Sydney Lakeside and headed up the hill to drop the trailer
at new friends Peter and Sylvia who have offered to store the trailer till
August. THANKS! After cake and tea I hit the road at about 1600hrs and drove
till 2000hrs,then into a motel, dinner and big sleep. Back on the road to
Melbourne early arriving early afternoon then onto the Ferry last
night,(SPIRIT OF TASMANIA) arriving Tassie this morning. Four hours later,
straight into the office, after unloading the van which seemed to have more
in it that I took to Sydney three weeks ago?? Work that out??

I had another visit to the Doctor trying to sort my kidney stones and off to
see a specialist on Friday ( flying out on Saturday)..looks like some
microscopic ones which hopefully will be stable?...all the crew are about to
do major medicals, the same that we have used for the last 15 years on all
our expeditions to remote places.

Now the Blogs may start to get a bit bland over the next four weeks?
work list is huge, with plenty to organise, sat comms, cameras and custom
mounts, two extra sails, Nav instuments,limited edition envelopes to carry
onboard ( you can get one if you like?) Official stamp, extra pulleys,
finalize the crisis management plan,register all four FAST FIND 406 PLB's
and the McMurdo 406, GPS EPIRB,Export paper work for TBB to TONGA,Official
request to enter Australia at Restoration Island , not a proclaimed port,Up
grade the web site and finish the Chinese language version,Book airfares to
Tonga,sort all expedition clothing, Hats and Musto wet weather gear...and

We will all get together again on April 9th in Sydney to have the
International Talisker send off and look at some of the original items that
Bligh had on his open boat voyage.That will mark the beginning of the final
stages as we fly to Tonga straight after that. In the meantime Dave is going
to Blog tomorrow, Wed, Mike will blog on Saturday and Pete will blog on
Monday...I will fill the other days of the you are about to get a
glimpse of our "other" lives. Expect anything! Mike has a birthday coming
up,Dave is driving his Mazzzzerati and Pete is struggling in the snow! I am
off to china...

Tomorrow I am filming with the 7.30 report and ABC TV current affairs

Stay tuned..thanks for telling your friends..check out YouTube Talisker
Bounty Boat...Life is OK!