Archipelago love  - Indonesia to the UK


can can anchored in djibouti.jpg


Toby is a surfer / windsurfer / sailor; in fact his feet never stray far from water. On this trip he will help deliver a 24 year old 40ft Classic Swan from Indo to UK . Being such an old boat with its classic lines; 3 people is about its limit; water is at a premium and communication is ‘line of sight’. Suffice to say everything is very basic. Due to the basics of the boat posting this diary on the web in real time became an ‘impossibility’. The only way of getting online was through a mobile phone and laptop – this soon became expensive and unviable is various countries. Hence this diary is being posted in real time, but after the event. As to how it reads we’ll leave judgment to its readers; suffice to say it turns out to be an adventure of a lifetime....Storms, sinking, breaking down in middle Indian O, Pirates, Tornado - you name it it happend..

Hot Tip:  Try 'cutting and pasting' the daily GPS Co-ordinates into Google Earth and see exactly where we are!! Gives you a sense of what a crazy long journey this is. 

(NB: Diary reads Back to Front!!! Start from 'DAY 0' bottom of page.....Toby)

Day 57 Wednesday. Indian Ocean - Somali Basin 1700hrs Position: Somali Basin

N 07°27.40'

E 056°33.16'

Heading North 000°. Strong wind from the West! Winds gusting 30-35 knots.

Very windy. Bad sea. Worked all day on the Aries. Really tired. Going to bed. Making good speed though... Yes bed.

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:41 by Registered CommenterToby | Comments2 Comments

Day 56 Tuesday 17/01/01 Indian Ocean - Somali Basin 1700 hrs

Position: Somali Basin

N 04°17.13'

E 056°17.72'

Heading 020 degrees. Moderate to strong wind from the West! Averaging about 8 knots most of the time.

It’s been a day of different winds, different tacks, excess bananas and chickens. The wind has sprung round to the West. For the first time we are on Reach. Since we started this journey over 5000 miles ago, we have had the wind up the arse all the way. Today for the first time we have it on our Port side. The boat sails much better this way. Not much sail up and she is zipping along at 6 knots. Bridget the onboard Aries Wind Vain is doing a great job too. The Aries has steered us almost constantly since we left the Seychelles . We are all getting a lot more sleep, which is good because when we hit the Gulf of Aden next week we won't get much.

1900 hrs

Over done it on the bananas today; if I ever see another banana I will cry. All our bananas have ripened at the same time. One went yellow and then in the blink of an eye; both huge branches (Over a 100 bananas a piece) ripened! I'm sure Rupert is looking a little pale today, so is Philip as it happens, maybe they have banana poisoning. What happens when you eat too many bananas? Is it anything like eggs? Shit! Comes to mind… The problem is that it’s not just a banana problem. I have just put three chickens in the oven. We bought four frozen chickens to eat at the beginning of our journey, then we catch this huge Yellow fin tuna and we have to eat that. The chickens were deep in the ice of the fridge, but today they started to appear through the ice, closer inspection found them all defrosted! So better to cook them and start eating them tonight, then more chicken for breakfast, then lunch, supper….I tell you I will have put weight on by the end of this trip, not lost it.

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:37 by Registered CommenterToby | CommentsPost a Comment

Day 55 Sunday. Indian Ocean - Somali Basin 1000 hrs

Position: Somali Basin

N 01°03.93'

E 056°34.44'

Heading 352°. Light wind from South west, boat speed 3.5 knots only. (Doldrums).

Straight on the diary this morning! Sitting enjoying my first cup of coffee, morning sunshine cascading down, boat moving very genitally along, no real swell to make the going uncomfortable to speak of. (Hope you captured the moment - what can be equated as 'Bliss'). Just hold that feeling there for a moment I look down to see a couple of fins. Is it a shark, no…? It's a Sailfish (Could have been a Mako, Swordfish, or any of that family). It was gently swimming next to the boat having a good look at us! Then it did a gentle swing round and swam down the line we had out, I could finely hear it saying; 'This line will only fool a sole as stupid as a Tuna fish'.

I have never seen something so big, I was secretly hoping he wouldn't grab the lure, he didn't. It was a magnificent looking fish, a true Sam urai Warrior of the Seas. A morning to remember.

We have a rat! It was spotted last night. We are now four soles living on this boat. If we have anything to do with it; we’ll soon be back to three! All sorts of plans are being hatched as to how to catch it. The bugger has eaten into two of the melons. We think it must have come aboard while we were getting repairs. It's quite worrying, it could cause havoc on board, chew its way through our food, and then start on all the electrical cabling. I'm sure you haven't heard the last of the Rat story, I will keep you posted.

The tuna we caught the day before yesterday has been put to good use. We had Tuna in ginger and chilly batter yesterday, very nice, and then we had tuna fish and tomato - onion salad for lunch today. Rupert is now making a fish curry with plenty of coconut milk. We also have tried for the first time to salt some fish. We took a couple of fillets yesterday and put them in salt till this morning. Then we strung them up to dry. The idea was spawned in Mahé - Seychelles . One of Philips friends gave us a bag of sea salt and told us how to dry fish. It's been said it's useful for bribes in the Red Sea and OK to eat when fish supplies are down. We'll try some in a week’s time and see what it's like. It couldn't have been done to a nicer fish; the Yellow Fin tuna has mostly white meat and will cure nicely.

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:36 by Registered CommenterToby | CommentsPost a Comment

Day 54 Saturday. Indian Ocean - Somali Basin 0900 hrs Position: Somali Basin

S 00°5034'

E 051°05.32'

Heading 345° - No wind at all, under engine power for the moment. (Doldrums - Maybe Neptune is hung over?).

Heading for the Equator. Can't wait to meet Neptune . Woke up this morning to be told that we will cross the equator today. Predicted crossing about 1800 hrs. There are many stories and fables that are attached to crossing the equator for the first time at sea. Everyone has different ideas as to what should and shouldn't happen. The one that seems to be most common is 'The visitation of the Neptune God'. Neptune is said to rise from the deep and present himself on board. We in turn have to be dressed for the occasion and we have to present him with a gift. On this boat we have a hell of a lot of Bananas that are ripening fast! So banana cake it shall be. If Neptune likes our presentation and gift he will let us pass and hopefully keep an eye on us and grant us safe passage through the rest of our journey.

2100 hrs

We all dressed up and did a little jig on deck, through over board some banana cake as an offering, Tuna head as well. We took our pictures and said a few prayers, I think he was listening, as soon as we crossed the equator we picked up the South-westerly trades ( Sam e wind as the South easterly, but as it gets nearer the coast it tends to follow it.) We are back on Bridget (The Aries) with a 15-20 knot wind on a heading of 350°.

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:35 by Registered CommenterToby | CommentsPost a Comment

Day 52 Friday. Indian Ocean 1245 hrs Position: Praslan Island. Seychelles.

Well it came round all too quick to leave this beautiful paradise island. When leaving Mahé I couldn't get out of there fast enough, Praslan is a different story. This island has changed all my views of the Seychelles in just a couple of days. Completely different to Mahé, just the laid-backness is immediately obvious from the moment you arrive. Anyway it's onwards and upwards from now on, North!

Still within sight of Praslan we finally got the Aries (The wind Vain) up and running. After 5000 miles of sailing we're finally sailing of the Wind Vain!!! Now the wind vain is something of a mechanical genius. By having its wind vain feathered to the wind, using a series of mechanical movements through a series of racks, slides, levers and pivots, it transfers this movement to a tiller or paddle in the, water. This paddle then move’s from Port to Starboard (left to right) or back again, attached to two ropes that are sent back through a couple of blocks (pulleys) to the wheel (wrapped around the wheel), which in turn turns the wheel. Sounds complicated? Well it is. To set the boat on a course you have to point the vain into the wind, and then lock her into the steering drum. It has to be said the first time you let the Aries take over its a little worrying. Best described as; trusting a friend to catch you falling backwards into their arms, you're not sure they are going to catch you, because you can't see them. It's a weird sensation, but once your friend has caught you a dozen times you feel safe. So I suppose over the next few weeks in using the Aries we will get used to letting it take over. Beats sitting at the wheel for an 8hr shift – means more time for reading and cooking…


Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:34 by Registered CommenterToby | CommentsPost a Comment
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