Nature and Sights as We Walked

Many Interesting things to see and do here on the Falkland Islands.  Most require the hire of a tour guide or Land Rover and take anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours to get to.  I have just been enjoying walking and have done quite a bit of that.

Some of the favorites to share.

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Pembroke Lighthouse that is no longer working.  Built in 1854 of wood and standing 60 feet tall it was eventually replaced to stand 70 feet tall.  It operated until 1982 when it was put out of operation during the Falklands war with Argentina.  It has been replaced with a solar light beam that actually only stands around 5 feet off the ground.

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Interesting on the appearance of rugged rocks and desolation but in this area we came upon a seal.

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At first look we thought it was dead but then….

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He opened his eyes and checked us out.

A little further along we came upon a duck or a goose trying to swim against some kelp in a rough current.

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He finally gave up and walked back up the rocks.  Apparently this one either doesn’t fly and or had some sort of injury as it could not take off the ground.

During our wandering this day we were fighting 40 to 60 knot winds and little rainstorms that hit us frequently.  The good news after  walking for around 4 hours, a passing Land Rover asked if we would like a ride.  YEA!

Another day we walked around the Narrows which was probably a good 4 to 5 miles but with no rain and moderate wind.  Saw lots of interesting sights on this journey.

Passed by several ship wrecks.

And then Andy decided to walk out to the Elizabeth since it was low tide and supposedly able to walk to it.

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Also discovered some great wildlife.

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Took me two days to discover that their feet were different colors.

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A few Magellanic Penguins.  Interesting time was when they began swimming they look just like ducks swimming on the water.

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A whole bunch of Magellanic Penguins we found further around the narrows.  Word is they stay bunched to keep seals and hawks from getting the babies.

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You can see a bunch on this beautiful beach at Gypsy Cove.

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Not sure if this is actual or a deterrent to keep us from going down to the beach where the Penguins are.

We came across this happy bunch up by the path.

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Saw many holes/burrows like this as we walked.  Some were used by seals and some by penguins.

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Look closely and you can see the Magellanic Penguin in this one.

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While walking in some areas like this we were careful to not accidentally step in any of the holes.  At one point we had either a seal or penguin talk to us and warn us away from their hole.  We could not see exactly what kind of animal it was because of the tall grass.  Very exciting though for a few moments.

Then we ran into this Goose/Gander that literally came at us and chased off the path that they felt was sacred.  Very scary and we moved really FAST!

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Still honking at us!!!

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The terrain we went on was always changing and fun to work our way around.  Of course, we could have stayed on the upper path but wanted to get close to the water.

Also ran across some buzzards and birds feeding on fish heads that had been thrown off one of the fishing boats.

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And then there was the interesting pattern of clouds to make us wonder what the coming weather might be.

All for now!  Have lots more pictures but not enough internet time to upload then.  Sorry!  Have fun!  Running to boat now and then fingers crossed we sail tomorrow!

 

Tenacious Activities on and off the ship

Just a bit to give you some ideas of what I have been doing. Some on the ship learning new things and some discoveries.

Above is the Seafarers Mission where I have finally been able to get some internet.  Problem is that it is not consistent.  So far today is a good day.  Yesterday and day before a lost cause.  Also interesting is the cost around the island.  This is the most reasonable at 5 pounds per hour.  I have seen it 15 pounds per hour, 10 pounds for 30 minutes, etc.  The sad part is that they all work about the same no matter what you pay.

So here we go.  Have you ever heard of Baggy Winkles?  No matter what you are thinking, on board it means taking pieces of old unusable line/rope and placing it between two small bungee cord lines quite long as you will see, not allowing the bungee cord to twist and bringing the line from under to over the sides equally and then back down in front of the rest, pull tight and slide up to rest that have been done.  And why would we do this??  We then will put it on a shroud to keep the sail from becoming chaffed as it rubs against the shroud/stay.

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Preparing lines to be used.  First the strands are pulled apart.

Actually wonder if this is what it feels like to make popcorn strings for Christmas tree.

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Liz  (in striped polo) is doing it rather quickly one handed as she has suffered a stroke.  Fran is working hard also.  Andy is watching in amazement.

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Actually became quite the party.

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Our Baggy Winkle workforce  after we finally ran out of line. Jo, first on the right is the one that spent time helping build Tenacious, then Liz our one handed wonder, Allison, Jon, Carter, Kate our wheelchair riding watch leader, Bridget (watch leader), Lucy and Andy.  We do appear to be celebrating or at a party!

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? The Three Stooges or the Three Baggy Wrinkle Ladies?

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The Baggy Wrinkles at work up above.  Imagine the sail coming and rubbing against the forestay (it is one of the cables that is holding up the mast).

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Above you can see where the immersion suits are stored until needed.  Then they are brought down rather quickly to a pile below where we would hurriedly put them on preferable prior to going into cold water!  The cable on the right is actually lowered during an evacuation and then anyone in a wheelchair would be brought up with that as elevators are not utilized during emergency.  I use it to go quickly down the stairs on way to meals!

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Trying on our immersion suits.  This was interesting and I hope that I never get to wear one for real as that means we are in the water hoping for a rescue.

Stylish aren’t I?  Tope right is 3 of my watch.  Michael, Fran (who has done around 30+ years sailing on tall ships) and Charlotte (who is on the Cambridge sailing team and taking a year gap).

Speaking of our watch, above is left to right, Michael, Charolette, Jennifer, Skip (our guide for South Georgia), Jon, Chris our leader (you’ve already seen him) and Fran.  The card on top is not a Bingo card, but our watch card.  Our different watches are the blacked out spots.  The lower card is my info and that I have messman on the 1, 8 days as it revolves around the card.

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Above is everyone getting lifejackets on during an evacuation drill.  Incidentally we have been the fastest 2 out of 2 drills!! Yea Starboard Aft watch!

This are our climbing harnesses.  We each have one assigned to us and then we set them up to fit us so we can get them on and off quickly.

Under the watchful eyes of Michael (the navigator) we got to climb up to the first platform on the main mast yesterday.  Almost like climbing a ladder but you can’t use the wooden slats that are parallel to the boat.  One must hold on the the steel cables when climbing.  The orange line that you see is the line that we are attached to.

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If you look at the bottom of the white bar (yard it is called) that crosses the mast, you will see a black line going across.  That is what we will be going out and standing on when we release the ties around the sail that is within the aluminum yard.  There is a steel cable for us to attach to while out doing that.  Can’t wait!!!  Ran out of time yesterday to try it.

Today we learned about how the helm works and what we needed to do as lookouts.  Very interesting and there is a device on the compasses outside of Helm area that we use to provide location of where we have seen ships, debris, whales, etc. when notifying the Skipper.

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Above is Stu who showed us how all the lines (ropes) work.  How to safely work with them so as not to lose a  thumb or worse.

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Here he is instructing us on how to line up to pull ropes together: ” 2, 6 Heave” (pull the line altogether), “Ease To” whatever we need to ease to, “Well” (stop) and “Come up” (drop the rope).

Michael demonstrating how to bring in rope neatly so it will uncoil without any problem and then how to properly attach it with a twist.

Then Stu showed us the thought process on moving the sails when on the yards.  Then we got to practice.  One watch eases from the side they would be on and the other watch pulls the yards around to position.  Trick is to keep all the yards moving together.  Notice there are 5 yards in the picture.  It will be quite a feat to do this with sails attached and a bit of wind blowing into them.

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Remember the big fat mooring line that I pointed out needed to be fixed in an earlier blog?  Well, here is the new mooring line!  Much prettier in black and white!

Food………oh my.  Roast dinner with bread pudding and you can see how the tables are set.  This is one of two.

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Permanent crew working on Mainmast Staysail.  Two permanent crew up on platform, two on deck working to get slider working and one on the top of sail trying to pull it up.

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Very calm wind.  Interesting that one can see a hint of a rainbow to left of far left mast and some of the mast reflection in the water.  You have to look closely for both.

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This is an actual picture of the reflection of clouds in the water.  Really calm day!!!

All for now!  Have a great day!

Tenacious the Ship

Hopefully the internet and I will remain on good terms and I will be able to show you some of our ship.  It is big and comfortable and the food is good.

A few of the amenities aboard:

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Yes, a bar with beer, wine, liquor, water, sodas and chips.  Word is that because it is a sign in for what you take, you don’t get your passport returned until your $$$$ record is clear.

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One of the library areas. Lots of books around the boat to keep us entertained.

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Andy reading about Celestial Navigation.

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Salon where we can hang out during free time. Also where they are storing some of the sails to be mended.  They just came around Cape Horn and had a bit of damage.

If you notice the arced wood, that is all put together and laminated.  Tenacious was built upside down and then rolled over in giant hoops like they do submarines.  One of the ladies on the voyage actually spent her off time from her real job volunteering to help build Tenacious.

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Media area.  A place to share pictures!

Every morning we have a time called Smoko which is a break where coffee, tea, etc. are served along with cakes, cookies, etc.  ….not everyone having to smoke!!  Think I might gain a bit of weight on this trip.  If I return looking like a little Humpty Dumpty don’t be surprised!

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This is Daz (Darren), our medic, purser, man in charge of housekeeping and most important, our passports.  Hmm, do you think I should trust him?

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On February 27th, on our walk back to the boat along the seashore, Andy and I had the pleasure of seeing this beautiful rainbow.  Colors were brilliant and the bands so wide.

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Then we had a very scary experience.  As we got closer to the first set of jetties where some men where working on columns below the jetty we saw a big flash of fire like you see on top of oil rigs every once in a while and then we heard some horrible screaming.  We saw one man standing by where the flame shot up but did not see anyone else.

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Accident was on the 3rd one from the left.

Andy took off running toward the security hut and I grabbed his backpack and followed.  The security guard had been in the hut and not heard the screaming, so Andy explained what happened and as he was finishing I arrived in time to see the security man hand the phone to Andy (call to their 911) and begin running to the scene.  Andy did a great job of explaining to the person on the phone where we were and help began arriving in 5 minutes.  I walked over the next day and found that one man (probably the one standing that we saw) was only singed, but two others were burned quite badly and had been airlifted off the island for medical attention.  Originally we had heard there was only one badly hurt but now we know there were 2.  A very sad moment.  Apparently some corrosion mixed with some methane and when they opened the lid the air set the explosion.

Today, the 28th, was an early morning, 4am to 6am Harbor watch.  Discovered that Chris is very willing and wants to share his knowledge.  Yea I am so looking forward to learning from him.

Around 5am Charlotte who is in our watch and above my bunk came up to us in the chart house.  I thought…hmm she is early.  But no, my phone alarm had come alive and had miraculously gone off waking several people.  The bad news was that my alarm on my phone that did not work in Santiago and was turned off and though it was set to go off every morning at 6am did not go off yesterday.   How did this happen?  So moving quickly downstairs I got to my bunk to turn it off. This ended up in a massive search as I had put it away so that I would not come across it.  While in dire and desperate searching mode it goes off again and I hear the groans as I try to sit on it, whatever to get the sound down to no avail.  Am I the most popular person at breakfast…..?

On a bright note though once back up in the Chart house, at watch change I learned even more from Chris.  He is very anxious to pass on his knowledge and so far it has been a great learning experience.  Looking forward to this!

Entering the chart house.  Some of the equipment that we get to see and work with.

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This is how we check the air and water temperature.  The tube on the left provides the air temp and the tube on the right provides the sea water temp.  If they are the same I am told that we should be in a bit of a fog.

The view from the helm!  What I am really looking forward to is hearing the talking compass so Ryan and Naomi can be at the helm.  Ryan has also participated in match racing.

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Aaaaagh….which line to pull??

The picture on the left shows more lines and up above two of the liferafts.  There are 4 sets of two on board…two Midships and two aft only to be used if the ship is sinking!  The picture on the right has one of the ribs with their two motors that will be used for going ashore and emergencies if needed.

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Main mast, gathering spot for our watch in case of emergency and what……………….more lines to choose from.

BIG Mooring lines and BIG WINCHES.

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Looks like one seems to need some tender loving care!  Look past the red to the big pile of lines and you will see the frayed area.  The next day it had been switched out!

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And if I am bad, I get to walk the plank!

And of course a bit of nature for you.

Beautiful moon over the shipwrecked Elizabeth.

 

Falkland Islands Part 2

If you have been checking the link I provided in the first Falkland post and you have noticed that we are not moving very far, you are correct.

Well, weather really takes a toll here.  Not only was our flight delayed coming in, but the next one from London was also.  Their story is a bit different and sounds like a Texas type issue.  Snow in London is keeping the flight crew from being able to get to the airport they take out of.  Really???  Yep!  Anyway, between the snow and the wind here we are now in a holding pattern waiting for the rest of the crew and the man who can finish fixing our radar unit.  I do agree that we should have the radar working before taking off, so we are all taking advantage of our time here.

When arriving on the boat I was greeted by my watch leader Chris.

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He who showed me to my quarters…a real stateroom I feel when I think of my Clipper living area.DSCF5292

The bottom bunk is mine! Along with a bit of space to place my things in.DSCF5295

And I am right across the hall from the head, the loo, the toilet, the restroom or you might call it the Happy Room!

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And the !!!!!!!DSCF5296

Can you believe… even with hot water! YEA!

This is our hallway and new friend Lucy is right next door.

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A home for foulies and safety clip for my belt.

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Steep stairs down to everywhere.DSCF5300

My first day of duty was as messwoman so the following was where I spent my time.DSCF5309

Our domain.  I spent most of my time washing dishes.  Did serve meals and actually cut up an onion!

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This is the kingdom of the Chef…. And a place that we are not allowed.  I am sure my good friends are happy to here it is off limits to me.

And below is my favorite messman in our group of 4, Ryan.  He is blind, but he was the one to show me where to put dishes, food, how to serve and all that I needed to know.  You should see him run up the steps also.  Great guy and has been on several voyages.  New friend Andy is over to the left.

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All for now as the internet and me have been having some major issues today.  If all does not go forward on the ship and we are still in holding pattern I will try again tomorrow.

2018 Adventure Begins

Have had an interesting journey to Santiago Chile on route to Falkland Islands to begin my journey on Tenacious, Tall Ship built for the Disabled by the UK.  This journey places able bodied alongside disabled to work together to make the journey to South Georgia Island and then to Cape Town.

Flight to Santiago great.  Up early the next morning, 3am to catch shuttle to airport for flight to Mt. Pleasant Airport in the Falklands.  Only 3 flights a week, one form South America and two from the UK.  First in line I am so excited….only to discover flight cancelled due to weather.  OH NO!!!!  however, Latam Airlines takes care of us as it is rescheduled for the next morning.  Myself and a long line of others are moved to Boulevard Suites alongside the Marriott downtown at their expense along with transportation and food vouchers.  Awesome!

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The view from my living room.  Also had giant bedroom, bath, kitchen.  Really nice.

Met another Tenacious crew member, Dave, originally a Brit but lived in Bahamas for 52 years.  Has climbed every mountain imaginable (Everest and Matterhorn included), has biked across lower part of US, has sailed on Tenacious before.

Next morning up at 2am to catch shuttle.  Met Michelle, a Brit native that has been a professional sheep shearer all over the world and now runs the meat processing plant in the Falklands.  She was a true angel getting us through an airport I hope that you never have to travel through.  Punta Arenas is an airport you never want to be stuck in.  Very few people speak english; very few people understand what you are trying to ask therefore you are taken many ways the wrong way; you think all is well until you go back downstairs to find something to eat and see your luggage still going around on the carousel and you thought it had been checked through… nope!  So you get it and go check it though to Falklands then back through security and then discover you have to go through another obstacle… customs…of course there is no hint as to what this really is or where customs is so very interesting.  Finally on plane and you fly to the military base in Mt. Pleasant.

Pictures to be updated in April.

What I saw…don’t take a picture on military base as you might have your camera confiscated.   This is a very desolate looking set of Islands.  Many sheep passed as you go through from airport to Stanley the town.  Some sheared and others waiting.  Saw  some Galloway cows…look them up.  Interesting with solid white, black , white bands around their bodies.  saw a white/ brown/ white one also!

Malvena Hotel here very nice and great food.

I walked a few miles to discover the boat:  Is it this one?

this boat or

or this one?

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Pretty intimidating.

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My home starting in one hour (now you know why blogs getting shorter) for the next 6 weeks.

getting pictures to transfer is a task within itself.

Now, what’s happening before I have to go,

  1. I am fundraising for Jubilee Sailing Trust to help raise funds to keep getting disabled on this boat and Lord Nelson.  The Jubilee Sailing Trust has been changing lives since 1978. In that year it became a registered charity through the extraordinary vision of a dedicated group of people working against the odds to make their dream a reality. Back then the idea of integrating physically disabled with non-disabled people on a tall ship was a unique concept, and yet the JST still remains to this day the only organization of its kind in the world. The JST is a world leader in social inclusion, bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to sail as a unified crew on-board two purpose built tall ships – Lord Nelson and Tenacious.https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/linda-s-sailing-adventure-on-talll-ship-tenacious is the link to go to my donation page.  Yes I added one  too many ls on tall, but you have to also to get there.
  2. Every once in a while a blog will be sent out from the ship. To access it go to:
  3. http://jst.org.uk/ .  Click on Sailing Adventures, then under Tall Ships click on Tenacious.
  4. To see where we are, http://jst.org.uk/track-our-ships/ is the link.

I have met two more crew, both fun and interesting, Lucy (originally from Scotland and now working in New Zealand) and Andy (originally from Australia and has worked all over the world and now retired and going to be  boater!)

So far this looks like another amazing adventure and I will help make it so.

I have borrowed the below Pictures and words from Jubilee Sailing Trust to give you an idea of what could be in my future days:

They also have a compass that talks so if we have a blind crew member they can steer probably better than me!

“Focusing on what people can do rather than what they cannot really does change lives.”

Well, out until April !  Thank you for reading this and if you donate, it may end up in pounds rather than dollars so the exchange rate is a little different.  i.e. you will be paying more possibly.

Out for now, enjoy each day and make a difference. A smile for someone you don’t know can do that!

2017 Orcas Island Adventure

A giant Thank you to Fisher and Pam for sharing their place on Orcas Island for a wonderful time out.

What would you do if you get to wake up to this scene?wake up 2

Due to running short of time you will have to wait until April to find out!! but it was awesome!

Okay, I know it is past April, but here is the rest of my Orcas adventure story!

Meet our morning hello committee…. Ralph and his friends would come by and say HI!

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View the other way from the house on a foggy day!

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We spent a day hiking and discovered the perfect time to visit the islands was in September.  Views were spectacular!  Mt. Rainer on a clear day….hum, wasn’t there a song “On a Clear Day”?  Unbelievable!

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And then there were more great views of the Islands.orcas hike view

Walking along the lake it was fun to see how many shades of color we could find in the water as well as the different views of streams along the way.

 

Then a day on a Orca whale watching expedition which included Momma Orca and little one, Bald Eagles and Seals safe on the rocks from the Orcas!

This view you must look closely up on top of the rocks in front of the trees to see the Bald Eagle.

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A view of what Mother Nature can do with water banging against the rocks over time.

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Can you see the mask in this one?

And of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without a little sun reflection on the water.

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And then there was the day of wandering and exploring about town and country.

Above is my kind of treehouse!  The one I always wanted to build.

Riding the Ferry Boat was a fun and interesting way to travel.  The guys that work them have it all down to a T…packing the cars on, and unloading at the docks.

And so that ends my time on Orcas Island.  A beautiful, quiet and restful place in the middle of nature.

Summer 2017 Part 2

My next adventure was a bit different. I am redoing leg 8 of the Clipper race so I can officially cross the finish line in 2018.  So my next UK sailing adventure was with my skipper Dave Hartshorn and some of Team Greenings.  I did level 4 training with them and also with some of the Dare to Lead crew (their skipper had resigned and not yet been replaced so they were put with us.  Our Skipper, Dave Hartshorn is one of the best Teambuilders I have had the privilege to work with.  A retired UK constable, he was in charge of security for the London Olympics and Prince William and Kate’s wedding.  I had him for my level 2 training back in 2015 and he was one of my  favorite trainers so I was elated to be on his team.

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Level 4 was fun as David made sure we were all included and it was a small test of some boat rivalry besides being out against the other clipper boats in training).  It was fun telling secrets and answering questions about what to wear, what to expect, etc.  One of the things Dave is really keen about is safety on the boat.  We did lots of different scenarios of possible issues and I got to star in one…I was to go forward and trip and go unconscious.  It was an academy award performance and the 2 docs on board were both getting really worried when they could not wake me up.  Seems if unresponsive they pinch your earlobe.  Of course, I did not know this and they really did a number on my ear.  Even Skipper Dave thought I was out when my ear started bleeding.

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During training I also was able to see and utilize the ice cream boat that I had heard about so often in 2015 trainings but had never seen.Ice cream

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Level 4 race to France …a bit of no air and finally cancelled so we could get back to docks.

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Next I spent some time with friend Jen and then in London with Judith, Jo and Annie from Telemed.  Also was doing online course on Day Skipper Theory about tides, etc and planning courses.  And finally completed February 20, 2018.  Note to self…never take a course online.

Then Jen and I took the Day Skipper practical on the boat and learned some amazing ways to use tide and wind together.  I am really fascinated with Tides!! And figuring out how to plot a course using tide in the most effective way.  One of the exercises we did was using strong tide vs. strong wind coming from opposite directions with no sails up to capture a mooring.  I felt like a true cowgirl when it was my turn to lasso the giant mooring.  My mooring skills were good once I remembered I was not on a lake in a J22 and thus could not just head at the mooring ball.

Skipper practicalSetting up our course.

skippe pr2Jen at the helm

skipper pr3Retrieving an anchor that has been at the bottom of the sea for a while…we have become a salvage team.

SK4UK is well guarded!

sk8My percussion friends thought you might enjoy the name on the blue side cover.  Amazing what one sees out in the harbors.

And these in harbors we docked in.  Interesting names?

From there we did a day at Jen’s with a side trip to St. Alban’s Cathedral to hear friends from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio sing.  Also met up with 2 Ex-Judson students who are married and now live in London, an ex-student from MacArthur in the choir, several more good friends that sang in the choir and Clipper Telemed crew member Elaine.  Dined in the Oldest PUB!

After the concertChristina, Anais, Penny, me, Jen and Elaine.  Sad Maren couldn’t make it but she had tickets to Les Misérables.

Then early morning train to Gosport to help Team Greenings prepare boat for trip up to Liverpool for start of 17-18 race.

Don, who was our Team Coordinator was incredibly organized and we started out with a common house for all to stay in during the training.  Already meals together and living together.

Gosport preraceSeems that I remember doing this a few years ago.

Gosport 2Seriously what was I thinking!! Was great to be back “in the saddle again” though.

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Below, Toni, Victualler for race in confusion.  Second time I got to help at the start with the food.  More fun since I knew what I was doing this time.

volvo boatsThe Volvo Ocean Racers sharing the harbor with Clipper and our Fastnet boat.  Really fun to watch them working on their boats and going out practicing every morning.

The race starts………then tragedy….Leg 1 just off Portugal….Skipper Dave is injured during a gybe and med-avacated off the boat for hand surgery.  Good news, Dan comes aboard to fill in for Dave and though they start behind, with the time given for the emergency stop they manage to win the race!!!

Then Skipper Andy from our Fastnet race comes aboard to take the team for leg 2 and 3 while they wait for Dave to return in good shape.  Leg 2 they win again and also break the record on most miles sailed in a 24 hour period!!keelThis was a picture they took while figuring out why their speed had dropped in Leg 2.  Got most of it off and went on to win!

Start of leg 3 from Cape Town on Halloween and Team Greenings discovers what ghosts and goblins can do.  Around midnight they suddenly go aground.

agroundThe team evacuates the boat safely and go through a massive investigation as to what happened.  No one is talking until the official report comes out other than to say “It doesn’t matter who was at the helm, everyone was safe”.  Final report still not out as of this writing.

beached 7Crew going to get sails, anything that might be salvageable that they can help move and their personal belongings off.

The beach was a protected beach so big machinery could not go on it.  Therefore Greenings was cut apart to remove her.  Very sad and many of us shed tears as we saw the pictures.

The good part… I have met some really great people again and discovered Greenings International, a great company that lives up to its slogan “Value Through People”.  Even with our mishap they have been behind us as individuals all the way and are still supporting the Clipper race.

Some of the crew that I will miss being with now that we have worked together (friends from Greenings if your picture is not here it doesn’t mean I won’t miss you.  I just do not have a picture to share yet.)

Derek raising for funds for cancer in memory of his wife.  Even bought a star in the constellation for her.

Martin , Jonas, Neil and Paul

2016-12-25 20.11.10Miles (doesn’t he look like Errol Flynn?), Greg, Seb and Toni

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Derek and Toni….yes they are a fun bunch!

2017-01-23 06.11.03Paul, me, Denise, Jemma, JP, Jeremy and Jonas

All the team was scattered among the other 11 boats.  Now I am on Nasdaq for leg 8 with 2 other Greenings team members.  It will be interesting getting on a boat that I have not met the skipper or crew yet.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.  Life is always an adventure.  If stock market goes down…not my fault!2016-12-28 01.37.32my fascination with clouds… and what does this appear to be to you?  Flying fish, bird, plane, ………

sunsetAmazing beauty to end this saga with.

Life including Clipper Summer of 2017 and a Few More Sailing Adventures!

Ok, after sailing around the world with Clipper, what to do next??  Well, I ended up being in the UK for 7 weeks this summer doing more big boat sailing.  First draw was Clipper Events entered a boat in the 2017 Fastnet race.  Thought that after the Sydney Hobart it might be fun to add another one of the Rolex 600 mile races so I got into that.  In order to do this I had to do a sea survival course and two qualifying races with the crew and then the Fastnet.  There were 9 of us on the crew plus a skipper and 1st mate.  Some of the crew were past Clipper round the worlders, past Clipper leggers, a charter captain (also Yachtmaster), a Norwegian racer, and a few doing Clipper legs in the 17-18 race.

Our first qualifying race was the Morgan Cup which was a race from Cowes to Guernsey, France.

Channel race

That was interesting as we were the last start and already our skipper, Andy, had warned us that in our start our rating was not the best.  Hmmmm?  Then the start and within 5 minutes, all the sleek asymmetrical spinnakers on much lighter boats were gone and we were still hanging out by the starting line.  You might know the feeling?  We were the only ones with a symmetrical spinnaker and on one of the Clipper 68s with vintage sails.  (If you look closely at the spinnaker you will see it was from the Clipper 11-12 RTW race.)  So much for a tight reach.  Also our boat had successfully gone around the world on 3 of the Clipper races and been a training boat for 12 years.  Lots of miles under her and lots of weight.

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Channel race 2

Our boat with spinnaker on last of the race.  After the depressing start, and about 6 hours of racing I came up for watch and wow, we were in a pack of boats…those with slower ratings that we seemed to pass for the rest of the race.

However we did get to feel better later that Sunday when we returned to the Solent and Skipper Andy asked if we wanted to stay out in the wind and practice or go in.  We all voted to stay out as the wind had picked up and we were enjoying the ride.  So we ended up racing 5 of the Clipper 70s that were doing a practice race and came in 3rd!!!  We felt better then.  Andy is an amazing racer!

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Channel team 4

Just for grins I will share a shot of our suite!!  Believe it or not it is much smaller than the Clipper 70s we raced in 15-16.  These boats however did do several round the world races and I am not sure how they managed. Not sure how anyone survived the RTW on the 68s.  Amazing people I guess.  No sail locker so we were right there with the wet sails and even on our short journey everything managed to get wet.

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The big long black thing is not a giant worm…no it is just one of the sails.

The next Fastnet training was Sea Survival in Southampton one day and then at the clipper office a second.

Next qualifier was the Channel Race from Cowes racing around the Isle of Wight with some other fun marks.

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This one was interesting as the winds were pretty exciting the whole race. Also the official race course that was actually decided the morning of the race is what Andy has on his phone.  They like to keep one in suspense.  We were down to 8 crew as Kathy’s mom was put in Intensive care and she took off prior to race start.

MC actual race

Not sure how Andy was able to plan this one.  Yes, we beat all the boats that he said we would be competitive against both in this race and the Morgan Cup.

To check in at start of race each boat had to display their reflector and fire blanket.  Richard and 1st mate Judy.  This race was wild…lots of wind!!!, rain and anything else that could come our way.  This race we came in 16 of 23 and beat the 4 boats that Andy said we should be able to beat plus three more!  They all actually dropped out of the race but they were far behind us when they did.

checking in

End of the race was a bit hairy as the winds and the rain decided to come play.

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Sounds like we just worked hard…well, yes but we still had time to have fun.  My crazy crewmates Chris, Richard and Maggie with Bob our overboard man.  And Denise working hard and Bob and I just having fun

 

2017 FASTNET RACE

After doing the qualifying races and training, it was time to prepare for the Fastnet.

1st, eliminate all extra weight on the boat….extra foul weather gear of which there were approximately 20 sets, take off the extra spinnaker pole (when explained how they used to gybe with the two poles I was more than happy to do a dip pole gybe and make sue the other pole was not on the boat…besides it was REALLY heavy), all excess equipment that we would not be using, excess lines, reposition the anchor and if we could think of it something would disappear including Bob.  All our personal gear that would not be used was put up in cars.

Here we are eliminating the Velcro patches that no longer stayed velcroed over the staysail hanks.

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Andy and Craig (maintenance rigger) tuning rig.Fastnet 2

Next is our version of cleaning the bottom with an old line and then a dinghy with a sponge vs. the Volvo boats with a diver scrubbing the bottom every morning.

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I bet they have new sails too!

Andy checking the course and the tide schedule and the weather.  Weather reports were not so good as they changed every hour.  After the Channel race he predicted that we would finish the Fastnet in 4 days, 2 hours plus or minus 30 minutes if the weather was close to normal for early August.  However….they were not so good so we played out in the ocean a little bit longer!

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Andy proved himself to be a master of planning with weather and tide.  Great privilege to sail with him.

Boat officially ready to go with Rolex sticker on bow, Sail numbers on the side and Rolex Flag on the backstay.

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Below is the race course and the dark yellow line is our course.

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Had to check in at start line with storm sail up. Fastnet 10

Of Course some storm sails were bigger than ours!fastnet 11

Below is the biggest multihull I have ever seen.  The motor boats following it looked like little ants waiting to be crushed should it flatten out.fastnet 12

And then there are always last minute fixes prior to race start.fastnet 13

Some of the action by the starting line.  With 400 boats out there it was a bit exciting. Just glad they had several starts.fastnet 14

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My favorite Volvo boat on its way to pass us from behind.  Great theme!Fastnet 16

Andy wanting to race the Volvo group.Fastnet 17

Love it when we are on starboard.fastnet 18

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Looking ahead about one hour into the race…..lots of boats in front of us…probably around 375 of the 400. But just wait.fastnet 20

This boat ended up grounded.  Story is they had to wait 6 hours for rescue boat due to it was diverted for a bigger emergency.fastnet 21

Passing the Needles.fastnet 22

OK, I just like nature.  The racing was getting too intense.fastnet 24

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Finally, Fastnet Rock!! Winds were pretty light and shifty here.fastnet 26

Andy getting the time we passed a specific point.fastnet 27

Yes, we have now passed all those boats…very cool but most are in the slower classes. It does make one feel good to be able to look behind!fastnet 28

No he is not texting, he is checking the course and weather.  We are close enough to land to do that and one doesn’t have to run up and down to nav station or shout out.fastnet 30

And there is the boat SPARTAN with Gretchen and Clipper friend Javier on it.  They were fortunate that Javier noticed they were going the wrong way as he came up to go on watch in the night.  The navigator check and they had to turn around and retrace steps.  Probably why we had the pleasure of seeing them behind for a bit.fastnet 32

Most of the team once we arrived.  Couldn’t round up everyone due to beer line.fastnet 35Maggie, Judy, Andy, Tony, Anders, Me and Chris

And a chance to see favorite clipper buddy Javi (and later met up with Clipper buddy Craig) and Gretchen.fastnet 36

fastnet 37Gretchen and me with my coke!  Love those boots!

Going back to Gosport.  Awesome skipper Andy and 1st mate Judy with me at the helmfastnet 38

fastnet 39Our final team.  Chris, Tony, Richard, Andy, Anders, Denise, Maggie, Judy, Helen and me.  Kathy was with her mother in intensive care and Nick home with bruised ribs from the Channel race.

What I learned in History!!  Why would there be both an American flag and a British flag at this location in Plymouth??fastnet 40

Turns out the Mayflower loaded up and sailed from here in July 1620 to America.  The Pilgrims are on the way.fastnet 41

What else did I learn?  Never to think that a big spinnaker would gybe like a J22 chute.  You know, just ease a little and let it float around?  HaHa!  When you release the line from the winch, let go!!!!!

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So the Fastnet Saga is done.  Next up will be training for 17-18 Clipper Round the World Leg 8 and Day Skipper Practical.fastnet 34

There will always be a beautiful sunset!

Life After Clipper 2017 Part 3

April 2017 was a fun filled Tahiti trip planned by amazing Emilie and involving two catamarans and about 21 people.  Our boat had something very special…Fran, Mike and Stephen… three generations of a family.  Yes, I was on the calm boat!!

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Big dinner time all together with Julian and Emilie our fearless leaders up front!

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We went to Bora Bora, Taha’a, Huahuine, Maupiti and Raiatea.  My favorite was Maupiti.

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Always lush and colorful vegetation.  Cool things to see and do….rainbows, paddle boarding, fishing (Guys), sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving (for others, not me), sun bathing, reading (I read 3 books) and watching the locals…..

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The house built by seashells!

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From the top of the mountain on Maupiti.  Below you can see the coral atoll that surrounds it.  Very interesting getting in with the tide and current.IMGP1568

You can see one of our group laboring to pull self up the mountain.   Lots of work but great payoff.  Amazing water color.

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Then there is a symbol that many who have been there leave as their signature.  Ourselves included.  We left a blue and white float with all our names/signatures everywhere we went.

Bora Bora had some interesting moments snorkeling.  Yes that is what you think it is, a SHARK!

How would you like to live in one of these huts on Bora Bora with a bit of a nice backdrop?

A WWII cannon was discovered…one of the guarding forces.

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Local entertainment was great.

Our own entertainment was also pretty amazing!

And then there was the sailing…the part I loved the most.

And of course one romance began between Brenda (UK) and Mike (Austin)

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And no blog of mine would be complete without some nature shots …..

So life in the Islands is pretty cool.