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Showing posts from 2017

Rodrigues... a cursory glance after a very brief visit...

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At the moment Tin Tin and her intrepid crew of 3 greybeards are making the final 40 miles to the northern end of Mauritius (pronounced Maurice en Francais) having said goodbye to her smaller associate island of Rodrigues where we spent a few days relaxing after the long voyage through stormy seas from the Australian Indian Ocean outpost of Cocos Keeling.

The islands of Rodrigues and Mauritius were wrestled from the French just over 200yrs ago and one might have thought that in the intervening two centuries that the English language and customs might have all but superseded the French... but no.. It is veritable melange ... although traffic does drive on the left, English is an official language, road signs are in English and a strangely familiar feeling came over me when I came across double yellow lines. Despite these signs of a British presence it appears that French and Creole is the dominant mode of speech, on Rodrigues at least. Looking at the map of Mauritius you will notice th…

The intermittent Blogger returns....

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YES! .... it is me, myself, I... After a very long absence when I have rather lazily suggested you look at my photo albums, thinking that if each photo was worth a thousand words then it wasn't really fair to inflict any actual written words when you may already be reading the Skipper's blog which is apparently a regular cascade of verbal reporting of our every moment and latterly, in particular, our culinary skills with cabbage...

I am attaching four photos to this post (4000 words I need not write?!) which I promise will not include white beaches, crystal clear blue waters and overhanging palm trees.... this time at least, as we have seen a goodly number of those three constituent parts assembled together to the recipe of the classic holiday brochure idyll.

The first photo is a shot taken looking forward over TinTin's bow as the large swell raced past lit by the afternoon sun. It is very difficult to capture the real size of the waves on camera and I at last found that…

New photos album

Here is the link to the next photo album documenting our voyage from Tahiti to Tonga... It is difficult to find internet connections with enough band width to upload photos even here in Tahiti so I will try as best as I can along the way. We hope to visit, Bora Bora, the Cook Islands, Palmerston Island and Nui before arriving at Tonga for a  a big crew change over. Sign in as a follower of the album and you will get informed when new photos or text are posted. https://goo.gl/photos/Lq4GgBWDU86eSa8z9

Return to Tin Tin....

A lot has happened since my last blog soon after we head arrived in the îles Marquises back in mid April.

My journey back to England was uneventful and I was met at the airport by Matthew who had taken a day of work to greet me and ferry me back home from Heathrow. Matthew was the reason four my return as he was getting married just two days later!
I knew I had lost some weight since I wad last home in November 2106 but I was not really expecting to be able to fit into MY own wedding suit quite so well!

The Matthew and Lisa's wedding was a magnificent occasion, very much in their style and a 'great party' as one of the oldest guests commented! Not only have M&E spent months organising their wedding but they have also managed tho buy and move into their own house at the same time... A real feat of organisation and financial wizardry!

The following week were filled with all sorts of 'things that must be done' including sourcing and securing a number of spare p…

A whole day on Fatu Hiva....

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For the first time in 20 days we did not have a watch system so, after a great pasta and lentil supper washed down with a very smooth bottle of Sainsbury's Rioja we were all able to look forward to an unbroken night in bed. Well.. Not quite unbroken as it started to rain at about 2am when I went up to raise the cockpit hood.

I provided breakfast of bacon, American pancakes, butter and maple syrup followed by our normal oats and granola washed down with our normal breakfast drinks round of 2 teas (Emily and me), coffee(Paul) and decaffeinated coffee (Justin).

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I like to get as high as possible when visiting an island. It gives one a very much broader perspective of the surrounding environment and usually a fairly good workout as a bonus. So, Justin and I set off to follow the only road on the island which runs between the two inhabited valleys. The concrete road is the same one we followed yesterday when we walked up to an amazing waterfall wit…

Missing photos from previous blog

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I just checked tie 'Sent mail' folder and have found that only one photo was uploaded with my previous posting... I'm attaching the remaining two described in the last paragraph.

Pacific ocean... crossed!

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Today we completed our crossing of the open Pacific Ocean when arrived at the island of Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island of the Marquesas islands. Paul was on watch as dawn broke at 05:42 and was the first to spot the island as we approached from the south west. At this point the island was 30 miles away. The first impression was of the huge vertical cliff on the southern end.

Since leaving Puerto Ayora in the Galapagos on the 23rd March we have sailed and it has to be said, motored for some) 3024 nautical miles in 19 days 1hr. We had scurried around to source extra diesel on our last day in the expectation that we may have had to motor for nearly 2000 miles if there was not enough wind to keep us going at 5.5 knts. As it turned out we only had to motor for the first 3 and a bit days before we got enough wind to exceed the minimum speed we needed to get me to Hiva Oa in time for my flight to Papeete on the 16th April.

The crossing went very smoothly, we had enough a few things to …

The Bedraggled storm petrel...

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Overnight the winds increased into the thirties and as dawn broke and I handed over watch to Justin. I went forward to investigate a clanking sound Justin had been hearing in the night and found the deck strewn with tiny flying fish. Paul emerged about an hour later and we decided to bring down the main to give us more flexibility in terms of course as we are running almost down wind (and means we don't have to constantly be aware of he possibility of a slam gybe).

So we reefed the Genoa and tightened it so we could sail close hauled while we brought the main down.

At some point after me going forward and the main coming down a small storm petrel landed on the forward deck in a very sorry state, wet, bedraggled and exhausted. I went forward again to rescue it and wrapped it in a tea towel. It has dried off a little now and has done some preening and now looks more like a bird! We offered it one of the small flying fish but rather think it may be the biggest one it has ever seen! …

A busy day at sea...

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Yesterday (the 4th Apri) was a frustrating day in some ways. Despite two fishing lines being deployed each day, and perfect trolling speeds of 5-7 knts being sailed, there was not a single nibble, let alone strike, by any fish at all. So despondent was Justin that he decided to construct two home made lures (recommended by Steve who installed the new refrigeration unit back in Gosport. It was the same Steve who recommended using Liddl's W5 clothes stain remover to clean the teak decking and based on the results of his first recommendation we thought his second might be worth a try).

We have been plagued with collapsing cutlery since a brightly coloured set was bought last year before our Round Britain voyage. So, a broken spoon and fork were dug out of he recesses of he cutlery drawer, drilled, had a hook fed through and then wired in place (see photo)These were attached to the lines replacing he expensive lures bought in Jolly Harbour back in January. These were deployed for sev…

A Borthday at sea

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The day after we said goodbye to the Galapagos was my birthday, (21st... once again!)I woke just before six to start my watch to find the cockpit and forestay bedecked with balloons! Thanks to Emily who had been busy blowing them up during her watch from 3-6 am.We all had a sunny breakfast around 8:30 and I opened cards and presents from my 3 crew mates, one recurring theme... Chocolate! A lot of KitKats a Toblerone and a bar of he finest Swiss dark chocolate... one happy recipient! Then in he afternoon a real surprise as a freshly baked cake appeared and then a Piñata shaped like a ukulele which was hung from the aft Bimini. I then donned a blindfold and grasping a rounders bat attempted to destroy it whilst balancing on the rolling deck! The contents of the piñata were scattered across the cockpit and aft deck when I eventually managed to bring the bat to bear on the brightly coloured cardboard construction. The piñata had been smuggled aboard right under my nose and I was absolutel…

Last day in the Galapagos....

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For this blog entry I thoughtI might describe the last day I spent in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos and add two collages which show some of the things described below.

I decided not to join the others who took a $100+US diving/snorkel trip setting off at 6am.. Paul & Justin returned having seen little that they had not already seen on other snorkelling forays we have made so were a little disappointed with their day, however, Emily was diving so got to swim with a load of hammerhead and white tip sharks which was well worth the $130 it cost her.

I had planned to spend my day going on a snorkelling trip around the bay for just $35US .. but decided that I would pay a visit in the morning to the nearest beach, a short walk from the town. Once I was at the beach I decided I would stay there as it was actually a great place to explore. It is a long white talcum powder sand beach, I'm guessing about a mile long (I'm sure you could find it on Google Earth if you wanted to check it out)…

Ocean trash disposal... what can and cant go over the side?

As we traverse the oceans we try not to leave too much of an environmental impact from the waste we generate aboard.There are some types of waste we cannot keep on board for any length of time, black water being the most obvious, although we do have a limited holding capacity for when we are in port or areas where it is against the law to dispose of human waste direct to sea. Out on the deep ocean we have no qualms of disposing of our sewage straight to the sea. The same is true of our vegetable and food waste, which we dispose of over the side in the hope that it will degrade without any measurable impact on sea life. As a crew we are all agreed that all plastic waste should be kept aboard but what has split the crew straight down the middle is what to do with metal waste? One view is that as long as you ensure that the tin can is guaranteed to sink, and that the sea bed deep enough, then we should go ahead and throw them overboard. This half of the crew feel that the steel or alumin…

Galapagos tortoises...

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You can't go to the Galapagos without seeing a few of the giant tortoises.. Some are more genuine than others though!

3 more birds to identify...

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Here are 3 more birds I've managed to photograph... A finch, a canary and a flycatcher.

Name these birds!

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Here are four different birds spotted today on our walk (in tropical rain for much of it) At least one of these is not a native ofthe Galapagos probably having been introduced by ranchers in 1962 to eat ticks on cattle... Answers on a postcard addressed to...

Or leave your answers in he comment box for this post.

Galapagos landfall

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Well, after almost two days of slow motoring through glassy seas, it's seven in the morning and we have the Galapagos within a few miles as we make our way down to our anchorage in the Port of Entrance, Puerto Barquerizo Moreno.

Yesterday we crossed the equator and Neptune and his attendant made an appearance to quiz the two new line crossers, Emily and me.

Not everything in the sea is nice!

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I'm pretty sure you are a bit tired of seeing photos of us sitting in front of sunsets, lounging on white, palm fringed beaches and supping on exoticly named cocktails while we top up our tans.... and probably a bit sick of hearing how pretty, amazing, stunning, and all the other superlatives used in the various blogs being written from aboard Tin Tin , although I have to admit to not having read a single one of them (bar this one of course).

Well as the title of this post suggests I'm trying to redress the balance (just a little bit...) by showing you that there are down sides to this life cruising the tropics. I've included a photo to illustrate the point (and solicit sympathy from all of you reading this!).

A quick recap on my previous posting is in order as it is is linked to what I am reporting in this posting... ie. Pain! Justin and I decided that rather than sit on the beach in a pool of sweat we would do something productive and make a raft from material scavenge…

The Great Raft construction..... Isla Casaya, Las Perlas

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Following our visit to Mogo Mogo island where the Bear Grylls Survivor programme is filmed, we thought about how we would manage in the same situation. Today, we all went ashore to explore the beach we are anchored off, on the island of Casaya in the Las Perlas archipelago.

Our thoughts so turned to survival (and escape!). We started to search the debris line for suitable materials to construct a raft from which we could fish, or journey to neighbouring islands. It wasn't long before I found a large log and gave it a hearty kick to get it rolling down the beach.... It turned out to be a log of balsa so extremely light weight and with great buoyancy! We quickly sourced a long bamboo for an outrigger and two other shorter lengths of branch for stretchers whilst Emily returned with the perfect rope to allow us to make good strong lashings.. So within two hours of landing we had a working raft which Justin and I then paddled out to Tin Tin to fetch a hook and line for a bit of fishin…

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New photos album..... Panama to the Galapagos

I am now officially in the Pacific after crossing through the Panama canal. I thought you might like to look at my latest photo album/blog. https://goo.gl/photos/FNKNRL7es7CZEUbY9 is the link to it. I will be adding more to the album as and when I can get access to the internet. If you sign up as a follower of the album you will be notified when it is updated.

New photo album has been started

Use the following link to go to the Panama to Tahiti album...  As with the previous albums if you use the option to follow you will get updates when new content is added.  There may be a large gap after we leave Panama as we don't know what internet access we will get in the Galapagos, and then there will be a 3+ week gap when we sail from the Galapagos to our land fall on French Polynesia, Hiva Oa.

Tin Tin's 1st coral atoll anchorage...

If you have checked our position using this website page, http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/TinTin you might already have seen that we negotiated our way through some fairly narrow channels in the coral surrounding a set of islands just off the coast of Panama and anchored in calm waters just a mile or so away from the boiling cauldron and roar emanating from the reef where the waves come to an abrupt halt as they end their journey across the Caribbean Sea. Driven by the trade winds..... We anchored in what has been dubbed the 'swimming pool' just off 'BBQ island'.. Dubbed by the yachties who frequent this rather idyllic spot. We dropped anchor in 4m of water onto a pure white sand bottom and I could actually see the anchor dig in, the water was so clear. There were two other yachts already anchored here and we have since been joined by two catamarans. There is a 1.5 knts current flowing and the wind has abated to 30 knts! The current is caused by the v…

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Tin Tin has anchored off a small town close to Cabo de Vehlo (Cape of the sail) in Columbia. Clocks now set to GMT -5hrs. It's windy.. and 8 kite boarders are making fill use of it! We will stay here for a few hours before continuing towards Cartagena.

Antigua to Panama....in photos and to be updated as we travel

My photo album Antigua to Panama

Sardine Tin Tin... a delayed posting

For photos relevant to this section of the adventure please look at the blog entry posted previously with a link to my online album Antigua and Guadeloupe.It was with a little trepidation that we approached the transition from having four to eight people aboard, three of whom are under ten. After the initial settling in of the new crew and as one or two small teething troubles ('I want to go home' being one!) were overcome, every one has enjoyed the sun sand and swimming we have found on our sojourn around Antigua and then back to Guadeloupe and specifically the Ille-des -Saintes which you may have gathered,if you follow my Twitter account (@Ampthillmark), I regard as the closest thing to heaven on earth! We made a few exploratory sails between Falmouth bay and English harbour, including visits to Pigeon beach and a sail round to a reef to snorkel during which some crew members found that they had yet to find their sea legs and others saw spotted eagle Rays!Antigua, or at leas…

Cape Verde Photos

Here is a link to photos from our Cape Verde week Cape Verde

Guadeloupe & Antigua photos album

Use this link to see my photos of.Guadeloupe and Antigua...  I'll add more in here as and when I can!

Four days in Guadeluope...

Having decided, at Kyle and Niall's suggestion, to divert from an Antiguan landfall and head for a few days of exploring around Guadeloupe, we arrived in Pointe-a-Pitre and anchored mat midnight of the 2nd Jan. We celebrated with a shot of 'Paul's Punch' and the 1st mate presented medals all round to mark the completion of the Atlantic crossing, 1st time for 3 of us and the 2nd for Paul. The stats for the crossing were as follows, 2252 nm, in 13 days 11 hrs giving an average speed through the water of 6.97knts.We woke on the 3rd to find a mangrove fringed island behind us, 3 wrecked yachts and about 10 other yachts at anchor around us. After our first steady breakfast for two weeks we set off in the tender to complete customs and immigration formalities at the marina office opposite our anchorage before motoring round the bay to the centre of town. We tied up the tender next to a vegetable market crammed with colourful produce, and then went for a wander in search of …