Captain Robert not only teaches us geography,
This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Captain Robert not only teaches us geography,
Monday, May 13, 2013
During the planning of the circumnavigation I expressed dread at the prospect of keeping my relatives and friends informed of my progress through email. I envisioned repetitions of the same messages and long CC lists. It was Stephen who suggested a blog, which to me was little more than a word that I had seen and heard. He explained how blogs worked and I immediately saw it as the ideal vehicle for my requirements because I would write things once and people could have a look whenever it suited them. Stephen then helped me get started with Google's blogging facility.
It didn't take long for the blog to take a life of its own. Because of my predilection for writing and the way my mind works I began to use it as a vehicle for personal documentation as well as communication with others.
In spite of limited success with reining in my garrulous and sesquipedalian tendencies (There I go again.) interest in the blog began to spread beyond those who knew me personally to those who were simply interested.
A few months later the site meter was introduced and I was able to see the locations of visitors which to my amazement covered every continent, and many locations far from the ocean. Rightly or wrongly, I felt a responsibility to these readers and tried my best to justify their interest. But given the variety of interests, what aspect of the adventure to write about? In the end all I could do was to write about things as I saw them.
As of this date the site meter (found by scrolling down to the bottom of the blog) reports that I have made 1866 postings over the last 5 years. There have been 96,124 visits and 168, 074 page views. If we include the 4,425 site visits that had been made before the site meter was installed the total number of visits to the blog is over 100,000.
The blog has been very rewarding to me, as a valuable personal history, an outlet for my inclination to write, and most of all whatever information and enjoyment the blog may have provided to others, particularly those far removed from the sea and boating. I know that there were people who began their day by checking on the blog.
Writing the blog has become a major part of my routine of daily living and it will be difficult to wean myself from it, but there is no point in keeping it going artificially. Having said that, it could be many months before the blog is finished because the aftermath of a circumnavigation is a relevant part of the story. My suggestion is to take an occasional peek into the blog.
Many people have suggested that I produce a book and my typical response is that there is already a lot of sailing material out there and besides, it is all in the blog. However, it is possible that one day I may do a massive editing job and reduce the blog material to book length which I would publish privately. But if I do this it will have to be sooner rather than later because with the rapidly changing technology of boating much of my experience will become dated very quickly.
Finally, I give my thanks and appreciation to all of the people who have taken an interest in the blog. I will be happy to answer any questions on the circumnavigation from anybody anywhere. Questions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Wishes to All,
Fremantle, Western Australia
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I met Ken, the father of Jeremy, one of the co-owners of the Bavaria 40 to be moved from D81 to the adjacent D79 in order to make way for Pachuca. We worked well together preparing the lines for the move, and soon Dan, another co-owner, arrived, and being younger and more nimble was very helpful by perching on top of posts working on the big rusty shackles with a large adjustable spanner. Soon we had their boat safely berthed in her new home then the three of us went to the Customs jetty to motor Pachuca to her pen.
|Ken and Dan|
|Moving to D79|
While we were preparing Pachuca for the move an acquaintance of Ken handed over a box with about two dozen bottles of beer in ice water for seemingly no particular reason, and for the rest of the morning's effort we had all of the ice cold beer that we wanted.
We got Pachuca into her pen with no problem and Ken led the way in setting up my mooring lines with enough flexibility to deal with the rise and fall of the tides, because the Fremantle Sailing Club has fixed rather than floating jetties.
Dan then had to leave and Ken and I sat on Pachuca's cabin swapping yarns over a couple more beers. It was great to be back in Australia.
I had been very concerned about moving Pachuca to her pen and on this morning everything had worked out perfectly. I had helped Ken and Dan move their boat, they had helped me move mine, and we future neighbors had become acquainted. I was looking forward to meeting Jeremy.
|Pachuca in Her Pen|
I also met with Kim, who had installed the original pen lines and "pen pal" harness in 2006 and commissioned him to install new pen lines, which will be done next week. With the fixed jetties the pen lines must be set up in a special way, with heavy concrete weights hanging from chains at each corner of the boat in order to dampen movements. The lines must be free enough to deal with the tides but tight enough to keep the boat centered in the pen. I handed over two concrete weights that I had made in 2006 and Kim will provide the other two.
The "pen pal" harness will be set up after my return from overseas in September. It is designed to guide the boat into the pen and restrain her from moving too far forward and making contact with the jetty. In September I will also have new cushions mounted on the four posts of the jetty. I have the philosophy of taking every measure possible to help me move the boat in and out of her pen without damage.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
|Iceberg 9 miles away|
Friday, May 3, 2013
Home. From the time I approached the marina on the boat I began to feel like someone who had just woken from a coma. For the last 4 days as I have begun to move around the city my reactions have been along the lines of "I remember that" as though I am recovering from amnesia, which I suppose I have in a sense.
|With Peter Sumner of Arrival Day|
On the day after my arrival Brenda and I visited the Fremantle Sailing Club and it was great to be back and become reacquainted with its wonderful facilities and setting. In my travels I had not seen a yacht club that matched the setting, size, layout, and management of the FSC. We walked along D jetty to see my pen and along the way had an interesting conversation with the skipper of a Dufour 385 who would be participating in the Fremantle-Bali race and rally (http://fremantlebali.com.au/). We then worked our way to the pen, while I checked out every boat along the way, some old neighbours, some new to me. At the pen (D81) I had a look at Jeremy's boat and the condition of the rope harness which was designed to guide the boat into the pen. I also introduced myself to Chris in the adjacent pen (D79) because I knew that they were about to depart on an extended cruise. On 8 May Jeremy would move his boat from D81 to D79 and I would bring Pachuca home to her pen D81.
During my travels I had been harbouring thoughts of resettling in La Paz but just two days back in Fremantle dispelled all such notions. Australia is my home and this is where I want to live, but having said that, thanks to the speed and affordability of modern air travel I see myself making regular visits to North America and Mexico.
Two days after than Brenda drove me to Darlington for a very important visit. We went to the post office where I signed a redirection order then visited the office of the real estate office that has been managing the lease of my house and had a good chat about the property and its future.
By then I had already decided that it was time to sell my house in Darlington and move to Fremantle. It had not been an easy decision because I had built much of it myself during a time of different visions and dreams of the future, but the 5 year adventure had changed me and it was time to let go to pursue another vision. To have renovated the house and remained would have been to live in a monument to the past. The center of gravity of my life had shifted from the hills to the sea and after having spent 29 years commuting between Darlington and Murdoch University 30 km away toward Fremantle I didn't want to face whatever number of active years remaining commuting 40 km to Fremantle.
The best time for selling property in the hills is the spring when everything is lush, green, and flowery, so the plan is to put the house on the market in September at about the time I return from my visit to the USA. I'll then look for a secure and low maintenance place in the Fremantle area where I can rely more on travel by foot, bicycle, and public transport and less on travel by car.
We then drove around the corner to the house for my first look in 5 years. Fortunately Bob, the father of the teneant was home, and he gave us permission to visit my garage any time. In that garage were stored all of my household furnishings and the small car (a zippy Barina that I love to drive) that thanks to Reg was waiting for me ready to go. Reg had started the car and driven it for a complete service, a new battery, and two new front tyres. One turn of the key and the engine burst into life immediately. Fortunately I had kept up the registration of the car so there were no licensing issues.
Yesterday I attended to some urgent business. Club Marine and other large marine insurance companies have stopped providing 3rd party insurance and will sell only comprehensive cover. After 5 years at sea dealing with all sorts of hazards with no insurance coverage I could see no point in spending big dollars for being forced to under insure the boat. I had become accustomed to regarding the welfare of the boat as being totally my responsibility. Also, this boat that had been strong enough to have recently rounded the Horn would have to be hauled out for inspection, and the nearly new rigging that had been installed in Argentina would have to be checked by a professional. Fortunately Trident Insurance will be able to provide the 3rd party cover that I require, with no requirement to have the boat surveyed.
I also visited Customs with my passport. I had not been able to find my passports during my clearance procedure and fortunately had been allowed to stay on the strength of my WA drivers license. However, I had been asked to present my passport for sighting after I found it. I subsequently spent literally hours searching for those passports with no success. At 4 AM one morning while I was still half asleep my mind had drifted around the cabin of the boat. I visited the navigation station and because I had already visited the rest of the cabin I moved my consciousness to aft of the nav station. I mentally went through the door to the communications closet and zoomed in on the yellow grab bag. Of course! After encountering the two icebergs I quietly prepared to abandon ship if I hit an iceberg on my way to the north out of harm's way, and I had moved my two passports from their usual position into the grab bag. Brenda and I visited the boat after breakfast and the passports were there. Customs has an interesting setup for telephone contact: if you ring the first number you never get an answer, and if you ring the second one you always get a busy signal. After 2 days of this nonsense I visited the Customs building, which was interesting because everything inside the building was locked up and there was nobody around. I rang a buzzer for people inquiring about goods in quarantine and fortunately the officer who emerged was very helpful and soon my passport had been officially sighted.
Then we went to the gigantic Garden City Mall where I faced the task of having my Medibank Private health insurance reinstated without prejudice. The issue is whether my coverage is continued as an old member or started as a new member. If my coverage starts as a new member I will have to pay big dollars for the coverage based on my advanced age. Fortunately the man attending to me was sharp and very helpful and it appears that my coverage will be reinstated.
Brenda noted that this day marked the 5th anniversary of the beginning of the circumnavigation. She, Arnold, and I had sailed out of Fremantle on 3 May 2008.
There are many things to do and people to see before my departure to the USA in early June, and it will keep me busy, though I'm confident that I'll be able to do it all.
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