Although we hadn’t yet bought our boat we were well aware of the thoroughbred qualities of a Sparkman and Stevens. Geoff, who hails from the Isle of Wight, is a frequent visitor to Antigua and his fine vessel, ‘Siesta’, is one such example of an S+S. In fact one could argue he’s really a resident, though he often crosses the pond on his own.
Remember that whilst we’d like to believe boating should be for everyone it’s still a rich-man’s sport, so when a bunch of reprobates turn up in a home-made cement boat and moor up next to some bling bling million dollar yacht we’re not exactly greeted with open arms. At first this bothered me. It bothered me that we didn’t look the part and it bothered me that we didn’t have leather hand-stitched upholstery and a fridge that prevents the smell of ripe Camembert to fill the entire boat as soon as one opens the fridge door.
neat bit of coding by Justin Adie that lists all the locations covered by followtheboat. The links are clickable but be aware that clicking on a link like ‘Green Island’ will bring up all blog posts that contain the words ‘green’ or ‘island’. Alternatively use […]
Liz and I were introduced to Geoff by Dobby, and is based in English Harbour working as a chippie. Originally reigning from Cowes, Isl of Wight, sailing is obviously in Geoff’s blood. He’s single-handedly crossed the pond a couple of times, which when you think about it is pretty remarkable.
Thirteen hundred miles hand-steered and no foresail, just two of the challenges we faced when completing our fifteen hundred mile trip from the Maldives to Malaysia. A complete account with observations, events, our turtle rescue and some great HD video clips including the one of Liz helming in a Force 6. Not to be missed!
I’ve jumped out of aeroplanes, mountain-biked the world’s most dangerous roads, surfed following seas at 15 knots, and hit storms off Africa that had crew throwing up, but nothing could have prepared me for the four days of hell Liz and I just endured. You see it wasn’t the weather itself that terrified us, it was the situation we found ourselves in after the first squall hit. We entered the Twilight Zone, and for four days got trapped in an increasingly desperate situation.
A week in a boat yard is never much fun, and after hauling Esper our misery was compounded by the discovery of some serious osmosis (water ingress). The joy of sailing the idyllic Maldives went out the window, at least for a few hours, as we inspected the water blisters covering many parts of the hull. Experts reassure us that osmosis isn’t as bad as people believe, but when you see the pictures of our rudder you might think twice before agreeing with them.
This is our final entry of our Rajathan trip, written by Octopussy…I mean Liz. Why Octopussy? Because we’re in Romantic Udaipur, where the rather kitch 1983 Bond movie was filmed. However, as Liz writes: “shunning the ‘antiques’, carpets, and tailoring being thrust at us we ended up by the water, watching the sun go down over Udaipur from the best viewpoint in town, in the company of professional photographers and the homeless.”
Now that I’ve secured a cat-sitter for Millie, I can start thinking about my return home. I have to renew my visa, you see, so today begins my search for a flight. At the same time Liz has clocked up a bank of air miles with her old business airline, Virgin, so if push comes to shove I could always use these to get back from Mumbai to the UK.
If, however, my experience will be anything like the famous Virgin Customer Complaints letter I think I’ll be looking for alternatives. Some of you may remember this one doing the rounds last year; it is now heralded as the greatest customer complaints letter ever written. It’s quite apt that it’s Virgin and that the flight concerned was from Mumbai to Heathrow, exactly the same flight I’ll be looking for. For those who missed it or have forgotten just how amusing the letter was we reproduce it here in all its glory, complete with photographic evidence:
Dear Mr Branson
REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008
I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.
Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.
Look at this Richard. Just look at it…
Our one and only stop after leaving Salalah, Oman, before arriving in India would be Ras Al Hallaniya island, which is part of the Kuria Muria Islands, 30 miles away from the piracy attack Liz and I overheard on the VHF the other week. What a place to celebrate my 15,000th nautical mile, especially after catching a beautiful dorado…
A couple more log entries, taking in some incredible nature and desolate spots. Of course most of these entries are documented by Jamie’s photography so click on the link below and discover Trinkitat and Khor Nawarat in Sudan. Mark my word, one day, maybe many decades in the future, these will be prime holiday spots. For the time being they are untouched by the evils of mankind!
Lipsi. A quintessentially Greek island untouched by the hoards of package holiday tourists that populate the bigger Dodecanese islands. I’d say the people here are a mix of holidaying Greeks, a few backpackers and a bunch of yotties, not forgetting the gentle locals, which makes for a very peaceful atmosphere indeed. These next few log entries, including a special post by Millie The Cat, cover the rest of the Dodecanese islands and start with Lipsi, which is littered with some of my fave photographs of the Dodecanese islands. Let me know what you think of them by leaving a comment at the end of the page!
It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of Christer Klingwall, owner and skipper of ‘Lady Jessie’, who took his own life last Monday, 20th April.
We would like to pay our respects to our sailing buddy by posting up some pictures and thoughts on followtheboat, which featured Christer in our last video clip. Mayke, Christer’s ex-wife with whom he remained close, said ‘Christer would love the idea of a tribute’. This article, then, will be a continually updated and amended page dedicated to a great sailor. If you would like to add your own comment, thought or photograph then please either use the comments form at the end of the article or email us.
We decided to head next door to Hassan’s, where we were looking forward to meeting the owner. Oh boy, did we meet the owner. I’m not sure if he had got out of bed the wrong side, if he’d just had some terrible news, or if he’d taken an instant dislike to us but he was the most unpleasant man we have met in Turkey. The exchange went something like this…
At Platres we admired the colonial mansions left by the Brits and stopped to wander round Cleopatra’s, a mad shop full of tat and car boot sale memorabilia, run by a tiny ancient ant-like woman with the innate charm of a Lady and well-oiled diplomat.
When you’ve lived the life of a gypsy, on a boat, in southern Turkey for a couple of years and have had scant access to the delights of western commercialism in one of its purest forms, it’s a little disconcerting to find yourself in a shopping mall… at Carrefour… next to Debenhams and round the corner from Ikea.
Batten down the hatches, climb the rigging and let the cabin boy out of the toilet as we set sail for the last time. FMFF steered, LJF put the sails up and RPL tried his hand at fishing off the back of Esper, two hours later all he had caught on his hook was his finger.
We anchored up at Creux harbour and as the sun went down Tim and I nipped ashore for a quick exploration and then back again to spend an evening of getting drunk whilst at anchor. We explored intellectual topics – just how fishy is fish from the north sea – and looked at the stars.
When I finally left I got a taxi ride to the airport, which took me through the inside of the island. As I said my memory is a little vague but that taxi journey sticks in my mind as being one of the best road-trips I’ve taken in my life. Why? I’m not sure. I think it was the stark contrast of a Caribbean blue sky, distant shimmering waters and the rich green vegetation of the banana plantations.