3 planes, 4 countries, 5 hours

Blog 16

After sorting and delivering the last of the supplies to the various villages and communities I started to make videos with the photos from the Rotary Club showing what they’d done. I also got involved with a school in Portsmouth (CALLS a school for disadvantaged teens 17 to 21). From Monday to Friday I would go to the school 10 till 12 and help the teenagers with their English, I mostly helped a Dominican girl, Sabrina, with her English and am pleased to say she improved a lot.

Me and Sabrina

Me and Sabrina.

 

A few weeks later, Ben with his boat Mistress arrived from Sint Maarten with some more supplies (mostly clothes, bedding and water). We got it into a safe storing place and then it was taken to a family of 9 who had lost most of their things in the floods. Ben had a crew member with him (Natasha) who came down to do some volunteering, she and Ben decided to come and volunteer in the school.

The plan after Ben arrived was I would move on board as he was heading down south to Trinidad or Grenada. I spent a week on board with him and Natasha but then my visa was due up and after a bit of thinking I realized my time in Dominica was probably coming to an end, so I decided with Marijn, Petra, Mum and Dad that I would go and spend some time on board Twentse Meid as they were in Grenada and heading off to Bonaire.

At an unreasonably time in the morning (03:30 to be precise) on the 25th I got up and got a taxi to the airport. My first flight was Dominica to Antigua, then from Antigua to Barbados and finally Barbados to Grenada, in total it took 5 hours (even with two of the planes being late) and I arrived in Grenada on time, with my luggage!

A few days before Halloween all the kids (and teenagers in disguise as dinghy drivers) went trick n treating with the dinghies in Mount Hartman bay – we acquired a lot of candy. After the trick n treating there was a party at Secret Harbour.

After the party we went round to Prickly bay to fill up with water and then to St. Georges where we got the last of the shopping. Before we left Grenada we went snorkeling on the sculpture park, as well as going to fish Friday in Gouyave. We then sailed to Carriacou, we caught a nice big Wahoo along the way which we had for lunch. A few days later we set sail for Bonaire….

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Twentse Meid in the sunset...

Dominica – tropical storm Erika relief

Blog 15

On the 28th of August, tropical storm Erika hit Dominica leaving 20 people dead and many more missing. Every river in Dominica burst its banks washing away hundreds of homes.

We had been watching the storm for a while and when it hit Willie from Liahona jumped into action and started collecting stuff to send. An idea came about that I could maybe go to Dominica by joining a charity boat (http://members.internationalrescuegroup.org/group/caribbean-thunderbird-5) as they were in St. Lucia gathering supplies to go up. I got hold of the captain of the boat, and it was organized I would go, before I went we got all the dontations we had collected together and went down south of Trinidad to Claxton Bay, where it was all put on a tug.

A week before I left, Twentse Meid arrived with Marijn, Senne, Marjolien, Petra and Ton on board. Marijn came to visit during J’ouvert last year, but the rest of them we hadn’t seen in 3 years. We did a lot of catching up, going to the movies, swimming, helping getting the donations onto the tug, Marijn and I tried to dye our hair purple, but failed.

Besties

I arrived in St. Lucia in the evening and got a taxi to Rodney Bay Marina where Sir Martin II (the charity boat) was docked. After meeting the crew and having a gorgeous meal with some Italian people I went to bed.

The firemen came down to help get all the supplies on board, we made a chain of people, we first put in all the water, 2/3 lays of water in each cabin, then we put the boxes on top. We also had barrels which we tied on deck. It took around 5 and a half hours to get everything on board. By the time we had everything on board it was too late to go to the fuel dock, so we stayed another night.

In the early afternoon the next day we went to the fuel dock, filled up with fuel and ice and then set off. The water was flat calm and there was no wind, We motored the whole way and put out the fishing rods, although we didn’t even get one bite. The passage took 17 hours and we arrived around 8:30 in the morning.

After checking in with Customs and Immigration, we all chilled a bit. In the afternoon some volunteers came down and we started to unload the boat, it took us all afternoon and we only finished just before the sun set. In total we reckon we offloaded around 11 tons of supplies.

The next day we motored up to Portsmouth (we tried to catch some fish, but failed miserably yet again). After tying up some volunteers from the Rotary Club came down to help us get the supplies off. Then in the evening we went out to Mangos for dinner and internet.

The next plan for Sir Martin II was to head off for Haiti, I wasn’t comfortable with going, so after some talking it was decided I would stay with Marilyn, who was one of the volunteers.

A few days later I went to help get some supplies from Guadeloupe into the the building where all the supplies have been stored. Then we emptied all the boxes and sorted out all the stuff into different piles (pasta, rice, baby food, etc) and then made packages for families with one or two of everything in. Afterwards, Kevin, another volunteer and I went and delivered some the of the packages to a village south of Portsmouth and then water to the firefighters in Douglas-Charles airport as they had tap water but it is contaminated.

 

Thank you to Digicel St. Lucia, Bluewater St. Lucia, Rotary Club St. Lucia and everyone else who donated.

 

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Catch up blog!

Blog 13

So I haven’t written a blog in an extremely long time and have been doing so much to blog about! So this is going to be more of a photo blog, but I will do a little explaining first. After the Spice Island Billfish Tournament, Bryn and I went racing in the Grenada Sailing week on a yacht called Eagles’ Wings (we came 7th in our class but it was still great fun).

After my 17th birthday we sailed down to Trinidad as Bryn and I had our exams in early May and had to do some studying without distraction. After our exams (we both passed!) I did my STCW2010 course which I need to work on boats. Then after a little (well maybe quite a lot actually) help from a friend (thanks Matt!), I got a place to stay near Antibes, South of France. So on the 25th of May, off I went with my little (big) bag to the airport.

In France I stayed with John, Judy and Jen, who had a house just 10 minutes away by car from Antibes. After a few days of recovering from jet lag, I started with a bit of day work on their boat to get the hang of it and then I went dock walking.

With the Antibes Panerai Classic Regatta looming, I got some day work on a beautiful 20m classic, Rowdy. The next day I was invited to race with them — we came 1st in our class and I was invited to race in Italy.

Two weeks later I met some of the crew in Cannes and we drove down to Argenterio near Roma. We took line honours in every race, although we came 3rd in our class. After the regatta, some of the crew and I took the train to Roma where we flew back to France, but not before we had lunch outside the Colosseum.

La Ciotat.

La Ciotat.


After doing some day work in La Ciotat I went back to Antibes and booked a flight to Cork in Ireland. I was greeted at the airport by Grandad and Angela. A few days later, Mum, Dad and Bryn arrived. We spent a week in Ireland before we headed off to North Wales.

Firstly we stopped off Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwic) for a few days to catch up with some friends before heading down to Llangollen were it was the week of the Eisteddfod.

Over the week we caught up with friends and family. Bryn and I went up to a place called the Pancake and had a small lime, we also went to see UB40 live on the last night of the Eisteddfod. For Dad’s birthday, Bryn, Dad and I went zip lining in Zipworld Snowdonia. It is the longest zip line in Europe at 1.2 miles long. We did roughly 95 mph and took less than a minute. It was totally worth it.

Then we went to Aberystwyth for a few days, where we watched Jules Holland live, as well as meeting people and visiting the marina we used to keep Cape in.

After Aberystwyth we went to Carrog for a couple of nights. We had a Bolivian BBQ with some old school friends and we played badminton (I was embarrassingly bad and became the official photographer instead).

Early in the morning, we set off for Pembrokeshire to go camping for a few days. Of course because we decided to go camping, the weather went from being relatively warm (for Wales) to cold and rainy. Rain didn’t stop play and we went to the beach and hired wetsuits and went surfing, which was great fun. The next day it poured down almost all the time (the tent almost blew away in the night) so we went to the cinema and watched Minions.

From Pembrokeshire we drove to Swansea to see Grandma and Luke (our half brother) for a few days. We met up with Luke for a Chinese one night and then the next day we met up with Grandma for lunch. We then spent the last afternoon chilling in the Marriott hotel pool.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a flight back on the same day, or even week, as Mum, Dad and Bryn, so we they left I got a train back Llangollen and stayed at Catherine’s house. That week I didn’t do too much, I practiced a bit of photography, and explored as well as meeting friends in the evenings. A few days before heading home, Matt (a different Matt) another of the Rowdy crew came and visited before he went back to London.

The water in St. Lucia on my way home.

The water in St. Lucia on my way home.


A Caribbean sunset on my arrival home.

A Caribbean sunset on my arrival home.

Spice Island Billfish Tournament 2015

Blog 12

On the 20th of January I caught a bus to the Yacht Club in St. George to meet the boat on which I was going to be doing the 46th Spice Island Billfish tournament. I was the official photographer for the boat, and I also did a lot of the driving. The anglers on board were Noble (who was on El Zorro last year), Christopher, Richard and Fizal (who is the owner and captain of the boat). Bryn and Dad went on the local boat, Irish Cream II, whilst Jim, Chris from Anne Bonny and Grahame went on the British boat, Bail Out.
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Bryn, Dad, Chris and I got up really early on the first day so we could get the boats ready and have breakfast (which was provided). At around 06:45 we left the dock and slowly started heading out to the Bimini start. We only released one fish that day, however it was a sailfish so we did quite well.

Day two wasn’t as good, we didn’t catch any billfish, although we caught 6 barracuda and one dorado for dinner. I stayed on Godda Go that night, as it was easier than getting a taxi from Cape.
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On the Lay Day we stayed on the boats in the morning, relaxing, looking at all the photos and footage from the cameras, and eating. In the afternoon we went to Grand Anse beach for a quick swim, but the water was freezing so we didn’t stay long before coming back.

On the last day we caught barracudas, and one massive blue marlin. It took 45 minutes to get the fish in; unfortunately it knocked itself out on the back of the boat, so after we had got the lure out, we had to revive it before releasing it.

In the evening it was the award ceremony and tournament dinner. We didn’t win anything, but the top 13 boats were:
1st place Arabian Princess
2nd place Abracadabra
3rd place Gud Tyme
4th place Blue Fever
5th place Barracuda
6th place Exile
7th place London Pride
8th place Sweet Peace
9th place Gold Spoon
10th place Kala Girl
11th place Reel Extreme
12th place Temptation
13th place Maestro.

It was a good tournament, I can’t wait until the next one!

Update

Blog 11
It has been a few months since my last blog and since then we have been to Trinidad, stayed there for 3 and a half months and are now back in Grenada.

Mum, Bryn and I were quite occupied while down in Trinidad while Dad went away to work. We have been catching up with school, Bryn and I joined TTSA and did a term of dinghy sailing, and we have doing jams on Monday nights.

I also decided to strip the paint from my bedroom. It is a slow process. I took the cupboards off first, stripping the paint off them, then sanding them back. After doing the cupboards, I took everything out of my room, took all the fittings from the walls, put on a boiler suit (I get rashes from the paint) and started scraping. I got about half way, but to finish it I will need an electric sander and a few other tools which we don’t have yet. So the rest will have to wait.

On the 21st of September it was the Bart’s Bash. Bryn and I raced on C-Mos coming 36th out of 46 boats.


We often took Cape down de islands, or to TTSA, so we could scrub the hull and go wakeboarding (our new toy!). Bryn and I also went liming to a house on Gaspar Island with Didier, Danielle and Daniela from El Zorro.

A few weeks ago we did a new type of Taste of Trini with Jesse James. It was a tour of the western side of the island (where we hadn’t been before) and we got to try a lot of the local foods, 61 different foods in total.

When Dad got home we got the boat ready to go to sea. We went into Crews Inn marina for a few weeks, as we were having a new ‘patio extention’ put on. On the 28th of November we left Trinidad and sailed to Grenada. We had a good, fast passage; it only took 13 hours and we arrived at 22:30 to fireworks on Calvigny Island.

We have met up with some of our friends we haven’t seen in a while; Emma from Daydreamer, Keiran from Avatar, and Yohannes and Jim. We have been doing lots of wakeboarding, volleyball, four square and monopoly and generally just being teenagers.

Grenada once again

Blog 10

Two weeks after Barbados, we got Cape ready and left for Grenada. We had an excellent, fast sail over with good wind and it wasn’t too rough.

Since we got here Bryn and I have been playing volleyball every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; it hasn’t taken long to get back what we had forgotten! We have met up with Jim from Lily Maid, Yohannes from New Horizon and they have also been playing volleyball with us. On Fridays we sometimes meet up with Adam from Merlin and some of our Grenadian friends we hadn’t seen since we were here in December.

Playing volleyball.

Playing volleyball.

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Flutin' and tootin'

Flutin’ and tootin’

Jammin'

Jammin’

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Grand Anse beach.

Grand Anse beach.


Last Sunday Bryn and I went out with some friends, Grahame and Tanya, to visit a cave and snorkel the Sculpture Park further up the island. We left around 10ish in the morning and arrived at Black Bay where the cave was. First we walked to the beach, before heading to the cave. It was small, and full of fruit bats, which was pretty cool. Afterwards we went to Dragon Bay and the Sculpture Park. The sculptures weren’t as impressive as I thought they would be as they didn’t look very well maintained. They were spread out so we had to swim around for a while to find each one. However the marine life was diverse; we saw lots of colourful coral, and the fish swam so close to us we were hitting them with our fins.
Bryn and I.

Bryn and I.

The ring of children.

The ring of children.

The reef.

The reef.

Fish.

Fish.

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Fan coral.

Fan coral.

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The hole at the other end of the cave.

The hole at the other end of the cave.

The cave with a bat flying out.

The cave with a bat flying out.

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Black Bay

Black Bay

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Fire Coral.

Fire Coral.

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Barbados May Sailing Regatta


Blog 9
On the 12th of May; Bryn, Mum and I went over to immigration so Bryn and I could sign off Cape and onto C-Mos: We were going to Barbados to do the Barbados May Regatta.

After we had signed off and checked out, Chris, Mark, Norman, Adrian, Bryn and I went over to TTSA to get the boat ready; we had planned to leave by mid-morning, but we had to load the boat up. We left TTSA dock at around 15:30 and headed out towards the Boca. The sea wasn’t too rough, but I was glad I was wearing a patch so I didn’t get sea sick. We sailed at around 6/7 knots towards Tobago, tacking our way up, getting almost everything and everyone salty and wet. We arrived at Store Bay the next morning, where we took down the sails and motored around Pigeon Point so we could have some food (pot noodles) before carrying on.

Barbados
During the night the wind changed directions a few times, and when we came into sight of Barbados in the morning we were 26 miles south of our track so we spent 4 hours going against the current so we could go to Bridgetown to check in. We went onto the dock in Bridgetown in between a big cruise ship and a gigantic pleasure yacht called Topaz. While Norman and Adrian went to check in, Bryn, Chris, Mark and I had a drink and put all the sails away. When that was done we went around to Carlisle Bay, put the boat on a buoy, offloaded all our stuff into the small dinghy with a 2HP outboard and went ashore to the hotel.

In the morning we all had a lie-in before getting up, having breakfast and offloading C-Mos. Mark, Bryn and I went for a walk in Bridgetown before going out for the Skipper’s meal in the evening.

Racing
On the first day of racing we all got up early, ate and headed out to the boat. We got out the racing sails and set out into the bay to join the other boats. We would be racing against Rapajam and Bruggadung 2. We came 2nd in both races.

Top Gear
On Saturday at 05:15 Bryn woke me up and we slowly got ready to go to the Barbados Top Gear Festival. Mark and Fidel (a Barbadian friend) picked us up and we drove to Bushy Park where the event would be taking place. Arriving at 06:00, we waited with the crowd until the gates opened 07:30. We had second class seats, which was the best place to be it turned out, as everything happened right next to us. We saw some amazing cars, plus we got to see Lewis Hamilton and Ken Block racing each other! Top Gear did some wicked things, like playing football (Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May against The Stig, Ken Block and Lewis Hamilton) in Reliant Robins, drifting, donuts, and racing each other in sports cars. The rallying afterwards was also really good; they went so fast and were so loud!

Last day of racing
On the Sunday we raced again, the wind was a bit better than last time, but we came 3rd in both races; in the second race we didn’t have enough time, we had just finished the first race and they started the second race, and we were rushed. We went swimming when we got back to the hotel and had a relaxing evening while Adam (one of the crew) went to the prize giving to find out that we had come 3rd overall.

Last Day in Barbados
On the day before we left, Bryn, Chris and I got up really late, had breakfast, loaded everything we had taken off C-Mos to race back onto the boat. We then went into Bridgetown, did some shopping, and walked back along the beach to the hotel. We then checked out of our hotel room (Chris shared a room with Bryn and I) as for the last night we stayed in Norman’s room. We spent the afternoon liming on the beach.

Heading home
Norman and Adrian went and checked out early in the morning, while Mark, Chris, Bryn and I loaded the last set of stuff onto the boat. We left at 15:30, put the jib up and motor-sailed down to Charlotteville, doing watches of 2 hours on 6 hours off with two people on watch each time.
We arrived at Charlotteville late afternoon the next day, got some oil for the engine and went for a quick swim before carrying on to Chaguaramas. We reached the Boca early in the morning and went around the outside of Gaspar Island before going into Customs and Immigration.
After lunch we took C-Mos around to TTSA and offloaded everything (again!), had a drink and then went home.

Point Fortin Regatta

Blog 8
After carnival and people visiting we got back to doing school and boat jobs in the mornings and meeting up with our friends in the afternoon. On the 3rd of May there was a regatta going down to Point Fortin, 28 miles south of Chaguaramas. Alex from Margie, Bryn and I crewed on C-Mos, while Alex’s parents sailed down on their boat and Mum and Dad sailed down on Cape.

There was a skippers’ briefing at 08:30 and the race started at 09:30 at the five islands, just off TTSA. As soon as the horn went we put up the #1 jib and started sailing at 7.5/8 knots and soon the other boats were quite far behind us. After about an hour the wind was starting to come from the port stern, so we put up the spinnaker. Bryn and I had never raced a big boat before or used a spinnaker, so it was really cool to get to use one. We reached the finish line in just under 4 hours, unfortunately as we were dropping the spinnaker it went in the water and ripped, so we had to put up the #1 jib to actually finish. As soon as we anchored and had put away all the sails, Joӱa came in, followed by the rest of the fleet.

When we went ashore at the Clifton Bay Beach Resort we were greeted by the friendly regatta staff and given t-shirts, cups and coolers, and were able to buy dinner tickets for later that evening. At 19:30 we sat down to dinner, followed by prizegiving. C-Mos came first in the racing class and overall winners, but only by 1 minute because of our handicap; we also won the Mayor’s Cup. David Bereaux, a calypso singer, and a pan band entertained us for a few hours before we crashed after the busy day.

At 07:00 the next the morning we went ashore for breakfast, before going back to C-Mos to sail back to TTSA. We had a relaxing sail back with a smaller jib. We arrived back at 15:40 and took the spinnaker ashore to dry and to see if it could be repaired. At around 17:30 Dad came to pick us up in the dinghy and took us back to Cape, where we had fish that Dad had caught for dinner before having an early night.