And really the last Log until, Kilcullen Voyager Version II, continues sometime in the future.
(That is unless the skipper gets locked-up on returning to Ireland, and the keys get lost…)
OUR LOG 11 days ago, on making a landfall in Otago was the last. Since I have learned that never is a word never to use. So, this update, is for those who have been curious as to what is happening on our odyssey - since falling off the Vendee radar.
But, most of all, this Day 74 Voyage Log, is to say thanks to many well- and the wonderful support we have had.
And WOW, it has been a whirlwind. 24 hours after getting ashore in Otago, built on the back of the great KIWI Gold Rush, the planning started.
Landing in this remote location, (me and the boat) knowing no one, has been an adventure all on its own and a challenge. In the context of life itself, it’s a ‘first world problem’ and we are lucky to be alive, to live.
Now a week later we have a new, ‘old mast’ which is temporary and we have made a landfall at Timaru up the coast. And tomorrow, Thursday at dawn, we set out for Christchurch.
All last week, as we made preparations in Otago, it was headline daily news in the local media. Being truthful, not a lot happens there and great people.
Over 100 souls came to send us off. There was fanfare, including an Irish folk band and am Barbeque.
And now as we move up along the coast, it’s akin to having a lawnmower engine on a Formula One car….
Our happy departure, is thanks to the fisherman they call ‘Rambo', (Steve Little) who towed us in (we did not call rescue services) and his wife Joe. I stayed above their pub – the Cary Inn at Carey’s Bay.
Another champion, who helped was Tony Cummins, who won the lotto – otherwise Barbeque Bill. A solid barrel of a man, he is a lead volunteer with the Spirit of Adventure Trust charity – similar to the Atlanitc Youth Trust. Recently he was nominated World Volunteer of the Year by Sail Training International.
His lotto win was being the sole survivor of a shipwreck when 3 perished. Others who helped include Stu McLachlan, Martin Balch, Blair Mc Nabb and many more. Now the Kilcullen has a new old mast and sails – compete with a VHF aerial, navigation lights and an AIS safety transmitter.
Also, Paddy O’Connor, a Roscommon emigrant to Cork, formerly of the Irish Naval Service and incredibly skilled and an old friend, who happened to be on the South Island was fantastic.
We started in fair winds and went straight out to sea, making an amazing 5 to 6 knots. A day later the forecast became less favourable with rapidly moving weather systems off the coast.
Our choice was to go right offshore, considered safer until the winds became more favourable to get us to Christchurch or go to an intermediary port, Timaru.
Truckloads, literally, of kelp bladder type seaweed made this decision for us and the unfavourable forecast. During the night, we sailed through a massive clump which wrapped around the keel and the sail drive on our auxiliary motor – jamming the shaft.
Happily, disabled again after almost 2 days at sea we made it to Timaru without assistance or calling for help. It is a commercial port with massive container ships and little small boat facilities. Early morning, unassisted we rounded the lead breakwater – coming dangerously close to the rocks – and anchored inside to get a tow onto a berth later by the harbour launch.
Following a dive, kindly completed by David Tee, the amount of seaweed around the keel was staggering.
Finally, in the first of many ‘Ands’, without the ‘Buts’ - And now suitably rested, at dawn Friday morning 20th January, with the wind moving into the West and South West, we sail North for Christchurch.
And this is really the last log for while - as your humble skipper will stop - get back to work and sort of normal life - should that be possible.
And either on Kilcullen Voyager 1 or II, (another boat) - depending on costs and repairs to finish the adventure And circumnavigation - And sometime in the future – unless of course as outlined at the start, I get locked up.
And once again, thanks for sharing the adventure. Thanks for the wonderful support and interest.
And most of all the great interest generated through the MSL Mercedes-Benz Schools programme.
Here our work in promoting vision and of the Atlantic Youth Trust charity - with its mission to connect youth with the Ocean and Adventure – make it all worthwhile.
And of course INVIVO, through the BIOLINE brand, a unique ‘next generation’ solution for farming - reaping the harvest together, one might add. And did I mention……
And the sea, a bit like being in the ring with an imortal boxer or Duracell Bunny. He keep chipping away until you’re knocked out, but you always get up and go to fight another round, until no more.
Live itself, lucky to be lived. Merci