Thursday, 21 October 2010

One of the toughest days yet….

We woke up at 7:30am but Nina, Nuala, Heather and Iman actually got out of bed at 8:30! We got our well earned shower in the onshore facilities and when we were in the showers we all felt as if we were swaying!. As we were getting changed we got scared by a seemingly mad cleaning lady but she was only trying to be friendly!!

Emma, Phoebe and Natalie cooked a great breakfast of scrambled egg, sausage and Karen’s amazing toast with no accidents this time. We then got ready into our oilies and set off out of the lock in Whitehaven for Piel Island.

We had a very rocky first half hour or so when everyone got soaked. It then calmed down a bit but with still very big waves. We sailed all the way to Piel Island and Ian said that we had experienced the toughest day that he had ever been on with year 8 crew, on Tenacity! It took us 6 hours and we are all hardened sea dogs now. Although we did all sleep most of the way and if we didn’t we were just lying down trying to shelter from the elements.
Although the average windspeed was a force six, this was our strongest gust of the day:

We didn’t have any lunch today so we are now all munching on a variety of things such as crisps, sweets and apples. Natalie, Emma and Phoebe are making fish and chips for tea. Phoebe has only just started helping after trying to go to sleep but told not to otherwise she wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.

We have all really enjoyed our trip. Although we have all missed our families and are looking forward to seeing them we want to stay on Tenacity because in a weird way it feels like home now. Though we have suffered with the weather and seasickness we will never forget this trip.

By Nina and the rest of the crew helped ;)

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Long day

This morning we were woken up at 7:30am to find out that someone had blocked the toilet so we spent half the morning trying to unblock it(well Ian did).

For breakfast we were making pancakes, we made lots of different combinations including Nuala’s chocolate spread, nutella, peanut butter, golden syrup, banana and sugar. Iman and Heather were flipping the pancakes and were failing miserably.

We set off at 11:00 for Whitehaven, it was a fun journey, and we got to have a go at steering the boat which was great fun. Luckily no one was too ill. We had jacket potato for our lunch we got to eat it on deck.

After lunch we had the chance to have all of the sails out which was really good, there were waves so big we got thrown from one side to the other when Ian said it wasn’t even that bad! To pass the time on the 8 hour journey we sang lots of songs from the Beatles to High School Musical.

For tea we had turkey korma with rice and naan bread, YUM YUM! We then retired to a well deserved sleeping bag.

Phoebe and Nuala

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


After getting up at the crack of dawn – 7am – we shoved on all our recently soaked layers and set off into the horizon, only to meet a big steel gate – the locks…

For breakfast, we had cereal then had a bacon butty once we were inside the locks. After half an hour of sailing most of us had buckets in our arms, throwing up every now and then, these people included (in this order): Heather, Nina and Phoebe. Most of us found it easier to look out at sea, to the land, because it was such a rocky boat journey. But they are all feeling all right now. Every second of the journey all you could hear was ‘are we there yet!?’(The noise was mainly coming from Natalie).

Unfortunately we could not make it to the Isle of Man today because of the wind direction; we are now in Piel Island and are staying here over night… when we got to the Island, we made hot dogs for lunch – YUMMY! We then went in the dinghy again to get to the island. Karen showed us how to fall over in spectacular style! We played hide and seek and human dominoes!!! Nina got followed by a dog (it was chewing her coat!!!).
Now we are making chocolate tiffin, and whilst we are sitting in their room, typing this, the bow group are making us some Spaghetti Bolognaise – mmmmmm…. better go get some food then!!!!!!

By Natalie and Heather – and the rest of the crew xxx

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Monday, 18 October 2010

Dinghy day

We were up early this morning after Iman having had only 4 and a half hours sleep.
For breakfast we had eggy bread it was gorgeous with a side order of ketchup or sugar. After washing up we started to appreciate the things parents do for us at home or as Phoebe said “It’s called a dishwasher.”
Next we got into the gear for the sailing training; we all looked like tellytubbies plodding around. Then we learnt the ropes to attach the boat to the side. When it came to practice it would have helped if the wind had not been gusting at over 30 knots.
While we worked we sang sea songs “when I was 1 I bit my thumb the day I went to sea….etc.”
Today we stayed in Glasson dock all day (a bit of a letdown but we still had fun), we are looking forward to moving on tomorrow … maybe to the Isle of Man!!!!
Later on we went dinghy driving! Natalie went round and round in circles (she didn’t really catch on; she needs to practice pushing and pulling)!
At the end of dinner Ian managed to pour the uneaten rice onto the floor (similar to when Natalie fell onto the cooker and spilt the pan of soup at lunch.) For desert we had the legendary chocolate fondue!
Now we’re munching on chocolate and haribos, whilst singing to the radio. 
By Iman and Emma…. (the rest of the crew helped ;) )
Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Sunday night update

Just a quick blog from the skipper, Ian, to let you know the girls have all settled in well. Judging by the smiles and laughter they are squealishly excited and happy. The young ladies surprised us by wanting to go to bed early saying, and I quote, “I am tired”. Just after 10 silence reigned and sleep came easily.
Karen, Ian and I discussed what to do to-morrow and decided the best option was to stay in Glasson dock. With sunrise being at 07.33 we think there is a possibility that the lock gate may not open with such an early high tide. That combined with the low neap tide and an unkind forecast leads us to believe that we have made the safe decision. The girls initially had long faces but when we explained why and that their day would be very full with safety briefs, boat familiarisation, a ride and steer of the dinghy and outboard and a bit of mooring practice on Tenacity (only in the marina) the smiles returned and the high pitched raucous hubbub was soon testing the adults ear drums!!
You can look forward to a blog from the girls on Monday night.
Skipper Ian.

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Map of last year 8 voyage of 2010

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday 15th October

We’re all tired!! A leisurely last breakfast of pancakes before the final clean up begins. We have had a really enjoyable week and have enjoyed being able to steer the boat and explore Piel Island. We all struggled with the knots and did not enjoy the coiling, but were really pleased when we got it in the end. We loved seeing the seals and the porpoises. The washing up was everyone’s least favourite activity, but just became part of boat life. And we have enjoyed all the food we have created…especially being able to bake so much lovely food for our tea breaks. Its been a great journey from Fleetwood to the Isle of Man, to Whitehaven in Cumbria and then Piel Island and finishing back at Glasson Dock.

The crew of Georgia, Abi, Serena, Ellie, Brianna, Bella and Georgi would like to say Goodbye…

Thursday 14th October

After another great breakfast, we headed off Tenacity in the dinghy to explore Piel Island and have an investigation of the castle and the beach. We had a great game of hide and seek, looked at the mussels on the beach and saw some very cool pigs!! We headed back and left our last evening destination to head back towards Glasson dock and the end of our adventure at sea. On leaving Piel Island we saw lots of seals on the beach, which were amazing. While we were stood on deck watching the seals a boat went by and the wash created a wave that made all those on the front deck wet…oh yuk! We looked out for porpoises, hoping to see some again as we had when heading south from Whitehaven but today we went so lucky.

Downstairs turned in to a food factory and while on the move we made scones and had them warm on deck with mugs of tea. Then we made fresh bread, some rocky road tiffin and more scones for later on! We arrived at Glasson and took all hands back up on the deck to help head into the docks. The expert crew members managed to tie their own bowlines in the ropes, secure the fenders and coil ropes…all without assistance. Throwing ropes to the side proved a little challenging but we got there in the end.

After some down time for a well earned cuppa on deck, we started the food factory up again and set to preparing our final feast…a lovely meal of pork, stir fry and rice. The cooking crew managed to learn some new dance moves and use just about every pot in the kitchen, but they produced an amazing meal for us all. After a mass washing up session we settle down to chocolate fondue and a quiz night!! We finished our evening off with a flying lantern before heading towards our beds for the last time.

Ellie says:
‘Tenacity is big enough to loose things in but still small enough to step on people’

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today we woke up and ate breakfast. Then we practised circuits around the Whitehaven harbour. In Whitehaven there was a huge navy ship behind us, they had managed to get a rope stuck around their propeller so they had to get scuba divers to undo the rope. We are all now experts at mooring up. We showed the navy how it’s done! Afterwards we set off on our way to Piel Island.

We were all taught to coil ropes, and many knots, which were very useful.

For lunch we all enjoyed bacon and egg butties, made by Georgi and Georgia. Afterwards we baked chocolate cornflake cakes, and ginger biscuits.

We did the man overboard drill by throwing ‘Bob’ the fender over the side of the ship. We managed to get him back to safety quite quickly. We then went to the front of the boat, and had fun singing many songs at the top of our voices! Finally we sat down at the end of a long day and tucked into spaghetti bolognaise. The best day yet!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday 12th October


Another early start to a large breakfast and a look at Douglas in the daylight. We cleaned to boat and stepped onto land to have a look around and collect some supplies. We watched the tide heading in and saw the large ferries for the island. It was then time to go back to the boat to head out to sea. It wasn’t as sunny today but thankfully it didn’t rain. We saw lots of birds and several other large boats, and then in the distance Cumbria appeared. Today we were aiming for Whitehaven and had to be on time to get into the harbour and through the lock gates. Now we have cleaned the boat, the galley is sparkling, and are making dinner – fish and special Tenacity chips. Tomorrow our destination is Piel Island.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Monday 11th October

We woke early to find we had a busy day ahead…starting with breakfast! We had the chance to head for showers but all decide to pass and just clean our teeth instead. At breakfast we talked about our plan for the day and discovered we were going to sail to the Isle of Man, somewhere none of us had been before! We were aiming to sail to a place called Douglas on the Isle of Man, and it was going to take us about ten hours to get there. Along the way we all helped to get the sails out, and learnt how to tie knots and coil ropes. While sailing we made tea – so we could eat on deck while still heading for the Isle of Man. This proved very challenging but we all enjoyed the meal at the end. After tea, the sun had set and the stars came out – we had an amazing view of all the stars in the sky as we sailed along in the dark and could see the whole the the Milky Way. We arrive in Douglas late but happy, and glad to work towards our beds.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sunday 10th October

We arrived in the evening at Fleetwood Dock all excited for what waited ahead. Our first thoughts of the boat was that it was much bigger than we expected – we had imagined a cramped boat with no space to move but it felt like the opposite. And we were pleased to find there was lots of food on board as well. After a look around, we settled down to here some safety briefings and move information about the boat and we started to get use to the facilities and our home for the week. To our delight, we were soon greated with sausages, mash, gravy and vegetables for our evening meal, followed by chocolate cake and hot chocolate. All full from our evening meal, and with all the pots washed we collected our life jackets for the following day and then decided it was time for bed and some sleep before we set out on our adventure.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Map of Autumn Year 8 Week 4

Friday, 8 October 2010

Morecambe Bay strikes again

Unfortunately due to a problem with the lock gates at Fleetwood this morning we are having to finish our trip here. The delay caused would have meant we would miss the lock gate at Glasson Dock so the bus is coming here to pick the crew up. A disappointing end to our trip.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Arr thats what wash boards are for!

Who needs showers when you have sea spray?

Today, we set sail at 8am for Fleetwood after we were all suited and booted- we were ready to go. Up on deck, the waves were choppy and we were thrown all over the place; with the amount of sea spray it meant we didn’t have to have another shower! We even had our own wave detector system: every time we saw a wave … SCREAM! Unfortunatly we didn't get the wash board in in time and ended up with a wave down the main hatch, oops!

When we arrived at Fleetwood, around half one and because it was Emily’s birthday we made her a chocolate cake and Dave was kind enough to flip us up some pancakes because he wanted to give us a treat by that time dinner was ready with classic fish & chips. We had the cake for dessert and Ian decided to pop a party popper and with the shock Natalie smeared the chocolate cake all over her face!!! Now it’s the last night on tenacity, thank you for an amazing 5 days!

Some pictures from this week.

Birthday Girl steers us towards Fleetwood.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

O to be in the Clyde...

Today, we did a lot of things including eating strawberry laces (Laura’s) baking cookies and rocky road and enjoying making features out of Piel island’s castle ruins. The reason why we hadn’t moved was because there were very high winds-32.8 knots-very bad! Also it would have been an unpleasant ride. We played Articulate, which was lots of fun- watching people trying to demonstrate what the card said.
Unfortunately Stephanie was the unlucky one, who was sick quite a few times, but seems to be fine now. We had jacket potatoes for lunch which was okay. We had a puffin fight which only lasted a few minutes and then it turned into American slaps! All our hands were sore. We all had so many laughs today we could have wet ourselves, Hannah laughed her head off. Then we had curry for dinner which contained hidden broccoli! After all that we had a few hours of made up songs and now we are off to watch X-men-yeah!!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The day of BIG waves

Today we were woken up at 6:45 in the morning. We set off from Glasson dock at 7:30 am and went in the lock while we waited in there we had a bacon butty for part 2 of breakfast. We put the sails up and switched the engine off, as we left the Lune Channel and met the open sea. We sailed for about two hours before Emily threw up. Thankfully she was the only one to be sick on the whole journey, but everyone else apart from Emma felt a bit queasy. The waves were really big and choppy. Steph got a go at steering but decided to stop after a while as she was feeling sick. We carried on sailing through the big waves until we reached Peil Island.
We had sandwiches and soup for lunch and then we made some scones. They tasted good. After that the aft team made dinner whilst the other team got the dingy ready to go to the island. When we got to the island we saw some pigs they squealed as we walked up to them. Then we played hide and seek and Natalie won. We walked around the old castle and Laura fell down a rabbit hole but she didn’t end up in Wonderland. Then we came back to the boat and ate dinner. The skipper dropped a piece of pasta in Emma’s welly, which didn’t go down well with Emma.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Choc fondue day

We are all enjoying the trip so far! Emma had a bad first day… She stood on a screw, she forgot to cook the sausages, and she nearly broke the kitchen sink, and couldn’t get enough sleep. However she is ok now.
For tea we had sausage mash and veg. it was nice!!! After we had all eaten and chatted we went to bed. Everyone slept well, but some of the beds were a little small. Steph hit her head a few times throughout the night. But overall the first night was a lot of fun!!!
Today (Monday) we all had a shower, it was surprisingly warm. After fitting life jackets and waterproofs we cleaned the deck and then learnt how to tie several knots such as the figure of eight the round turn and two half hitches and finally the bowline knot. All this came in very useful when we manoeuvred the boat to make it easier to get sailing tomorrow morning. After several rounds of the marina we pulled into Tenacity’s berth. Laura and Hannah had the task of jumping on to the jetty and tying the boat to it. They both really enjoyed it!!! Then we took down the fore sail and replaced it with a smaller one for the autumn. Even though it sounded easy it took us a good 45 minutes to complete it. We had to unfurl all the sail and fold it neatly on the pontoon. Molly was doing a very good job, of pulling the sail up - it helped Ian a lot. Eilidh helped fold and hold the sail so it would fit in the appropriate bag. Then had a wrestling match with it to get it into the cupboard.
Then it was lunch time. After we had prepared lunch Natalie ‘accidentally’ knocked all the cheese sandwiches onto the floor. Then once they had been remade and taken onto the deck she stood on one in her wellies. But we laughed it off and got stuck in!!!
We had a chocolate fondue for pud.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Map of Autumn 2010 trip 3

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The day we saw seals

Today we had an early start at about seven am but some of us were up earlier, because of a fishing boat that shone a light on us and rocked the boat. After we were breakfasted and ready we set off in the dinghy to Peel Island where we were greeted by three dogs. Soon the owner came out and two of the dogs went to him because they were older and better. Whereas Yogi the young Newfoundland pup stayed with us the whole time. Then the owner said they could come along with us. Later we found out he was the king of Peel Island. We walked around Peel Island because it was only small. Later we met the Queen of the island as well. Soon we set off sailing and we saw seals through the binoculars. The weather was very nice so we reached Glasson dock with no problems or seasickness. The food was very nice today especially the lunch that Ian our skipper made for us. But we have a massive problem on the boat since three of Alfie Britten’s chocolate bars are missing so we are going to have to try to find them.
But all in all we are well
Ben L and Tom P

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tom and Alfies day

We started off the day with cereals followed by Sausage and Bacon butties. We then split into groups for one of two activities, dinghy driving around Fleetwood harbour or passage planning with Ian (the skipper). I, Alfie the one typing, went dinghy driving and we had a fantastic time. It was quite comical and occasionally repulsive, especially when Mitchell took the wheel! He was literally petrified he went pale and kept biting his lip! But after 10 minutes he got the hang of it and calmed down at which point his driving improved dramatically. In my time behind the wheel I decided to drive to the fisherman’s end of the harbour. A decision I greatly regret, if this not been made apparent in previous blogs Fleetwood fish dock is rather smelly. As we approached our nostrils were filled with the stench of putrid fish corpses rotting away in thick slimy water. We saw the boats ridden with decay and let’s say quite dirty. When we were told by James that a lot of the fish we eat will come from these boats and/or places like this a lot of people suddenly began to dislike fish. Guess what’s for tea tonight… FISH! After this we had our somewhat mad hour in which we dance madly to Radio 1 in the stern of the boat just before we left. Then we departed for Piel island. We got through the lock in no time and we were out on open sea. A jet boat passed us which literally leapt out of the water at such speeds that we gawked at it for at least 5 minutes. When we got to open water we all decided to go right to the bow when the sea was at its choppiest. We literally were bounced up and then had a pause in which we felt weightless and then we plummeted down and got drenched. A really fun experience, which we were told to stop because the waves were growing in size. At this point I became quite sea sick. We switched off the motor after a while and sailed solely on the winds power with 3 sails without any engines although this began to tip the boat which became a problem for some of us causing Tom Wright to be sick over the side. After 4 hours of sailing we managed to reach Piel island where we couldn’t create lay the anchor as the winch decided to give up but after a lot of elbow grease the skipper and mate managed to fix it (after a lot of fiddling about with the fuse box that is!).
We are hoping that we should manage to get the dinghy over to Piel islands to-morrow. See to-morrows blog for the story!
Tom B and Alfie.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

To sea, well..... just.

Today we have just sailed from Glasson Dock to Fleetwood Marina. As we sailed into the sea we finally got the Irish Sea spray in our faces. Most of us had a go at steering and it was really great. During the rigorous voyage Reece Walker was a bit seasick because of the movement of the bow of the ship. As we arrived at Fleetwood Marina we were greeted by a jetty of bird droppings.
We went to visit the outlet shopping centre and on the way we encountered a “dead” seagull and decided to throw rocks at it. At the shopping centre there was a variety of shops including the most indulgent of chocolate shops, the Thornton’s shop and the Cadbury’s shop. Whilst we were shopping Ian our skipper decided to cook chicken curry for tea with a delicious bowl of hot, steaming chocolate fondue for dessert. Along with our curry we had some onion barges and naan bread.
We are really enjoying it so far and can’t wait to see where the Tenacity of Bolton takes us next.
By Tom W and Ben S.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Mitchell and Reece,s day

After getting up at 7 30 we ate a delicious breakfast made by the bow watch. After this we got kitted out with our oil skins (waterproof jacket and pants) and a life jacket. We got ready to sail out around the marina, this was exciting although it was disappointing when we found out we wouldn’t be able to go out of the lock gate due to a misunderstanding between the lock keepers and our amazing crew. During the tour of the marina we (Reece and Mitchell) made immense cheese and ham butties. After moving on from the disappointment we decided to change to the boats dinghy with an outboard and raced it around the marina. Unfortunately we decided to let Reece drive and he nearly capsized the dinghy. After a 20 minute drive around the lake we got back on board the Tenacity. Whilst back on board we learnt how to pull out the sails and how to tie a clove hitch, whilst the bow watch started to make our tea. Later we all decided to go on a walk around the local park and had fun on the swings and see saw. On the way back we met some cows and a horse that we called Beefy. Overall it has been great so far.

Mitchell and Reece

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Map of Autumn 2010 trip 2

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Goodnight Sail, by Felix

I pulled on my balaclava as there was a very long and cold night ahead. We set off from Piel Island by pulling up the anchor from the seabed and hitting around 7 knots down the moonlit channel.

We had a fantastic view of Blackpool lights from the channel and could clearly see Blackpool Tower looming over all the ant-sized buildings around it.

It was soon extremely cold and we were sipping our mugs of hot juice and guarding them as if they were valuable treasure found on a dangerous quest.

We finished our exciting journey at around midnight and we were all soon safely asleep, dreaming about our adventures for the next day.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thursday 23rd September

Hello. We have had a great day today. We are all safe, clean and best of all nobody was sea sick (yet).

We have started our journey South today and have left Whitehaven bound for Piel Island, the wind has been light so most of the day has been spent motoring and the sea has gradually got calmer.

A quite odd thing happened today as we were sailing along the coast we were stopped by a man in a boat marked range safety who told us to stop because we were about to drive into a naval defense firing range who where in the process of firing at the sea, so we had to wait for 15 minutes until the barrage stopped. During that wait Colin was cooking up a storm in the kitchen with the results being the most delicious cookies. Then we continued our sail back to Piell Island. All in all we traveled over 40 miles in 8 hours on our way back to peil. When we arrived we saw seals and we think we saw a porpoise. And soon, due to a poor forecast for tomorrow, we will set sail for Glasson at night.

Ethan and John

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Early start on Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Early start this morning, getting up at 5:30. Everybody looked tired and we all felt it. We set off at 6:00, wasting no time. Having done 17.49miles yesterday, we now had to do 40miles to get to Whitehaven where we were mooring up for the night. Bacon butty for breakfast. It wasn’t long until Myles was sick again, followed by lots of others, including Nick, Jackson, Sam, and me, Curtis. Everyone was asleep except for Ethan and Ed. During the trip we had to get the sail outs like we were shown on Monday. The wind was not very strong so we had to use the engine and sails at some points.

Got to Whitehaven at 12:40 and moored up for the night.

After lunch of jacket potatoes with beans, cheese,and tuna we went for a walk to the old lighthouse, after which we all had our showers.

It was the bow watch to prepare dinner tonight which is fish and chips. Wecut up the chips and they are now cooking in the pan and we are really hungry but fine. See you!

By Curtis and Ed!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

21st September Glasson - Piel Island

The morning started at a very acceptable time of 7.00 when we were awoken by Ian, we had a cereal breakfast to start with and then prepared the boat for a day at sea, packing all our kit away and getting into our waterproofs and lifejackets before slipping away from our berth at Glasson and going into the lock gates on the other side of the basin.

Being an entirely manual affair we had plenty of time to prepare and eat sausage butties while the two lock-keepers closed the gates and emptied the lock so that we could enter into the lower basin. As we were quite early into the bottom basin we had a good half hour’s wait until the sea lock came down and we sailed out into the river.
To start with we followed the red and green bouys down the river until we reached the Lune Cardinal (a black and yellow bouy), then we started sailing as the wind picked up. For a short while we sailed along nicely and had our lunch on deck but then gradually the sea got choppy, Nick was sick following a brief spell of quesyness and Myles copied shortly after. Nick appeared to be much improved following his bout of sickness but while asking for a cup of water and was sick again all over the cockpit and managed to refill his just emptied water glass.

On the way into Piel Island we passed a windfarm and anchored at the moorings just off the Castle as shown on the map below. We got the dinghy down and then went and explored the castle but Nick, John and Sam found the tiny (??) run down castle not to their tastes and went with Colin to explore the seal colony just south of the Castle. Later we had Turkey Korma followed by Apple Crumble and custard, by which time Nick had read his first book all safe and well.

Tomorrow looks like being an early start as we head up to Whitehaven.

Nick and Jackson

Monday, 20 September 2010


Sam and Myles’s Blog
Everything is safe (for now!) for everyone onboard. We have settled in and are now making this more like our home for the next couple of days. Everyone is enjoying it. We have been given some waterproof pants & waterproof tops. We have also been given a lifejacket and had a quick briefing on what it has and what to do. The skipper has showed us all the safety it has and how it works. We spent all morning going through the safety aspects of the journey. Today we did a lot of things including; learning how to drive the R. I. B. (the Ridged Inflatable Boat), learn to get the sails out, learn how to do bowline, practice to park the boat, everyone walked to the lock to see what will happen and how it works, went to the park for a couple of minutes and (unluckily for me) get woken up by swans attacking my window at 4:30am. But without a doubt the best bit is definitely the food, which bow group made. We are split into two groups, bow and stern. The majority is in stern, tomorrow stern do breakfast and tea and bow do lunch.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday Night

Everyone is happy and well on board and starting to get themselves sorted for the adventure ahead. Unfortunatly the rain has just arrived again!

Autumn 2010 Year 8 Trip 1

Friday, 13 August 2010

Map of Girls Gold D of E Expedition

Day Numero Otto – Thursday 12th August

After another early morning getting us out of Lock Eatharna, with the stern crew wearily taking first watch, everyone was feeling rather down at the prospect of our last full day on the boat. Also, with only half an hour of sailing to do on Friday, this was really our last proper day, so we were determined to make it a good one, a feat which was roundly agreed that we managed!
After a rough, but fairly uneventful, start to the day, bow watch took over, but stern watch remained on deck to enjoy the trip. It was lucky that they did, as we saw a grand total of FIFTEEN basking sharks, in the space of about 20 minutes, even having the excitement of almost sailing into a particularly obstinate one, which refused to move from in front of us until the very last second!
And just when it seemed that nothing could top that, bow watch went below for a nap, and stern watch took control again, with Emma at the helm. All day, we had been determined to hit 9 knots of speed, as a final high note, as our previous top speed had hovered at around the middle 8s, although we knew the possibility was slim. Without help from the engine, the boat hit 8.9, and after a tense second… dropped back again, to groans and shouts all round. For the rest of the watch, we studied the speed carefully, shouting every time we came close until at last we hit the much awaited 9kt! In fact, by the end of the watch, this was a common occurrence, with each strong gust pushing us to around the 9kt mark, and our final top speed an amazing 9.4!! A possible record for the boat we feel!
Stern watch spent the next hour and a half having a well-earned nap below deck, despite the danger of falling off beds and couches, and only awoke to eat a fantastic dinner, made all the better by the fact that it was made by the instructors!! The evening turned into a big game of Articulate with the instructors coming a respectable 2nd twice.

Day Numero Nove – Friday 13th August

A quick motor the last mile to Kerrera for a shower and a clear up of the boat brought our excellent trip to an end. Thanks to David, Cath and Ian for their help.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sorry a little late due to lack of signal


Day Numero Uno – Thursday 5th August
We met at Penrith station- all together, except Zaak who travelled by car with the all important frozen halal meat! Our first change was at Glasgow central, where we had lunch on-the-go and unfortunately the train was delayed by 40mins. One consolation was that we had time for a quick nap and some interesting, (if not particularly flattering) pictures.
We met our instructors, Ian and Cath on the train to Oban and arrived there to meet Zaakirah. We met Dave (our skipper) to get the ferry to Kererra but didn’t make it due to the late train- so we went food shopping instead- meticulously calculating food for the trip, with special consideration going to the biscuit supply! We began to run out of time for the next ferry and so split into 2 groups; one for taking luggage to the boat and the other to finish shopping. With 2 trolleys of food, the cashier was less than impressed at our slow calculations and ended up sorting us out instead! We then took the food (and the trolleys) to the ferry, and with some very helpful local hands we managed to take all the food across without trouble and amazingly pack it all in to the limited space on the boat.
For the first night we decided to keep dinner simple, with stir fry vegetables & noodles for our main course and then two pre-prepared cheesecakes of the lemon AND raspberry varieties! No chance of any of us going short of food on this trip!
After dinner, having cleaned up efficiently, we were given a short talk on charts and measurements before heading for bed, and a hopefully peaceful night’s sleep.
Day Numero Due – Friday 6th August
The first task of the day was making brekkie! We had some unfortunate issues with the grill, some slightly well done toast to begin the day- this was cleverly sorted out with heaps of butter and jam, and of course choc spread. Abandoning the grill after the second round of burnt toast, we instead used the boats two piece toaster and after a few pieces of “perfectly done” toast and a round of hot drinks we felt ready to begin the day.
Getting our kit on took a lot longer than was expected, struggling in to salopettes only to realise they are a size too small is not amusing when you’re stuck in them. As soon as we sorted out our salopettes and got our lifejackets on, we all climbed on to the deck and started sailing. We covered 25 miles- not bad we feel, for a first attempt. A few of us got a chance to steer the boat and learn how to use the compass and annometer to sail on the right course. We were taught one of the most important procedures which was the man overboard drill. Obviously using a live specimen would be too risqué, so we used Bob the fender to demonstrate the drill. We valiantly rescued Bob as efficiently as possible, learning to keep sight of the man overboard, send a mayday signal, turn the boat around and collect the casualty as calmly and quickly as possible.
We then anchored at Loch Na Droma Buidhe, and promptly began dinner. After dinner of chicken korma, rice and naan bread with dessert of cookies and cream, half of the group went around the loch in the dinghy with David. David let us all drive and we steered around the loch, getting eaten alive by midges! We played a rather interesting game of Articulate, which was interrupted by the surprise sounding of the emergency horn by David to scare us all, which led to an interesting evening discussion on the best way to kill him. Shortly after the games (of which every team except Preeya, Michelle and Zaakirah won) we all went to bed to get some sleep.
Day Numero Tre - Saturday 7th August
A slightly early start for some of the team at 7.30 am, the four people sleeping in the bow were on breakfast duty and cooked up a breakfast of porridge, crumpets and the usual cereal and toast for everyone. When breakfast was done the team sleeping in the stern donned their salopettes and got on deck, ready to pull in the anchor and set sail. This was the first day any of us felt sea sick as we hit a rough patch of weather all the way from Rio de Janeiro -our first experience in the open sea was unfortunately very unpleasant for one or two of us, even despite having had sea sickness tablets. We quickly learned being on the deck was far better than below it, and the team who weren’t working relaxed out of the way on the stern. The crew from the bow also learnt the same lesson and we particularly glad when the time came to change watches to ease their seasickness. Another reason the fore crew were happy to be on watch was that Ian spotted two porpoises to the port side of the boat! Later on in the watch, he also pointed out a basking shark, we were really surprised to see a range of wildlife so early in the expedition and were hoping they wouldn’t be the last...
By lunchtime the weather had calmed and with baked potatoes already in the oven those on duty below deck loaded them with cheese and beans to be passed up an eaten as quickly as possible. With everyone tired and cold by this point, the hot food was much appreciated. After lunch was time to swap watches and those above deck now learnt about “tacking”- in simple language, this is switching the sails to other side of the boat to make the most of the wind available. This was more dangerous than it sounds with the sheet (or rope) needed to be pulled in being very heavy and wet, and with the wind picking up it whipped more than one of us pretty hard. A learning point was found here- everyone unanimously deciding to now reel in the sheet from inside the cockpit and avoid getting bruised. Luckily to nurse our bruises the team down below had baked an amazing cake, covered in icing, buttercream and approximately half a tub of sprinkles. Dinner was also very well prepared, spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread was on the table and ready to eat when the team above had finished working.
Having cleaned up and relaxed for a while, having discussed the distance we had sailed (54miles!) we briefly went over meal plans for the next day, and all excited by the prospect of a shower soon if we reached Portree, we decided to have an early night.
Day Numero Quattro – Sunday 8th August
After what we felt, was a necessary lie in, the team of four from the bow started their watch at around 10 o’clock. Their watch was fairly slow as the wind was practically non-existent, and the boat was sailing along at a top speed of about 1 knot, making staying awake and concentrating rather more difficult than it should have been.
At 12ish – with Michelle taking her time as per usual, the first watch were relieved. They promptly started making toasties, which were much appreciated by the team up on deck, for whom the wind had picked up somewhat dramatically. “Team Extreme”- as they appropriately named themselves (Team Extreme would like to point out that WE DID NOT NAME OURSELVES!! We earned that name from the instructors! =P) - after they had managed to sail under the Skye Bridge, tilted at a precarious angle that shouldn’t have been possible, under the careful steering of Natasha, were then relieved by the first watch so they could come off their adrenaline rush!
The passage under Skye Bridge (otherwise known as the epic Skye Bridge Adventure) was definitely the most challenging and exciting of the whole trip (so far), with Ian commenting that it was “the best sailing he’s ever done!” With Natasha at the helm, and Emma, Michelle and Shannon controlling the sails, we repeatedly tacked towards the bridge, at impressive speed, in order to get us in line for going underneath. This in itself was pretty difficult stuff, and later we were told that if we’d discussed tacking under Skye Bridge that morning, we’d have been laughed out of the room, but at the time, seeing as the team were working well together, and knew what to do, it worked. After tacking around three times to the left, we were in line, avoiding rocks, shallows, and, of course, the bridge itself (although there was one moment when a bridge pillar seemed rather close!) Not to fear, Natasha’s steering, and the other crew’s (expert!) pulling, loosening and winching successfully got us sorted, ready for a smooth passage under the bridge. What could possibly go wrong now?
Then, the ferry appeared. Oh. Just as we were getting close, a huge ferry came round the corner, under the bridge straight at us, prompting a chorus of the legendary phrase “Oh, SHIP!” from David, and some other crew members. A number of the crew feared for their lives, but, luckily, the ferry driver seemed to be in a good mood, and both vessels veered to the right, and avoided collision. Veering right was not a problem for the ferry, with almost the whole bridge to go before he reached the other side. For us, however, close to the right already, there was a very scary few minutes, where it was impossible to turn back, and we had to slowly ease under the bridge, with Shannon and Emma either side of the mast, watching the top, in the agonising moments when everyone was afraid we weren’t going to fit, and, in words of Emma’s often repeated over the course of the trip “we were all going to die”.
Soon enough though, we were in the clear, and looking over our shoulders as Skye Bridge flew off into the distance. After a unanimous decision from the newly-named ‘Team Extreme’, that it was, frankly, just boring now, watch changed, just in time for the bow watch to take over the helm, and steer us through rather less exciting waters, whilst Team Extreme recovered below deck with a packet of biscuits, and a long rehash of their finest hour.
With Shakti steering and a reasonable wind, the fore (bow) crew managed to harness the wind and get the boat up to a speed of 7.8 knots, with such a big tilt that everyone had to tether themselves to anything that was bolted down to stop them from falling off. Cath downstairs had to be tied onto her bed, from which she could see that the starboard windows were completely submerged! We were very proud of our achievement as we changed watch.
Dave, our skipper, called for a team “conflab” with hot brews all round, in order to discuss the prospect of night sailing. As we were on a roll, we unanimously decided to continue sailing through the night to East Loch Tarbert.
The aft crew quickly prepared a tea of burgers and homemade chips, which we all ate together as Dave, Ian and Kath took the helm for a shift. Just as we were finishing the washing up, the tap began to spurt water at us and make worrying noises, which made us think we’d somehow broken it. Ian assured us that we hadn’t broken it but that we had run out of water and we would need to use sea water for everything but drinking, until we reached somewhere suitable to fill the tank.
The fore crew finished their shift and went below to get some sleep in the little time they had before their next watch which began at 10pm. The aft crew meanwhile began the night sailing.
Between 8 and 10, the excitement of night sailing had not really begun, and seeing as it wasn’t even dark yet, the first shift passed without much incident. Or any at all really…
After being woken up by Michelle at 9.45 the fore crew got up and started their shift in the dark. The sky became darker and the buoys, which were marking the danger zones, became easier to identify as they all had their own unique flash sequence. The wind had died down again, but with high tides and the darkness, it was difficult to steer on course but Preeya managed it with some wild swinging of the steering wheel! Other than the difficulty in steering, the watch was pretty quiet and peaceful in the open sea. Before they knew it the aft crew were being rudely awakened by Ian and dragged themselves out of bed ready to start their watch at 12am in light rain.
Yet again, Team Extreme managed to get themselves the exciting part of the trip. What can we say? Must just be our amazing sailing skills… or not. Natasha again took the helm, steering us through the first part of the watch, before handing over to Michelle, which is when the fun started. “Michelle’s going to kill us all!” came the cry, more times than should probably be normal, as the boat rocked wildly from port to starboard and back again, each time accompanied by screaming and frantic grabbing for anything remotely resembling a support from the entire crew. It may sound like an over-reaction, but hurtling along at almost 8 knots (really rather fast) in the pitch darkness, with the sails almost touching the water on first one side, then the other, is really a terrifying experience. Terrifying, but amazingly fun. All in a day’s work for Team Extreme.
However, the wind did soon calm down, and, with it, the boat and its wild rocking. The last half hour of the watch was not too exciting, as we had left the open sea behind, and hence the worst of the weather too, and we headed towards our anchorage at Loch Talbert. At 2am, the watch change, Dave informed us that we were only ten minutes to quarter of an hour away, so we decided to leave the other team to sleep, instead of swapping for such a short time. An HOUR later however, we were huddled, tired, wet and freezing cold, as we were finally told to begin letting the anchor down, and at around 3.15, all the 11 crew members were finally below deck, on a stationary boat.
The fore crew were particularly grateful to the aft crew who during the extreme conditions on deck decided to stay on for an extra hour, staying on watch from midnight until 3am, allowing the rest of us to get some much needed kip :D
Due to the somewhat choppy conditions and the fact that we were all completely and utterly exhausted, we all slept in the stern in the end. The aft crew had come down, bedraggled and exhausted, to find the rest of the team crashed out on the bench seats and in their beds. With a bit of shuffling, all 8 of us managed to squeeze into the limited space to get a well-earned sleep, (we sailed 62 miles without putting the engine into gear at all!)
Day Numero Cinque – Monday 9th August
No surprise at all to our instructors, we were all still fast asleep in the stern at 9. We decided to take it a little easier to compensate for our valiant efforts earlier that morning, with the first watch starting at 10.30. We sailed for around 4 and a half to 5 hours, before Shannon pulled up alongside the ferry terminal where, after a lot of tying on of fenders, so the boat didn’t hit the pier, we began our ominous ascent up the rickety old ladder up to the top. After adjusting our sea legs back to “land legs,” - not an easy task, with many people still finding that the ground felt as though it was rocking even after being on land for two hours, all 8 of us plus Cath set off to find a much needed, and appreciated, shower. We enquired at tourist information, where the very helpful lady phoned the outdoor centre on our behalf. Much to our dismay however, the group was too large. We managed to find a hotel which let us shower and sit in the lounge where we watched children’s TV and drank copious amounts of fizzy drinks. Many of the group began to fear for their (already tenuous) link to sanity, as we found ourselves genuinely engrossed in the plight of an animated dragon, and a penguin afraid of water.
The shower boosted our spirits greatly and morale was pushed even higher by bright sunshine, a full water tank (never has washing up been more amazing), being on deck without any waterproofs, and a freshly cleaned boat as we headed out to anchor for the night, not a long sail, as we only went around twenty minutes from the pier, moving in order to let the ferry in and out through the night. The bay in which we anchored was sheltered and had a beautiful view of Lochmaddy, the Lake of the Wolves (luckily referring to the rocks at its entrance and not the local wildlife, or the suggestion of a dinghy expedition might have been less enthusiastically received!). The fore crew prepared pizzas from scratch and baked 2 apple crumbles as the aft crew (Emma, Michelle, Natasha and Shannon) went out in the dinghy with Ian to explore the nearby bay, where they discovered the delights of being on a deserted island, running up and down grassy hills, trying, and failing, to sneak up on a pair of stags, and lounging on the walls of ruined buildings, enjoying the spectacular views, and deciding that this was, most definitely, ‘the life’. We decided to eat up on deck to make the most of the good weather and after stuffing ourselves with our “stupendous dinner” (in the words of Dave), we all sat and watched the enchanting view of the seals playing in the sunset. Natasha, Sarah, Michelle and Shakti then headed to shore to admire the view from the top of the hills, while the rest of us cleared up, sat and gossiped!
We had a briefing about the next day being the start of our true expedition, and were told that we now had free reign on the boat and the route that we wanted to sail. We collectively chose a long day of sailing the next day so that we could reach Loch Scavaig, which our instructors had told us so much about, allowing us to experience the now infamous anchorage soon, as well as allowing us two and a half days to cover a much smaller distance, giving us the option of short days, anchoring back at Kererra on Thursday night, or having time to explore the small islands between Skye and Oban, and the freedom to change plans depending on the weather or crew feeling seemed appealing. This meant an early morning start, something several of us were not too happy about, however we did just about manage to get up at 7, albeit mostly half asleep and purely out of desire not to mess up our first day of being in charge of ‘The Plan’.
Day Numero Sei – Tuesday 10th August
Luckily we all got up at 7am, and managed to stick to our schedule to set off at 8am to get some much needed supplies(biscuits) from the shop before the ferry got there. The first team on watch were the aft crew with the fore crew taking over at half 10. With a slow start, we made the decision to use the engine to get to Loch Scavaig. Yesterdays showers and the beautiful sunshine meant that spirits were high and as the wind picked up, we were able to turn the “donkey” (engine) off and get some “proper sailing” done! We were lucky enough to see our first Minke whale emerging from the depths about 150m off the port side of the boat. Only five minutes later, our second whale appeared on the same side, with another larger whale spotted on the starboard side around half an hour later! We also saw another basking shark rising out of the swell a few hundred metres away from the boat!
It was time for another watch change, and the aft crew took over for the next two hours. Before we knew it, it was time to change watch again, with Zaakirah taking the helm (with her glasses for once :D) It was amazing to finally see the Loch Scavaig that the instructors had raved about, and we finally understood why! With sheer drops, waterfalls plunging straight into the bay and seal covered rocks in such peaceful surroundings, Loch Scavaig proved to be our favourite anchorage :) Ian dropped Preeya, Zaakirah, Shakti, Natasha and Sarah off to explore the surrounding area whilst the rest of the crew prepared a tea of spicy and non-spicy (for the wimps…) pasta bake with Roberta (Bob-for-short) the cake for desert. After lovingly baking Bob for the last 2 hours, Michelle and Emma were somewhat reluctant to cut the cake, although not as reluctant to eat it!
After tea Michelle, Shannon and Emma were dropped off to shore by Cath. After spotting a family of four struggling to make their way across a huge waterfall and down the rocks, Cath decided to be a Good Samaritan and rescue them in the dinghy! Whilst the others were off exploring, Sarah, Shakti and Cath went fishing in the bay, where they spotted an otter. We didn’t actually expect them to catch anything, although after the first mackerel, the rest soon followed. Very quickly, we established our roles; Sarah would hook the fish, then scream and run to the other side of the dinghy and pass the line, Cath would steer and Shakti would pass the fish up to the boat. After seeing Dave preparing to gut the fish, Natasha, Preeya and Zaakirah decided they wanted a go! However it soon got out of hand, with cries of “I want to kill it” and “It’s not your turn – you didn’t kill it properly” being heard across the bay which somewhat scared Dave and Ian who were stuck on the boat with them! In total, we caught 10 mackerels which were killed humanely and quickly by the “killing crew” which now included Shakti too. Dave also taught us to fillet the fish which is much harder than it appears, especially without a sharp filleting knife. We decided that the fish would benefit from an expert filleting hand, and so Dave took over, diligently filleting till midnight whilst Natasha and Ian used buckets of sea water to remove any evidence of the massacre that had just taken place on deck! We finally managed to get to bed by half past.
Day Numero Sette – Wednesday 11th August
We woke up around 8ish, and prepared breakfast. Half of the team seemed to have developed an egg craving during the night, so Michelle made us all scrambled eggs. During the night, the wind had grown stronger, meaning that we had drifted towards the hills at the edge of the bay. As soon as Dave got up on deck and saw just how far we’d drifted, he decided it was time to leave the bay, and called the fore crew onto deck at 9 – slightly earlier than planned. As we moved out of the bay, the wind was strong enough for us to get up to 6 knots with just one sail up! As we sailed towards Rhum, Cath decided to have a go at steering before handing over to Preeya to keep us on course for the rest of the journey. With the wind in our sail(s) we arrived at Rhum after three hours of sailing at 12pm – Just in time for lunch! After anchoring, everyone came down to the galley, where Dave expertly cooked the mackerel fillets from the day before. It was very satisfying to know that they had gone from sea to plate in less than 24 hours –and know that they hadn’t died in vain!
After lunch, we all headed to shore where we explored the small village of Kinloch on the island. This included some MORE walking – yes, we thought this was a sailing expedition too, and some exploration of the local castle. After various photo stops we headed back to the ferry port to meet Dave who would take us back to the boat. By the time we were all back, it was around 4, so the aft crew took the first watch. Much to the delight of the fore crew and Dave who were trying to make dinner and pancakes down below, the seas roughened with some big swells. Luckily, Dave kept his cool, even managing to get in a couple of pancake tosses whilst the rest of us were being thrown around the galley!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Last Day in Oban

This morning Toryn, Alistair and HRH Neil were left to sleep through everyone else’s breakfast, so started their morning with a trip to the showers. There followed a trip into Tobermory to stock up on fruit, sweets and a toastie loaf. As we deliberated over the shopping list in the Co-op, a certain instructor from school cycled in. After being told just where he could park his bike, Rick told us how he had tried to follow us on Skye, but we hadn’t stopped. After Col threw Rick’s bike into the tender, we realised that he was coming aboard for the journey to Oban. We managed a thorough hoovering just before a large round of toast, then we were off.

The day’s sailing was fairly unremarkable, the weather was favourable (minus the occasional shower) and the wind was mostly in our direction. We made good time to the island of Kerrera (a small piece of land barely separated from the town of Oban) with a small amount of motoring. A brief spell in Oban (for some deep fried tea) sparked some excitement for crewmates JT and Tim D. The prospect of a deckhand job aboard an ancient Dutch pirate ship was enticing. An eight day expedition to Hartlepool lead to JT (and co) enquiring about the position, unfortunately, the vacancy had been filled earlier in the day. Better luck next time guys.

It now seems appropriate to consider some of the things we achieved on board:

Total number of miles covered: 509

Total hours of motoring: 53

Route taken: Glasson (Start) to Ramsey to Port Ellen to Ulva to Loch Scavaig (via Gunna Sound) to Mallaig then anticlockwise around Skye to Tobermory to Oban (Finish)

So ends our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. We departed from Glasson dock early in the morning on Saturday 24th July and arrived at Oban in the late evening of Saturday 31st July. All that remains is to give thanks for a truly fantastic week to: (in no particular order) Skipper Colin, Phil (Aladdin) and George.