Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ants and anticipation.

I find my emotions oscillating quite wildly this week. Perhaps I can put it down to my 'age'!

As we prepare to sail to pastures new I begin to experience the nervous anticipation of the passage. It's not that I am fearful but rather that I have a VERY vivid imagination...quite honestly I do think it's a bit of a woman thing.

TBH is relentlessly masculine(thank goodness, no pink crocs on this boat) and is busy changing oil, running repairs and gleeful anticipating offshore life.

I, on the other hand, find myself distracted by the awful situation in Japan, thoughts of mortality, will the ants take over the boat and so forth. To explain-we have discovered an infestation of ants in the aft cabin and heads. I am assured by those wot know about these things that it is not a serious problem. We have removed and are currently replacing one piece of headlining, hope we have staunched the leaks that ensued and are poisoning the shit out of the little bastards but still I worry....I can be found late at night patrolling the boat with a flashlight and can of ant WMD (weapon of mass destruction) a can of Raid! Certainly the numbers are massively reduced but I can't get over the fact that I feel I have 'let the boat down' Sigh.

We are provisioned, the tanks are full of fuel, the propane bottles full, charts prepared. Today I checked the lifejackets, prepared the safety harnesses and started scrutinizing the weather charts to look for the next window. Gulp!

Friday, 11 March 2011

The power of water.

Yesterday we were sailing up river, coming across a lake, when totally out of the blue, well murky grey, a squall caught us with all the canvas up. We lurched over, nasty moment! fortunately everything was well stowed and after furling the yankee off we went again.

Looking over my shoulder 10 minutes later I saw one of those evil black systems that make you gulp.
Get the main down I suggested to TBH,
You sure he said.
Absolutely I replied!
Within another 10 minutes the system was on us. From a 10 knot head wind we had some 40 knots up the bum, driving rain and zero visibility.

Thank goodness we had the dinghy on top of the boat. I am a bit obsessive about that, we never tow it anywhere. I have seen far too many nasty moments to risk it and boy was I right yesterday.
We crept slowly along the river bank, fortunately I know it well after all this time but it still amazes me how quickly you can become disorientated in low visibility.
The wind howled, the rain was like needles through my shirt. Good old TBH dashed below and got the oilies. A gods send as I was beginning to get pretty cold.

The whole thing lasted about an hour . Nasty and chastening. It really caught us with our knickers down,

..and then we woke this morning to the dreadful news from Japan. How do you begin to cope in a situation like that?

Our daughter was in Tokyo at Christmas staying with her boyfriends sister. I gave thanks that she was not there now. Her hosts had flown out from Japan just yesterday for a holiday.. in Hawaii! They telephoned home this morning to say they had been evacuated to high ground in preparation for a tsunami. What can you say?

Mother Nature is a powerful force.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Lovely Piratey story from the Daily Mail

 The REAL pirates of the Caribbean: Divers recover 17th Century cannons belonging to bloodthirsty buccaneer Henry Morgan

  • Six guns possibly from The Satisfaction found off in river in Panama
  • Notorious Welshman's flagship sunk in 1671 by the Spanish
Archaeologists have revealed that six cannons that belonged to the bloodthirsty British pirate Henry Morgan have been recovered from a river in Panama.
Swashbuckling adventurer Morgan sent three ships and a crew of 470 men to capture the Castillo de San Lorenzo el Real de Chagres, a fort that guarded the approach to Panama City, the capital, in 1671.
But the notorious buccaneer and his men were sailing up the Chagres River to join them when his flagship, The Satisfaction, and at least three other vessels crashed on Lajas Reef, sinking in shallow water.
In this undated photo released on Monday Feb. 28, 2011 by PanamaĆ­s Institute of Culture
Fire power: Archaeologists examine the decayed cannons that are believed to have come from fearsome bucaneer Henry Morgan's ship, the Satisfaction, which sank in Panama in 1671
Members of Morgan's force paddled upriver and walked overland to reach Panama City, leaving theire wrecked ships to looters.
Now a group of Panamanian and foreign archaeologists say that cannons  found at the mouth of Panama's Chagres River, the site where Morgan's flagship was wrecked, may have belonged to the pirate.
'Every school kid learns about Morgan's activities, but we have never seen any of his materials,' archaeologist Tomas Mendizibal told the Los Angeles Times.
Notorious pirate Henry Morgan. Weird fact of the day: Notorious pirate Henry Morgan was so offended by a book that described him as 'bloodthirsty' and, much worse, a former servant, he sued the publisher for libel.
Swashbuckling: Morgan was born in a small Welsh village and went on to become a notorious pirate
'If these are indeed his cannons, it would be a first.'
Henry Morgan was born in the small village of Llanrumney in south Wales and went on to become legendary buccaneer who battled the Spanish for control of the Caribbean.
Although he is said to be a pirate he was actually working for the English Commonwealth to secure trade routes to the New World.
The wreckage in Panama in 1671 proved a personal setback as the city was later burned down and looted in violation of a peace treaty between England and Spain.
Morgan was forgiven by King Charles II was later sent to Jamaica where he became a planter and respected member of the ruling class before he fell ill and died in 1688.
But in Panama, the legend of the swashbuckling buccaneer has lived on and he has become one of the best known pirates in the region.
Divers led by top archaeologists have mapped the site of the wreckage on the  the banks  of the Rio Chagres since 2008.
The cannons were measured and photographed in 2008 and studied by Dr. Ruth Brown, formerly with the Royal Armouries in the UK and an internationally renowned early cannon expert.
Divers recover cannons belonging to pirate Henry Morgan
two archaeologists recovering a cannon that scientists believe may have belonged to British pirate, Captain Henry Morgan, at the mouth of the Rio Chagres off Colon, Panama.
Weapons: Experts said the size and shape of the cannons appear to be a close match with the characteristics of small iron cannon of the Seventeenth Century
The size and shape of the cannons appear to be a close match with the characteristics of small iron cannon of the Seventeenth Century. A more detailed identification of the cannons will take place after they are treated and years of encrustation and corrosion are removed in the laboratory.
Last week they finally confirmed that they had recovered the cannons from a shallow reef damaged by treasure hunters, whose blasting and dredging had exposed the fragile iron cannons to possible damage and loss.  This led to the decision to recover the cannons.
Henry Morgan pirate
Mission: Henry Morgan sent three ships and a crew of 470 men along the Chagres River to capture a fort guarding the approach to Panama City
The archaeological survey was coordinated by the Waitt Institute with collaboration with Panama's National Culture Institute.
Mr. Raul Castro Zachrisson, Secretary General of Panama's Instituto Nacional de Cultura said: 'Panama's National Institute of Culture (INAC) is committed to the preservation of our cultural heritage. We strive to maintain it in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
'I am honored to be a part of this important historical find and look forward to a continuous working relationship with all the institutions and professionals involved in the conservation of our sub aquatic cultural and natural resource

We have been to Panama, anchored under some of the old forts, read the tales of pirates, and privateers so a lovely story to bring home the history of the place.Not too sure of the accuracy of the map of where these were found though! Still damn the facts lets go with the romance...