1-9. Falklands


Logs ( 11 )

1-9. Falklands

Mar 17, 2005 - 2300hrs UTC

2300hrs 17 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Stephen (the web bloke):

This update is a compilation of a number of conversations and emails over the few days since Berri reached Port Stanley. Since arriving and clearing customs they boys have been busy reprovisioning, carrying out repairs, further refining the operations of Berri on the high seas – they should have it just about nailed by the time they get back to Sydney. They have holed up in a B&B near the port (although everything in Stanley is near the port). The satellite phone which has given so much grief has been retired and a bright new one that actually works.

There are two current projects on at the moment. The first is that Alex has discovered that the annual Falklands Islands Marathon is on this Sunday, and so he has scammed a pair of running shoes and will run – well, will shuffle the full 42.2k just because it is there. Apparently there is a huge field – 30 I believe – and ideal running conditions 7C and drizzle. Will he never learn?

The second project is setting up a 30 min chat with the International Space Station. Astronaut Leroy Chiao is keen to talk with the boys about their trip so far, and they are exchanging photos. There is even some daft scheme to see if they can photograph each other in the mid Atlantic later in the month.

Finally, currently departure plans are for next Wednesday, but as with most sailing timetables, these things are most fluid.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 18, 2005 - 0125hrs UTC

0125hrs 18 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Stanley(the place, not the name)

Alex: The Falklands – fascinating – land of contrasts – chunks of wrecked or modified 19th century sailing ships lying around in heaps, absolutely no facilities for visiting yachties and I was told they try to discourage us because some visitors have turned up and ripped off the people who were helping them and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world from selling fishing licences to the highest bidder. So much so that no locals have to go fishing unless they actually feel like it.

Wonderful place – we got here in the middle of a cold windy night and parked just inside the harbour entrance – woke to a bleak windy dawn and had an awful day trying to get Berri parked somewhere where she would not get damaged and was sheltered from the easterly that is still blowing.

Then Mike Harte and John Maskell-Bott, Andy Cullen and Bruce Wilkes turned up and things started to improve – massively. JMB brought the new generator, BW a case of guinness and some bottles – Thanks Tim – and Mike brought his presence and advice and local knowledge and in no time at all we were half way to being organised. And a shower at Mike’s place WOOHOO. And definitely not a B&B – Lafone Guest House is one of the best and most welcoming places I have ever stayed in.

And then Mike told me about the marathon – the first ever in the FI and, apart from one run at the S. Pole, I think, the southernmost anywhere and how could anyone say no. Had to cheat to get in – entries long since closed ,and I get no 13 – traditionally not allocated, so there’s a challenge lads and lasses. The local radio station broadcast an appeal for running shoes and HM Govt obliged – a bit big but they’ll get me round. I’m really concerned about the cold – it’s 7 degrees and windy and drizzly – but I’ll get there. Don’t know how many entries but less than 30, I think.

And the ISS link up tomorrow. As I said to NASA, absolutely gobsmacking. Cant send you Commander Leroy Chiao’s photos but you’d be gobsmacked too.

Supposed to be having dinner – another long story – and will be in trouble if I dont stop. We loves yez all.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 18, 2005 - 1730hrs UTC │Port Stanley, Falklands - 1st talk with ISS

1730hrs 18 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123
Alex: 16:59 – 17:25 GMT, Friday, March 18th

Well, says he, overdoing the understatement, we have just spent half an hour talking to Dr Leroy Chiao, Commander of the International Space Station.

A very low tech slow speed operation in the charge of a couple of grizzled and smelly veterans down here linked by similarities on the human scale to some very special technology moving a bit faster and to a couple of courageous people right at the forefront of their fields and of scientific research.

Probably one or the most interesting few minutes of my life. And, it seems, we will be able to try an experiment from the south atlantic using our gigazillion candela spotlight to find out whether Leroy and Salizhan can see us. Coool. We have exchanged some photos and there will be more. I owe Leroy some video of a big albatross in full endurance trim – hard to get but I’ll do my best. Thanks, Leroy, for your time and your interest.

And it was all made possible because Malcolm Robinson took the initiative and sent an email to NASA after my mid pacific musings about isolation and being closer to the ISS crew than any other humans. Thanks Mal and you’d better get your Inshore ticket after that one!.

No way to cap that, so I won’t try. More tomorrow, perhaps.

[ed: Links to info on the ISS and Leroy.]

1-9. Falklands

Mar 19, 2005 - 2200hrs UTC

2200hrs 19 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Quick update to wish all the bashers a happy bash and we’ll ring you to say g’day. That’s at 0300 here, with the marathon to follow, so it’s an early night here for this kid. Today was a touristy day – we went to Volunteer Point to visit the King penguins. The road goes out past all the 1982 battlefields close to Stanley and then meanders across about 15 miles af very muddy peat bog – the signpost says ‘Volunteer Point through this gate

- if unsure, please ask’ and it’s then about an hour of some very serious 4 wheel driving and you’d better know the way. We were with Patrick Watts, who knows lots of local history and can talk about it while concentrating on keeping his wagon on all four wheels in some difficult country.

The marathon course has a lot more attitude than your average rather tame flat downhill all the way Oz version. The weather has improved marginally and it may not be quite so cold but if there is any wind and rain, it will be something of a headbang. Have Pete organised to be out there laughing a lot and clutching various versions of The Doctor – call it experimental – one should always do science in adversity. No doubt there will be photos.

From Roger W.

Alex & Pete

It must be great to have a shower & sleep in a bed! I want to hear about the Falklands, particularly now 20+ years after the war, how the islanders feel about it in retrospect, what they think of Argentina now, what sort of future they have etc. I used to supply cigarettes (mostly Craven A in tins) to the Falklands in the 60s, I used to get the hand written order twice a year from the lady who ran the post office – I even remember that her name was Velma Malcolm! – and then send them on the twice-a-year supply vessel. I was in Buenos Aires in ’82 when the war started, and indeed regularly from ’69 to ’82, including periods of residence in Paraguay and Uruguay. At the time I was appalled that we actually went to war and killed people over the islands, but was glad we thrashed Argentina which was ruled at the time by a bunch of thugs and had an army made up of indolent sods who spent all their time avoiding actual military duty. I don’t expect a thesis by return, but look forward to discussing these and other matters in the bar on your return! Good luck in the marathon Alex you daft sod!

Roger, Wilma wrote a book and I’m trying to get you a copy – not easy but there may be some still around. She died a couple of years ago. More later.

Congratulations on Horn rounding, from Jennifer

Alex & Peter,

warm & hearty congratulations on your achievement. What a wonderful
experience for you both and the trusty Brolga. Well done “”conquering”” Cape

I have been following your adventures since mid-way to NZ, however due to
excessive work demands during the last week or so, have only just managed to
catch-up on your progress. I personally know many, many of the people
reading your log entries and work with one – Brolga owner Rowley Beckett.
Several of the people you respond to in the log I also know, so it’s a fun
discussion point when we cross paths.

I did a couple of CYCA SOPS races during February/March with one of your
recent Sydney-Hobart crew, James. He joined us regulars on “”Athena””, a
Bavaria 38 that tried to make Hobart in 2004 but ended up in Eden.
Undeterred, the owners are planning Syd-Southport in July followed by
another assault on Hobart. Hopefully we will see you on the start line.

For me, the most interesting aspect has been the ability to read the logs in
near real time. None of this nasty waiting for snail-mail to arrive. It’s
quite amazing to think what you can do with technology these days. Hope you
have a conversation with the Space Station – I’m looking forward to that log

Anyway, have a well-earned rest and a consultation or twenty with the

Wishing you good sailing and fair winds for the next leg of the journey.


Jennifer, Hi and thanks for kind words and thanks to to everyone else – so many of you – who have written to us. I’m sorry that events have got a bit beyond my capacity to reply to everyone but I’m a lot less able to get to a pc than on the boat. Will try to catch up and answer questions in the next couple of days. That is, if I survive tomorrow.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 20, 2005 - 0600hrs UTC

0600hrs 20 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

And the day dawned overcast and windy (it’s always windy here…) and coldish – maybe 10 degrees – but not yet raining. Second cup of tea put away I’m just off to the boat to get some survival biscuits and feel the atmosphere and then off to the start in a couple of hours. Pete will be wandering the course with appropriate sustenance and he’s off to the fresh fruit and veg market to provision us for the next 70 days. We have to get diesel and water on board too and do some limited shopping and then it’s go when the weather looks reasonable.

Steve and Malcolm, tomorrow I will post cd’s with photos and other files – you might need a copy of Airmail to read some of them so I will include an early version. Marc Robinson could perhaps advise (prep. document). Track data to Simon @ digiboat pse.

Isabella, video minidiscs and windows software also posted tomorrow. Hilary might be able to find the mac disc if it exists – it will be in the box on the downstairs desk and is called Image Mixer for Sony DVD handycam for Mac. But may not have had one in the kit.

It was great to talk to all y’all at the Bash even if it was in the middle of the night. We miss you guys.

[a little later…]

Just had a look – there’s a 25 knot headwind for about the middle 30 k and it has started to rain. Oh whooopeee dooo. And the course winds its way between leftover minefields from 1982.  No different from your average headbanger.  Off to the start.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 20, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

2000hrs 20 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

First, some answers and homework – to Annie and David, the Pippin mob, thanks for your message. Your supply of The Doctor lasted us all the way here and sustained us in adversity and rejoicing – thanks.

WJR – glad you’re still out there – and thanks for your kind words – also sustaining.

From Brian and Jen – Otago Yacht Club
So good to see you made it safely to Port Stanley. Brian and I were consulting the Doctor at the yacht club yesterday with you in mind and this resulted in a request from the yacht club to reprint some excerpts from your log. I’ve decided to go one better though, and ask you if you would like to write a few words for the yacht club newsletter. Something about a flagpole perhaps? If not, permission to pass on some of your lovely words would be much appreciated.

Brian and Jen in Dunedin, it’s about as much as I can manage at the moment to keep the stream of consciousness stuff going without having to put it into something formal like an article. You have my full permission to use any material from the website in your newslatter including photos as long as you quote verbatim – no editing – and acknowledge the source and our copyright.  Hope that helps and you really didn’t need that flagpole anyway. Please say Hi to the rest of our Otago YC friends both at the bar and in the newslatter.

And theMarathon. Now THAT was a headbang. I dont want to bore the non runners with lots of techno runners’ babble so here’s a summary.Marathoncourses, like the sea, are indifferent and unforgiving and I got exactly what I deserved and expected. Easily the hardest marathon course I have run with a hill going up to half way that makes Heartbreak Hill atBostonlook like the edge of a puddle. Mostly head or cross wind at about 20 – 25 knots, air temp about 9 deg and chill factor way below that. The facts – I haven’t been above walking pace since before Xmas, I’m several kilos overweight, borrowed shoes, all the basic mistakes and I finished in 4.49.55, a personal worst by about an hour but not a bad performance under the circumstances. And the photos will show that I finished in deep consultation with The Doctor. Way to go.

Nice touch at the end – no finishers medal but you get a space blanket and a Mars bar.  Thanks to Sally, the dentist, who sorted the hacksaw edge on my front teeth during the week and who took me seriously just before half way and ran after me with a Mars bar. Good for trade, I suppose, but just what I needed. And thanks to the lady who lent me her own gloves as I came back down the same hill in the biting wind. The wind in some places was so strong that I could hardly move forwards. And thanks to Pete, who delivered The Doctor close to the end. I spent some of the idle hours trying to calculate how far Leroy and Salizhan would have travelled in the ISS in the time I was out on the course, but the brain was too mushy and failed to deliver. Anyone care to try?

The winner, Hugh Marsden (?), who has run in the Commonwealth Games, ran about 3.09, way out in front and not challenged.

[Photos here]

We’re still looking at Wednesday for departure – depends on how fast we can get the various supplies we need actually on to Berri.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 23, 2005 - 1900hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1900hrs 23 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI Map Ref 123

This was going to be a ‘here we go again’ update but not quite – we’ve postponed the dockside party until tomorrow morning because we still have a bit of stowing and shopping to do. The wind has changed to the NW and there’s a big high sitting splot in the middle of the S Atlantic so it may last for a few days. All depends on the exact wind angle when we get out there but should give us a reasonable start.

The Falklands has been a wonderful experience. A community with a sense of cohesion and a hard edge and – once you get used to the place – amazingly helpful and interested. We have been privileged to be allowed to write our names in blackboard chalk under a substantial piece of Government property at Government House – we were told it’s how they economise on floor cleaning bills. And there will be more marathons – watch the FI website, all you macho headbangers out there. It’s definitely the one to do and to brag about. Coverage of last Sunday’s inaugural in the local newspaper from next Friday at www.penguin-news.com. [ed: Penguin News is by subscription. We have asked for an extract]

Another silly memory from Sunday’s toil over the hills – there are a lot of military personnel here and there were a few running, with many of their oppos out there rooting for them. As an old geezer with grey locks dangling dank around my ears, I probably stood out a bit, but they all called me Sir. Odd really – haven’t been called sir ever since about 1964 and to be encouraged in a marathon by loud cries of ‘Come on, Sir – you’re looking good’ in broad Geordie and Scouse is novel and surprising when the brain is basically non functional – do they really mean me??

From Cyril L.: Ice cold
Dear Alex,
Just heard about this website recently and the email facility. I am
working my way through the logs – makes me reach for my sweater I must
say. I am delighted to see what great progress you have made, and hope
that things continue to go well.

Hi Cyril – not too many leaves to burn out here!

Graham H: Hello from tassie

Hello Alex and Peter,
Congratulations on your epic journey so far, reading the daily log brings a welcome relief from the mundane routine of my boring office job and is all the more interesting given that myself and my kids have had the opportunity to have a look around Berri at the end of the last 2 S2H races courtesy of Malcolm R. I was interested to read that Alex did the FI marathon, I too have run 9 of the bligters so know what its like. The reason I was e-mailing you was that that I was doing a little surfing on the net and found out that there is a guy called Jesper Olsen who is currently running around the world. Yes you do read that correctly, he started out from Greenwich in London and has been across all of Europe down through Japan, Australia and is just going across America with a plan to run from Glasgow down to London finishing new years eve this year. The web site is www.worldrun.org
The other reason I e-mail is to ask do you hav any plans to write a book of your adventures when you return, you write with such eloquence and your words and pictures deserve to be in print as they so paint a topographic picture of your adventure, perhaps your story could be a Hollywood film!!!! if so who would you like to play you?
Anyway good luck on the next leg of the journey to Blighty, Im sure my compatriots will give you a warm welcome and have plenty of the Dublin doctor to welcome you!!!

From Kristen M.

Your marathon story made me laugh and turn up my new stereo loud and
dance around giggling. The cat wanted to be picked up so I danced
around with him–he decided dancing wasn’t his thing and got down
again but I kept laughing at the audacity and obstinancy and
motivation of running a marathon after months at sea. Wow. I feel so
privileged to come along for the virtual ride. Thanks. And

Of course the astronauts would think that y’all sailing Berri is cool.
They are human too–highly trained humans, but you two sure are as
well. And they clearly y have an interest in exploration and
journeys. So they have to drink their tea in zero grav–probably
easier than the washing machine sometimes. I think that it’s great
that you got to talk to them and once again I feel so lucky to be part
of the Berri family, even if I claimed excontinence and didn’t make
the party this year.

Up here on northern hemisphere dry land earth things are somewhat less
ambitious. I’ve been doing some odd home-improvement projects. I’m
following my instincts of when in doubt go on vacation and taking 3+
weeks to go cycle in Ireland in a month. Another privilege–the
ability to flit across the pond for a bike ride. I come home to a
visit from my professor buddy who is “”retiring”” but really moving to
Scotland to keep being a professor, reading and thinking and lecturing
and writing on all sorts of brilliant things, just not in the US. I’m
going to keep following his and your examples of acting young.

Happy Trails,

And Graham H and Kris and AlexL and Mick and Rob. Kris, I like excontinence – excontinent is just how one feels at the end of 42k. Or, I suppose, when the cat leaves home.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

We have just about got everything oo to Berri and expect to be able to leave later today. Just fresh bread and some eggs to get.

And today is Hilary’s mums 90th birthday – it’s a big year for big birthdays – Happy Birthday, Olive. We’re thinking of you.

Looks like a nice day out there – northerly wind forecast so not ideal but we’ll just have to go with what we get.

Next one from sailmail, I hope.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1430hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1430hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

Sadly, it’s all gone rather pearshaped. 40+ knot wind came up during the night, long before forecast, blowing Berrimilla directly on to the jetty and making big swell so we are trying to hold her off and limit the damage. Not safe to try and drive her out – too close to rocks if it goes wrong, and it could, very easily. Just hanging in there for what may well be a very long day.

Will keep you posted.Brittany, we may not be able to do Friday night – I will try to let you know as soon as we know ourselves.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1530hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1530hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

We are taking it in turns to babysit the boat – I’m now sitting at the nav table with the laptop, just like old times with the wind howling in the rig and bouncing up and down, but this time we are very much alongside. It seems survivable although extremely uncomfortable, and the gel coat on the starboard side, plus most of Berri’s nice teak toe-rail, will never be the same. Luckily, we have been able to borrow some ship-sized fenders and we have them up against the three big tractor tyres that hang from the jetty. Because of the swell, they tend to work their way up and out from  between boat and tyre and we have to push the boat out and jam them back in. Not easy, in constant 40 knots. Our own fenders are far too puny for the job and are just about useless. We have two huge aft springs holding the boat, and a skinny 6mm spectra halyard line going 50 metres across to another jetty to hod the bows out. The boat is lying to those 3 lines, most of the time. Dead low water, and not sure how things will work as the tide rises. We are stuck here until it abates, probably late tonight, and we will have to sleep on the boat to make sure she stays safe.

So I am not sure exactly when we will get away. We must co-ordinate departure with Customs and I am about to call them to ask whether we can clear and then leave when the wind drops.

Penguin news is on the streets, with the Marathon report.[ed: Penguin News is by subscription – front page here. We are negotiating for an extract]

Article in the Times of Malta: www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=180930&hilite=Whitworth [broken link]

With thanks to Natalino Fenech, a journo friend of Berri inMalta.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 2354hrs UTC│Stanley, Falklands I.

2354hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

What a day. I think we have preserved Berri more or less undamaged and the wind has finally abated a bit. It was blowing 45-50 for most of the day and for a lot of that, blowing Berri directly on to a big rubber tractor tyre with about a metre and a half swell so no way to control anything much. About 15 degrees of hell too, which didn’t help. Late in the afternoon, Paul, Owen, Mike and the FIC launch turned up and we set it all up so that they could hold us into wind as we ferry glided about 40 metres across to the lee side of a floating jetty. Pretty hairy manoeuvre but we got there and Berri is now not snug but at least relatively safe – touch wood. Thanks guys.

I have some photos but I’m too stuffed to work through download at the mo – just need to get to bed. If the forecast wind change arrives, we will clear customs at 0930 local tomorrow and be out of here.  Sad but necessary. Will try to get photos done early in the morning but no promises at this stage.

Berri after move