Day 8 on board Tenacious – Sunday 23 February
Ahoy there from the wonderful sunny, azure blue sky and sea of the Caribbean. Air and sea temperatures are both 27 degrees! In the words of Captain Darren, it is all very pleasant😊
And so say all of us. Life is good. Wonderful crew, food, sailing and socialising. JST at its best.
We are now heading south from Nevis back to Antigua, having anchored at St Barts and Anguilla. Half the crew swam off the ship yesterday, which was so refreshing. Then we went in boats ashore and took taxi tours of Nevis which included Golden Rock and fantastic but quite expensive food and rum punches and natural hot mineral spring pools. We asked the taxi driver Barrie to take us past the Montpelier Plantation house where Lord Nelson married Fanny Nisbet in 1787.
After more refreshing swims in the sea, boats ashore at 5 we all were treated to an excellent BBQ on board. Our Bermudan friends were well represented on the deck dance floor, especially Sharon leading us in reggae moves. Green turtles were swimming around the ship while we were at anchor.
Such is our dedication to fight plastic pollution in the beautiful seas, our noble 3rd mate jumped in fully clad to retrieve a blown away plastic bag in the middle of the morning meeting.
The voyage crew photo on the foredeck this morning was the smartest crew ever seen, all wearing the Gustavia Yacht Club shirts kindly donated by Stelios at our party on St Barts.
Captain Darren announced the winners of the Six Nation Sweepstake: voyage crew Les and Greg and BM Mike.
Aft Starboard Watch on the 12.30-4 afternoon watch: WL Ann, Jot, Sue, Helen, Chaz, Andy, Mujib, Jamie and Phil
Day 7 on board Tenacious – Saturday 22 February
We’re on day 7, and already on to our third island of the trip! Having had the chance to sail off the anchor from the beautiful Anguilla, we’ve sailed about 24 hours, on a decidedly calm sea, and are coming into anchor at Nevis. The sight of a towering verdant green island rising out of a stunningly blue Caribbean sea will never get old, and to share the sight with some wonderful new friends is a brilliant experience. The people have been such a great part of this trip, with ages and abilities mixing seamlessly to make a great team, all coming together to make the ship work around the clock – sharing lunch on deck, taking part in the overnight watches under stunning stars, and watching sunrises on the early anchor watches are just some of the special moments we’ve had together.
This trip has stretched what I thought I was able to do, from climbing the mast to leading some of the handing of the sails – with careful guidance from the incredible permanent crew of course! The crew cannot be praised enough for being so knowledgeable.
Their willingness to share their skills and their good humour when trying to round everyone up for the last rib off whichever island we’ve all spent the evening on!
To do all of this on such a beautiful ship is an absolute joy and a bit of a ‘pinch-yourself’ moment when you catch a glimpse of the Caribbean sun through the many square sails we had just set. Definitely a trip like no other!!
Day 7 by Branden Fox
Last November I was offered an opportunity to embark on a voyage of a lifetime. I was asked to join the crew of the tall ship Tenacious. I jumped at the chance to go. Having sailed before on the Spirit of Bermuda, and now that I had a chance to do it again I leaped. Jumping forward to the 31 January, I met up with five other Bermudians that were coming on the trip with me. The 14th of the following month, we flew from Bermuda to Miami, the 15th we flew to Antigua, and the 16th we boarded Tenacious. Boarding the ship was an overwhelming experience. The amount of people on the ship was a little jarring at first. There were too many people at once, in such a small room. But after a few days of getting around learning the ship, I was able to get my bearings, and get used to finding my way without my cane.
Today we went swimming, the first time I jumped off the platform, I went in feet first. It was quite a height and really fun.
Some of the other highlights were when I climbed up the side of the ship to the first crow’s nest on the main mast. I got to about two metres from the first platform. When I got there I felt great, when I first climbed onto the ropes, I felt terrified. Everyone encouraging me pushed me to go far. When the ship came into harbour at St Bart’s, I was at the helm. The talking compass read out the current headings to me helping me to stay on target. I am now an ace helmsman.
I’m looking forward to the next four days of this trip.
This is the Blind believer signing off.
Day 5 on board Tenacious – Thursday 20 February
We had a fabulous down-wind sail from St Barts to Anguilla where we anchored at Road Bay. Many of us swam off the ship, and there were some spectacular examples of diving and jumping into the wonderful warm Carribean Sea. We then spent a pleasant night, with singing led by Brandon and lashings of dark and stormies enjoyed by many.
After breakfast the next day, in quite a strong breeze there were mast climbs for everyone who wanted to. This was followed by a delicious lunch of spicy chicken wraps and then everyone went ashore in the RIBs – getting rather wet in the process! But in temperatures of 27 degrees this was quite welcome.
The beach of fine white sand at Road Bay gave us an opportunity to try out the beach buggy, which helped those in wheelchairs enjoy this sandy paradise. We swam and snorkled amongst the coral and saw some fine varieties of fish. We then retired to the rustic beach bars and enjoyed delicious frozen rum punches and reggae music whilst the sun set behind Tenacious in the bay.
All too soon it was time to go back to the ship and we had a fantastic view of her lit up as we motored back home.
Aft Port – Ron, Stephen, John, Tim, Ruth, Pam, Kris, Sharon, Maggie
Day 3 on board Tenacious – Tuesday 18 February
Silly me told people on my voyage that I write my own blog, and so I got handed a funny little computer today to write about day three here on Tenacious. All joking aside, what an honour to do so!
I am here buddying a young man with vision impairment, because I have training as a Rehabiliation Instructor specialising in Sight Loss. Having never been on a sailing ship like this one before, and with my interest in enabling people with disabilities, I leapt at the chance to be here. Branden is sponsored along with two other young men, and their supporters, by the Bermuda Sailors Home. The BSH have paid for all our expenses, including voyage fees, transport, accommodation and food. We even have team T-shirts which are really cool. Vision Bermuda who have been working with Branden, and the Hamiltons Lion Club also donated $500 each towards Branden’s expenses to ensure he had the right gear to bring on the voyage. It was a very prestigious moment in Bermuda when the sponsorship was announced, and televised throughout the community.
Today is day three on the ship, and I woke up and felt really queasy. I’m in the top bunk, and have a porthole to look out of, but when I did, felt worse. I thought, I’ll have a shower and then I’ll feel a lot better. That didn’t work, a few minutes after I had to use the paper bag system. That means, if you need to hurl, use the paper bag provided, go up onto the deck, check you are on the leeward side, then toss it into the sea. Leeward means in the direction the wind is blowing, not against it. I was so proud of myself remembering, and then proceeded to have a cup of tea, which I lost this as well. I then had to commandeer Stevie the lovely nurse, and against all my personal health philosophies, get tablets for sea sickness. The natural remedies I brought with me were useless. Stevie suggested to throw those in the bin, rang a doctor on shore, and sorted a tablet my sensitive system could manage.
In just an hour, I was feeling a bit better, and it was time for my watch. We went up onto the helm, and with the sun shining and the blue water racing by, helped to steer the ship, and watch for any hazards that we needed to avoid. What a beautiful day for it, which started with ocean for miles, then as land came into sight, we realised we were approaching Saint Bartholemew. Branden is in my watch, and he was at the helm when we came into Gustavia, our destination for the day. He is almost completely blind, with a little functional vision, but with the help of the talking compass, steered the ship expertly to exactly where we needed to be. I was talking with him about the experience, and he said ‘It was powerful, I felt like I was in control for the first time in my life’. I can not tell you how it feels to be part of his achievement, assisting him to orientate around the ship, the adaptations of arrows on railings, ridges on the deck for canes to follow, and well-marked Braille in prominent places. The fantastic non slip marking on the edge of the stairs and railings everywhere to keep people safe are being well used, when the ships leans to starboard or port. To see him grow in his confidence and abilities is wonderful. I know this experience will make this young man go far in life.
It was impossible to dock in Gustavia because it was just too shallow. Once we had dropped anchor, and immigration cleared us, most of the voyage crew went into town. We stayed back because we had important visitors coming on board from a disabilities group to have a tour of the boat. They arrived with Patrick Fleming, the CEO of the Jubilee Sailing Trust. Patrick has been in Gustavia for meetings with Sir Stelious Haji-Ionanou, the President of the Gustavia Yacht Club, who has sponsored eighty people to voyage on Tenacious. Branden was keen to stay on board and show the visitors around, and talk about his experience so far. He was a great ambassador for the Trust, and enjoyed the afternoon. We then went into Gustavia.
Getting onto the inflatable to transport us to town was quite exciting. You climb down a metal ladder that is attached to the ship, then onto the side of the inflatable, then sit down and hold tight. I found this quite easy, and was impressed as others were either assisted on board by encouragement or hoisted in on a sling. The sea was so rough, and it was very brave, but there wasn’t a moment to fear as everyone were kept so safe by all the caring people around them. After a short trip into the bay, we docked and then had a bit of free time. I went off to find a T-shirt for my husband, my one stipulation for getting to go on the trip and not him, ‘bring me back a T-shirt from every port you visit’.
We met back at the dock and then went with everyone from the ship to Eddie’s Getto Restaurant. Sir Stelios put on a wonderful celebration for us with drinks, appetisers, and T-shirts for everyone. It was a great night with lots of interesting people to meet, and then afterwards anyone who wanted to could go along to the Gustavia Yacht Club to continue their party. A few did, and there were a couple of sore heads the next morning. We decided it was time to go back. I was really tired after my nasty start to the day, and felt quite proud of myself managing that long already. That Stevie is worth her weight in gold, I couldn’t have got through the day without her.
Going back in the dark was rougher than the afternoon’s trip. We had a wheelchair between us and held it so it didn’t tip with the waves. Most of us had wet butts by the time we got back. Whisking along in the dark, bouncing over waves was exhilarating. Getting back out of the inflatable was a bit more challenging, with the sea rougher than earlier. The boat bobbed around, and the ladder would be there to grab one minute, then gone quickly. Some second attempts saw us safely on to climb up, and the equipment and bags passed up after we were on deck. The hoist was in action again, and this time a harness too, which took the weight of the person and helped them to climb the ladder independently.
Once back on board a huge feast of ham, cheese, olives, tomato’s and bread was laid out in the lower mess for supper. It was a quick scoff and then off to bed, there was an early start for some. Not for me, I slept like a baby until the breakfast thirty minute notice. What a day that was, fantastic.