Wednesday, December 24, 2014


If the adage “Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil” are wise words then why do I feel that there is something missing ?
If the premise of these wise words are to make our actions better and our lives a little more positive, then why doesn’t it mention the starting point to how the basis and cycles that occurs around these actions that carry evil and negativity, that point being “Thinking”
Thinking no evil, is very relevant to all of these, and if  possibly we concentrated firstly on making sure that we weren’t “Thinking” evil, then the other functions wouldn’t be such a bother.
Because to “Speak evil”, you have to be thinking evil
To “Hear evil” means that you are thinking or seeking fault or bad qualities in what others are saying
To “See evil” is often a perspective of our thinking about looking for perfection and correctness in everything, and everyone around us.
They all seem to be part of a catch 22 situation where negative and evil thoughts tend to bring on only more negativity.
I will continue the day with some positive thinking, and then the rest may just take care of itself.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Clone a dinosaur

Clone a dinosaur
I am starting to wonder if the saying “Survival of the fittest” is really that valid these days.
With modern technology, medicine and the wonderful operations that are now possible along with the drugs, have our life expectancies have been pushed far beyond what our bodies were originally designed for?
It seems that everyone can live to a “ripe old age” without too much bother. You don’t hear too often of people in their 20’s 30’s and 40’s dying unless it’s from an accident.
So as our societies and governments are adapting slowly to this reality that our populations are growing but not passing away so fast, this unleashes a raft of issues that need to be faced and dealt with if our planet is going to be able to accommodate the multitudes.
Social values are changing globally but not enough to stop or stabilise birth rates, same sex marriages slow the population growth a little, but histories of plagues don’t seem to come about so often.
Like so many forms within the animal kingdom there exists a food chain, it’s a well known and understood reality that the strongest, wisest do survive but most have another larger predators waiting in the wings for when the weak, slow, ill or silly to find themselves in the wrong place at the right time.
So where do us humans sit in the overall food chain? The top of course. We have created our cities and our protective measures to ensure that we are so well looked after that there is no real reason why we can be in danger, at any time. Look at the health and safety measures that we have created, look at the multitudes of signs showing dangers, cautions, instructions, they’re everywhere you look and all the risks are removed.
But if I look at the packaging I can’t seem to find the use by date for humans, maybe best before green should be stamped somewhere on us?
But the miracles of science could be brought to bear if they took the DNA of dinosaurs and cloned a few, not the really scary huge ones, they would destroy all of our beautiful parks and gardens, but maybe some medium sized ones could whip us all into line a bit, improve the fitness levels and reduce obesity a bit, and if we didn’t, well there would be some well fed animals next up the food chain. Quite an interesting thought?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Port Closed

The tide gates are locked tight and the draw bridge is down
There’s no wind in the air, not a rustle or a sound, no breeze in the lungs, just the smell of the town

The boat moves irrationally, the wakes of the boats all around

To ponder the journey will take some time, a few beers would be nice, but there’s sleep that is needed, if it can ever be found

Ahh the different sounds a port brings to your ears, the sound of kids and the tourist’s loud cheers, is this somehow real or just one of my fears

To touch land is needed, there are stores and repairs, to your brain and the spars, just have a look from deck to hounds

But to be locked to a port is something quite strange, you're safe but you're trapped, like a cat on a chain you can only go around and around

Please let the weed grow slow on the hull, may the city dust be washed clean by the rain, those beautiful white sheets, will soon be green like the fields

Your intuitive feelings, the weather and the sea, it changes and stops as the bustle of the world seem to envelop you completely from the top

Don’t let this time stay, there are waves just outside the bay, the ocean isn’t just about sailing it’s about living a very different sway

A sailor's way is not so deranged, the needs and the feel are all really quite real, they can never be compared to city life with its hustle or the compounds of the port.


I used to feel guilty, lazy and even irresponsible if I ever felt like I wanted to have an afternoon snooze.
There have been understandable times, maybe after a long weekend lunch, or when feeling illl that an afternoon snooze was considered acceptable.
Over the years of being so much closer with animals in the wild I have finally come to the conclusion even when I look around, even with our domestic animals that snoozing is not such a silly thing.
Count the number of times that you see you pet dog have nap during the day ? the birds sitting in the trees you can see them with their head tucked under their wings, maybe not for long but they are doing it regularly.
How does your cat react after half an hour on your lap when you get up to make a cup of coffee, you have woken them up and they tell you !
Because animals don’t have the structured society constraints that we do, they naturally do what their bodies tell them to do, rest, it’s not so silly. If they have been busy for some time using their bodies and their minds (god only knows what they are thinking about) but they do what they know is right for them.
To rest is to recover, to rest is to be able to maintain peak performance when its needed, no wonder us humans feel so tired by the end of the day and are not able at perform or to react when needed spontaneously.
So go and have a snooze and think about it !

Sunday, July 20, 2014



I started dying when I was born

But I didn’t start living until I realised and accepted that dying was an integral part of living.

Each cell of every living creature is in a continual state of new growth, cell multiplication and also death.

The balance between cell growth and cell demise is the key to the extent of our existence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wave splashes to ashes, Wind gusts to dust

Wave splashes to ashes, Wind gusts to dust

I walked back along the pontoon dock, it was getting late, and the docks were calm and quiet. A small black dog came as to greet me as I headed towards Xplore.

The night had no wind and as I looked forward along the dock with this small dog closely following me I could see moored behind Xplore a small yacht that had arrived earlier in the day. On the dock stood a man and by his feet were two burner pots with a gentle flame flickering in each, giving a surreal glow to his boat and gentle shadows that moved and changed with the flames.

I came to pass him, and we said good evening, I could easily tell he wasn’t French, but from where I couldn’t say quickly enough. I commented at the robustness of his little yacht, it was a very smart and a well found boat. Our discussion on the dock as with most sailors do, turned to the design of our boats and were we had come from, and to where we were going.

He looked along the docked and asked about Xplore, and I mentioned that it was designed in the UK by David Thomas. The old man went quiet, I wondered if I had offended him in some way ? but he quickly continued with a smiling glee to explain that his yacht, just 24 feet long was also designed by David Thomas, small world.

Even though late, I invited him on board, as he was impressed with Xplore’s stature, we continued talking. I asked him why he was burning the two portable cookers on the dock and he explained that the stove fuel that he had bought in the UK was not good. It was alcohol fuel commonly used on small sailing boats, but the fuel he had, had additives so that people on shore wouldn’t drink it, but for him it was impossible to use for cooking as it filled his boat with strange fumes, so he was burning it off outside to get rid of it.

As a lover of dogs I had suggested that his small puppy visit Xplore as well, so as we talked and I gave him a brief tour of the boat, I remembered that I had bought a quantity of alcohol in South America before we departed, we use it a lot when we are cleaning and doing maintenance. As a gesture I offered him a spare bottle for his stove. He quickly removed the top and sniffed the contents, duss is zer gut, he promptly said, giving away his German back ground.

We joked and shared a few sailing stories as it came out that I had been sailing in Antarctica and the south for the last 11 years, I said to him that I have always jokingly say that when I get tired of sailing that I would become a dog farmer, that is to breed boat dogs, ones that are suitable and smart enough for a life at sea. His ears pricked up at this and he explained that his wonderful old little dog was just that, a breed of dog designed for boats dating back many years so as to be small enough and fast to be able to catch rats onboard ships. A “Schipperke” they are called originally from Belgium / Flanders.

I could tell that he was tired, and his burners on the dock were getting lower, but he insisted that I have a brief look at his boat. How could I resist, such an interesting boat, a junk rigged sloop and oh so small compared to Xplore, but you could tell that it was so well maintained and strongly built that it had in so many ways a similar feel to my boat.

We parted after exchanging names and addresses, but he asked me to visit the next day so he could write some details down to email David Thomas in the UK, he knew the designer quite well as client and as a friend. Back on board I wondered about this dear older man as I had a night cap of wine, where was he sailing to I didn’t know, but you could tell from our talks that he had done quite a lot of miles, sometimes from sailor to sailor you just know that.

Daylight streamed through my port hole window and another day commenced, time here in Brest seems to have become so busy in these last few weeks that I often feel its more relaxing and easier to be out at sea. But by the end of the day I walked down the dock with a cold can of beer to see him and to look at three of the Pen Duick yachts that had tied up in the marina.

He asked me to come on board his boat, named Golden Wind from a Japanese saying which matches very well with his colourful Junk sail which he has hand painted. He opened his journal book and asked me to write a note about Xplore, he had already glued my card in place and I wrote a short note. As I wrote he rummaged through a locker and explained that he had a small gift for me, I said that I didn’t need anything but he handed me a bottle of liqueur and explained that he was pleased to give me the gift as thanks for the bottle I had to him the night before. I smiled and thought how the two bottles had contents the same colour, clear fluid, one to drink and one to cook with, it was cherry schnapps.

I stepped out into the cockpit as we shook hands, he was explaining that he was sailing over to the United States as there was a foundation there that had been set up as a sail training base for delinquent youth and that he was going to donate his boat to them. I seemed surprise, but the words from his mouth flowed out to me without further a do to explain that he was dying, and he didn’t even know if he would reach there. The cancer he had, he knew would bring him soon to an end, and he hated the smell of hospitals and nursing homes, so he had transferred all is wealth to his wife there in Germany, and with her blessing he was setting off for his last voyage.

My eyes became watery, but the atmosphere between us was strong, I couldn’t argue with his logic, it actually made a lot of sense to me, one sailor to another, not much was needed to be said.

I woke early, earlier than normal, light from outside was barely visible as I heated the kettle for a nice cup of tea. I stepped out on deck, it was 5.30am and I strolled up onto the break water. There were a few people fishing, and a few youths weaving along the concrete, still saying Bon soir, as I was saying Bon jour, and there just outside the break water was Golden Wind, Hans was on deck making ready for sea, the light was soft with some clearing clouds. I called out loud his name and waved a farewell, bon voyage my friend.


Golden Wind


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Unknown

The unknown, and times of uncertainties can reveal opportunities. 

Success in all endeavors requires utmost attention to detail. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Stern lights in the sky

At sea when there are other ships around at night they all display navigation lights, depending on which angle you are looking at them, you will see different colored lights, but they are distinctive so that you can ascertain whether they are heading towards you, passing you, or going away. 

Even far off the coast, in the middle of the ocean there is always a chance of not only seeing other ships, but also of being hit by a ship.

Based on your height of eye on a sailing yacht, you can only see the horizon about 9 nautical miles away. So if you are traveling at 7 knots, and a ship is coming towards you at say 15 knots, then you have a closing speed of 22 knots, which means that from not seeing anything on the horizon within 20 to 25 minutes you could be run over, hmmm hence why we always have someone on watch, sensible don't you think ? 

Tonight is a full moon night here in the North Atlantic, and a clam smooth night it is. For days as we have headed north from Brazil's Fernando De Noronha, crossed the equator, slipped out of the crippling calms of the Doldrums and are now north of 20 degrees. 

The days are now getting longer as we head into northern hemisphere spring time, the waters are now getting cooler again, instead of the tropical blue's with bath water temperatures of 33 degree's Celsius, we are now back at the still pleasant mid 20's. Day times are still wonderfully warm, and the evenings are a beautiful cool, but not cold, well for some onboard ! (compared to Antarctic climates)

With every passage there is wear an tear along the way, which is to be expected, unfortunately on this leg north the only breakage has been a running back stay block, this for non sailors is part of the mast rigging, and needs to be tensioned and changed each time we make a substantial course alteration when the wind changes from one side of the yacht to the other.

Well dear Vincent was the very unlucky one to find this out the other day when we tacked. In applying the needed tension to the running backstay, the deck turning block that the rope runs through exploded. I was near by doing the main sail, when it happened, Vincent went quiet as I reached over to check on him. Luckily, but unfortunately he was hit on the side of the head, the blood that was coming from his head was not large, but I was concerned.

Audrey and I grabbed the medical kits after our initial examination of his head, and as Vincent has said he is a very lucky "Black cat". The wound needed two stitches, and this Vincent managed without local anesthetics and my initial slightly shaky hand (stitching sails are not as stressful).
Now two days later we removed the first dressing and inspected the wound, not too bad a job if I say so myself, and certainly Vincent is back in his normal form.

So tonight's full moon party at sun set had "cheers all round" as Credence Clear Water Revival was playing Bad moon a rising in the back ground. The stars are all out, and eventhough I am not so familiar with these northern sparkling lights, they do remind me of ships that have safely passed us by, because from that aspect you can only see one small white light.
Safe sailing, 1,106 nautical miles to the Azores. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014


2,400 nautical miles may seem to you all like a long way to go for a relaxing drink, yes that's nearly 5,000 kilometers, but our passage north from Uruguay has taken just over 13 days with some superb sailing, positive inshore currents to help along the way, warm weather and great fishing. 

Remote Brazilian islands there are not a large amount of, but Fernando de Noranah is one of their jewels. Located about 200 nautical miles off the coast to the north east it is a lovely volcanic tropical island with a wonderful array of wild life, on shore and in the sea.

Very popular for surfers, wild life enthusiasts and wedding honeymoon couples, there is also a healthy stream of visiting yachts heading either north or south in the Atlantic's as a stopping destination.

But being Brazil, it holds the essence of their culture is so many ways, their foods, drinks, music and their people.

Now men being men, and women being women, having even an average eyesight is very rewarding when visiting Fernando de Noronah, because the women there they have some amazing, outstanding features which makes me wonder why the letters BRA is the start of the country name ?? because they just don't seems to be needed.

Now the second part of the countries name I have also found out why it is, eventhough this is my third stop at Fernando de Noranah (yes for the wildlife and relaxing atmosphere of course) Brazil has over the last few years become a very very expensive country, their currency is now at about 2 to 1 to the US$ so its just as well that for spectator sports that you get your moneys worth ! which of course we did, but with World Cup happening very shortly if your going to be a visitor then come well armed with cash because that's why the second part of the country name comes from the word Zillions. 

We have departed Fernando de Noronah today, heading due north to the Azores, with a spectacular display of Dorado fish jumping 3 meters into the sky as they endeavored to catch flying fish, we all on board can honestly say that we were impressed and astounded by what we saw there in our time at this picture perfect location.


Friday, March 21, 2014


Ah the murky river waves that stain the shores of the water way. 

They're three giants to blame, with great South American fame. 

They empty their bowels non stop day and night, a relentless stream of brown disgrace. 

These giants of the River Plate, have different personalities from their home land states.

They gorge and they spew the soils and fluids of their lands, from fertile field, to barren slate.

Thousands of years these giants cease to abate, ever changing the channels and lanes.

Standing still, when its calm you really feel, this grand expanse is a desert plane.

If Casablanca was near there'd be camels roaming free with nomads in chase.

Its a water desert that's here, mighty river streams coming quite free.

Feed the giants and let them continue to snort, from Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, they're really having sport !

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Step No 1 Frog legs and snails

To every voyage there is a start, a middle and an end, our journey to France started in Ushuaia with 7,500 miles to travel. Step No 1 is nearly completed with news that Tierra del Fuego has been covered early with heavy snow, strong winds and very very wintery. 

As we glide up the coast of Mar del Plata the iridescent phosforecence that wafts off the side of Xplore is more like driving through massive milky jelly fish, their rims catching the moon light rays over the calm oily waters.
The passage north has been good, the team, very well balanced, and the sailing tremendous. The change into shorts and tee shirts came all so fast, and the change of meals from hearty stews and soups into summer cuisine is stretching our imaginations after so many months down in the Antarctic

We left at the right time, and have made good time, our first pit stop is Punta del Este on the South east shores of Uruguay, a few days there to dry out and to prepare for step No.2 will hopefully be relaxed and productive.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Xplore definative famliy names on board

Spend long enough time anywhere and with anyone or thing and you start to really understand and see their strengths, weaknesses and character, for the good or bad.
Over the seven years with Xplore we have seen our fair share of ups and downs, literally ! so its not surprising that just like with people we have had to deal with the maintenance on a regular basis, there are breakage's and replacement of so many items and parts along the way.
For a yacht to have sailed now 90,000 nautical miles we have developed a lot of faith and trust in some key components on board and these parts we have fondly given names to, to add a touch of character to items and equipment that we rely on every single day, it's sometimes easier to understand why something breaks or falls apart when they have a name, because you can say to them 'hey sorry, I haven't looked at you or given you some attention for quite some time" no wonder you're complaining !

The definitive Xplore on board family names list:

Andy : Andy is the type that just grabs you in such a firm sort of way when you first meet him, when he's out and about he's right up front on Xplore. Andy's pretty handy when you want to stop somewhere, he loves diving and playing around on the sea floor, and that's because he's our anchor.

Larry : Strong chap, controls the anchor winch and chain, lives up front, so he is a quiet slightly reclusive type, made by Lewmar, hence the name Larry

Yolly : Well there are the twin sisters Yolly, No1 and No 2 and they are our primary head sails which are called Yankee's, both only wear short skirts, as they like to have a bit of "wind up their kilts" so to speak, but its really because they don't like getting their dresses wet.

Ziggy : Ziggy is a trooper and was named because he loves zooming around nice and fast, he is our Zodiac that takes everyone on Xplore to shore at the amazing places we visit.

Stewart : Now Stewart loves to sail, he's happy at any time of the day as long as he can play in the wind, even though he's done so many miles, he's very young at heart (personally he thinks he's invincible) that's because he was made with just a splash of super strong vectran, Stewart is our Staysail.

Peter and Percy : Funny name for gay Greek boys, bronzed so black from the sun you can see them stick out like sore thumbs with all their gold bracelets, they just lie around in the sun on deck all day, but when the wind comes from behind, as quick as a flash they are up there ! out they go
proud as punch they love being show offs, whether it's the spinnakers or poling out Yolly they're out there bar hard. made out of carbon fiber and kevlar and they are our spinnaker poles.

Bubble and Squeak : Well not everyone likes talking about these two, but the reality is that they are used by everyone , every day, hail rain or shine and they are our two toilets in the bath rooms. They too have personalities, and unless you learn their quirks pretty fast then life on Xplore can be a tad messy, Bubble lives on the right side of Xplore and Squeak is on the left side. Bubbles always burps a bit after being used, where as Squeak just chats away as she is being used.

Victor : He's a beefy chap that hangs out with Baz (coming) Victor is a very proper sort of a guy who takes his job very seriously, whether it's just for a bit of support for Baz, or if its to pull him into line Victor is always someone that you can count on. Victor is our boom vang.

Barry : Baz as known to his mates is no light weight puppy at about 150 Kg's, Baz is a bit of a whipper snapper, hence why we have to keep Victor with him to keep him into line, Baz is fondly attached to Malcolm (coming also) and is the boom for the main sail. Now you should see Baz get into a right old flap when he's been left with too much main sail up, he rattles and wiggles like a cut snake.

Malcolm : Fine up standing person who gives a lot of grace and elegance to Xplore, couldn't be with out him and his fine balance of lines and cables that allows us to fly through the waves with our sails, Malcolm is our mast.

Mikie : Crikie Mikie we call him, as he is a big tall guy that when he stretches he almost reaches the sky, in 4 sections he goes up and up the full length of Malcolm, as a sail he is a power house in light winds, and that's what he really likes and prefers, because over 30 knots he just falls apart at the seams, so we put him away when its really windy and save him for another day, Mikie is our main sail.

Mr Perkins : Some days we don't have any wind and that's when Mr Perkins comes in, a steady personality he happily sings away with a sturdy deep voice that you would expect of someone who carries a great responsibility. To get us in and out of port, or to get us into a tight anchorage when it's blowing a gale we couldn't live without he and his reliable nature. Mr Perkins is our main engine.

Mrs Perkins : Now don't get us wrong, Mrs Perkins is a gem, BUT...... there have been times when you just can't quite work her out, reliable, Yes, a bit of a loud voice, Yes had a few medical problems over the years, Yes, do we still love her, Yes,. for all her faults we think she's a gem, Mrs Perkins is our generator and charges our batteries, drives the high pressure pump and heats the water so we can have lovely showers, how could you not love her, even with her temperamental hiccups.

Ernie and Errol : Bloody hot heads are these two twins, they have a drinking problem, and that probably comes from their German descent, its the dam diesel that they cant get enough of and add that to a bit of electricity and well they just go off ! huffing and puffing away they produce so much heat so quickly that we have to take their booze away pretty fast. You have to love them though because in the depths of Antarctica they keep us so snug and warm, Ernie and Errol are our two heaters made by Eberspacher.

Wendy : She's a bit of a slurper herself, drinking problem as well, but at least it's only water, with a nice warm sea she can produce 160 liters of fresh clean water per hour, she's a bit of a connoisseur of fresh water and doesn't like the salt so she spits that out over the side, Wendy is out Aquafresh water maker that allows us to sail thousands of miles without having to take water.

Frieda : Now Frieda only joined the family two years ago, we weren't quite sure if she would fit in, but she finally found her place, at first we all thought she was a cold bitch but our hearts opened up to her skills and talents, and when the day ends and we pull out a cold beer or wine, prepare a nice fresh salad then we all say cheers to Frieda our portable fridge / freezer.

Wilma : Wilma has been Wilma since day one, she's the one that keeps everyone on the straight and narrow, takes us through the tough bits, but as so many girls are like she does love to have a spin and a twirl when she's in the mood, Wilma is our steering wheel, the helm of the Xplore.

Arnie : What can I say, all brawn and not a lot of brains ~! but there is not one person who comes on Xplore that doesn't love him, 24 / 7 he's knocking the miles out in some of the most horrendous conditions. Poor guy, he's locked up in a tiny compartment, hardly ever gets looked at or touched,
sure he grumbles a bit when it blows but you can't blame him for that. When its - 20 c outside, ice all over the deck, snow coming down and blowing a gale he still choofs along and does his job, Arnie is our very strong auto pilot hydraulic pump pack.

Sally : Everyone has their place and needs, and well Sally just is a dirty girl, it's her character and something that's not going to change, she loves a good pumping every day, but other wise she just lays around in the bilge waiting for the next shower, fill her up a bit too much and she burps and
farts, oh boy, such a nasty way, but keep her well looked after and she smells like roses, Sally is our grey water tank on Xplore.

Well there you have it, "The Team" and an insight into their characters that has really taken a lot of years to evolve that I can write in so much detail, but each and every part has its role and can't be ignored. Just like the "people people" we have on Xplore who equally play a vital role if you want to go ocean sailing and exploring the remote wonders of the world.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ocean hell cities

Many times I have sailed the coast of eastern South America, the continental shelf extends far off shore and connects to the Falklands or Malvinas as they are know to Argentineans.
It is also a plentiful fishing grounds that fleet factory fishing ship visit from all around the world, some legally and some..... well not so legal. the licenses to fish here are large, but the bounties are high.
As the day light dawns and another day of sailing comes to an end, the oceans can be calm or wildly blustery, it makes no difference, it seems like there is no other person or ship on the planet, but that's until it gets dark.
Darkness engulfs the water world and then the hell cities emerge, strangely from no where they arrive like an invasion from outer earth. They are the factory ships, the squid ships that light up the night. They sit dormant all day, on deep anchors as the continental shelf is only 100 to 150 meters deep, but when the night falls they creep into the night sky with their powerful flood lights that attract the creatures of the deep, the squid.
All night they beam their powerful rays of light deep into the murky shallow waters luring the sea life to the surface to their death.
The loom of their lights shine for many many miles, so any navigator in these waters can see the warning signs, its not just one or two, its 10's 20's and more of these monster ships that are in location for prime time fishing.
The aerie feeling on a cloudy night, with layers of strato cumulous capturing the reflected light makes for quite a sight, in lines they seem to be, like a freeway of connecting cities.
But life on board these boats isn't so nice, to see these ships is a designers disgust, how ugly could a ship be, with large over hangs for the jiggers to work from the hull and to support the powerful downwards spot lights is more like an ancient aircraft carrier. The black stained hull sides streaked from deck to waters edge with squid ink is just a day time reminder of their nightly slaughter.
Last year when in the Straits of Magellan, we encountered nine of these vessels at anchor close to the shore and city of Punta Arenas, we had just arrived back from expedition in the depths of Tierra Del Fuego when we received an emergency message that a crew member from a ship had been lost over board, we were close, and proceeded to the area to join in the search.
For three hours we drove and searched the waters of the Magellan along with port rescue craft and helicopters, we did find a jacket and an Asian packet of cigarettes floating with no owner to them, a sadness extreme came over all of us, as even in summer the water temperature is grim.
We learned after that it was actually four sailors from one of these squid ships that had taken the chance of being close to shore and had tried to swim the distance, three bodies were found, but nothing of the fourth ? maybe they made it ? god only knows.
But fishing has been a part of life for thousands of years and any mariner knows its a tough game, how tough I don't think any of us really want to know.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life in 2 yellow boxes

Five days in port can be hell, five days to get ready for international ocean passage is just plain busy, crazy busy, but luckily good.
When the boat is all packed, stowed and arranged, its amazing how everything just disappears into spaces, maybe to never be discovered for a long time ? hopefully this is the case with the wide range of spares that Xplore carries.
But I look at my cabin and my life on Xplore and it all revolves around two bright yellow boxes, these are the boxes that have my clothes, socks and thermals in, its the only space I have for them, you may think that this is pretty grim to only have 2 boxes, they only measure 400mm x 350mm x 300.
But as a sailor and being very accustomed to life at sea, this is more than plenty for a warm and comfortable life, even in Antarctica, why have more if you don't need more ?
We untied our dock lines at 1030am this morning in Ushuaia Argentina, and now we are heading east along the Beagle Channel to open seas, the South Atlantic to be exact, and from there we turn north for 7,500 nautical miles to the shores of France.
We have a good team on Xplore, just 4, Jane, John and Vincent and myself. days and weeks of open wide oceans await us, I long for those silent nights where we slip along on a calm breeze and bathe in the moon light.
The time for adventure is always very real on Xplore, and we know that our future is very bright, of ideas, of dreams and of very apparent projects that lie at our door step.
See you soon in Europe, Stephen

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Adventures are a live

Adventures are a live.
To have dreams in life are important, to make dreams happen mean that they need to be realistic, viable, timely and most importantly that you are passionate about making them happen.
For all of these reasons I can honestly say that I am very fortunate and lucky in my life, as the many doors that have been opened for a variety of reasons along the way, they have been doors that have showed the path to dreams and adventures far beyond my belief.
I have been coming here to the white south since 2003, that that has certainly been an adventure, our works and interest in hydrography over the last seven years have been so rewarding and special to me, and these endeavours once again have opened more doors.
We have just received final confirmation that the City of Brest in France, historic maritime port, and home of the French hydrographic office Shom, they have invited Xplore to be based there for the European summer.
Our aim and objectives for visiting France and Europe are for very real reasons, there is 90 % of the worlds waters which are not accurately surveyed, and we feel that Xplore and our passion for remote region surveying needs to continue.
The news puts a very special smile on my face, I don't know what doors this will open?, or even if this will all continue, but I certainly know that if I don't ever take calculated chances in life as these very special doors are opened up, then the chance of amazing things happening, and for dreams to
become a reality will surely fade as the sun does each day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Give a little bit

Give a little bit.

I have always wondered how humans make the conscious and unconscious balance about giving, is it because we do this with a heartfelt desire, it cant be with everyone I ask myself.
There are family members, there are friends, there are fellow workers, and the companies that employ us, and the strangers even in the street, our partners and lover, there are so many varying degrees and reasons why we give.
The money, the acceptance, the pure pleasure, the greed and the behind the deed objectives that can so often cloud the initial act which seems so genuine and real, quite a mixed puzzle.
So what is real and what is contrived ?, possibly if you think about it too much there would be not a lot of satisfaction, as doubt can so often bring in the negatives, and not the possibly intended positive, a human instinct and trait in it self.
But there does come a time, hopefully often, that the giving is a mutually and natural experience which is shared between the majority of those that we come in contact with on a regular basis, it is meant to be a revolving circle between the ones that exists in our lives in so many ways and fields.
But giving cant, and I think shouldn't need to be counted, other wise the balancing scales which can never really be added up have gone out of kilter....... time to exit left of stage ?.
May our lives have many very real and genuine giving experiences, even in the smallest of ways it does make a difference.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Every Antarctic adventure is different, the people, the objectives and the plans, and like every trip it's the weather and the ice conditions that dictate the schedule of the days. 

January 2014 is Czech time on Xplore and we have the team of CCCC, Chirpy, Cheerful Czech Chappies and such a nice group they are.  

Heading the team of top level climbers is Mareck and the two Valdimir's, ranked as some of the best alpinists in the world, these guys are like rats up a drain pipe when it comes to ice and mountain climbing.

There is the second group of climbers who have also very much had their hey day of climbing adventures with many having climbed over 8 mountains of over 8,000 meters, so with slightly more "less scary" objectives our team two "warm penguins" as they have been fondly referred to as they are still
venturing on some dam fragile mountain faces. 

For the entire team, climbing in Antarctica from sea level has shown them a very different side of what ice and snow conditions can be like, so very different than the Himalayans and European mountains, so the learning curve has been interesting but the successes for both teams has been great.

With one team member who is an active paraglider, we have the first ever Czech pilot to take flight and soar over the white expanse. We have our technical team having made an impressive first ascent on the Osterrieth mountain range, eastern side of Anvers Island, the 14 1/2 hour climber took them from sea level to 1420 meters of truly amazing viewing, as we were able to anchor near by and watch the entire ascent with perfectly clear conditions it was better than watching a nail biting grand final in any sport. 

The decent went smoothly and with the weather starting to close in, Xplore positioned in a near bay to reduce the time the team had to traverse for the final pick up nearly 24 hours after their departure. 

With massive ice cliffs surrounding the bay, we were able to locate a stable 22 meter glacier ice face that the team AB sailed straight down onto the foredeck of Xplore ending their marathon.

The footage from their ascent as they looked directly down 80 degrees sheer ice walls, and the panoramic vistas from their altitude just takes your breath away in every sense.

The travels go on as we search for the perfect climbing routes on the most beautiful mountains here in Antarctica.


Friday, January 10, 2014

No news is good news

No news is good news. 

Well 2013 has slipped past, and what a year to remember for so many reason, the good the bad and the ugly, but what has transpired and been achieved during that year has even surprised me. 

You are right in wondering why Xplore has been quiet, with no news to report, well that is certainly not from a lack of material or inspiration, lots of that floating about down here in Antarctica. 

But the passing of 2013 has continued to bring many new plans ideas and continued works with the hydrography along with some great Antarctica clients and their projects. 

December 1st had Xplore head south to the freezer with a great group of USA skiers, the crossing was very cold with large amounts of icing on deck and in the rigging as water temperatures were below 0 degrees centigrade, but the team skied and basked in the sun light and truly enjoyed the magic that only Antarctica can show. 

January also has brought a top team of Czech climbers who are determined to climb the vast array of peaks on the peninsula, the "Chirpy, chipper Czech chappies" CCCC as we have fondly started calling them, as their enthusiasm, great spirit and helpful hands around the boat in everything we do is a lovely experience, great humour bringing loads of laughs. 

But every time I turn a corner here in Antarctica and navigate on the charts that are available, it is so glaringly obvious that the works that we did last January 2013 must continue, we have currently supplied 7 vessels with the new Xplore"Crafty charts" which comprise of 7 new, small scale charts, response to our project and what we have achieved is still getting media attention, see : 

I hope to be able to share more regular news with you all as the season continues, but I can assure you that my mind is far from inactive as I am now planning ways to be able to move forward Xplore's continued role in hydrography in these remote locations.