Malolo Lailai Bound.

Part 2.

By Peter Andrews, © 1998.

"There were whales and dolphins, so many that after a while you didn't bother getting up if you were already comfortable doing something else".

"As our latter day Captain Bligh was lecturing everyone on the rigours of swimming at their own risk, two thirds of the ship's crew jumped overboard into the three thousand metre abyss, to swim with the turtle".

"Joining the ship at Norfolk Island was not only difficult but delayed for a couple of days because of the weather. The horror stories from those who were out there when they finally made it ashore and from those hanging around were far from anything you would read in some glossy travel brochure".

"When there was enough light I attempted to take a few photos of the swell but it was rather difficult as there was a lot of movement".

"It is bad enough when one is sea sick as they may set someone else off. But what do you do when most, including the permanent crew were hopelessly sick? There was only a couple that weren't and one was a lady in her seventies, walking around collecting... Well, I think we will leave it at that".

"The deck was dangerously wet and slippery, and with what light that was available, it was little to play with. I suppose a couple of blurry shots and the memories of the day will suffice"

"Steering the ship was a feeling of pure exhilaration as through your own hands and feet, you can feel the whole ship riding down the swell to a point at where it seems to stall in the trough. The swell then rolls under the ship, thrusting it back up to the peak, then the ship gently slides down back of the swell into the next trough as the swell rolls forward... We were literally surfing the 'Bounty'".

Approaching the entrance to Suva, Fiji.

Almost eight years after my first tall ship voyage on the 'Bounty', information has come to hand on what happened to one of the missing yachts that was mentioned in the above article. Unfortunately, the yacht, 'Rockin Robin' with four experienced and well prepared crew were forever lost to the South Pacific. The Master of the vessel Grant Wiltshire 62, his son Robert 34, father of three Jeff Smith and Andrew Young.
After a year of preparation and planning for what was to be a sailing trip of a lifetime, they were to meet their families in Fiji. But in the middle of the night on the 8th of June 1990 and around 500 nautical miles off Bundaberg -- with wind gusting to 60 knots generating a swell of up to 10 metres, the crew of 'Rockin Robin' issued their mayday and activated an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). An RAAF Orion that was involved in another search much closer to shore was diverted to 'Rockin Robin's' aid. When it arrived, the air crew dropped two 10 man life-rafts strung together, down to the stricken yacht as it appeared that the yacht's own raft had been torn on the propeller when launched.
The nearest ship, a French Navy frigate called the 'Admiral Charner' which at the time was at least 20 hours away, finally arrived at the location only to find one empty life-raft.

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Peter Andrews ©1998. All Rights Reserved.


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