021: Stowaway African Migrants, Big Ships and Rough Seas on Passage to Malta

021: Stowaway African Migrants, Big Ships and Rough Seas on Passage to Malta


In the last blog we sailed to the Cyclades,
we went south to Crete, we search for the Minotaur in the Palace at Knossos and
then we headed further west to pick up new crew. We went to look for real
treasure and then we finally set off towards Malta. So when you’re at sea for quite a few days
you don’t often see anyone really, we were really surprised to have some
friends aboards – some migrant birds that were migrating from continent of
Africa to go north. It’s about seven o’clock in the morning and the winds
picked up it’s a nice steady seven knots and we picked up a migrant. I think they’re Housemartins or Swifts
-I’m not sure – or swallows although it hasn’t got a red patch. Anyway there’s four of them joined
us last night and we still got one sheltering here. what do you think? Weird. So their route probably took a bit
of a detour. We took on some extra crew at the last
minute because it’s one of the regulations at sea is that you always
keep a good watch so Lisa was one of those crew she did suffer from
seasickness which is not unusual if you never done like a long passage before. You do get very tired still even with
your six hours off. I worry that the engine’s been on too much and it’s going to blow up and we’re going to have a fire. And then I also wonder whether we should
do a Mayday then – whether we should get someone to tow us or whether
would have to abandon ship. And I worry about a keel falling off and the boat suddenly capsizing. And then I try and work out how we would get out of the cabin and whether we would have time to get Rowan and drag her out and I worry about the suction that happens when you go through the hatch. Whether I should go first and hold on to the
kids and drag them out of the hatch. And whether I’d be able to hold them afloat without a lifejacket. So then I wonder whether should go to sleep with my lifejacket on. And I get so exhausted from all those scenarios that I fall asleep. So the typical worries of an everyday Mum? Yeah The first few days was not much wind
less wind than was forecast so we ended up using the motor quite a lot and maybe
really pushing it. It probably used up more fuel than we expected and that’s
something that we came to regret later in this trip. We continued to be visited
by these migrant birds. They just became part of the crew really
and one stayed for virtually the whole trip and another one actually went
inside the cabin for a little rest and a bit of respite from the winds. There’s a swallo that keeps coming back
to our boat and twice it’s gone inside the boat. We think it might be looking for
something to eat but they only eat bugs and we haven’t got any bugs. We’ve got a
swallow in our cabin. It’s been flying around our boat and it found the
entrance in and now it’s having a little rest on our mosquito net. OK, so it’s 3:30 in the
morning – I’ve got the three till six watch. Everyone’s in bed, it’s quite dark, it’s
quite a moonless night not much to see I think we passed through a major shipping
lanes. It’s quite quiet. The wind doesn’t materialized that we were hoping
for so we kind of motored most of the way which is a bit uncomfortable it’s
bit rocky and rolly. The batteries are charging okay engines gone fine –
been gone for over 12 hours now we had a break for about four hours but then we
had to put the engine back on coz the wind dropped. Three of the four
instrument panels went down so we relying on the chart plotter now for our
speed and everything else. Good morning Woody. Morning. How many days have we been going for? About 24 hours now. And how many days have we got to go? Well at this speed probably another three days. The wind still hasn’t kicked in yet. What happened in the watch? We lost the AIS So I switched the radar on and we have boats on either side of us at the moment. us at the moment. So I fiddled about with a cable and AIS switched back on so I think I’ve found a lose connection in the cable. So what does it mean if you lose AIS If we lose AIS it means we can’t keep a track of boats around us. We have to rely on the radar. And a radar is not as accurate as AIS. Craig, what’re you doing?
I’m trying to get your.. Your AIS transponder to work So we lost the IAS last night. I think it’s
been lost for a long time. It’s a bit of a headache. it’s quite difficult to continue with our homeschooling program when we’re
under passage What’s going on? My Dad says we need to do some homework – EVERY SINGLE DAY! – So I’m going to sue him for a £1000 because that’s just wasting.. Mental Torture. Yeah Why’ve you got all the hats on? Because I’m not warm enough! I need to put some more hats on. Does that one keep you warm? One thing that we
found works really well for keeping ourselves occupied is listening to
audiobooks so we downloaded some really good audiobooks for the children and they
love just lying on deck and listening to those. [extract from ‘Worlds Worst Children’ by David Walliams] Have we got any wind Craig? Any wind? No. Have we done any sailing? Yeah a bit. How many days have we been motoring? Probably about two now And how many days have we got to go? Well that all depends how long the motor holds out. And when’s your flight? How many days? Tuesday nights I guess that’s two and a half days. Ok so you’ve got half a day of leeway. Yeah. I mean when you’re sleep-deprived all
these normal things that are usually quite easy like what time it is become
more confusing and more difficult to work out. So what happened on this
passage we crossed the date line International Dateline as well as the
clocks changed as well and so some of our phones actually updated by
themselves but not all of them and so there was a lot of confusion about what
action time it was. Some of the phones have changed time. Why? I don’t know why. Daylight saving I think. If it was nine o’clock would the clocks then be ten o’clock or eight o’clock. Ten. Well actually they didn’t, they did the other thing, they went back. Well that’s what’s confused me. So the times.. the clocks some of the phones have
gone back an hour that weather station seems to have done that as well as I’m sure I put it forwards. My phone hasn’t changed at all. The way I remember it is it ‘springs’ forward ‘falls’ back. So I’ve changed my clock – my watch
and I’ll change my phone later. So I’ve kind of.. I’ve lost an hour. I had to do an extra hour in my last watch and I’ve had to do an extra hour on this one for some reason. You’ve come up in the middle of my watch. Yeah cos it said 9 o’clock on mine it’s actually only eight. Life’s so unfair. I have trouble
remembering what day it is. The important thing is that we get the right time for our watches cos we’re doing three out watches each. So does anybody actually know what
time it is? The other thing that is quite difficult
for some people and especially at the beginning of the passages is eating.
What we tend to do is we always have lots of fruit and frozen fruit stocked up so we can
make smoothies and just have fresh fruit to keep them going and keep the energy
levels up. Smoothies! Yeah, we finally got that wind we were wishing for, maybe a bit
more than we really need but it’s good it’s going in the right direction and
we’re gonna get there quicker otherwise we would have been hanging about for
ages. How are you Craig? I’m good, I’m loving it. This is what I signed up for. Yeah, proper sailing. What’ve you got for dinner? Chilli con carne. We’ve got reefs in both sails and we’re
also keeping out for these big tankers that are coming along. So there’s one coming up our starboard side. We’ve just called that big tanker because we weren’t sure whether he’d seen us – he seems to be closing in on us but.. they can see us it and it was
good to check our VHF because we’re sure whether that’s working like everything else
on this boat. So it’s force 6 to 7 isn’t it? gusting 8. So Beaufort scale 6 to 7
gusting 8. but it’s coming from our aft quarter so that’s good. so soon we’ll be starting our night watches and hopefully get there tomorrow. I’m doing great. I’m clipped on just in case but it’s a very dry cockpit. This boat loves the heavy weather. Definitely made for heavy weather sailing these boats [Amels]. Okay Craig, so what do you reckon your wife’s doing with the kids. Well, football and that kind of stuff. Yesterday she was planning to go to a royal
wedding garden party at a friend’s place. Which sounds a lot more sedate than what we’re doing. We should have had a garden party on the boat don’t you think? Yeah. Like a royal wedding garden party with tea and cakes. Yeah with tiered cakes. Fine bone china. Fresh cream. Scones and cream and cucumber sandwiches. We could’ve even put the ensign on in respect.. if it didn’t blow away but I think it might have blown away. Could you not rustle up a wedding cake or something? Sorry I didn’t bring the wedding cake. Maybe when we get to Malta. Let’s hope our other crew is
doing all right down below. Yeah. So the kid are down below watching a movie. Hi children! I think there’s a bit more speed can be coaxed from these sails. Brace the foreyard! There’s loads of dolphins! There must be about twenty. We’ve just seen loads of dolphins, they’ve come to say well done, you’ve done your big passage of 440 miles and they’ve come to bring us into Malta. Highs and the lows. Lows are, how choppy it is and feeling sea sick. And when I go to bed I don’t like having showers when I’m sailing because you just rock from side to side and keep falling over so when I go to bed I’m always covered in salt and so it’s never very compfy And then because we’re leaving Greece now and Malta.. there’s going to be no Giros or Souvlaki. No! Malta is near Italy so there’s going to be Pizza and Pasta! The highest, is we just saw dolphins. Feeling seasick and yeah and vomiting like I did about an hour ago And the highs are that we just saw dolphins and we’re going to a different country.
It’s the first time that we’re ever going to a different country. My lows are, we need to have jacket every day and and my high – there’s new people on our boat – that’s my high. You like having any new people – and how about your choc chip cookies that you ate? That’s my high – my highest. You had loads of them didn’t you? We had the engine on fair bit to keep up
the speed but this obviously put a lot of pressure on the engine and
the engine is quite old as well so we were beginning to fear that there were
going to be engine problems. The sounds were a bit strange, there was smoke coming out. We lost a lot of oil in the engine last night – a lot of smoke so we turned the engine off – put about a litre of oil back in the engine. So we think there’s something wrong with the engine – think maybe it’s burning oil. So the piston rings are probably a bit shagged or something. Yeah, that was our drama last night. A lot of smoke coming out the engine. so yeah we’re trying to
work out what that problem is we need to get that sorted out. But now we’re just making sure that the
generator isn’t ticking over. Is it on? So how you gonna stop it coming on accidentally? gaffer tape! Yeah, we’ve only got twenty three miles to go
and it’s very busy spot because I suppose everyone’s going to Malta but
they’re trying to slip through between Malta and North Africa so I
think that’s why it’s busy. They think we’re attacking them but I
think they’re attacking us. Which one are we? This is us here and that’s the armada heading for us. We’ve run out of fuel. I thought you said we had enough to get to America and back? It’s for the video blog! And because we’d ran so low on fuel, air had got into the system but it wasn’t a major problem because we did have some
spare so we put the fuel in and then tried to bleed the air out of the system but
the engine still wouldn’t start. So we realized that it was probably a slightly
different problem maybe. Our fuel gauge has never worked since we’ve had the boat and we’ve also discovered that the dipstick that goes into the fuel tank
has snapped off but it’s quite difficult to notice. So we’re not getting
accurate readings of our fuel anyway so we couldn’t start the engine it was
getting a little bit more tricky because the wind was dying slowly and we knew we
had to get round a break water – two break waters to get into the main harbour.
There’s not much winds and you’re not allowed to anchor in most of the port
of Valletta which is where we going. We managed to get online because we were close enough to get some phone numbers and we were given other numbers so we
called them so eventually after lots of calls and so forth we’ve managed to
get hold of the marina so we’ve got to get into the breakwater under sail with
very little wind on our big heavy boat. There was a lot of large tankers and
super yachts coming out. The Rescue Coordination Centre asked us if we
wanted any assistance – they asked us if we’re in distress and we said no we’re
not in distress we would be able to sail in but we were a bit concerned about all
the large ships coming in and out – we were aware that we would be in their way.
We were told we could go in and then another tanker came out but just as we’re going
in another super yacht kind of came out and then it was quite a big relief
because the pilot boat just came over to said, you know what, we’ll just take you
in because you’ll be here all night and we’ve got a lot of ships that need to come and go. So they just gave us a line and pulled us in to the harbour and they took us all the way to Grand Harbor Marina. I dunno, I feel like
I’ve done a lot of tows in my life for other people so maybe we’re getting
our chance today. So we’re getting towed in by the really cool pilot boat in Malta. Nice country hey? Not the best way to enter a new country though is it? No it isn’t. So this is the entrance to Valletta. So this is the bit where we’re reliving our trauma because
those are the lights that we saw at night when we had engine failure. So you have
to get permission from Port Authority which is on channel 12 – so we were
hanging out out there somewhere trying to hold our course but we didn’t have
any steerage because we had no wind. So it was around out there maybe where that boat is out there which is when the pilot boat came over to us and then the
in the end they just pulled us in because we were in the way really. Apparently you can anchor
there but they didn’t give us permission to anchor there so I don’t know why.
We were taken over to Grand Harbour Marina which is just around the corner
of fort St. Elmo and you can see one of the super yachts on the end, but I just look at that and all I think about is us trying to get in under sail with no wind and
getting in the way everyone really. When we arrived in Grand Harbour Marina we felt very small in amongst all our neighbors but there’s nothing that a
good English breakfast and Yorkshire tea can’t help with. Post trauma – post traumatic breakfast. This is just to remember the breakfast. You don’t have to say anything. Happy crew. It was alright in the the ends anyway. Everyone was safe and sound. Oh wow look there’s a super yacht – it’s a [Amel] Super Maramu. Coming up in the next blog.. meet the neighbours. A family living aboard with 4 kids.. and some ducks. An invite to a cool dock party.. Expensive repairs.. ouch! Finding missing relatives at a war memorial.. and swimming with jelly fish. Okay so thank you everybody for
watching these videos and thank you for sharing them. Thanks especially to the
Patrons for helping us to get the equipment to create these videos to edit
and then produce them and also to get ice creams for children to keep them out
the way so we’ve got time to and create these video blogs. Thanks a lot!

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