21st May 2022 – London
23 days to go. . . . . .and I’m not panicking yet!
Loads of jobs have been accomplished and deleted from the lengthy list, a task which gives me a pleasant tingly sensation.
Some jobs are only part complete and so only get half a tick, and some are “boomerang jobs” which get ticked off, then just bounce back. They are annoying!
Critical Remaining Tasks
The only really critical task is to finally solve the dog care issue. This organisational task seems to take up most of my available shore time. Luckily, we have just found an excellent local carer through the “Rover” website. Of course it wasn’t really “luck” but actually a lot of graft. The good news is she can take care of Tilman until she goes on holiday, so we now only need to find someone for the period 23rd August until 11th September when Grit is hoping to join the boat in Iceland.
Tilman didn’t do himself any favours by playing havoc when he was put with two male puppies on a trial period with a dog carer. We suspected it wasn’t going to work and it certainly didn’t! We had to collect him with his tail between his legs. Tilman likes the ladies, but can be quite defensive with male dogs!
Semi-Critical Remaining Tasks
I say “semi-critical” because we will still go whether or not these are achieved, but only with some trepidation.
Getting some ammunition
Although I now have a rifle, a licence and a Greenland permit, I now find myself struggling to get ammunition. I am being told there is a shortage due to the war in Ukraine but I suspect I am being fobbed off. I’ll keep chasing this as I am sure something fishy is going on. I am sincerely hoping we wont need to use any rounds but it is strongly recommended you carry a rifle in polar bear territory. We will have a range of devices to scare away a bear before finally resorting to the rifle.
Grib Files and Ice Charts
We now have a working sat phone (Iridium 9555) connected to my old Toshiba NB100 note book (running Windows XP). However, I haven’t yet got the ice charts to actually download. It is only recently that we have connected the phone, so I need to play with this in the open air with a full sky view. Sadly, when you can see the full sunny sky, it is almost impossible to read the laptop screen. Alternately, the day I allocated to test everything, it actually rained all day. That’s weather for you.
Where are they?
I’ll have one more massive search before I have to buy them all again. Then, needless to say, they will turn up!
I’ll only order online if I am forced to. My orders always go wrong. I recently ordered a non-return breather valve on Ebay and when it arrived it was obviously far too small. As it only cost a fiver, I sent a simple email saying I don’t care about a refund I just want to order one that fits inside a 12 mm diameter bore hose. Can you tell me which one too order? I only asked because the website didn’t explain whether their given measurements were bore size of the valve, or the bore size of the hose. My God, after so many emails, I just had to ask whether I was dealing with a robot. Eventually I just gave up and shoved it back on the To-do list.
Recently Completed Jobs
- New bag and sheets for the storm jib
- Alterations to the boarding ladder cum scramble net
- Small drawstring bag for my sump pumps (better than the old plastic carrier bag!
- Ordered new wicks for my paraffin lamps
- New boots for use with my dry suit
- Downloaded Navionics for Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland to my iPad (The Greenland charts are a complete joke!)
- Got two dry bags to use as grab bags. My old flare bucket was just too chunky.
- Two new red parachute flares and a set of mini bear scaring flares
Still to do
- Make three new hanging wash bags
- Make Variform net tray for food cans in the bilge
- Update my will! Its amazing how the local solicitors couldn’t even be bothered to reply to my email.
- Get my Steiner binoculars back from repair (again – the last repair was faulty)
- Chains and locks for riffle and ammunition box
- Long term provisioning
- Load pre-set texts to Garmin Inreach
- Get two more wool blankets
- Load SAR numbers to Sat Phone
- Print off C1331 custom forms
- Buy mini SIM card for Go-Pro
- Buy Halfords ATF (to match what is in the gearbox)
- Check and restock first aid kit
- Take a wire coat hanger (it is surprising how often I wished I had a length of stiff wire on board!)
- Load heavy folding fisherman’s anchor
- Buy new belay jacket and Montane trousers
OK, there’s more on the real To-do list but nothing too daunting. There will be a few days sailing around the Oban area to ensure everything is working before being joined by Dom on 18th June for the sail north towards Ullapool for the first crew change. I’ll tweak the rigging during the sail to male sure the mast is set up correctly.
I feel we are pretty well prepared but who knows, these trips can be quite challenging!