The World’s Most Expensive Ginger Nuts

Tuesday 27th October

12:00 GMT – Up early as boat acting weird. Forecast, SE 18/15/12. The current model which is based on the day before data showed a NNW current. I found a NE current last night so in the last week the current has gone SE, SSE, N, NW, NNW, NE. There’s no wonder I have struggled all week. I lost 4 miles south last night, I’m in danger of dropping out of 10° and back to 9°. The ESE wind in the forecast is now gone and I’m left with SE. So everything wants me north. Not sure how to escape.

17:30 GMT – So after a few text exchanges it looks like the best way out of this was to go WNW at 290°/300°, give up some hard fought south but escape quicker. Not great but I have to get to good water as days are dribbling away. I’m heading for 09°40.000S – 177°20.000W which is about 50nm and could take two days.

You would think easing my course would make going a bit easier but it really doesn’t. The last few days I’ve had the boat tight up to the wind and swell trying to make under 250°, the boat was pointing at magnetic 240° or just under. To make 290° it’s just over 240° on the compass. So I’m still tight up to the wind and moving slow. The other thing with the current and swell fighting is the boat slews a lot, really uncomfortable and difficult to do anything, that’s what woke me this morning.

And finally, I’ve really been struggling to keep my head up and eyes open this morning. I’m past exhausted, the last week may look poor on the site but the effort has been even bigger than normal.


06:00 GMT – Running late tonight as it’s taken ages to set the boat up after finishing. I won’t bore you with the details of the rowing today, needless to say it’s been a long hard day and I’m back in the 9° band.

So this current I’m in is an anti-clockwise circulating current, centred on the current model at 10°00S, 177°24W. My position last night was 10°05S, 176°37W. So if you imagine a clock face I was at about 3:00 and was trying to get to 8:00, right through the most head on part of the current circulation. I’m now heading for 1:00 where the west section starts and hopefully I should be able to ride out of the current on that. I’m half way, interestingly enough I’ve had to try all the different ways to control the boat. I put the para anchor out and went due north, that fits exactly with the theory. I’m at about 2:00 on the clock face so the anti-clockwise sound would throw off north there. At least that gives me hope for tomorrow. Makes it difficult to set up for some rest though. I was giving up too much south and not getting any west so I’ve had the power drogue out and that didn’t work so I’m back to drifting. I’m loosing a bit more south than going west but it’s nearly one for one, meaning I’m going NW, a bit high but I need to rest and it’s the best of all the options.

Where does this leave us, in a pickle that’s where. The last 7 or 8 days have been tough but without the information you can’t really do much but plough on. Now the current model has caught up with reality we have a plan. It leaves me dealing with one day at a time I think. Time is tight but we still have time. Seeing the weather over the last week or so, I’m sure in normal conditions with the wind strength and good wind direction I can make Vanuatu in 20 days or less. There is one issue though and that is all this west I’ve taken and gone a bit north means the angle to Vanuatu has tightened so that could be a struggle. But as I say one day at a time and one problem at a time.

I’ll be up at 2am local time fighting to get free and we will see what the day brings. I’ll be glad when I can travel at normal speed and not carve away to get no reward.

Any other news:

Cheryl was looking after me and decided to get me the brand of Ginger Nuts I like best. McVitties is only available at specialty stores in Canada, she got 40 packets at $4 a pack. She went to the couriers and they wanted $1500 to ship them (along with a few other things). If I’m right that’s $34 a pack about a $1.50 a biscuit. Too much even for a Ginger Nut addict so we’ll buy something on Vanuatu that’s close enough. It was good of her to try though (hidden bonus, there are now 40 packs of Ginger Nuts at home).

Trudging along today and not really paying attention and I saw a blue reflection in the water. Just thought it was glare from the sun, then I saw it again. It was my second Blue Marlin but bigger this time. I grabbed the camera and when I put it in the water it hit something, turned out to be a quite big Yellow Fin Tuna. The Tuna was not looking in great shape, swimming slightly on its side. It was hiding under the boat from the Marlin. I took some footage but needed to push on. I saw the Marlin for the next half an hour then lost track of him. I assume he got his dinner as the Tuna is no longer under the boat. Incredible fish the Blue Marlin, very dark grey but his tail and pectoral fins are electric blue, not a colour you find in nature often that’s for sure.

A good friend sent me this, you’ve probably all heard it but it made me laugh so thought I would share: An Englishman walks in to a bar. There should be a Scotsman, Irishman and Welshman there to but they’re still at the Rugby World Cup!!! As it happens he didn’t have to wait long for them.

That’s it for now.




Mike: Wouldn’t be arriving past Christmas, chance of cyclones from late December on. So it’s mute really. I need to see when I get to Vanuatu, that’s when we’ll make the decision to continue or not. Cheryl has been brilliant but your right it’s my inbox, not just LM, tons of stuff, I’ve been away 6 months.

Rob: I don’t know which image they used but I know I’ve worn some blinding shorts over the years, even scrawny Yorkshire men are sucked into the fashion of the day if they think it will make them faster.

Brian: Nuts, conked and ginger, have a safe trip home Brian.

Editors Note: We now make that 39 packs of Ginger Nuts at home. John better row faster if he wants to consume any of these biscuits.