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BLUE WATER RALLY - Report 1
Yacht Caro Yacht in transit Blue Water Rally In the South Pacific March 1999
The last time I wrote I think we had just arrived in the South Pacific. We are now IS days into our sail to the French Polynesian islands of the Marquesas. We have done a lot of travelling in the meantime.
We were well entertained in Panama City - a reception by the Minister of Tourism with one drink and three canapes each and the next afternoon a garden party at the British Embassy with endless drinks and nibbles where we all liberally partook including the Ambassador himself. We spent a couple' of days provisioning and stowing and then set off for the Perlas Islands stopping overnight at Taboga. We arrived at Contadora in the Perlas on the 9th February and then went on to a further two islands - Pedro Gondales and II de Rey.
We then had a 600-mile journey to Ecuador with winds and currents against us, and plenty of rain, one night we only travelled 20 miles in 12 hours. We arrived at Las Salinas after six days and spent a night on the fuel jetty being buffeted by the swell. We spent a day resting and recovering and set off for Quito the following day. We flew from Ewayquil to Quito and had an afternoon to ourselves. The following day we had a city tour of Quito and met my son and his wife-to-be on the Equator line. We all moved on to Otovalo with the new in-laws for the wedding in a beautiful hacienda. We were only just north of the equator but at 10,000 ft we were very glad of the wood fire that we had in our room each night. We visited an Indian reserve around the volcanic Puruhanta Lake. We visited the markets and the leather town around Orovale and made several purchases.
We that returned to Quito and from there resumed our tour of the Highlands of Ecuador. We had some incredible range of different fruits, we ate guinea-pig, (quite delicious), saw the crafts of the different Indian tribes and were fascinated by the tales, legends and culture of the various tribes. We then had a hair raising ride on a railway, which were hundreds of feet down a deep ravine. It should have taken four hours but after numerous landslides and boulders on the line we arrived at our destination after eleven hours. We then had an equally nail biting journey by road to Cuenca because of landslides, fog, rain and various stretches of road being washed away. The roads in Ecuador are not good at the best of times but after heavy rain the mountains just get washed away and the roads with them. We had a fairly gentle tour of Cuenca the next day and a lovely lunch outside the town near the Spa baths. We all bought our Panama hats from the factory in Cuenca where the best ones are made. We then returned to Las Salinas to prepare to sail to the Galapagos.
We then set sail to the Galapagos which took five days of fairly
pleasant sailing with bright moonlit nights accompanied by dolphins and the occasional
passing turtle during the day. We arrived on 6th March and the following day had a gentle
excursion around Santa Cruz. We walked among giant tortoises looked at volcanic formations
and walked through a half-mile lava tunnel. We were taken to a beautiful finca for lunch and
lazed around their swimming pool for most of the afternoon.
The next day Tony and I boarded the Sun Tropic for a three day cruise through some of the islands. We saw a great variety of animals and birds over the three days. We were struck by their lack of fear of human beings - all of them ignored us completely and other than a few curious glances got on with whatever they were doing. The favourites were definitely the sea lions who we swam with and walked amongst. In San Cristobel the seals sunbathed on any boat that was at anchor and two or three would pop their heads out of the dinghy if disturbed.
We had a day back at Santa Cruz to provision up and sort ourselves out
and then left: for our longest sail of 3040 miles to the Marquesas. We have had a much better sail than
across the Atlantic with more wind and favourable currents and hope to complete the journey in 21 days. We
are looking forward to having a few relaxing days amongst the beautiful French Polynesian Islands and
hopefully finding a few rivers to swim in as there is no protection against sharks who come very close
to the shore. We have now been away six months and are enjoying the travelling immensely. All good wishes to
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BLUE WATER RALLY
- Report 2
Yacht Caro in transit - Fiji : June 1999
It is almost 3 months since I last wrote and we have visited so many different Islands in places I have never heard of before that one becomes quite blase about beautiful Islands. Before we left the Marquesas we did an Island tour around Naku Hara in an 4WD. There were no real roads and it was rather damp in the mountains so we had plenty of mud to negotiate but we had a very good lunch on the Northern side of the Island and some
good views when the clouds cleared.
We left on 10th April accompanied by dolphins and arrived in the Thameta Islands after 4 days. These are a group of atolls where a lot of black pearls are formed. We entered the lagoon through a pass in the reef with the current rushing against us at 4 knots. We could only manage to go forwards by going into $allow water which made the whole process lasting about 40 minutes, quite a hair raising experience. We were invited into the houses in the village and given vanilla tea and managed to converse fairly well in school French! We moved on after a day to a much larger atoll measuring about 40 miles long and 10 miles wide in the lagoon and where there were some beautiful sandy Islands along the Southern edge, uninhabited with extremely good snorkelling. The village in the main area of habitation 'Pubera' made us extremely. welcome. The village store opened up their verandah to give us a meal of chicken and chips one night and we visited the local school and adult training centre. Most of the children board during term time because the atolls are so remote. We were there when the monthly supply ship which is not that reliable) appeared and that was a great day for the village. We also went to the Pearl farm and saw the black pearls being harvested.
We left Makemo after a week for a three day sail to Tahiti where we moored on the Quai D'Honneur in the centre of Papeete along with the cruise ships. The tourist board made a great fuss of us with dancing and singing on the quayside. Special water and fuel facilities were brought alongside and a days tour of the Island on one of 'Le Truc' buses. Papeete was very expensive, very French, but very little visible poverty and very colourful with wonderful markets. We found the roulottes. (road coaches) very good for value with a variety of different meals served from each. After a week in Papeete we sailed to Moorea - famous for the filming of Mutiny on the Bouncy and Bali Hai from South Pacific but many Islands around the area make a claim for that including some in Fiji.
In Moorea I had an argument with the anchor and had a fairly nasty crush injury of my right knuckles and index finger. We motored back to Papeete where I had microsurgery in the clinic nearby. I was extremely impressed with the treatment I received. I was in the theatre within 2 hours of arriving. It is now almost 8 weeks since the injury and the finger is still a little stiff, but it is responding well and the sensation to the finger is rapidly returning. We then returned to Moorea to another very picturesque bay.
We continued on through the Society Islands visiting many different geological types of atolls and I missed some wonderful snorkelling because of my hand We had a trip up the only navigable river on Parotee by dinghy at dawn which was a lovely experience and purchased vanilla pods at a very cheap price. The local people were very friendly and by mid May we arrived in Bora Bora. By now my medical services were beginning to be in demand. We have been plagued and many are still experiencing problems with rapid onset soft tissue infections, especially legs and toes from insect bites and coral scratches. Three participants of the rally have ended up with septicaemia and several have had cellulitis. Penicillin has not proved very effective around here.
On leaving Bora Bora we had a 5 day sail to Raratonga. The weather was foul - in fact the South Pacific has been pretty wet most of the time. Raratonga was the first English speaking Islands we had visited for several months and we loved it. We were welcomed with a barbecue from one of the boats moored in the harbour and in a howling gale undercover we enjoyed ourselves enormously. We did an Island tour again and visited the cultural village and stocked up in the local markets with fresh food and provisions and left in glorious sunshine for Tonga. This state of affairs lasted about 4 hours and then we had high winds and mountainous seas. A seven day sail took us 5 days with, everything reefed down. One boat recorded 54 knots of wind - one reported doing 6 knots on a reefed ensign! and one of our boats 'Lucifer' sank on 23rd May having started to let in water throughout the bow - it took 3 hours to sink. The nearest boat was 55 miles away. The 2 people involved took to their life raft around 6.30pm and with the help of the NI Airforce were located and taken on board one of the rally boats at 4.30am next morning. They were very lucky because at that stage the waves were about 30ft high and locating them in the dark was very difficult - impossible without the Orion.
We arrived at Alota island, Tonga, on the 28th May having crossed the international date line. All the boats were pretty shattered and everything wet by the time we arrived. I also had a fairly useless right hand to contend with so, as we arrived at a hotel resort, we took the opportunity for 5 days ashore, relax and dry out. Polynesian paralysis set in very rapidly. The island consisted of the hotel at one end and a small village at the other (about 10 minutes walk through the trees). We went to church on Sunday in the village and were then invited to go to the local school and to visit the village officially. The school was incredible. the children sang and danced for us and we went to each class in turn. The infants were in a chicken shed with a sand floor and the 8 to 9 year olds had a room with no desks or chairs. All the lessons were done in one exercise book with one pencil. The 10 to 12 year olds had desks and benches. It was one of the highlights of the trip, talking to them about where we had been and them talking to us in English about themselves and their families. We then walked up to the plantation where all the vegetables and fruit were grown and where the 100's of roaming pigs were kept away.
We did a short sail to Kuka Aloafa the main town in Tonga where again we were entertained by the Tourist board to an Island tour and a reception whIch we shared with the US Marine Band who were also in town. We had a few days in the Hapai Islands (Mid Tonga) and then to Neiafa on Yavo'u. I had a request to give the tourist officer a medical consultation - which I was pleased to do and he needed it! The medical services did not appear to be very good in Tonga. He returned to compliment by taking us round the Island and to a Tongan feast - but not really an experience I am keen to repeat but interesting to see how the food is prepared and cooked. After a visit to a couple of other Islands in Northern Tonga we left for Fiji. After 5 days we arrived in Savu Savu in Northern Fiji. Again a lovely place because the locals were so friendly. I visited the local hospital and had a tour around with an ex vet from Devon who appeared to be on every committee and board on the Island but who made our stay very interesting. We then cruised north through several Fijian Islands arriving at Leruka, the old capital after 3 overnight stops - one of which included a Kava ceremony with the chief of Kava's son. Kava is a drink made from a plant root - non alcoholic, but anaesthetises your tongue as you drink it! It looks like dishwater and tastes like it with a mild aniseed taste added. We suffered no ill effects though. Levuka was straight out of Graham Green with a Wooden Ovalau Club with pictures of our Royal family from 50 years ago. We chatted to the locals over a beer including an old boy of 97 years. The following day we were invited to a Barbecue on an American fishing boat anchored in the harbour waiting to unload its catch of tuna. We sailed overnight and arrived in Suva on 21st June. We have now left 'Caro' to give my hand a rest and recover the mobility and use. We aim to re-join a boat called 'Star Oasis' still c/o Blue Water Rally in Darwin. In the meantime we will travel around by air to Australia and Malaysia and spend a few weeks in Hong Kong with Robert (my son) and his wife. We are looking forward to a break on land. For 9 months we have rushed from one place to another - it has been very fast and I think a lot of, the people feel they need to settle in one place for a bit, but it has been a wonderful experience.
- Jan Adams
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DR. PAUL THOMPSON
NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE SURGERY
I am originally from Leeds and went to school locally and then managed to get a place at the Royal London Hospital in East London, to be precise in Whitechapel (unfortunately). Former incarcerates include Dr. E. John Parker, although I never did see his picture on the wall, I am sure it must be there somewhere. I got out of there as quickly as possible due to fresh air withdrawal symptoms and came to Kidderminster as my wife's mother kept telling me what a nice hospital it was. I completed my medicine house job with Dr. Richard Taylor, as he, coincidentally, completed his medical career in the hospital after which he shortly retired. I then headed to Norwich as my wife's brother said that was a nice place too!
I had got myself a place on the Kidderminster VTS whilst doing the house job along with Penny Stanley, - possibly due to lack of competition as we were the only two applicants at the time. Along the way I married Mary who now works as a Virologist at the The Heartland's Hospital and some way through the VTS we acquired a small baby, called Molly, and a border collie dog called Stan.
I did my registrar job at Cleobury Mortimer with Dennis Nixon and friends, and had a great time trying to find the furthest visits from the practice to do, but then had to face up to reality and was lucky enough to get a job replacing Dick. I seem to have limited interests, relatively speaking. I playa bit of five-a-side football and squash and a bit of child rearing somewhere in the middle. Hopefully Molly will have a little sibling come August and then things should really start to take off.
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It is with deep regret that the editor records the death of Mr Kenneth Forsythe aged 89. Consultant Ophthalmoligist at Kidderminster from the late 40s until 1975. Mr Forsythe was instrumental in setting up the department on his arrival here and worked single handed with the assistance of clinical assistants, including in the early days, John Pearce, who proceeded to devise the intra occular lens implants.
This was until the arrival of Chris Tallents in December 1974. As well as a very full health service workload, he also worked at a local eye centre and had a large and successful private practice. On a personal note, the editor worked as a clinical assistant for many years and very much appreciated Mr Forsythe's support and assistance in learning the rudiments of ophthalmology and his friendship for many years thereafter.
He leaves three children, John a solicitor in Kidderminster, David a GP in Oxford and Jane an orthoptist living in Edinburgh. The editor and the Medical Society send their sincere condolences to Mary and his family
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