How To Drown Yourself In A Bucket

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The Late Johnny Capes

My father, who’s been somewhat of a rogue in his time, tells a remarkable story of a man he knew in the navy. A chap by the name of Johnny Capes. My old man insists that he and Capes were great friends… but then, over the years, I’ve learned to close one ear whenever my father is telling a tale. Even so, the story of Capes’ amazing escape from a sunken submarine is truly incredible… and nearly lead to my own drowning when I tried the same technique many years later…

You see, Johnny Capes was the sole survivor of a British submarine… he escaped through a hatch from a submerged depth of 180 feet with just a bucket on his head.

In 1941, during World War Two, HMS Perseus struck an Italian mine and was lying critically damaged on the seabed in the Mediterranean, just six miles off the coast of the Greek island of Cephalonia. Not only did the magnificent Capes survive to reach the surface, he then swam the six miles to Cephalonia, was found and rescued by Cephalonian Partisans, lived wild in the mountains and fought with the Partisans against Italian occupiers for nearly two years before escaping to Turkey to find his long way home. Tough stuff eh?

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New Website Launch

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Marie and I have just published our new website for our ongoing sailing circumnavigation. We’d like to keep those of you who wish to follow our round-the-world adventure more regularly updated.

There is lots more information and photo images but the prime reason for the change is to allow us easier access to amend and update our site from more remote locations when internet access isn’t so good.

We’re sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy our site and recommend that you check it out at…

http://www.sanna-uk.com

For your interest Sänna is now located in the centre of Vancouver at Bayshore West Harbour, having sailed south from Alaska throughout this incredibly warm summer stacked with tons of sunshine… an unusual occurrence in this part of the world. We will soon depart British Columbia because of Customs time limits in Canada to find someplace south of the US border in Puget Sound to spend the winter. US Customs & Immigration are far more forgiving than their Canadian counterparts when it comes to foreign flagged vessels…

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Sailing on Thin Ice

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Ice flows from the John Hokins Glacier

Ice from John Hopkins Glacier blocking Tarr Inlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little did we think we’d see anything like this. From Hoonah, where we’d overwintered, it’s a mere twenty eight sea miles across Alaska’s Icy Straights to the entrance of Glacier Bay.

For those of you who don’t know Alaska well, Glacier Bay is a hefty fifty mile inlet with deep jagged fjords, where remote high mountains meet a shoreline carved out by numerous tidal glaciers. Tidal glaciers are ones that come right down to the sea to calve off huge slabs of towering ice and, incredibly, no less than eleven enormous glaciers grind their way southwards within Glacier Bay. They are spectacular and exciting to see… but the floating bergs and ice fields can be hazardous to a sailboat such as Sänna

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Fisherman’s Friend

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imageHoonah, Alaska

 

 

 

 

 

Moored right next to Sänna here in Hoonah is Icy Queen, a wily forty five year old Seine fishing trawler. At first call I could see the roughneck crew weren’t much interested in the likes of us… sort of retired, snobby English who’d sailed their fancy sailing boat all the way. But we and them would sometimes nod our good mornings whenever our eyes met… these no nonsense, hard working, proud men who grind their lives from the sea.

We ourselves have always admired hardsalt fishermen everywhere and anywhere we’ve been, for their toughness and extreme demeanour. And Icy Queen is a typical battered and bruised working boat built not for luxury but for making a living when the sea does not want to give it up. She is wonderful to behold in my eyes…

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On Matters of Laundry

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Getting your whites whiter than white is no mean feat when living onboard a sailing boat and crossing oceans. It’s not just a question of your favourite wash powder brand…

 

Let’s face it, we stink! Well, no, not really, but most people assume we do and that we disguise our rancid body smells by using exotic lotions, just like the olden days during the Middle Ages. You see, we don’t have the modern day laundry appliances onboard Sänna that are found in even the most humblest of homes nowadays.

Whenever we get into any landlubber conversation with anyone remotely interested in how we manage our lives onboard a sailing boat, the first question we are asked in almost every instance is “How do you do your laundry?”…

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The Cold Debate

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In 1845, Captain Sir John Franklin attempted to discover a route through the Arctic’s infamous Northwest Passage with his two Royal Navy sailing ships Erebus and Terror. Both vessels were lost with all hands and the mystery of their disappearance in the ice vexed the civilised world until strange rumours began to emerge several years later.

The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who beat Scott to the Antarctic in 1911, finally forced his way through the ice bound Passage in 1906 although there are those who suggest he wasn’t the first. In both instances, neither of these intrepid adventurers had any inclination that global warming would one day (in 2007 in fact) open the route through the Arctic to connect the two great oceans of the Atlantic and Pacific.

I daresay the issue of the Arctic getting warmer never entered the minds of Franklin’s crew as they resorted to cannibalism and froze to death. Nowadays, vessels of various types transit the Northwest Passage and it’s still a controversial argument.

Consider this…

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Matters of the Mind

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As a fully certified depressive, I can be quite melancholy at times. On the bad days, when I agonise about dragging myself out of bed, my view of the world can be somewhat coloured towards the negative. But then, during a bad storm at sea for example, I can stand before the mast of my sailboat hanging on for dear life whilst totally mesmerised by the beauty of the violent sea. On these occasions I think, well, things aren’t so bad after all.

You may think I’m unusually brave but I’m not. It doesn’t take that much to turn me into a quivering wreck. I make no excuses for the state of my mind, my wife Marie, an incredibly positive person, often tells me I’m a living nightmare operating at both extremes. Every day I see how someone who’s glass is always half full copes with an unstable character like me. I try and learn but I’m not good at that either. But this blog isn’t about me.

Let’s discuss bravery, who are the bravest people in the world and what drives them. To those of you who are by your very nature extremely positive and don’t wish to be concerned with such things, please leave this blog here. I’m going to ask some problematical questions about your opinions of those mentally unwell…

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