We shall not forget them

Written by David Townsend

12, November 2006

Position 15°34’743N 061°27’700W

At anchor, Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

All around the world this weekend we take time to reflect upon troubled times in our history, for on this weekend fell Armistice day. The 11th hour on the 11th, day on the 11th month.

‘Least we shall not forget them’

Moving on;
Although the winds are still very light I have managed to move some 20 miles North to Portsmouth, the second town on the Island.

My plan is to leave Dominica on Monday morning on route to Guadeloupe.

Life onboard:
A very quite week after the excitement of the independence day calibrations of the previous week behind us now.

Roseau, the main town was like what you would expect any developing town to look like, old wooden building just about standing to more modern building. Portsmouth on the other hand is very small and all the Islands second town it resembles more a village.

Woken by cockerels in the morning, sounds of fisherman being called by those on the shore, making a sound by blowing through sea shells to them. A stark contrast to Roseau.

As I walk from the jetty, through the very poor area. All around are wooden shacks, just about standing in this light breeze, never mind should a hurricane come this way for the whole town would be either blown or washed away, that is one hopes apart from the hurricane shelter.

Passing bye one of these wooden shacks I peer in, a building where even the paint had given up trying to hold the outside gave me one of my most humbling experiences. Although run down, on top of the very basic wooden furniture lay neatly placed brilliant white table cloths. Upon the table cloths some very simple sentimental items, placed just so. The occupier had such pride about there home. Total contrast to their surroundings.

Today, Saturday one of the locals came bye on a surf board as they always do to offer their services. Groceries, rubbish collection, all for a modest charge. After some bartering I managed to pick up a left over local flag, although originally selling for 20EC$ I managed to negotiate the price down to 8EC$, that’s £1.60p. Within a few moments I had sew in a ‘bolt’ rope and my home made ‘courtesy’ flag was hoisted to the top of the starbord spreader. Not bad considering they normally cost 70EC$

For those not to familiar with the flag etiquette here is a brief explanation. Ensign, curtsey and ‘Q’ flags.

A ships ensign is the national maritime flag corresponding to the nationality of her owner. It should always be kept clean and in good repair. At sea the ensign must be worn when meeting other vessels, when entering or leaving foreign port, or when approaching forts, signal stations and Coast guard stations etc.

In British harbours (although I carry out this whenever I am in port) it is customary for the ensign to be hoisted between 08:00 (09:00 between 1st November and 14th February) or as soon after that time as people come onboard; lowered at sunset (or 21:00 LT if earlier) or before that time if the crew is leaving the vessel (for security I always leave it flying while ashore).

The ensign should not be worn when racing (after the five minute gun). It should be hoisted on finishing or when retiring.

‘Q’ flag;
When arriving within a nations national waters you should fly the ‘Q’ flag, this is a yellow flag and its meaning comes from the French, I require free pratique’ or passage.

The ‘Q’ flag should not be worn below any other flag on the same spreader, a thing which you see everyday out here. It should worn once you have entered that nation’s international limit, usually 12 miles but not always.

Once you have cleared customs and immigration you are then entitled to lower the ‘Q’ flag, replacing it with the courtesy flag of that nation.

Courtesy flag;
A national flag flown at sea is know as an ensign and most ships usually fly their own along with the flag of the nation they are visiting, this is know as a courtesy flag. A ship sailing alone with only its ensign flying in foreign waters, foreign port or in sight of a foreign worship traditionally represents a willingness to fight. This old custom is still taken seriously by many naval and port authorities and is enforced in parts of the world by boarding, confiscation or other civil penalties.

The website has been updated to include all past ‘Weekly Updates’.

I have also been backing up the 180Gig of video I have taken so far, some truly amazing shots of dolphins.. Hundreds and hundred of dolphins, whales and some of the best, absolutely brilliant filming taken while on a run, doing 10kts with a force nine up my ar… whoops nearly said ‘arse’ there did I not. For the none nautical out there, the word ‘arse’ is often used to describe something not too pleasant approaching ones ‘stern’, another nautical term mean ‘back’, hence ‘arse’. Em that did work out too well did, eh, well too late now ha ha. anyway as I was saying, spray, the air filled with foam and these beautiful waves chasing my ‘arse’, sometimes catching me.

I am currently using 4.7Gig DVD’s but recently I upgraded the writer to a dual layer burner so if anyone can source some dual layer quality disc I would appreciate it just let me know the supplier and I will order some in time ready for the next re supply teams visit.

Please also note that as from this Monday, Winlink has by default enabled ‘white list’, this is in attempt to reduce the amount of spam we receive. This means that unless I have emailed you in the past OR added you to my ‘white list’ your email will be blocked. If passing on my email address please advise me first, or a.s.a.p. So that I can add the new address to my ‘white list’. I hope this will not inconvenience you too much; it will make life easier for us distend users.

The Boat:
OK, I give up. No females onboard so the priming problem I had for the past few weeks with the engine-cooling pump stopped, as did the battery charging system. All returned to normal.

Fair winds and calm seas.