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Kilmodan Primary School Q & A

Updated: May 31, 2021



1. Do you prefer sailing alone or with someone else?

2. Have you seen any seagulls? (from Rupert aged 5)

3. How do you get internet?

4. Do you wash your clothes?

5. Do you get bored?

6. How much food did you take and how did you work out how much you needed?


1. I prefer to do the passages, in other words the bits between somewhere and somewhere else by myself, I find it really satisfying, and I don’t have to worry about someone else or what he or she is thinking of decisions that I am making. However, normally with sailing, when you get somewhere you potter around the place that you have sailed to and go to different sites and villages and restaurants and so on and for this it’s more fun with somebody else as well.


2. Good question Rupert because I had always thought that Seagulls were land based birds, despite their name. Obviously when leaving Plymouth and close to the Dorset Cornish coast there were lots of seagulls. Since being offshore I hadn’t expected to see any seagulls but on two occasions I am sure that I saw Black Backed Gulls, probably the ‘greater’ one. Looking in my bird book I see that many gulls can in fact be semi ‘pelagic’ in other words they can spend time at sea rather than only staying at the coast or inland. It is also possible that what I saw was not a Black Backed Gull at all but a Black Browed Albatross and again it was news to me that Albatrosses might come to the Northern Hemisphere, I thought that they stayed in the Southern Hemisphere, but apparently not always. If I see one again I now know to look at the tail; the Black Backed Gull has an all white tail and the Albatross has a dark end to it’s tail. I’ve seen other sea birds that aren’t gulls: Storm Petrels, which are relatively small dark birds that look a bit like a bit swallow, Fulmars which look a bit like gulls but aren’t, sooty shearwaters which are dark on top and also a bit gull like, and common Terns which are very white underneath with a black top to their head.


3. I can’t get internet. I have a satellite telephone called an Iridium phone which works to make telephone calls and can transmit and receive digital information but very slowly. I had to set up a new e mail address to use this because it filters e mails that are big, because they have attachments, and either deletes them or allows me to down load them but it’s very expensive, a one Mb picture for instance takes about an hour to download because the data transfer is so slow, it would cost about a hundred dollars to download. I also have a weather forecasting app on my ipad and this is designed to work with the satphone so I can get weather forecasts and e mails but no internet.


4. I haven’t done yet! I change once a week, if I run out I may have to try but I don’t have a lot of fresh water to wash in, I’m using about a 2 litres a day. As I get closer to home I should have built up a buffer of water because I’m using less than I might have done so may wash a few things then.


5. Not really, I have plenty of books and music downloaded, I enjoy eating and cooking and planning what I will eat. I also enjoy writing these blogs and getting messages and e mails. There is still quite a lot to do with keeping the boat sailing and shipshape.


6. Another good question. What I should probably have done is made a menu plan and worked out how much of everything I needed and had lists. What I actually did was go to Lidl and buy 12 cans of beans, 12 cans of tomatoes, 12 cans of soup, 12 cans of stew or similar 12 litres of uht milk 6 packets of butter 6 jars of pesto and lots of dry goods which keeps well like rice, flour, cous cous, pasta and so on before I left the villag plus a few impulse buys like tins of fruit and evaporated milk. Then I took lots of cans and jars from my larder in the house and any food that I’d not eaten which was still in the fridge. Whilst in Plymouth I went shopping most days and topped up my vegetable ‘hammock’ with long lasting vegetables like onions, cabbage, neaps, butternut squash and potatoes. In a locker opposite my Galley or kitchen, I put some less well keeping vegetables like leeks, broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms and I filled the small fridge that I had with mince, chicken, cheese, sausages and pork pies. I also bought two big salamis which should keep without refrigeration, they are in a locker forward but with the sea on the outside to keep them coolish. I also have what I call a ‘naughty locker’ which is full of biscuits, chocolates, peanuts, crisps and so on. A friend who had been in Florida gave me four boxes of raisins which are proving good both as snacks and ingredients for food.

I suppose I worked out roughly that I could eat fresh meat etc for about 2 to three weeks and then start on tins and so on. I bought extra rice, oats and pasta in case I ran out of everything else I’d still have carbs to keep me alive. I’m actually eating quite well at the moment, I’ve a loaf of bread in the oven rising because it’s too cold in the cabin, it’s the first time I’ve tried making bread on here although I make it a lot at home.



I think that that’s it, so a question for you:

If sailing across the Atlantic at about the Latitude of Scotland, should it be easier going West - Scotland to America or East, America to Scotland, and why?

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