Firstly, thankyou for the gold, that is very kind of you. A few people have offered to acompany me on another adventure or for me to join them. I'm humbled, and I'd love to hear your suggestions. I am alsways ready for an adventure. One last thing to say is that I am single now. Just saying...

Last June, I joined a 4 man crew aboard Dolphin, a 104 year old Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, and sailed her from Ireland to Greenland and back with no previous sailing experience.

The crew consisted of Captain, First Mate and two Deckhands, of which I was one. We took shifts of 2.5 hours at the tiller while the others slept, cooked, read etc.

After 3 days of vomiting, our other deckhand was becoming dangerously dehydrated and so we detoured to the Isle of Harris in Scotland where he was hospitalised. We completed the Atlantic crossing to Iceland with a 3 man crew (only 5 hours sleep at a time!)

We then picked up a new crew member in the North West of Iceland before crossing to Greenland. During the trip, I had close and often intimidating encounters with polar bears, whales and local hunters.

Just a few recurring questions:

How did I get involved? I heard about the expedition through the Royal Geographical Society's expedition Bulletin. If you google it you can sign up. The other Deckhand who joined in Iceland heard about the expedition through‎ so check those out if you would like to do something similar.

How much did it cost? We split the bill for food, fuel, engine parts etc for the four months, this came to just over €1100. I spent approximately €1600 on gear between Ice climbing boots, crampons, PVC sailing overalls etc.

How did you afford this? I worked minimum wage and saved €1000 per month. I don't smoke, I drove for a living and so rarely drank, do not do drugs. Priorities.

**Please, ask me anything. There are millions of stories to share and hopefully you guys can jog my memory and get those weird stories you always forget.

I have some AWESOME photos, and hopefully I can share those relevant with their story. I'll get on to one of the other guys who has even better photos to see if I can use some of his too.


Album on IMGUR:

Please check out and support Rob's upcoming Panama Paddle Expedition where he will attempt to break the world record for paddleboarding:**

Comments: 825 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

bogenobo255 karma

How did your relationship with the other members of your crew change throughout the trip?

Plom410 karma

At first there was great respect and interest between us all. When you think of the kind of people a trip like this may attract, they are bound to be quirky individuals.

The trip was mentally challenging due to fatigue, temperature lack of contact with the outside world etc, and each person had their own way of dealing with it. There were times when we wanted to just kill each other. But at that time, it is more important to get the sail in, or replace a fuse for the engine or cook a meal and you just have to do it. Groups of men naturally find pecking orders according to rank, common interests, age, self interest etc.

We also shared moments of joy, for instance seeing a polar bear come right up to our boat to check us out. I can say that at the end of the trip I have a great respect for all the members of the crew, however that respect is very different from that which I started with.

All things considered I would crew for and with any of them again in a heart beat.

It's an excellent question and I'll think about it more.

kallha203 karma

Hey! I met you guys at Fljotavik in Iceland. We were the 3 guys on that small zodiac. Really admire your trip. What was your favorite place you visited in Iceland?

Plom143 karma

You guys were so kind to share your fishcakes with us, we tried to recreate the recipe with some cod and char we caught but they were nowhere near as good. My favourite place was around Myvatn. I camped in a hot spring, any time I got cold during the night, I just hopped into 40 degree water and swam around. How did your trip go after? We lost our VHF at Flotavik, so if you need a new one you know where to find it. So cool to catch up with you here!!!!

where_da_cows_at152 karma

What did you guys do about your......sexual needs

Plom256 karma

Haha well I did say ask me anything... You'd have to sneak a tug in when out hiking, or a really stealthy on your bunk.

where_da_cows_at150 karma

That sounds beautiful

Plom290 karma

I found a russian playboy at an abandoned platinova expedition camp in Kangerlussuaq. That was a happy day.

where_da_cows_at83 karma

I MUST hear this story, and see pics

Plom157 karma here is the playboy, just have to find other memory card with pictures of the exped base. It was pretty eerie, have the sleeping shelters were blown down!

NetScriber350 karma


Plom64 karma


where_da_cows_at26 karma

Screw the vase! You fucked a playboy model! fist bump

Plom50 karma

I don't know what just happened but there's something gooey on your hand now

where_da_cows_at48 karma

Oh sorry, that's just...uh....semen

Plom39 karma

And here is the expedition base for platina/platinova I'm sorry but its the best I have. Imagine walking for days seeing no sign of humans and then stumbling accross this. Looked like it was from a zombie film

EazyCheez16 karma

But damn your hands most have been ice blocks.

Plom21 karma

You get used to it. Merino under gloves and dakine overs. and run! warm hands in no time

2018945142022 karma

Merino wool is a gift from the gods to adventurers and travelers.

Plom16 karma

You sir. You know. I am currently enveloped in Merino from foot to neck. It's awesome.

protectionoffurseals102 karma

Was there any cost or payment to go on this trip? What kind of preparation did you have to undertake? How difficult was the process of learning how to maintain and run the ship?

Thanks for doing this AMA by the way, really interesting!

Plom131 karma

We split the costs of the trip, that is food, fuel, iridium phone credit, engine parts etc.

As for preparation, I joined the crew with no previous sailing experience. I have a background in Caving, Diving and Climbing so that helped me show them I had transferable skills and would not just be a deadweight on board I think.

Some things were easier to learn than others. A lot of the rope work was familiar, but I learned my favourite rope trick called a hay makers hitch, which allows a 2:1 purchase on hauling without actually knotting the rope (check it out its an awesomely useful bit of ropework)

Aratar201126 karma

This is what I want to know. Is the trip for something? Is the captain rich and just really wants to go, but needs a crew? Do you set out some expedition money to finance the boat and supplies?

Plom50 karma

Hi Aratar. Fair question, yes the Capatin is quite well off, and does annual trips. The boat is worth around £90,000 uk sterling so you would need to be fairly right with money to own that! His name is Roger Capps and he's quite an extremist, hitchhiking to Afghanistan when he was 17 for example. I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by your last question, can you explain it?

DatKoopa102 karma

What was the most dangerous thing that happened to you during the trip ?

Plom201 karma


I was waiting for James (First Mate) to collect me in the dinghy after a 16 hour hike. All of my gear had already been taken to the boat. Almost as soon as he reached the shore, a fast wind hit. The wind is known as a katabatic and arises as spill off from the glacier. Thus it is fast moving, ice cold air.

I got soaked head to toe in the attempt to row against the wind, but we couldn't do it. James decided to try alone and he made it back to Dolphin. The combination of wind and wetness was so relentless I could feel myself slowing down mentally.

I've been in many dangerous situations where you would get an adrenaline rush, but this was just fearful.

pankoman63 karma

So what happened to you once James got back to Dolphin? You sat tight on shore?

Plom208 karma

I walked inshore and found a depression where there was some heather and snuggled into the undergrowth. I took off my trousers, ripping them over my boots as I knew my fingers would not be able to tie my boot laces back on. I ever so slowly started to realise I had to find better shelter. I spotted something orange in the distance and after some press ups t get blood going started out for it. As it was the other side of the fjord, I had to cross the river to get over. The river was of course Ice melt from the glacier that caused the katabatic wind and so I got cold all over again.

My orange blur turned out to be a tent inhabited by an american girl called Mindy. She was awesome. As soon as I was out of the wind I could finally generate heat without it being stripped away instantly. I waited out the wind with Mindy eventually getting my fingers back and attempting to mend her stove but I didn't have the toold.

Finally the wind died down and Capps rowed out for me. I learned a lot that day. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR GEAR. Always!

Since then I brought a full change of dry wool clothes with me, food and a bivvy bag for one nights sleep on shore.

Hardest lesson I ever learned. I made the tiniest slip up and was severely punished.

Grayson_G13130 karma

You get her number?!

scares_bitches_away148 karma

Sex, motherfucker. Did you have it?

Plom56 karma

No man :(

Plom68 karma

I have her email address and she wrote a blog piece with us in it!

RufinTheFury91 karma

Did you guys play Folk and Black Metal non-stop on the voyage like I'm picturing in my mind?

Plom119 karma

We didn't have any music at all! I sang a lot, and I'm in a thrash metal band if that helps!

brain4breakfast51 karma

You could probably write some kick-ass metal lyrics about the Fjords and Iceland and Vikings now.

swedest18 karma

Make this happen.

Plom78 karma

I wrote a song called sea of beer.

It goes

A sailor went to sea sea sea

Of Beer


TnT32676 karma

What's your next planned "fuck it" moment that you mentioned in the askreddit thread?

Plom141 karma

I got invited to go to Oman to put cameras up in the mountains to study goats. I didn't take it. What an idiot I am sometimes!

Next fuck it moment will probably be asking a girl out that I know.

TnT32644 karma

I'm right with you there

Plom54 karma

What do you mean? Asking a girl out?

If that's it I wish you the best of luck!

gaypeoplesuckdick227 karma

nah he didn't take up an offered Arabic goat adventure

Plom56 karma


myownsecretaccount26 karma


Plom29 karma

Melinda. She's an awesome girl.

nipponsahore66 karma

Just curious about your ship "DOLPHIN"

What are the advantages as well as disadvantages of having an such an old ship

Plom114 karma


She looks beautiful, and any time you reach a harbour or marina, everybody comes for a look. Countless kind souls donated food to us after chatting for a few minutes, and the conversation starter was always the boat.

As a wooden boat she is prone to leaking. There is nothing worse than finishing 2.5 hours on helm in freezing cold, spray in your face, than to come down to a soaking wet sleeping bag and have dripps on your forehead all night


There are no winches. Every sail had to be hauled by me. In modern boats, you can control almost everything from the cockpit. Not so here. If a sail needs to be taken in during storm, I must go on deck. This has obvious danger but is incredible fun.

ass_whuppington112 karma

As a wooden boat she is prone to leaking. There is nothing worse than finishing 2.5 hours on helm in freezing cold, spray in your face, than to come down to a soaking wet sleeping bag and have dripps on your forehead all night

Listed as an advantage

Plom66 karma

I saw that mistake and thought it was funny so I left it in. It was a good question I will have to think about it more and edit later

Luzern_24 karma

I have to agree that working the sails manually is indeed very fun! You really get the feeling of being a sailor when you're out there in the wind and rain hoisting sails.

Plom40 karma

haha yes! and you get tough hands too which make for impressive handshakes!

traffick65 karma

Shit White People Do

Plom122 karma

I think that's what the inuit were thinking when they saw us

Oraith63 karma

Were you ever in danger of pirates... or were there ever pirate tales being told? Sorry I just really like pirates :)

Plom129 karma

We got surrounded by hunters in Mikisfjordur.

A small motor boat pulled alongside and asked us to turn off our depth sounder. They were hunting seals and didn't want them scared away. We turned it off.

Another boat pulled alongside, and told us the same. While we were distracted, another two boats came out of nowhere (fjord is choked with icebergs so they can sneak up on you) and next thing there are 20 angry inuit hunters standing over us one foot each on our deck.

It was a tense few minutes while we got a translator on the satelite phone. In their mind, we were greenpeace, and one thing you need to know if you go to greenland is that if you are in greenpeace you are liable to be killed and probably will be.

We couldn't convince them we were not eco activists, and we had to just leave. thankfully no one got hurt

Plom6 karma

Just so this is not misunderstood as a rant against these guys.

They had motored for 9 days to get to this hunting ground. When they see our boat, whether they think we are greenpeace or not, they just want us to fuck off soon as possible so they can hunt.

I'd feel the same in their situation, and we did as they asked.

Kinky_Koala59 karma

Was there ever a specific time where you really just wanted to call it quits and go home?

Plom143 karma

Many times. The day we left Greenland I volunteered to haul anchor which is an awful job particularly at 5 am. The Captain chewed me out of it for stowing the anchor incorrectly and he went way way way too far.

At that point in time I wanted to throw him overboard. Or jump overboard. I actually remember planning to just leave the guys at Iceland and hitchhike to Reykjavic and fly home.

And it turned out the anchor was stowed correctly.

Crowbarmagic133 karma

Would you say the Captain went overboard?

I'm so sorry

Plom58 karma

there you go, captain went overboard, lucky to be alive

Goldberry12 karma

Wow, fantastic story!

Plom15 karma

Yeah and it is a great one to hear from the horses mouth. A very lucky man to be alive.

Plom36 karma

he did once, hang on I'll find the story

Plom62 karma

Also seeing Archer (first deckhand) get so sea sick he was hospitalised was daunting. I got an appreciation of how rough it could get for me, but thankfully I got my sea legs without much ado

Dabee62551 karma

When you went to Iceland, did you sample the best hotdog in the world?

Plom71 karma

Many times over. When I got back from Greeland I turned into a fat bitch eating anything greasy I could get my hands on.

What a beautiful country!

toobulkeh48 karma


Plom168 karma

to sea what I could see sea see

DrTion42 karma


Plom82 karma

As a pleasure yacht, we had to report to Greenland Command/Danish Navy every day with an update of position, conditions and expected route for the day. They had a ship heading north and decided to check up on us and see if we were where we said we were.

They couldn't believe we navigated through the ice with a wooden boat and congratulated us on being the furthest north on east Greenland coast for that year. As the ice was not open further south, it was safe to assume no one got further than us, and as it turns out no one did

work4work37 karma

Cost of adventure?

Plom51 karma

€1100 in shared costs (food, fuel etc.) also spent arounf €1600 on gear (crapons, rope, ice climbing boots, sailing gear)

vajkappsmir35 karma

Did you sing any shanties?

Plom62 karma

The Irish Rover of course, and my favourite song to row to is The Mero.

SnurreFisk16 karma

To expand on this, how much of an effect did singing have, if at all, when doing your duties. This is of course dependent on the fact that you did actually sing.

Plom44 karma

Whistling at sea is banned. I love to whistle while I work, but I'd get shouted at for it because it's supposed to be bad luck. I sang away though. It's nice having a rhythm to work to. Sweating the main sail to the beat of Sad But True. Makes you work harder I think.

surskatravla21 karma

Bad luck because back in the day the mate would use a whistle to whistle out a specific tune to the crew up the mast (on old square rigs) to tell them how to set the sails. Someone whistling randomly would upset the system.

At least I think that's the reason

Plom6 karma

Ah thanks! Great to hear these things. One of the guys who commented above was in a pub in Scotland when I was coming home and we got chatting. He told me the chant of Two, Six, Heave was after the cannons which were fired by a team of six. Numbers 2 and 6 were free during the haul and so the chant is an order.

Plom24 karma

And also this,

It's a song about Dublin which I missed while I was gone. I sang that at a lock in in scotland after the trip. Good times

chr0s12 karma

Are you a fan of this shanty?

Plom16 karma


kmucha3132 karma

Which of your crewmates was your favorite and why? Any wacky stories you and said crewmate experienced together?

Plom88 karma

I was closest to Rob, the deckhand who joined us in Isafjordur. He is the same age, studied a similar field in university, had a great attitude. On the return trip we spent a lot of time hitch hiking in Iceland while we waited for the right weather window to leave. We had a crazy time then.

Most beautiful and wacky moment was smoking a joint with an icelandic motorsport champion in a cave at Dimmuborgir. We met at a hot dog stand after asking directions to a natural hot spring where we planned to sleep. They ended up showing us to a much more secluded 'locals only' hot spring where we went skinny dipping. Then we went to the aforementioned cave, and saw the end of the day with the most beatiful sunset you could ever imagine . I don't usually smoke, but it really was the perfect thing.

The first mate turned out to be a very talented cook also, that was a nice surprise

dogwatchiscurtailed62 karma

I don't usually smoke pot; but when I do, it'll be sometime during an intense month-long boating/hiking/traveling adventure with people I only recently met, inside a cave in Iceland with that country's motosport champ whom I ALSO just met, while a gorgeous sun shows her stuff as she sets.

Plom23 karma

That's the way to do it. It was perfect. I was just sitting back that day watching the best day of my life unfold before me. Oh, and a joint while the sun skips off the horizon? Of course. Of course there was going to be a joint.

That close to the arctic circle, you don't get full sunset really, the sun just bounces below the horizon. It's very impressive

Fossil2232 karma

What is/was your occupation, and how did you find the time and courage to just pick up and leave everything for 4 months? Was it hard to return to "the real world?"

Plom88 karma

I was a tour guide for a coach tour company and worked my ass off for a year. I was going out with a girl in England and took all of my time off to visit her as much as I could.

She cheated on me and I just decided to do something incredibly selfish that wouldn't harm anyone else. Just totally invest in myself. I turned down an expedition to the deepest cave in Mexico in February so I could bring her to Norway. I said I'd never give up such an opportunity again.

It was incredibly easy for me to get up and leave because I'd reached that point of 'fuck everything I'm outta here'.

It's been hard to return to the real world! I'm stuck between getting a career job and never doing this again or taking minimum wage and heading off again in March. I still have savings and think I will just go with the expedition route. I need to find a way to make it pay itself by selling photos or writing on it.

Thanks for the questions

Fossil2237 karma

Amazing story. I'm soon to graduate college, and wanting nothing more than to take off and do something similar. High on the list is taking 4 months to hike the Appalachian Trail (or possibly the Pacific Crest Trail).

I can only imagine coming back would be difficult. That's my biggest fear - getting back and (1) not being able to find work having taken such a long break and (2) not being motivated to work after such a possible life-changing experience.

Thanks for the story. Inspiring for a fellow wanderluster.

Plom50 karma

I hope you make the right decision! It is hard to know how seriously to take work/career when you have the golden opportunity of right now to explore the world. All I know is I've never met a traveller who said they wish they had a career, but plenty the other way around.

WhoahCanada29 karma

How did you come about signing up for this?

Plom43 karma

I recieved an email from the Royal Geographical Society advertising the vacancy. I contacted the Captains girlfriend by email and then called him up.

As for RGS itself, you can sign up and fill out an expedition CV. So for example you can include diving qualifications or a driving licence for a truck, whatever... If I am organising an expedition and need a truck driving diver I can search it and find you and call you up!

Xcrucia28 karma

How did the ship fair with the weight of the crew and your massive balls? This is pretty amazing, if given the chance would you do it again?

Plom31 karma

Hahaha! I would do it again in a heartbeat. Honestly I am dying for the chance to do it again. I mentioned further down about turning down an opportunity to work on an expedition in Oman, and that was a mistake.

I am on the look out for a new challenge. If you hear of anyhting let me know!

TheHouseOfGryffindor28 karma

Was there any point, either before or during the trip, when you regretted your decision, even for a moment?

Plom35 karma

osrry for not replying yet, I want to do this question justice, fantastic question by the way

Plom6 karma

When tempers fly, whether you are right or wrong, you can't get away. You can't go to your room. You can't close a door. Little things build up over time and come out all at once.

During times like these I regretted ever joining the trip. I felt powerless as there is nothing you can do. You might want to leave the trip, but you'd be leaving a crew understaffed and that is dangerous. You would be playing with fate. And in that moment what can you do anyway? You can't just step of at sea. You can't escape.

Honestly at times I regretted my decision for days on end. Looking at my diary 2 days in particular. During that time I performed my duties with a will, and refused to let it affect my role on board but it was tough for a while.

gamman26 karma

I sailed on the HMB Endeavour replica (for those who dont know The boat Captain Cook sailed to Australia in). Did a trip down in the southern ocean and copped a force 10. By far the best thing I have ever done in my life. If you are ever up for a trip like this again, get in contact with me.

EDIT. Was offering myself up for a trip! If there is enough of us, perhaps we can convince the folks of the HMB Endeavour to do another extended voyage?

Plom18 karma

That sounds amazing, and I would love to sail or go adventuring with you! I'm up for a trip!

salts0foldTides25 karma

What is your survival plan if the boat sinks in the bitter cold ocean?

Plom38 karma

Honestly there is no survival in that case. No help will arrive quick enough. Unless you get the dinghy untied in less than a minute, or the life raft. But realistically, forget about it.

Bestuck19 karma

Who would you recommend this adventure to?

Plom45 karma

So long as you understand the risk of joining the trip with no experience and are prepared to work hard, listen to every criticism and constantly jump through every hoop, go ahead. Sailing in the arctic in a wooden boat has it's dangers - any iceberg over 2 metres cubed will sink you. You cannot afford to be complacent. You cannot afford to be a novice (by the time you get there). You must use every available moment to better your understanding of the operation of the boat.

Taht's what I was told, and that's what I did

Gorbalos18 karma

Plom, could you share some photos from your trip? Would love to see some scenery photos from Iceland!

Plom13 karma

How can I best do this? Upload to Imgur or how would you like it?

Gorbalos10 karma

Sure! Imgur works!

Plom15 karma

ok I'm uploading them here;

Plom4 karma

Just trying to find a shortcut to get them from facebook to imgur :)

antioxide18 karma

Just wanted to say that that your journey sounds really awesome, congratulations for sailing there and back!

Plom18 karma

Thanks very much, that's really kind of you to say. It was the best thing I have ever done :)

Rockgagong18 karma

How old were you at the start of your journey?

Plom29 karma

I had just turned 24 years old and left 2 weeks after

bongowongowongo17 karma

What was the hardest part of the whole trip and what was the funnest part?

Plom34 karma

Hardest part is getting up during your rest period to change a sail. This is inevitably during a weather chage so you are most likely going to get soaked and you are supposed to be sleeping.

Imagine when you go to sleep for an hour I tell you to get up, put on some soaking freezing clothes and haul a massive weight with bare hands. Imagine I tell you that 3 or 4 times per night. With such little sleep, you never enter a deep sleep phase. Just REM sleep, so you are dreaming all the time. Delirium is constant and you have to be so vigilant not to let fatigue make you forget to tie a rope off or duck if the main sail moves sdo you dont get your head knocked off!

The funnest part for me was the moments when I realised how much I'd learned. I just get up and tweak a sail, check the computer and see I'd added half a knot of speed through intuition. Seeing results like that would bring a massive smile to my face. I'll have a think about it more, I think that is an excellent question.

Chochkeys16 karma

What moment made you go it was worth it

Plom57 karma

It happened many times, so I maight have more answers later too.

Seeing the most intense blue, green and red northern lights after leaving seydisfjordur bound for home. It was a perfectly still black night, no light pollution anywhere. I turned off our navigation light and you could look around for miles and there was nothing but me and sea. And then ever so faintly at first, but more and more vivid every time you looked back the aurora started.

I will never forget that.

Plom47 karma

2 days off land on our return journey, a wind blew up right behind us. That means you can throw full sails up and just ride the waves. Have you ever seen a lazy surfer just letting a wave take him? Thats the way Dolphin performs in those conditions. She'll ride up on the wave tp the peak, and then maybe the front end will drop back into the wave and you'll get an exhiliarationg whoosh, or maybe you'll just topple over the back and have a moment of stomach in your mouth. And you're only doing 8 knots, but that feeling! Well you could just be flying, it's the most beautiful harmonious motion you could ever experience.

Crownable16 karma

How big was the boat really? How much room did you guys have to work in? (I'm kind of crazy jealous of you, by the way! I wish I had the guts to do something like that!)

Plom25 karma

The deck length is just shy of 12 metres. Then the bow sprit (the wooden think that sticks out the front to carry our jib sail) is another 3 metres.

In this photo, I think you will get a good idea of my working space: you can see the shrouds either side of the mast. They are the black ladders. When the boat is keeled over in high wind, you can snuggle in for a safe working environment, but the deck may be at 40 degrees or so so it can be hard to get around. It is vital to keep the working area clean and I took great pride in coiling my ropes!

To get up there, I have to climb over the buckets and dinghy.

As for the living quarters,, there is a cupboard sized kitchen with a gas cooker, a soloon with a table and two beds then length of a man, then a forepeak with another two beds and a tiny toilet at the the fore end.

If you want to do it, do it!

000paincakes00011 karma

are you that guy from the askreddit?

Plom20 karma

Only you can answer that question... but if you mean the one about fuck it... then yes I am

vagoober10 karma

Did you have any prior experience being a deckhand?

This kind of thing sounds absolutely awesome, but I have never operated a boat.

Plom14 karma

No prior experience of sailing at all. When I called the Captain first, I was so nervous but so determined to join I couldn't believe it when he said I could. I kept reminding him I had no experience haha

It was certainly a trial by fire. But totally worth it for me!

therandymarsh10 karma

How common is what you did? Do people do expeditions like that frequently?

Plom11 karma

We met a few other crews sailing to Greenland, one of which made it to Scoresbysund or Ittoqoortoormitt. From there, we were the only boat who continued North. I think Scoresbysund as a destination is a lot of yacht owners dreams but they never find the crew of that perfect break in the ice to get in.

gilly92098 karma

Great AMA! Are you originally from Ireland? If so what County? Also what did you do to pass the time when you were not working?

Plom16 karma

I am originally from the Isle of Man, but have lived all over Ireland. Are you Irish?

While not working I would work! Funny as it sounds it's true. There is always something you can be doing, for instance I made seals for the forehatch from a tractor inner tube, and a tensioner for our bilge pump. There was always a need for more bread, so I would bake it. I would study maps of our destination to find routes I could climb or walk. I oiled the deck, and made a new bunk because our first mate was getting soaked beside the engine compartment. I would fish off the side, or take an alcohol wipe shower. I wrote a journal during the trip also. As soon as we got anchored, I would go for a hike or run or swim. On days at anchor where we had to do anchor watch i.e one stays to mind the boat I'd rig up a hammock and get a proper deep sleep.

ahmadalfy6 karma

How do someone prepare for a trip like that? What basic tools do you need? What did you brought and thought "Well I will definitely need that!" then you discovered it was totally worthless? How did you keep contact with the world?

Plom16 karma

I keep fit, but honestly I think the preparation is mental. You have a whole trade to learn and fast. You need to be ready to learn.

A good knife. Always. A good knife. A heavy duty PVC jacket and dungarees. Forget any other sailing gear. Forget gortex. Wool wool and more wool.

I brought about 30 pairs of socks. They took up as much room as my sleeping bag. They were a wool/acrylic blend and utterly useless.

I had one pair of 100% wool socks lined with merino outer was old wool. I bought a pair of 100% old wool socks. I used these two pairs of socks exclusively for the remainder of the trip except on or two times after river crossings.

Wool is the most awesome material. It doesn't stink up. It's kind to your skin.

We had an iridium phone which is a satelite phone with coverage all over the world. But it costs a fortune to use. I emailed when I could and sent postcards!

Ericthemighty4 karma

cool ama bro, would love to see a photo log with descriptions and stuff

Plom6 karma

Yeah I need to get this thing organised so it tells the story instead of snippets in no order. Thank you very much, I'll work on it and improve it!

alllie4 karma

Rich people looking for adventure while poor people are just looking for a job.

Thinking of the guy who got sick. What happened to him when he got out of the hospital. Did he have money to go home? Did he have to pay a hospital bill?

Plom3 karma

Fortunatley for Archer, his costs are all covered by the NHS. As we approached Harris, the coast guard were requesting we go to Stornoway, which would be approximately 24 hours sail in force 7 - 8. We didn't think he'd last it.

We got him ashore and he was taken and forced to drink 8 pints of dioralyte. The doctor told him to rest and not eat for 8 hours. Then the nurse told him to go down the road and geta proper fry up.

The difference was incredible. Just hours had passed and he'd turned from a shell of a man to the funny, charming, chatty guy we had met just a week or so before. Just shows you how important water is, I've never seen someone so sick as him after 5 days with no water.

Capps lent him money to get back down home. He kept in touch by text and email and it was great to hear from him. He made huge sacrifices to join the trip (sold up a carpentry business) and this was his giant leap to change his life, but it turned out he couldn't stand the sea. Heartbreaking.

hacksbeenjamin2 karma

Why? Also, how did you fund this trip?

Plom4 karma

I funded it through hard work at a fantastic tour company called Paddywagon Tours. I saved hardcore for a year.

Dravous2 karma

how was obtaining food handled? did you just buy it, catch it, forage for it, what?

Plom17 karma

One of my jobs on the boat was baking bread. Obviously fresh bread will not last so we stocked up on flour, yeast etc.

I would make a mix with raisins and oats for something to chew on and mix in the yeast. We had a heat exchager on the exhaust of the boat which was placed in a cupboard under one of the bunks. At one end a 12v computer cooling fan was attached which blew the hot air into a cupboard with racks. I used this to rise the bread and we could also dry some clothes in there, a wonderful bit of rigging I have to say.

I baked the best bread I've ever tasted on that boat.

We also had stocks of eggs, some canned fish... But most of the meats were caught on the way. This is an example of what 5 minutes fishing can get you in Icelandic waters:

They were caught by jigging with a builders string, some hooks and a bit of red rubber. Gutted and fried within 5 minutes of being caught. We used squeeze lemon juice on them and eat them straight away. I cannot describe how delicious it was. I've never eaten so well.

Also a lot of people just donated food to us. For example a racing student in Reykjavic called Orri came over for a chat and then came back to the boat with a thigh of foal and a bag full of ground beef. The foal made the tastiest stew! I never would have eaten foal only for him. In Isafjordur a whaling boat donated minke whale meat. We cooked it like steak and when you did it too much, it just tasted like beef steak with fish sauce. But rare, it took a whole new flavour full of oily fish. I went rarer and rarer till I ate it raw and that was amazing.

I have to stress, we weren't begging for food or anything, people were just delighted to see a beautiful ship and wanted to play a part in our adventure. I can't thank them enough.

iwazaruu2 karma

I have questions more about you being Irish than anything else

Do you feel you have to live to a silly standard that ALL the Irish can drink like mad? I mean surely there must be some Irishmen who don't care about drinking too much.

What are some of the most beautiful or historical spots in Ireland? I'd like to go one day.


Plom11 karma

No I don't have to live up to it, but you know I like drinking like mad. I love going into a pub just for one pint and ending up hammered with a new best friend. It's actually fun, especially when the sea stories get going :)

My favourite spots are Claddagh Glen in Fermanagh, The slieve Bloom mountians in their entirity, or just Monicknew woods if you only have a short time, or the Cliffs of Moher. I used to work as a tour guide, so hit me up if you're coming over and I will make sure you get looked after.


Lastleft2 karma

holy shit from what I see she looks like a beautiful old girl. I am green with envy mate!

did you see any narwhals?

Plom5 karma

Yes and what a beautiful creature they are. The hunters who bullied us out of Mikisfjordur were hunting narwhals.

Beautiful boat is right. She is painted gun metal grey now but if you check her out here she is white which I prefer I think, what do you reckon?

BaconBoss12 karma

If you could choose to live on the ship or any boat would you and why?

Plom7 karma

To live permenantly? I would love to.

There are a few things I need to do first. But I would love to make my future life travelling to unexplored regions of the world by yacht. It is a beautiful life

rbcoolie2 karma

How did you procure the boat? And how did you know that a 100 year old ship wouldn't sink on you?

Plom2 karma

The boat is owned by the Captain, and is docked at Swansea. Dolphin has had a prolific sailing life under Capps, covering more distance each year than the rest of the surviving Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters combined. She is sturdy, and plenty life left in her, I'd be honoured to sail in her again.

br79431 karma

Hi can you share any photos of your living space on the ship? Or describe what it was like?

Plom5 karma

Hi, you can see our saloon here:

This is the middle of the ship. The table folds out and the couch is the bed. the couch is actually cupboards for food and gear storage, every available space is made use of here. From beneath the cushion of the couch a strip of cloth can be pulled out and hooked to the roof with 2 ropes. This is to hold you in the bed while the ship rocks and rolls around. The table folds out over my bed, so you can't really walk past with the table folded out.

You can see robs sleeping gear piled up on the left. That is typical. All of our living stuff piled up like that. So in the end, you just lived with a sleeping bag, your dry layer and your sailing gear, and kept your clothes sealed in a dry bag. nothing extra because it would just get thrown around if we needed a life vest or a bag of flour or whatever

I was pretty much always in the way. Definitely had the worst berth on the boat!

We are celebrating reachng Greenland with a whiskey cake made by James' mam. It was delicious!

smilescart1 karma

Were there ever any really dangerous tides or near-misses with icebergs?? Oh and you're my hero!

Plom4 karma

Yes when we were sailing within a fjord we would have to have ice watch on the foredeck which meant two people working 2.5 hours on 2.5 hours off. That was bad. We still hit a few big ones.

While sailing off the coast of Greenland we would often come accross icebergs that had calved, leaving debris for miles. The east coast is prone to mists, and the combination of these two is a real nightmare. Imagine sailing in this but with fog all around you! Anything over 2 metres cubed is big enough to sink us

Superjerry71 karma

Amongst your travels have you ever experienced anything out of the ordinary. Like maybe paranormal or mythical type encounters?

Plom4 karma

I hallucinated while dehydrated. I saw northern lights, which other peoples have attributed to mythical beings and gods.

But I'm a scientist by education. That is not to say I do not appreciate beauty

WeazelBear-13 karma

"ASK ME ANYTHING"... doesn't respond to anything.

Edit. Said I was sorry guys. What do I do? Do I apologize again? Do I post a meme about how I'm a scumbag steve? Do I reveal my true identity? Do I continue to take downvotes? What do I do?

Plom7 karma

I'm sorry man, I am trying to answer properly and give the questions a reply they deserve, I will hurry up and get them done.

WeazelBear3 karma

I'm drinking wine. Don't listen to me. But I do have a question, cause I'm fascinated by the story. How much did it cost and how did you find this opportunity? Thank you and sorry for the douchebaggery.

Plom10 karma

No problem, I needed a kick up the arse to just answer instead of writing for ages and then delelting it and writing again.

My share of costs came to just over €1100. Thats food, fuel, parts for repair etc. Spent around 1600 on climbing gear and sailing gear,