Cruising the South Pacific with Captain Bligh

Captaim Neville: Genius, sailor, banjo player, singer of sea chanteys and above all, Captain.

Force 8 Force 7 breaking seas off Songlines’ stern

songlinesforce8    Click link for the sounds of Songlines in heavy seas

After pedaling a tandem bicycle 35,000 miles around America, Canada and Australia we, Bob and Claire Rogers, were offered the opportunity to crew on the sailing catamaran, Songlines for four months in the South Pacific with a modern-day Captain Bligh.

Come with us as we teach the cha cha to Melanesians, survive storms, seasickness and kava; begin learning to navigate and sail, on Songlines, a work of art of the highest order, and survive  Captain Neville, misunderstood genius yacht designer and all around fascinating, sometimes challenging individual.

Captain Bligh got a bad rap. Many people who have never read the Bounty Trilogy, have a very negative image of Captain Bligh of the Bounty, as an unusually cruel captain in the Queens Navy. He was actually one of the more reasonable of Her Majesty’s naval captains. It is what he accomplished after the mutiny on the Bounty, when he and a small band of loyalists, were set upon an uncharted sea in a lifeboat loaded to the gunnels, that set him above the rest.  He promised those men they would see England again; he got them all back  to civilization and most of them did see England again. If you want a real adventure story, read the Bounty Tilogy. Bligh navigated through the treacherous, reef strewn waters of Fiji, nearly losing all his men to fierce warriors, nearly starving and dying of thirst, over a 47 day voyage to Timor.

Our voyage with Captain Neville Lloyd was the experience of a lifetime. There were many fierce battles of words and wit between Nevil and I; two testesterone flooded men, both far too old for such nonsense, who often found themselves locked in a test of wills. Had I known what I now understand, I would have been able to control myself; understanding, compromise and compassion were quite beyond Neville’s comprehension. I wasn’t his fault, I just didn’t know that at the time.

We parted under a cloud, but our memories of him and his wonderful creation, Songlines, are of thankfullness and love. Godspeed Neville.

Strong winds and fierce seas for you Songlines; you dance before the roughest  seas, and laugh with the wind. You deserve a captain and crew with the courage to drive you now and then, to let you test yourself against the worst, and show your unmatched strength and beauty.


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  1. Pingback: Bob and Claire Rogers, The New Bohemians | Bob & Claire Rogers

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