We have cycled London to Brighton several times for the British Heart Foundation. Sometimes we did it quickly (for instance, so that Eamonn and Jenny could see the Ireland match in Euro 2004) and sometimes slowly (supporting Bruce’s friend Claire, who made a terrific effort on a baking hot day).
It was fantastic to take part in the Great North Run with so many other runners (they accept 56,000 entries, which is less than half of the applicants).
The idea was a romantic sunset cruise, in a little motorboat around a small tropical island, 100 miles South of mainland Vietnam. The skipper moored up in a beautiful cove as the sun went down, and it was great for the two of us to "get away from it all". The only sound was the waves gently lapping against the side of the boat, and we felt a million miles away from civilisation.
Although the internet connection in the Arctic is not reliable, email is how the ships communicate with each other everyday regarding "who is landing where". When emails don't get through, you end up with two ships wanting the same spot - which happened to us - and plans have to be reworked. Thankfully, the daylight literally doesn't stop, so you can simply extend the day!
Everyone on board every expedition ship has to clean their outer layers before landing on South Georgia, and again before Antarctica. The aim is to prevent seed contamination, particularly from Velcro fastenings on modern clothing, which might have gathered plant material from anywhere in the world. Once you have done your vacuuming, you need to sign to say that it had been done. We got checked, inspected, and personally interviewed by the local government at South Georgia - to ensure that we had followed the instructions!
We had some great diving from a little island, off the south of Vietnam. One particular day we got in 3 dives with total “bottom time” over 2 hours - and we were really glad that we did the 3rd dive: There were 20 batfish following us for most of the dive. Apparently they think the rising air bubbles are tiny jellyfish!
We spent a lot of time at sea on our voyage to Antarctica. The sea-sickness drugs make you drowsy, which made it hard to do useful stuff and it was generally better to lie down too. Disappointingly, the medication meant that it was a bad idea to do physical exercise, or to drink alcohol, and there was no internet. So what else is there to do on the sea passages?
We had great fun in Iceland (see also Caving in Reykjavik story) but a particular highlight was being driven around in the Super-Jeep.
All of the diving at Vamizi was excellent. It is a protected nature reserve and widely regarded as one of best dive sites in world. We saw reef-sharks, barracuda and a good number of hawksbill (and green) turtles. Sadly, part of the reason for the quality of the sea life is that the local population, in Mozambique, have been too busy fighting each other to venture out and damage the ocean environment. In other countries, dynamite was used for fishing rather than for fighting!
We went to a little tropical island for Sue's 42nd birthday. It rained like hell - an incredible tropical downpour with thunder & lightning too. So much for the birthday breakfast on the beach!