For the long days and nights that the raft AnTiki slowly drifted across the Atlantic Ocean to The Caribbean island of St Maarten and subsequently from there up to the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas, I diligently carried my phone with me in case I got a call from Falmouth Coastguard. They are the people who monitor the frequency used for distress calls transmitted from an EPIRB.
If I did receive a call from the Coastguard, it meant the raft was in distress and the crew needed to be rescued and I always made sure I knew their position in case of the worst.
So imagine my surprise when I received THIS MESSAGE at 06.30 this morning! That meant the EPIRB has been activated, and the coastguard received the signal and immediately swung into action and called the emergency contact – ME .
I rang them back and explained we left the AnTiki raft in the ownership of the chap who towed it to safety from the landing beach round to Governors’ Harbour in the north of the Island where it has been bobbing about ever since as a sort of tourist attraction.
I gave the coast guard his phone number and he has promised to ring me back with any news.
Watch this space!
It is with great sadness that I must tell you Anthony died yesterday, monday 7 July 2014.
His eldest son Adam was with him in hospital when he succumbed to acute respitory failure.
His book about the AnTiki adventure is with the publishers and will be published in February 2015.
Modern technology means we can still hear his voice, so enjoy these archives I have cobbled together.
Link to Anthony’s archive.
Please feel free to leave your tributes under comments below.
In all my initial research into the AnTiki raft adventure – how can it be that I have only just learned of this raft?
Good old internet!
Nova Scotia to Falmouth in 87 days.
Read the story HERE.
Link to film HERE.
The pupils at Cedar International School in BVI are studying water and were delighted when Dave Hildred went along and gave a talk on AnTiki and how we raised funds for WaterAid.
As a thank you, they gave Dave a piece of water pipe signed by the pupils, plus a goody bag full of sweets.
No wonder they are such lovely children, have a look at their school’s position.
The time has come to decide upon the future for AnTiki and Anthony has agreed to take his first faltering steps in the lofty halls of ebay and social networking to spread the word.
From the earliest stages of AnTiki’s conception, Anthony worked hard to attract a teacher on board as crew whose school would become the central hub of communication for all schoolchildren throughout Britain to have the opportunity to follow the raft’s progress and share the learning process.
The way he has been welcomed by the Islanders on St Maarten and Eleuthera has warmed his heart and it would give him great pleasure to think AnTiki could continue to educate and inspire people of all ages – either as a static attraction, or as an active ocean-going raft.
When Anthony finished his studies in Cape Town he cashed in the boat ticket home, bought a motor bike, and rode it right across Africa and home to England. His subsequent book ‘High Street Africa’ started him on a life as author/journalist which has continued ever since.
His recent trans-Atlantic crossing by raft is just the latest caper in a long list of extraordinary adventures which have filled Smith’s life and which have been his unorthadox means of gainful employment.
There will be a book and a film, but neither will go any where near compensating him for the money he has invested in this trip – the whole escapade has drained his purse enough to make Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn turn in their graves.
So the AnTiki raft is being offered for sale by auction on ebay. LINK
I confess I had difficulty in seeing Anthony’s vision of rafting becoming a new craze, just as roller skating has enjoyed enormous popularity, unexpected during its humble beginnings.
Will it become a diving platform? Will someone navigate her back across the northern Atlantic to UK, or westwards across the Pacific ? Anything is possible, but the entire team who have had a hand in AnTiki’s life all want her to survive.
From the day the seed was sown in Anthony’s mind right up to the moment church clocks on Eleuthera struck midnight on April 30 2012 and AnTiki was washed up on the very beach which sowed that seed, the raft has gathered an ever-increasing band of followers, and that band will grow on sunday when The Sunday Telegraph publishes his article.
If you want to know more, please make contact HERE and we shall be delighted to help.
Click HERE for ebay auction page.
And please remember it’s very easy to donate to AnTiki’s charity
Bruno Sellmer has shared a collage of pictures to celebrate his adventure one year ago!
I have just received a lovely note from Andy and Beryl who have made a pilgramage to La Gomera on this auspicious day when AnTiki set out across the Atlantic!
And just this morning, Anthony rang me with the good news that the book publisher has ( at last) responded with a positive note. Fingers crossed!!
Hi Robin, It is hard to believe that 2 years ago today Anthony, Dave, John and myself were being towed out from el puerto by the Oceano whale watching boat, followed by our 66 day crossing to Sint Maarten. The 5 months that I was with the expedition seems now such a short speck of time, although the memories are still vivid. Such an amazing group of people who helped get us underway, and the welcome we got in the Caribbean. I would like to thank all of those people, some who I met but also those who worked long and hard but never made it out to the islands. Also our sponsors, few though they were. Plus everyone who contributed to Wateraid, through donations to the website or just dropping a Euro or 2 into our bucket. Our journey was followed by so many people, and I thank them too. I hope a few will still take a peak at the website from time to time to see if there is a book on the way.
Beryl and I got into Valle Grande Rey 3 days ago. This time we have come as tourists instead of as a tourist attraction. The valley is much as it was 2 years ago although some shops have changed and it is much less busy than before. The ferry no longer comes around the island so the long pier is mostly deserted except for an occasional fisherman or cyclist. The fires of last summer may also have put a lot of visitors off. We saw swaths of blackened trees and ground on our bus trip over the top, extending down into the upper part of VGR. Many familiar faces are still here. Bjorn at the internet cafe, the 2 men at the hardware store, the lady who took over our first apartment (who looks even more like her little dog now as she has changed her hair style), some of the waiters, the lady at the supermercado. I even remember some of the older faces, sitting on walls and benches around Vueltas. We haven’t met up with Barbara yet but that will just be a matter of time, we hope.
The weather here is beautiful. I haven’t checked a GRIB to see what the winds are doing offshore but it is pretty calm on land. My plan today is to head down to the harbour and make an offering and thanks to the sea for keeping us safe, just like I did 2 years ago as we untied our dock lines. Then we’ll walk the front and try and find some more old friends.
Finally, Robin (and include this in this blog), I want to thank you for all the amazing work you did to keep the expedition on the straight and narrow (mostly) and for your constant cheerfulness. WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU. Andy
Received a few hours later…….
PS. Hi again Robin, I’d like to add a PS if possible.
I inspected “our site” this morning fairly carefully. I did find some evidence that we had been there with some blue plastic shavings, a small piece of aluminium and stainless, a couple of rope off-cuts, a few pieces of wood that were ours as well as some scrape marks in the hard ground. I only found this stuff because I was looking. A good clean-up had been done and there was a lot more new littering.
Looking forward to your news. Andy
Anthony is interviewed on Eleuthera by Tourism Today
Smith, an explorer and writer, set out from the Canary Islands on his raft constructed of water pipes. The raft, known as the An-Tiki, travelled 2,600 miles in 66 days. He ended up in St. Maarten in the Caribbean then continued for another 24 days until to reach Eleuthera, a place he dreamed of visiting since his early years.
The voyage was inspired by the historic tale of the 1940’s Jolly Boat, a small lifeboat that landed in Eleuthera after sailing for 70 days across the Atlantic Ocean. The boat was launched after its British merchant vessel, the SS Anglo Saxon, was sunk by a German ship.
“That whole story fascinated me, got under my skin, as they say,” Mr. Smith said shortly after his arrival on Eleuthera. “When I was young, I thought of doing it but I had no money. When I was older, I was doing other things, working for a living for example. Then when I got very much older, then it suddenly seemed a raft was an ideal form of transport. You can’t walk very far. You don’t have to do much. The wind and the current take you.”
The result of Mr. Smith’s voyage was much better than the sailors aboard the Jolly Boat. By the time the boat arrived on land only two of the seven survivors were alive. Their fate did not discourage Mr. Smith however. Many sailors told him not to do it due to the danger of the open ocean. Although they discouraged him, he felt vindicated by the end of his journey.
“I am so delighted that we were successful. We pulled it off. And all those Jeremiahs, as I call them, were wrong,” said Mr. Smith.
Good friends opted not to go with Mr. Smith. He got four random people to join. The crew consisted of two men and two women from ages 50 to 62: Husband and wife Leigh and Nigel Gallagher, from Boston; Ali Porteous from Uganda and Bruno Sellmer from Brazil. His five children were also not “totally cooperative”.
“Other people use that, word, mad all the time,” he said. “This is bonkers. But I was determined. They are going to say that whatever I do. So I just went ahead and did it.”
Mr. Smith and his crew landed in beautiful Eleuthera on April 29, 2012, concluding the adventure of a lifetime.
When asked what adventure was next for him, he simply replied, “I have no idea. The question is, after you climb up a mountain, what do you do? You come down. But I don’t want to come down just yet. I am on a high.”
Click here for memories LINK– a collage of images from Petra and Ros.