LN700 The final update : And so here ends the tale..............
We have just waved off the first 5 crew on the bus to Oslo with a lot of singing and tears! The rest of us will follow tomorrow. It always amazes us how close a group of people can become in a short space of time and we have to admit that we have never seen such a case before where people have bonded so much. It is fantastic that we have all had the opportunity to do such a trip, and while the sailing has not always been what we have wanted, the experience has been a very personal one for all involved.
and now for the final flourish................
The last few days have been spent in Maloy enjoying various activities that the town have put on. We entered the football tournament which provided amusement. Our opposition was the Mexican Navy (the Brazilian navy chickened out - scared at the thought of getting beaten we hope!). The Mexican goalkeeper appeared so worried about a possible goal that he sat down in the goal mouth and took his gloves off! You may guess the level of competition when the Mexicans were told in the second half that they were only allowed to score with their heads. In the end the score was still 7 - 3 (to the Mexicans!) - but we were proud of our team.
Assisted climbs took place yesterday morning at the fore mast. This opportunity enabled EVERYONE, including those with physical disabilities, to climb the mast and enjoy the magnificent views from the platform. Having been on the hoisting team on the ground I must say it was one of the highlights of my trip. It was an honour to be a part of these mountain top moments and we were all so proud of all attempts. The mast climb has been the biggest challenge for a lot of our crew and I think these guys have been looking forward to it throughout the whole voyage. Abi Bubb (Aft Port) was the first up (accompanied throughout by the biggest smile I have EVER seen) and we really thought we were going to have to hoist up a duvet, pillow and supper for her and Hannah, as they were loving it up there so much! Abi even made it into the papers and had several interviews, leading to her climbing up again! She is now black and blue with bruises, and we have to keep a close eye on her incase she were to try escape to the crows' nest once more! A big thank you goes out to the Bosun, Cas, who must have climbed the mast at least 30 times!
In glorious sunshine yesterday we had the crew parade. Clearly, we were all dressed in pink and sang our "Pink Pyjamas Song" (all will be revealed when we return home.) We were the second crew in the parade with the crew of 'Royalist' behind us. A lot of competition on singing ensued and various renditions of the conga were held entertaining the crowds. We had the presentation to follow the parade. We were very proud that Lord Nelson and our wonderful crew won the most "prestigious" award - the cook longest at sea (that may tell you a bit about our voyage.)
Eight of our crew went on the pull with Roald Admundsen. After two weeks without men, it was amusing to see us try to pull away from them - you may have guessed by now that we are talking about the tug of war competition. After overcoming our initial fear of the sheer size of the naval monsters before us, we took our positions to great encouragement from the crowd.
Obviously, once again, we HAD to let the men win due to the humiliation they would face - but we did put up a good fight lasting a dramatic 14 whole seconds!!!
Today eight of our crew members (4 with physical disabilities) were flown in a helicopter to the top of a nearby mountain to join a hike expedition and the Mexicans once again. The rapidly descending fog almost left our girls stranded while they were planning a rescue party down at the bottom. Luckily the fog cleared and they returned to sea level. I think it's fair to say that they haven't stopped talking about it for the rest of the day and the rest of us are thoroughly jealous.
Another activity which stands out is the Pallet Running. This consists of a string of pallets linked together across the water over which contestants must run! The girls who took part were Millie, Laura and Lydia S and they all returned to the boat dripping wet. The fastest time was 38 seconds but the Lord Nelson Olympic Team did it in an impressive 4 minutes (approximate rounding!) You may see a common theme running throughout these tournaments!!!
The crew party was situated in the most mind-blowing location! As we walked to the top of the hill we looked out across the valley - the stunning natural beauty cannot really be described in words. There was a stage with live music playing throughout the evening. Along the water edge were rocks perfect for sitting on and admiring the surroundings. There were plenty of men in uniform too - a highlight for many!
Just time to tell you about our last challenge on ship - the prestigious 1st Lord Nelson Egg Challenge. Each watch was given the task to find a way to protect their precious egg from the perils of being dropped from the fore mast at high speed as the launcher tried to throw the package as far as possible to the stern, where the rest of the crew were waiting in anticipation. We constructed a zorb style thing with suspension, etc. with a pirate style decorated egg which we decided to call Sparrow (Robin isn't a very piratey name!!! Eh Dave?) The egg, covered in many layers was disguised as a baby which watch leader Helen was absolutely petrified, knees trembling, hot sweats, the lot! (only kidding) But she was very scared about throwing our Aft Port Baby - some of the watch had an emotional attachment and were becoming freakily broody over an egg! Well done to Forward Port for safely protecting their egg - Egwina the Egganaught was the only one not to crack! Forward Starboard won best presentation for Sarah and Liz's amazing performance (including fancy dress!) and the humble Aft Port took the prize for the longest distance travelled - well done Helen for the perfect throw and to Abi G for the best decorated egg in our opinion (poor little sparrow)! Not bad for a design concocted during 4am-watch madness (the MC Hammer dance practice took a back seat for the night).
Given this is our final blog, we would all like to take the opportunity to thank all, including all parents and family, friends, JST, and particularly all our sponsors in enabling us to do this. It has been amazing (how many times can we say this!) and we are really very grateful! It says something about the voyage and Nellie that many want to come back!
So here we sign off. See you all back in the UK!
Aft Port signing out - WL Helen, Abi G, Abi B, Katie (hello Drew), Sarah, Sally, Pip, Anneabell, Izzi and Ali in absence.
We love you Nelson, we do. We love you Nelson, we do........
Update By: Aft Port