THOUGHTS FROM AFT PORT ON DAYS 1 AND 2
It’s 20 past midnight and the sky is a tapestry of tiny lights. The Normandy coast is to our right and Bill is on starboard lookout. “I’ve been reading the log before we came but it’s hard to put into context until you’re doing it. It’s an unbelievable experience to be out here with a sky like that. This is a journey I’ve always wanted to do, my father was in the Normandy landings; a dark cloudy night with no lights and no GPS. Just being here in these waters give me a connection to that.”
Ed is a cadet and in his third week on board. He is steering and with one eye on the compass he recalls how much has happened in the last two days. A new voyage crew moving in, the changes in wind and weather and especially sharing the excitement of people going aloft for the first time. Not to mention being on the end of the yard himself and swallowing a few choice words as the wind caught the sail and brought it flapping round behind him!
We move to Bill next who has just returned from the galley with a tray of hot drinks. “These stars will stay with me for a while and also steering for the first time. It was testing mentally and emotionally and I was apprehensive and quite tense but it felt great to be steering the ship myself – I am normally captain of a Rover!”
David and Mattijs travelled from the Netherlands to join the ship in Jersey. David remembers setting the sails. “It was really complicated but looked beautiful” His favourite bit so far was hauling in the gangway “because we all did it together”. David’s buddy, Matijs has been impressed by the permanent crew and how they explain complicated things in simple steps to allow everyone to take part in making things happen.
Our Watch leader, Paul took time out in St Helier to visit other ships in the Jersey Boat Show. He was struck by the contrast of the size and visibility on the bridge of HMS Mersey – controlling all that power on a single joystick, and by the awesome engine room on Jersey Coastguard’s ship, Duc of Normandy.
And me....? I was on the last voyage too and it’s strange to say goodbye to one voyage crew and so quickly become part of a completely different group of people. I’ve spent the last two days on mess duty with Dave the Cook and ‘Dad’, the Cook’s Assistant. They are both amazing and they turn out the most wonderful food in a small space and at a ridiculous angle! Roll on breakfast.