Missing from UK: one yellow hot disc usually found in the sky……Guess what? We found it!! Its here in Greece! What a change to the weather from home! Sorry guys but this has been long awaited and we’re delighted to finally peel off our hats, scarves and woollies and be in the Mediterranean and enjoying 17 degrees. Due to the various flights into Athens, day one started later with our new crew joining at 1800hrs. First they met their watch leaders and found their bunks and fellow crew before signing on and meeting Captain John Etheridge and the permanent crew. Captain John invited everyone to join him in the lower mess and told of his plans for the forthcoming voyage and introduced the permanent crew members, namely: Chris the Mate, Dave the 2nd Mate, David the Bosun; Pete the Chief Engineer with Tony the 2nd engineer; Dave the Cook with his assistant Pauline; Rachel the Medical Purser and the wonderful Bosun’s mates Maureen and Martin.
Of course, once the voyage plans had been voiced, the next job was to make sure our new crew had undertaken the training in order to put this altogether. So once everyone had settled, Mate Chris began the safety talks for the night ahead. Then after a welcome supper of roast pork, apple and crackling too, Chris gave everyone shore leave and the chance to explore the local area, although many were glad enough to simply find their bunks – unless of course, they were on harbour watch!
The next morning (day two), after a full English breakfast, came the rest of the briefings and training. This included the first of the evacuation drills ensuring that everyone knew how to find their muster stations safely and don their life jackets. ‘Smoko’ was then announced by the main mast and with everyone in good voice, we sang ‘happy birthday’ to a very surprised Jeanette complete with Cookie’s birthday cake – which was enjoyed by everyone! Thanks Cookie and his wonderful mess men – notably Harry, Bill, John and Neil! What a pleasure it was to see Harry sitting with a bucket load of spuds doing his duty!! Of course there’s no time to be wasted, so no sooner had the last piece of cake been demolished, then the Mate announced that it was ‘all hands on deck’ for their first opportunity to climb the rigging and go aloft. Many of our new crew took this opportunity to wriggle into their climbing harnesses, although some will be climbing later in the voyage. This certainly gave everyone a hearty appetite and lunch was served out on deck in the sunshine although admittedly the wind had a fair chill to it. After lunch we then continued training with everyone learning how to handle ropes, coiling them away, bracing the yards and to complete the day, a happy hour was called. So with the ship looking her best we are now ready to get underway tomorrow at first light. Our destination is first to Volos some 150nm north of Lavrion and then it is hoped we’ll come south to Crete and maybe visit Poros before returning to Lavrion - we’ll let you know how we get on! Watch this space…….