The morning of the sixth day dawned sunny with a light breeze which quickly became wind instead. It was time to leave Scheveningen, NL, and set sail for South End, our next stop before arriving in London. As we began to organise our Harbour Stations, a crowd slowly appeared thinking they could stand and watch us leave. However, they hadn’t realised how long it would take to get the ship ready to cast off. We had to undo and move onto the ship the Gangway, and then we needed to make sure all the Fenders were in the stern so that we would not damage the ship as we moved away from the dockside wall. There were a few small children and a very young boy almost fell into the harbour while watching us undo all our mooring lines. We had to wait for both the Customs and Immigration men to walk around and do spot check; they were unable to arrive or leave together so we did have to wait some time before we could make a start. They had to leave the boat after the Gangway had been removed, and in the process one of the officers said he was Superman and leaped onto the quayside.
As we headed out of Scheveningen harbour there were plenty of people to wave to, but it took some considerable persuasion on our part to get our audience to wave back. We skipped Happy Hour in order to brace the yards and set the sails ready to be unfurled. Once set, the Aft Port watch looked aloft and decided the Yards were still wonky, but they were told to leave them as they were. Luckily there were no Fender incidents, as one had popped in a previous cast off. As we moved away from Holland, we headed through lots of stationary containers and tankers, and were surprised as a fishing trawler just missed our Stern and almost took out a much smaller yacht in the process. We headed in a northerly direction , further up the Dutch coast, in the hopes of picking up a strong wind that would take us all the way to London.
As we got further into the North Sea it got quite choppy, and seasickness begun to knock down Guiders one by one, like skittles. It has been a lot worse today than it has been so far on our journey.
Going aloft was required to set the sails, where they had to remove the gaskets. Later in the day Erin on the Aft Port Watch, also known as the Pinks, climbed the rigging in her harness and took with her the Pinks’ honorary member Patch the Panda. Patch looked like a Super Panda.
As we moved up the coast, we watched Scheveningen merge with the horizon, and the Watchkeepers returned their attention to their duties. We saw many container ships, and saw what looked like an army of giant robots; these turned out to be a forest of windmills.
Throughout the afternoon, members of various watches spent time working on what they would be singing for the journey’s SODS opera, and while on the Bridge the Pinks watched a storm brewing far out on our Stern. While the wind began to whip up, two guiders, Charlie and Fiona, attempted chin ups on strong bars by the main mast. It was a draw of one and a half, with another guider needing considerable assistance to raise herself up at all.
For lunch was Cookie’s Macaroni Cheese, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the majority of the crew.
As the afternoon progressed, so did the storm; we watched the colours of the sky change from cloudy blue to yellows, pinks and greens, with an impenetrable darkness directly on our stern. Eventually the Captain decided to tack; in order to avoid the storm as best as possible, and also because we were too close to the beach. Claire the Captain had already got out her bucket and spade ready for the seaside.
To quote the second mate, Peter, “as we proceeded further West, we entered a heart of darkness.”
Supper arrived to tired and busy crew members; who had only just finished Happy Hour. They had begun working on various jobs; such as helping the Engineers, Rachel and Jenny; working on their SODS opera pieces; organising photos and working on diaries.
Charlie Swift Aft Port