Finally the long winter refit is over – (at least part one!) - and we have seen the last of our army of volunteer maintainers down the gangway. Huge thanks to everyone for their efforts. It really has made a tremendous difference and innumerable jobs have been undertaken. We’re happily showing off our new heads, lighting and galley but also appreciate that much of the work has been behind the scenes (or under it!) It has been a long haul but well worth the effort! Sunglasses are now a requirement in the galley as everywhere is gleaming, new and white.
True to form, 1 o’clock came round and the new voyage crew for LN 714 made their way up the gangway, handed over their passports, signed on and found their bunks and fellow crew. Captain Clare Cupples then welcomed everyone to the Lord Nelson and told of her plans for the coming voyage. ‘Plan A that is’! Plan A is to stay alongside tonight in Southampton at berth 104, giving our new crew the chance to get to know the ship and each other, and with promises of light winds tomorrow, we intend to be up and off the berth after breakfast. Then we plan to head down the Solent and over to Cherbourg; off to Belgium towards Zeebrugge before taking the canal up to Bruge, and finally setting sail for London and our destination up the River Thames.
Captain Clare then introduced the permanent crew members, namely: Chris the Mate, Nick the 2nd Mate, Marcin the Bosun; Jane the supernumerary officer; Steve the Chief Engineer with Rachel 2nd engineer; Dave the Cook; Rachel the Medical Purser and the Bosun’s mates Mike (MVB), Nigel, Bill and Matt. Once the introductions were complete, Chris began the safety briefings followed by the first evacuation drill. Having found their muster stations, the new voyage crew were then into their climbing harnesses and up the rigging with cameras at the ready, capturing the evidence!
Finally came the welcome call over the tanoy, ‘Dinner is being served in the lower mess’! We sat down to a sumptuous dinner of pork steaks served with apple, tomatoes, creamy leeks and boiled potatoes, followed by hot fruit sponge and custard. Thanks Cookie!