Most of the crew had spent the afternoon whiling away the time in St Malo in the age old custom of sailors once in port. As so often happens at times such as this, the writer of this blog was on watch when we left.
Not without the usual groans from the crew, many of whom as first time sailors rather than jack hands were regaining their land legs after a few days at sea. Leaving port at four in the afternoon, meant that my watch who had the first dog-watch, ought to have been on the bridge. But were busy with other tasks down on deck. Leaving the land meant the usual bustle, orders, counter orders and not a little confusion to yours truly. However at last the thing was done. The crew had four main roles, to put a boat ashore to untie the mooring ropes, to pull these ropes back to ship, to work to pull the gangplank (ed. I think they mean gangway) across and most importantly to shove the fenders into the sea (ed. hopefully hanging onto the other end).
This is very important, because if the ship should scrape the harbour wall, and should the French authorities decide damage had been done, the JST will be sent the bill. Bad news for us. But the fenders went over side without mishap. Dinner that night was chicken, boiled potatoes and vegetables, and the Lord Nelson set course for Cherbourg. The sea as it always has been this trip remained calm, and all that betrayed that the ship was moving at all, was a gentle rocking or sliding motion, that could be enough to send a man to sleep should he not be concentrating properly or had a harder day than he usually did. The sea hissed gently making a pleasant harmony with the deep throb of the engines.