With a few hungover bodies after an thoroughly enjoyable, social and "Kwaking" night out in town we left Zeebrugge around noon by the time we hade made it through the canal and locks. Then we heard the cry of "pirates off the port bow" as we saw the square rigged schooner Jantje round the head of the harbour waving at us in a Jolly Roger way.
Not much wind today so we motored back across the channel dodging the traffic, even the coaster that cut us up! Once across the shipping lanes the sails were set and we sailed through the night. The low winds and strong tides found us sailing in reverse at times and the 1st mate calling for more sail! "There’s nothing in the night orders about not setting the royals", he said, and we all agreed. So, set them we did.
Hugging the coast we carefully tried to avoid lobster pots, sometimes marked with a balloon!
We thought we had spotted some seals but unfortunately they turned out to be semi-submerged buoys.
Mid-morning, the sun came out and the cadets practiced steering drill – using tiller, block and tackle while we prepared for a cruise up river to Ipswich.
Smoko produced another birthday cake – for Caroline the 2nd mate who managed to keep her cake off the deck!
A delicious lunch of pasta and cold meats was served in the beautiful sunshine on deck as we began to motor up the river.
We got plenty of attention from other vessels as we travelled up river and squeezed under the Orwell bridge before another tight squeeze into the dock at Ipswich.
The evening barbecue on the stern platform was a sight to behold, with steaks and salad galore. Nick discovered steak in a cup as it was too hot to hold on its own but beautiful all the same. Much drinking was had, most retired early but a few stayed up all night.
And so to the final morning of the voyage. Time for one last hearty breakfast and a happy hour plus with much cleaning of the ship ready for the start of the next adventure. Then the morning rounded of with the Captain’s debrief and a lovely smunch on deck before saying our goodbyes and the sun still shining.
Ps. Crazy Dan says he is missing his Kwak already.
Pps. A massive thanks to all the permanent crew, BM’s, cooks assistant, watch leaders and everyone else involved for a fantastic adventure J xx