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Pink bits and pizza

25th March 2007

Day 5

Been on mess duty all day, which mainly involves a heck of a lot of washing up after each meal, so no wheel oiling today; there wouldn’t have been any wheel oiling anyway in fact, as they’ve now decided to cover the wheel with a tarp or something until we can get the special varnish they want. (Rolls eyes)

I actually really enjoy being on mess duty, the downside is you have to be up a little earlier than normal, but you get the night off before, and with the music cranked up high while you’re chopping and slicing or washing pots you can have a good old warble and a boogie. Tom’s a wicked guy too so it’s just like hanging out with a mate for the day. We were going to make pizza for lunch but that got scuppered as we hadn’t the time to make the dough from scratch and we couldn’t find the dough mix in the stores, so it was salad buffet instead.

After lunch was washed up the voyage crew were granted some shore leave, I’d already peeled the spuds for later so the was nothing to do in the galley thankfully, so we pootled across to Pigeon Island, it’s not actually separate from the mainland but is St Lucia National Trust land, so we got stung for a few dollars, just for going to the beach, pah! It was a lovely beach though, small and perfectly formed, with a bar 500 yards away, we lazed under a palm tree, swam and had a few drinks. There was an old lime kiln, right by the beach and the toilet block had been converted from the old stores house, I wanted to climb the hill behind the beach and explore more but we didn’t have the time sadly.

Back on the ship we found that the last few crew members had joined us, Jessica, who’s on her gap year, and Rob and Jon, two old mates, Jon’s got the dirtiest laugh I ever heard, I reckon those two will liven things up no end! After a lovely roast for dinner the washing up got ploughed through as I had so many helpers drying up, which left plenty of time for a run ashore, Mike the engineer, Anthony, Polly and I went over to the bar I was at with the crew on the first night, the owner has got the idea that we’re a cruise ship and so gives us 10% off on drinks, we’re not complaining! I felt fine when we came back, but waking up for watch at 3 was horrible, rum punch is tasty, but vicious!

Day 6/TA2 day 1

Today was mostly spent doing introductions, briefings and talks. We signed on with the captain (even though some of us have already been on for a week!) and were told all about the ships routine- watch rotas, mess duties, happy hour (cleaning after breakfast- a perfect time to put some tunes on!) Then it was time for some basics of seamanship- helming, climbing the rigging, and sail setting. As I’ve been up the rigging many a time I wanted to do a little more than the basic up and over to the first platform that trainees generally do on their first time up, and as I’ve not been up yet this week I wanted to check out the view. So with the captain’s permission, I went right up to the top crosstrees and sat on the royal yard. Nick and Anthony came up as well and enjoyed the scenery with me for a bit. After the much promised pizza for lunch we had a talk about sails and the ropes that work them from Francis and the rest of the afternoon was spent getting to grips with and practicing setting and stowing sails.

It was around this point that I realised that I’d gone a bit pink so I ducked out of the sail stowing and went below to stand under a cold shower and then slather myself in various creams. The heat rash has gotten worse too, it seems to be slowly spreading across my body, my feet are feeling better, but my hands look like bright pink toad skin. Jon has some Fullers Earth cream which I’ve heard of before now and is supposed to be really good for skin complaints, so I’m trying that tonight, hopefully something will have an effect soon! I borrowed a shirt from Pip for the rest of the afternoon while we set the spanker and practiced bracing the yards over and over again, I’ve landed myself with the port mainbrace as my station. Rob, who’s a big fella, offered to swap it for the t’gallant and royal, but I’m quite happy with it really, all part of the fitness regime!

I just had time for a quick dip before supper and have just been watching Hercules in New York on deck; LJohn has a projector so we just have to hang up a white board and we have an in house cinema! It rained on us briefly a couple of times - nearly, but not quite enough, to send us running inside. The lads are all back from shore leave now and it’s time for me to hit my bunk as I’ve got anchor watch at 5 in the morning.

On watch. Typical, I pop down to my cabin to grab my torch and memory stick and a bloomin’ alarm goes off! Bizarrely enough, it was a distress alarm, apparently coming from us, but was in fact an emergency weather warning for the North Atlantic. Useful.

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