Just Me, Nobody Special

Enjoy a browse in my world

SLOW RECOVERING - Tuesday 28th December 1999

I felt a lot brighter this morning and my temperature was nearer normal, but Jo wanted me to stay in bed until lunch.  At 0920hrs were anchoured off San Sebastian La Gomera, while we waited to see if there was a berth available, but there was not one big enough until the afternoon, so we motored along the coast until the Harbour Master could let us in.

I got up for lunch feeling a little dizzy and spent the afternoon quietly.  The ship was quite quiet and I took advantage of the lack of people to have a shower, which was rejuvenating.  When Karen came back from her walk she had kindly bought me a couple of postcards.  I should have started my mess duty today but as I am on the sick list I was excused.

At 1730hrs the Captain hosted a cocktail party in the bar, there was a choice of apple punch, cider punch or champagne punch as well as canapés and nibbles.  The Captain made a point of speaking to everyone and was pleased to see me up and about, Watch leader Chris said he was glad I was on the mend because he needed a reliable helms person as his watch were made up of so many novices.

For those staying on board for dinner, we adjourned to the Upper Mess for Roast Chicken, broccoli and mashed potatoes.  In order for Graham to have a night off we suggested that we did the clearing up and practically bullied him into disappearing.

Early night tonight as we are off again tomorrow.

HUNGRY HOG - Wednesday 29th December 1999

Nic next door woke everybody up with the drunken swearing at 0115hrs and the commotion continued for over 15 minutes, and I never really got back to sleep again.  In the morning he thought it was all quite amusing and did not remember what he had done he was completely unapologetic, a lot of people are quite miffed with him.

We slipped away from San Sebastian a little after 0600hrs to motor to find somewhere for a beach or quay bar-be-que.  Karen started her mess duty today, so I got myself up and dressed and Paddy helped me get to the Upper Mess for early breakfast, nearly did not make it was the men were hogging the bathroom.  On watch I was on port look out not a lot to see though.  Daamon was at the helm taking pilotage instruction from Captain George, as we looked for somewhere to anchour.  The anchour was dropped and we were stood down at 0950hrs in time to start happy hour.  Me, some rags, a tin of brasso and all those handles in the Charthouse.

The next couple of hours were spent trying to arrange the bar-be-que, the Harbour Master at San Diego La Gomera, did not want us to have this party on his quay, so we motored to another cove and dropped anchour there.  It was decided that the bar-be-que could be set up on the stern platform, once all the rubbish and ropes were stowed elsewhere, and that the Sir Winston Churchill could come along side, so a ship designed for 50 would now have 104 eating on board!  We are nothing if not hospitable. 

For the crew of the SWC this was the first time they had been able to look over the Lord Nelson, so many of us were turned into tour guides (which included getting funds out of them either by a donation or by buying a postcard or four).  It was interesting comparing the two ships, which are the same length, but the LN is built as a ship whereas the SWC is built as a yacht. 

The weather is overcast, almost damp and the wind has a chilled edge to it.  I was feeling quite cold and tired, Jo took my temperature again and it had crept up slightly so I snuggled into bed for an afternoon snooze before the anchour was raised at 1545hrs and we were off again. 

Lying in the bunk this afternoon, I felt really low and fed up, fed up with being ill, fed up with being cold, fed up with waiting for men to come out of the heads, fed up with Nic’s behaviour, and as with hitting any low you bounce up to your highs.

I was so ravenous come dinnertime for some unexplained reason and it was spaghetti Bolognese, seconds of pasta and I am ashamed to admit thirds of sauce, I was pogged.

As I am still on the sick list I did not have to do the night watches, sleep beckons.

DISSENSION BEGINS - Thursday 30th December 1999

Quite a good night sleep but I have developed a persistent cough, but what really was a pleasant sound was the anchour being dropped at 0345hrs.  There seems to be a virus spreading around the ship, most people have developed a cough, which we have nicknamed kennel cough.  Up for breakfast and ready for what the day had instore by 0830hrs.

Happy hour had Karen and I cleaning the port side disabled head, it was man free for once.  After smoko it was time to catch the first DoTi boat ashore, I was the guinea pig to be lowered down first - Piers was driving, I got wet!  

Once safely ashore Karen and I headed off to explore the delights of San Andreas Tenerife.  We found a supermarket and bought a few essentials, after a few gestures and drawings we got directions to a chemist.  Karen has an allergy to dairy products and although she had avoided milk she forgot about the flora on her toast and her sinuses have become blocked.  We successfully communicated with the Shop Assistant and got what we wanted.  We found a fish restaurant for lunch, I had grilled prawns and Karen had grilled salmon, it was delicious despite the shells still being on the prawns.

We returned to the beach to watch the fun and games, rounders, volleyball, swimming and even jogging.  As Karen was still on mess duty we had to catch the first DoTi boat back to the ship – Marco driving, I stayed dry - although it took some time before the crew appeared to haul us up.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent writing up the log and chatting with fellow crew before dinner and the exciting horse racing in the evening.

The horse racing was extreme fun, needless to say I lost all my bets.  Captain George dressed as the spivvy bookie, he really looked the part, and unfortunately he lost all his bets too.  Marco was Master of the Course, incharge of moving the right horse, the right number of spaces according to the dice – he occasionally needed reminding and of course he had to parade the winning horse around the winners enclosure.  It was quite a laugh especially when they introduced the fences and water jump as then we had horses refusing.

Crawled into my pit a little after 2200hrs.  Most of the watch are fed up with Adrian, so far he has refused to do harbour watch and anchour watch, mess duty, pull ropes, tonight he would not even through the dice and he has upset Nicci, who has done her best to try and look after him and make sure he feels involved in all that we do.  He said if he could fly home now he would.  He delights telling everyone he has not enjoyed a single thing and will not return ever again.  There is no place for such laziness on the ship.  I feel sorry for Watchleader Chris trying to keep everyone happy.

MILLENNIUM EVE - Friday 31st December 1999

I felt well rested when I woke up at 0730hrs, despite my cough, up and ready for breakfast as usual.  Spent some time tidying my palatial stateroom before congregating for our watch briefing at 0850hrs.  Happy hour had me brassoing the door handles on deck.  The anchour was hoisted and we motored into Santa Cruz Tenerife some 55 minutes later.

After smoko, it was wheelchairs aloft the main mast, I took the plunge and went first, after some bullying (disguised as persuasion by John First Mate).  Somehow the journey up seemed to take a long time and was quite scary, once on the lower cross tree Neil said ‘Welcome to my office’.  The wind was quite blowy and chilly and the sea looked quite lumpy, but it was interesting to follow all the ropes from the deck.  I watched the SWC come into dock alongside us, I still cannot see that she is the same length as us; she looks smaller from every angle.  I was lowered to the deck and after supporting my fellow wheelies who were hoisted aloft, it was lunchtime.

The harbour has several tall ships in, the Alex, Mary Anne, SWC, Eendracht, Roald Amendsen, as well as a few cruise liners.  Karen and I went off to explore the city, there was a lovely nativity scene in the middle of the main square.  As the sun started to fade the wind started to cool and we returned to the ship to scrub up for the millennium meal.  Like Christmas this would involve all fifty of us sitting in the Lower Mess.

Once again the tables were adorned with crackers, streamers and party poppers and bottles of sparkling Cava, we squashed into our places and prepared to tuck into another of Grahams feasts.



Chicken Pate

Served with coleslaw


Beef Wellington

Served with roast leeks

Mashed potatoes, cabbage

And thick onion gravy



Filled with chocolate sauce

Topped with chocolate shavings


After dinner a group us went into the town to sample the atmosphere and a couple of lagers, but the wind was starting to bite and frankly the drinks were better on board and we were back in the bar by 2215hrs.

We all crowded onto the bridge around 2300 hrs, watched and waited for the big town clock to get every closer to the allotted hour.  There was great anticipation and we held our breath as the clock reached 2359hrs, we craned to hear the start of Big Ben on the ships radio, then ....... 

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY - Saturday 1st January 2000

The New Year is rung in on the Ship’s bell.  There is a cacophony of ships sirens, claxons, horns and hooters resound as the massive fireworks sore into the clear nights sky.  The fireworks were literally all around us, some were on the shore, some in the hills, an amazing display of colours.  The cheers, whistles and shouts of ‘Happy New Year ‘ almost drowned out the sound of the ships.  The seemingly endless round of hugs and kisses, I am not confessing who or how many.  

The champagne flowed or in Neil’s case sprayed all around.  You see he popped that question to his girlfriend Sam the BM, who said ‘Yes’.  The noise, fireworks and jubilation continued for at least  of an hour.

Fell into my bunk sometime after 0100hrs to get a few hours sleep before harbour watch for Karen and I at 0600hrs.  By that time all the parties were over and the revellers had gone home and all was quiet, so not much to do until just before 0800hrs.  First Mate John drew the short straw of being officer of the watch, first job coffee, second job the Red Ensign had to be raised, finally hoist the Y2K flags, the Spanish courtesy flag and the company flag, before being stood down. 

Special dispensation today, no breakfast or lunch, but a massive brunch at 1030hrs.  There were a few nursing mega hangovers, most of us were just tired.  Went up on deck to see the SWC leave and wave bye bye to Barbara.  We left at 1215hrs, just in time for the sea swell to mingle with the hangovers and brunch on the last leg of our journey back to Las Palmas Gran Canaria.

It was so pleasant sitting on deck writing up my log, it was so nice that I stayed there until early dinner at 1720hrs.  Earlier in the afternoon Louise asked where her buddy Anne was, a search was conducted but she was nowhere to be found.  We were somewhat surprised that there had not been a radio call about a missing passenger.  By late afternoon she had been found, apparently she got off after brunch (abit of a no no) and did not put her watch card in the bucket to show she had gone ashore (a big no no), after wondering around the town she presented herself at a Police station saying ‘my ships gone without me’.

As the staysails and outer jib were set the ship was pitching and rolling quite hard, making eating a nightmare, it was so bad that most of us gave up trying in the end.  We slowly and somewhat clumsily made our way to the Bridge at 1800hrs, stationed as starboard look out for two hours lashed to the railings.  While the remainder of the watch went to put up some sails John was left at the helm, he finds it very difficult to steer and at times we were more than 15° off course, it got so bad that Captain George got Jo to take the helm.  I felt so useless as I wanted to help John but could not get to him, I could not get anywhere.  

Glad to come off watch at 2000hrs and glad to get in my bunk and snuggle down under the duvet.  I have an optimistic feeling about the coming year, things feel more settled and reliable.

PACKING - Sunday 2nd January 2000

For some unknown reason our wake up calls were late so it was abit of a made scramble to get into some clothes and the wheelchair in order to make our way to the Upper Mess for early breakfast.  Unfortunately my cough has got so bad that my rib cage and lower back hurt from the semi-continuous coughing.  It is even affecting my eating!

Up on watch from 0800hrs and there is a sombre mood as this is our last day.  Happy hour had us cleaning the deck housing with sponges and scrubbing brushes, slow wet and unrewarding work.

After smoko it was the Captains de-briefing, we have travelled 367 nautical miles (it feels a lot further than that) and over ⅔ of the voyage was under sail.  The high pressure trapped over the Azores helped us get to where we wanted in good time and we have managed to fit a lot in during the 11 days.  He thanked us all for keeping the Ship clean and tidy and for making it a memorable one.  Graham gave the talk in how to correctly fold the wet weather gear, Neil normally does but he has caught the virus and has been confined to his cabin.  Clare had compiled a list of everyone’s names and addresses, which she circulated.

Lunch was warm and welcoming, after which my cough and I snoozed for a couple of hours. Afternoon smoko coincided with signing-off the Ship’s articles and getting our certificates.  Karen and I then had the unenviable task of packing our bags, or rather just stuffing everything in and hoping the zip would close.

On deck for the sad moment, the warps are thrown to the crew waiting on the quay, we tie up in Las Palmas Gran Canaria at 1630hrs.  That’s the sailing over.

The rest of the crew are all going out for a meal together, unfortunately I am feeling so drained and tired from the coughing that I decided to stay on-board.  Piers had drawn the short straw to stay, so we sat in the bar for a while just chewing the cud.  It was a quiet end to a quiet day, but very pleasant none the less and the brandy certainly helped!