A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: PirateDani


My last stint on my boat

sunny 6 °C

woah, I have decided the Day Sails are fine if you never been sailing before, but a real let down if you have.
In fact, doing a day sail is a FANTASTIC introduction to the whole shindig. It really gives you a feel for the whole thing. Trouble is, they fit 2 days worth of training and another day of sailing into 8 hours, and trust me, it was WAY too short. But don't get me wrong. The perm crew keep you really busy what with safety briefings, drills, actually sailing, eating, photo opportunities and stuff. I had nearly forgotten how annoying it was to keep putting on and taking off oilies and harness or how weird it was trying to go to the loo on a moving vessel (i can never get used to that)

It was great fun. Because Natz and I had done it before we were allowed to help out a little more than anyone else (mainly going alfot) In fact, I went aloft more that I did on my last voyage. How crazy is that. And I found that I was able to handle the sails better. Like I was getting used to doing the whole process. It was just amazing fun. Sail handling was a piece of cake. Although I had to admit, when bracing, I was easing the sheet for the fore mast and I may have made a pigs ear out of it. Oh yeah, and when I got a chance go at the helm, I completely forgot how it works. My mind just went blank. It was awful. (don't worry, I got there in the end) Standing on that bridge was like being back home. I remember turning round after being on look out for a little while and thinking to myself wasn't it about time for watch change. I was just so comfortable, at home in my surroundings, I felt as if I had never left.

Matt, Nina and Dad seemed to be having fun too. Nina wants to go again, and Dad kept giving me those grins. The one where you just know he is having too much fun. Matt, well, we just couldn't stop Matt. He was just bouncing off the walls.

The weather was fabulous the whole day. A little chilly, but with a nice fresh wind and clear blue skies. In some of the pics, you could be mistaken for thinking they were taken in warmer climes. Sea sickness was never an issue which I was very grateful for, and although the wind was quite chilly, I was only wearing my crew shirt and oilie trousers. Hat, gloves and scarf not needed (much)

Ian the Chef was there too (YAY) and it was great to catch up with him and to eat some of the best damn food ever. Bacon sarnies, tinned leak and potato soup, beef burgers, cannelloni, cake.... yummy

Its just so amazing that we all did so much in only one day. I was completely knackered by the end of it, but I felt so good.
I have put up a few photos in this post, but there are a few more over at my web album found here

If you ever get the chance to sail on one of these ships, take it. You wont regret it. Trust me

Posted by PirateDani 11:46 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (0)


Weather Watch

-17 °C


Sunrise 07:09 (GMT)
Sunset 16:27 (GMT)
Saturday's predominant weather is forecast to be sunny intervals.
Highs of 12 °C
Lows of 9 °C
wind direction: West North Westerly
Visibility: moderate
Humidity: 66


Posted by PirateDani 02:15 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (0)

PW 401 Thursday

snow 0 °C
View PW401 on PirateDani's travel map.

It was really sad to wake up and realise that I had spent my last night aboard my favourite ship.
Leaving is always the hardest.

But it werent all depressing. Nope, it had snowed!

There was loads of the white stuff about.... SNOW BALL FIGHT!!!!!!!!

We didnt stay for lunch since we were not sure if our train was running.

We had the signing off and everyone seemed to like our track chart (I will post a pic as soon as I get it scanned into the computer)

The three of us.... and its snowing.

Pete was kind enough to give the three of us a lift to the train station. Thats were we parted ways from Matt. It was very sad walking away by our selfs. But!!!!! We get to the platfrom and Ellen, Pat and John all waiting for the train. Pat got off at a couple stops before, but the rest of us carried on to Limestreet Station. John rushed off to catch and earlyer train and use 3 went up stairs into Coopers Pub too keep warm. Good thing we did too. Gave me a chance to check our train tickets. I have it in my head that our train was leaving at 2.... actually it was arriving home at two. So we only had to wait 45mins. Ellen left first (after regailing us was us with stories of her new job)

5 mins out of the station, and the train stops... dead. Then all the lights go out and the heating turns off. Scary. Me thinking its possibly a good time to ring my boss and tell here Im not gonna be making it into work on Friday.
But all is well a little while later (unfortunatly) Because of the snow and slush we limp pack at only 104 miles per hour since 3 of the 6 engines were not working.

Changing at Milton Keynes I noticed that there was a new addition to the platform staff
I think some one had gotten bored.

We made it back ok, if a little sad.

But hey, there is always next time!

Posted by PirateDani 08:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (0)

PW 401 Wednesday

sunny 1 °C

Having to get up early for the watch was an interesting experiance. Especially when you consider that wehn I woke up, it felt as if the boat wasnt moving. This is what we discovered when we emerged topside.

The sea, the Irish Sea was flat calm. It was really surreal. It looked as it had all been painted. The sea looked like oil, and had the most amazing huges of blue and pink in them.

Coming up on watch, we had the chance to wittness the sunrise at sea. And it was spectacular. The sun created a puddle on the horizon, and because of atmospheric conditions then split into two orbs or light rising from the horizon. The then seemed to melt together. It was spectacular

Happy Hour came along, and white watch had to do heads and showers. I managed to get out of it by being on the bridge. But dont think for a second I didnt do anything. Nope, when the call came for volunteers to scrub decks I was there. (scrubbing decks is one of my favourite jobs nect to cleaning brass)

The pilot came on board at about 10. Ellen allowed me to helm under pilot orders. I have been wanting to do this since my first trip.
It really very hard. You have to be right on the ball, know and be confident inwhat you are doing. Liam even showed me a new way of helming which is better for manuvering since you can see the responses of the ship quicker.
I was really pleased with myself when the pilot asked for a heading of 147 degrees and I got there without overstearing and stayed EXACTLY on course for a few mins. The pilot even said something. He only said it to see how good I was and commented on how some helmsmen on ships can be 20 degrees off course and wont even bother correcting it. I took that as a pat on the back for me.

I handed it over to Pete the other watch leader who also whanted to steer under pilot. Coming into port is really kinda boring. Nothing much to do
Infact we had come in early so we ended up crusing along way up the mersy estury before turning round and coming through the lock to the west float

Mooring was also a bit of a non event for me. The west float provided their own lines men and white watch didnt really have a job to do.
But, Rob shoed me how to splice a rope together, which was really interesting. In fact I still have it.

Unfortunatly, Liverpool is a bit of a dump. >> EDIT: It has been pointed out that I wasnt actually in Liverpool which is aparently ok, but it is Birkenhead which is a dump<< Especially where we parked... ahem, I mean moored. Wherehouses and factories, and not exactly all in tip top condition.

Also one last chance to climb aloft again. We had to re-stow the sails since they were only sea stowed. (Harbour stowed is neater and better for the sails)

Natalie went up to the royals and took loads of pics. (will put link in as soon as they get loaded onto the net) Meanwhile I was in the chart room with Ian (2nd officer) who was sorting out all the charts and book dealing with American waters. It seems that most of it is toot, and no one will ever bother reading it. Typical Americans. There was even 6 folders containing what seemed to be a tourist guide to American ports.

After dinner we had shore leave. Natalie and I had been asked to do the track sheet. We was gonna leave it till the next morning and do it through happy hour, but dicided to take it with us. Unfortunatly, by the time we had gotten everything, everyone else had left! With a vauge idea of which way the pub was, we set off. 8 mins later we came to the Social Club and the Pool Inn (which is where we found Chris) Neither seemed that inviting, and although we waved at a lot of cabs, none of em stopped. Natz and Matt went into the Pool Inn (which is meant to be really rough) to get directions to the nearest chash point. It was said to be a 2 min walk up the road. Half an hour later and a good couple miles down the road, we came to a petrol station (not the promised shop) Chris and Matt went to get cash from the point and Natz and I went inside to ask directions. As it happened one of the customers said he lived right opposite and would give us a lift (rescuing the damsals in distress, fortunatly we also had our bodyguards with us too.... it was quite a squeeze into his little car)

The Nelson was a really nice pub. Although everyone was a bit dressed up. We met bosun Fliss, which was really nice. Nuckling down to do the track sheet was left to me. We also ended up entering into a pub quiz which Chris was brilliant at.

Although we were the last to leave, we still managed to be the first back to the boat. Very strange.

Posted by PirateDani 06:42 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (0)

PW 401 Tuesday

sunny 4 °C

Tuesady dawned early for me. 3am to be exact. I just wasnt tired anymore and I was really exited. I eventually got up and 4am. I knew Matt was officer of the watch, so I got up and went to the chart room. He was late. But it was good. Raining slightly. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2, although we had to have the sound almost off because the Captins cabin is right next door, across a very thin wall.

I was messmen for breakfast, so at 6am I walked down to the mess and helped set everything up. That was a lot of fun, but also a lot of washing up. It never seemed to end.... well, at around 9 it did. (Half way through happy hour to be precise.... yay for me)

Carl as Messman (note the washing up part)


After, we practiced bracing the sails (moving the yard to different angles to better ctach the wind) I was easing the Upper Topsail. Unfortunatly the ropes had stretched andthe marks were no longer in the right place, which ment a lot of wait while new markers were put in the correct places.


After that we had a watch. I forget when, and somethime during the day (around lunch time) we set the sails. Now I do know that white watch we on watch after we set sail, but that was a lot of fun
and this is Natalie and Matt at the Helm
There unfortunatly was not a lot of wind, and we only managed 3knots over the 6 hours we had them up, but sails are the best way to go.

The next time we were on watch was 8-12 in the evening. That was when the wind died and we had to stow the sails. Climing and stoing sails in the dark at night is a real experiance. And a lot of hard work. There were only 4 of us to do the upper and lower topsail. And after strugling with the upper I couldnt physically do the lower (which left poor matt doing it all by himself.... and do it he did. Darn tall people)

The rest of the watch passed with out event (apart from bombarding Care Bear (John, 3rd officer) with questions. (it was really cold, and I wanted to be in the chart room) The amount of stars visible was amazing. No clouds meant every star was seen. The milky way is fantastic. I have never seen it before like that. Plus, it was the first time I have ever found the north star. (Ellen showed me)

Since I had been awake since 3 that morning I slept like a log.

Posted by PirateDani 06:04 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (0)

PW 401 Monday

The first day of our trip

sunny 2 °C
View PW401 on PirateDani's travel map.

I really dont like getting up early. Really disrupts everything. But hey, I am gonna spend the ext few days having my sleep patterns turned up side down.

Really scary at the airport. Especially with this self check in thing. Oh, and get this, I had a smaller bag than Natalie. Natz' bag get into the hold ok, but mine, I had to lug all the way to oversize luggage. Grrrrrrr


After the plane took off, it was a really quick joyrney to Belfast. I had a window seat and managed to take some pics of the sunrise.


We arrived at 0800, early we thought so that we would have time to get baggage, go through passport control and find our way to the ship.... we were one of the few who actually had baggage and Belfast City Airport doesnt actually have a passport contol.... A short bus ride away and a bit of a walk (consitiing of crossing lots and lots of roads) we arrived at the PW at about 0845. By 0900 we were unpacked.

I cannot tell you how good it felt to be back. There was a kind of elation and sense of belonging. I showed natz around the ship meeting some crew memebers I already knew.

Sue the Fap

Ian the Chef

Rob one of the Super(men)numaracys

Its was all great seeing them again

About half ten we all gathered in the mess for the Welcome Briefing where we get introduced to the crew and procedures. Not many of them had changed since my last time aboard. Briefing_2.jpg
After that we seperated out into watches to do various briefings such as Helming, Rope handling and issuing our Oilies and Harnesses. Somewhere around this point we had lunch. I forget when. I am sure that we did the up and over after lunch which was fun, if a bit cold.

Ever since the plane, I hadnt been feeling very good. Bad headache and really very tired and lathargic. While the rest of the crew practiced setting the sails in their gear and stowing them, Ellen was kind enough to let me go to bed for a little while. The sleep was really needed.

We all got shore leave that evening, and since we were mored right outside the Odyssey Center, most of us went over there to the pub. The boys shoot pool while some of us girls just sat and talked. I was still feeling under the weather, but Kerri managed to get me some Anadin which was soo good! Natz didnt come out that night since she she had a very early watch and needed to sleep some. So did I.
I love those pipe bunks

Posted by PirateDani 13:14 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (0)

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