ANINDIAN OCEAN ODYSSEY. (aka STW3)
The LordNelson is now in Durban about to embark on STW 3 which will take it and 28voyage crew to Cochin in Kerala province of SW India. Crews started to arrivefrom 27th Feb which were mainly Watch Leaders and those whose travelplans meant an early arrival. The main bulk of crew arrived en masse during theafternoon of 28th Feb heralding the usual controlled chaos of bunkallocation, briefings and settling in. We were berthed reasonably close to thecentre of activities in Durban which most of the crew sampled whilst othersbraced themselves for their first of many nights duty, this time being a"Harbour Watch." After a night free of piratical assaults, apart from those ofthe returning engineers, we awoke to RAIN! However, our morale was raisedsomewhat by our Captain, Barbara, briefing us on the plans that had been madefor our safe passage through waters that presented a potential risk to shipsafety due to piracy in this part of the world. We have all been heartened bythe presence on board of 3 chaps from a dedicated security company who will actas guides and mentors.
Friday 1stMarch was a very busy day, as from about 1000, we were all involved intaking on a vast array of stores for the galley as we would need up to 42 dayssupplies and our cook, Dave, was frequently seen passing from despair to ecstasyas the morning wore on and the task was finally completed. The rest of the daywas given over to rest and recovery in the local area as well as someentertaining of ship’s visitors from our sponsors.
Day 3,Saturday 2nd March had beendesignated a "free day" but a local paper had misunderstood our plans anddecided that it would be great fun to declare an "open ship" between 1000 and1200 which rather scuppered some peoples plans. However, we entertained a greatmany local people who were able to receive wit, wisdom and the occasional tallstory from members of both voyage and permanent crew. The rest of the daycomprised many and various pursuits which included aquarium visits, last minuteshopping, the occasional glass of beer, a hair-raising but fascinating drivearound the local area for 3 of us by a luminary of one of the local yacht clubsand the highlight of the day, the participation in watching a local rugby matchbetween the "Sharks" and the "Stormers."Our sponsors very kindly donated 10tickets for a "box" and the Captain and 10 voyage crew had a thoroughly noisyand entertaining evening. Our SA crew member was alternately delirious anddejected as the fortunes of his team ebbed and flowed but eventually had toaccept a narrow defeat.
Sunday3rd March or Day 4 as we know it, started with a frisson ofexcitement as we were finally due to put to sea at 1400. A "happy-hour" was soonfollowed by customs and immigration clearance, lunch "al fresco" and the call to"harbour stations." We "slipped at 1400 and bade our farewells to Durban andSouth Africa after a brief but memorable visit with blazing sunshine and lightwinds. It did seem at one point, though, that we had most of a fan club sayinggoodbye to one of their local personalities and a crew member, the appropriatelynamed "D-J."They were certainly the nosiest of the crews and stayed alongsideuntil we were well clear of the port and we set course under engine for Indiawith the African sun falling gently in the western sky behind us.