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February 6, 2014

My wife says I was a sailor in a previous life, and I was a Sea Cadet briefly until the marching palled. But until we moved to NZ my experience at sea had been confined to a terrifying cross-channel voyage. Now, 13 years on, I’m a tall ship junkie with five, getting on six, voyages under my belt.

I’ve sailed to remote settlements in the Banks Islands of Vanuatu and been greeted by spear-throwing natives painted as sea snakes. I’ve walked to the rim of an active volcano and retraced Cook’s voyage on board the Endeavour replica.

As well as these sights and sounds, I’d come to enjoy a voyage as a job of work. On board there’s a rhythm to the days, which I relish (except for Happy Hour)! All the crew work together to make the voyage happen. Each watch plays its part and each member contributes. It’s a co-operative activity. The working day is 24/7 and we fall to, go to work and then rest.

After these initial voyages, I’d bookmarked Round the Horn & Sydney – Auckland as must do trips: Round the Horn, The Holy Grail in a tall ship.

Then my ship mate Sean, in Amberley, flagged up the JST. ‘You’ve gotta see this mate’. Well, I did, and it was full, then it wasn’t then I’d paid my deposit and…. Gulp. I’m going Round the Horn.

So, I’m here for the t-shirt but also for the work. It’s a grind this voyage. Long and slow; periods of inactivity broken by bursts of frantic action. And Happy Hours. Round the Horn or Round the Bend, I’m having a ball.

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