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March 18, 2014

The crew awoke to a blustery day with dancing white horses and the occasional squall interspersed with brilliant sunshine. The forenoon watch were rewarded with a beautiful double rainbow while everybody else juggled toast and marmalade below as the ship rode up and down the large swells.

The wind on the stern and the size of the swells made steering challenging; resulting in periodic anguished cries from the bridge about the quality of the steering. A handy diversion was provided when a whale was spotted on the port side, swimming south and breaching at regular intervals. A later watch was fortunate enough to see a pod of whales, although they weren’t quite close enough to identify them.

After lunch and quiet time it was all hands on deck to hand the sails in preparation for our approach to Mare Harbour, the military port on East Falkland. Brave souls with warm thermals went aloft to put harbour stows in while everybody else flaked out the mooring lines.

The pilot came out to meet us in a huge tug, which reversed up to the Nelson to allow him to step on board. The base had provided a gang of master riggers, aka line handlers, on the quay to take our lines, and eventually Nellie was moored neatly behind HMS Clyde, with a big enough gap between our pointy end and their flight deck to ensure no interference with naval manoeuvres. Dinner was on board, and the voyage crew celebrated St Patrick’s Day in the bar with the promise of a trip to a penguin colony and the evening delights of the NAAFI bar and bowling alley to look forward to the next day.

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