As the token Aussie on board Lord Nelson I felt as though I needed to greet you in this way. Aft starboard watch was on the 0000 – 0400 watch, and I must say one positive of having my slumber disturbed at midnight was being able to see my birthday roll in. Rory, the officer on watch sang a short Shetland rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to kickstart the day.
The wind was against us on this cloudy evening and as such we were motoring along under engine. Every half hour we switched posts and took turns manning the helm and lookouts. It was on this watch that we discovered the marked resemblance of one particular watch member – Kieran ‘Yoohoo’ Fox to Oaken (the Frozen character). At 0400 we handed over to the oncoming watch crew and went below decks for some much needed sleep.
The daily wakeup call echoed through the cabins at 0730 and everyone was up and ready for breakfast at 0800. This was followed by a full crew meeting on deck where Captain Richard explained the course we would take to reach the Azores. I was then overwhelmed by an enthusiastic round like performance of ‘Happy Birthday’ from the entire crew. Devastatingly, we didn’t celebrate happy hour on this day, and despite offering to clean the heads, our magnificent medical purser Suzie denied me the opportunity. We then needed all hands on deck to brace the yards to starboard and set the square sails.
At 1600, aft starboard watch was back on duty and we met on the bridge. I and a few others were excused for the beginning of watch as Beth the BM was hosting a knot tying tutorial. We ‘mastered’ the figure eight knot, reef knot, round turn two half hitch, clove hitch, bowline and for the advanced few the one-handed bowline. When our watch duties were over we went below deck for a dinner of fish pie followed by apricot crumble. The entire crew once again gathered and Simon our chief chef surprised me with a chocolate cake that was to die for, and the Captain gave me a card that the entire crew had signed and written their well wishes on. After a birthday beer in Nellie’s bar it was time to hit the hay. Sailing a tall ship on the Atlantic… What a way to celebrate 20.
Abby ‘skippy’ Dixon – Aft starboard watch