Azores – Alderney

16th September

The days of shorts and tee shirts are long gone. We now go on watch in woolly hats and several layers. The sunny Azores are far astern and everyone has settled into the rhythm of seagoing routine and the familiar pattern of watch keeping, sail handling, happy hours and mess duty.

Below decks Vicky the medical purser ensures cleanliness and good order while the Bosun and her team of extraordinarily hard working volunteers constantly maintain the rigging and all above decks. The engineers go about their mysterious business of ensuring we have water, light, power and a fully stocked bar……

Simon, our Cook and his wonderful assistant Fiona day after day produce a variety of tasty meals and snacks. Lunch today was yummy home-made pizza.

For the last few days we have been under all sail steering by the wind. The temperature has progressively cooled as we’ve headed north and moved into European waters. Last night we crossed from the Atlantic onto the Continental shelf and the number of fishing boats and other ships increases watch by watch. We’ve been lucky with sea life since Horta with several whales, many dolphins and seabirds. This afternoon we spotted two Portuguese men of war. Indeed Marco, Chief Engineer, managed to catch one in addition to the numerous tuna he has been plucking from the ocean on an almost daily basis and which provide a delightful supplement to our diet.

The results of the quiz have been announced and, to our amazement, we discovered we are the cleverest watch (eh!!) and the winners of a bottle of Azorean wine. We are now rehearsing our act S.O.D.S opera unconvinced our performance will match that in the quiz……

Forward Port: W/L Chris, Frankie, Paul, David, Jon, Philippa, George and Arthur who is now an honorary member of the watch having moved on to understudying the Third officer on the 8-12 watch as the next phase of his cadet training.

18th September

Ode to Nellie

Yesterday’s roast was a fabulous feast,

Our cookie Simon is a culinary beast.

With the island of Alderney almost in sight,

We polished and swept to Vicky’s delight.

With sails now stowed and engines turned on,

Chipp’s workload is greater and his day is long,

But still he smiles, he doesn’t give a hoot

With new red patches on his boiler suit.

Bar time last evening brought Farkling joy

(A new dice game for every girl and boy!)

Later on watch the party continued

With some radio chatter that was rather rude

There were ship lights popping up all over the place

And our first sight of land just made us feel ace.

The BMs are hard at work moving the trash

To make space on the stern for this evening’s bash.

A BBQ cooked by the engineers awaits,

And the cadets have a quiz for sometime around eight.

We hope you could tell we are having great sport

With love and kisses from all of Aft Port.

19th September

A beautiful day at Alderney.

A barbecue dinner on the stern platform put on by engineers Marco and Chipps left everyone full and ready to enjoy a good night of sleep at anchorage in Alderney.

The following day most people left the ship via DOTI boat, in order to visit the town of Saint Anne. Only a single tired soul decided that an empty, quiet ship would be the perfect place to spend the day and catch up on sleep.

Alderney has a rich and obvious history with gun emplacements and fortifications covering the whole island. ‘Oh, look!  Another fortress!’ Many are in ruins but many more still can be visited and walked around. The museum, curiously enough, had a scale model of Nellie and many of the crew made the walk up the hill just to see her in miniature.

The anchor was raised just before sunset and we departed on our way up the English channel, making about 13 knots over ground thanks to the huge tides for which Alderney is known.

(Hey, Mum and Dad and everyone else!)

Cheers, Oscar

Aft Starboard Watch

Oscar, Sean, Linnea, Karen, Ollie, Chris, and Watch Leader Peter

22nd September

It is with mixed feelings that we begin this final blog. There is great excitement on board as we motor under the QE2 bridge towards our great capital. But it is with sadness that we think about going our separate ways this evening, leaving a great community and new found friends.

We marked the end of our voyage last night with a raucous SODS Opera (Ship’s Operatic and Dramatic Society). The crew put together a wide range of acts, from Skips lampooning shipboard life to songs including a few specially composed for the occasion by Tom. Even after our own M. C.

Will I F’s lively and eloquent introductions had ceased, the sea shanties continued long into the night.

This morning we were given the great treat of an early start, so we could make the most of our final day. Happy Hour was jet-fueled as the entire crew were hard at work shining Nellie up, and a strong smell of Brasso hung around the ship. At the final voyage debrief this morning, the Captain told us we had traveled a total of 3727 nm, a respectable 3377 of which was with sails set. We took the opportunity to thank Captain Chris and all the Permanent Crew on board as well as the volunteers for making this such a safe and enjoyable trip.

Aft Port Watch: Clare, Will, Job, Norman, Harry, Roman, Ford and Jenny