What a great weekend! We sailed up the Thames on a misty Friday morning, picking up our pilot at Tilbury as we passed by Tenacious getting ready to follow. As the sun rose and we got further up the river, making our way through the Thames barrier, more and more of the sights of London came into view. The buildings of Greenwich University, the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark were of particular interest to us. The highlight however, was going underneath Tower Bridge as four Royal Marine buglers in full dress uniform played a fanfare. A neatly executed U-turn brought us alongside HMS Belfast to the music of the Royal Marine band and the cheers of many well-wishers.
In the evening Norton Rose Fulbright, our sponsor, hosted a party at their offices for the officers and crew, as well as selected guests. I must say that we were very well looked after and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.
Tim Marsden (deputy managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright), our new CEO Duncan Souster and Captain Barbara gave well received speeches and we presented Norton Rose Fulbright with a framed bit of the topsail that had gotten blown out as the ship came into Fremantle in Australia.
Saturday started very early, with fresh stores arriving at 6.25 in the morning. The crew brought all supplies across HMS Belfast and stored them away quickly and without too much grumbling, particularly given that most of us had had a late night.
It was the last day of the voyage and after 38 days it was time to say goodbye to those crew mates that were going home.
Norton Rose Fulbright had a family day, which included a tour of Lord Nelson. Volunteers from our London branch, the 2-6 Heavers, heroically manned the deck to guide 595 visitors through in two and a half hours.
Sunday was a day of rest and recovery, giving those who were staying on for the next voyage the opportunity to explore London.
We are now ready for the last little leg on our voyage home.
JC (off-going purser)