We have crossed the halfway mark to the Azores which everyone is very excited about. In the past couple of days there have been sightings of schools of flying fish, a couple of pods of dolphins and even a whale. At one point yesterday we had all of the sails set and the team worked well to make this happen. This meant that we were able to turn the two engines off, which seemed to work in favor of attracting the dolphins. Over the past couple of days there has been very rough weather, in which one of our returning voyagers, Karen, had to abandon her wheels in favor of her wobbly legs. Her influence quickly spread through the vessel and everyone was positive and working as a team.
In other news, Marco caught a Dorado fish that was later to be eaten by the permanent crew and the volunteers on board. Reports came back that it was delicious, with thanks to Simon the chef. On the subject of food, the plates served up are amazing, so good in fact that Aussie Oscar is having his portion along with other peoples left overs every evening.
There was a thunderstorm at 21:00 which was an amazing sight and then there was torrential rain at 04:00 the following morning in which Tom, Linea’s (Aft stbd) husband, said “the rain was pouring, the sea was heaving, a curse word flew from my mouth (which NEVER happens) and it was still working out”.
Nellie is sailing solidly, averaging 6-7 knots daily, however, when she wants to she’ll take over the helm and decide where she wants to go. Good thing we have Karen, her mother, on our watch to sort out Nellie’s tantrums and get her back on course.
Peter, Ollie, Oscar, Linea, Sean, Karen & Chris
Blue skies, talking ‘bout blue skies, where we are.
Calm seas, nothin’ but calm seas, where we are….
Murder on Lord Nelson has moved to new levels of complexity; the ten remaining delinquents have been given new targets, new murder weapons, and new assassination venues. Becoming a successful serial killer seems to ask for a judicious blend of utter secrecy on the part of the murderer and collective betrayal by the victims’ peers. A betting pool on the ruthless victor has not yet emerged but sweet and kind Fiona, the Cook’s Assistant, appears to be a favorite to win.
Our acting watch leader, Oscar, is stepping up nicely and learning about the nature of authority, complaining subordinates, and keeping track of ship time.
Last night we passed our first vessel on the European side of the Atlantic. It was a purse seine fishing boat. We are a day away from the Azores and, after twelve days at sea, are eager to kiss the earth at Horta. Also wondering how much of a show we will put on for the locals while we wobble along working out our sea legs.
NEWS FLASH: Fiona is dead! The murder game is wide open.
Best wishes to all
Healthy and Happy Aft Starboard Watch
Linnea, Oscar, Sean, Karen, Ollie, Chris, and Peter
Back to sea…..The last of the crew were aboard by 0200 on Saturday morning and by 0930 we were motoring North out of Horta into gentle head winds. Another blue-sky day with temperatures in the mid 20’s. Gorgeous.
Horta has been a great mid-Atlantic break and the crew have taken advantage of perfect weather to explore green and mountainous Fayal. Some have been adventurous, trekking the trails and levantas surrounding the Caldera of the island’s now extinct volcano. Others hired bikes, scooters and cars, took bus tours or just lazed on the beach only five minutes’ walk from the ship. Still others did what sailors have always done and ventured no further than the nearest bar. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves making memories in different and individual ways and this morning we have a collection of happy, relaxed, tired or hungover crew.
“Happy hour” (cleaning the ship on deck and below) has just ended and the dust and detritus of the land scrubbed away. We now look forward to the next installment of our Atlantic adventure.
Forward port. Chris, David, Frankie, Philippa, George, Arthur, Paul and Jon
(An informative acrostic by Forward Port watch!)
Continental breakfast was served this morning
Although this resulted in heated discussions about how best to
‘Peel’ a hard-boiled egg.
The weekly Sunday gathering was held at the Foremast
Accompanying the singing was Bosun Alex with her guitar.
In the night watch we enjoyed identifying the stars and watching an orange moon rise.
Nellie is now sporting a beautiful blue ‘nose’ at the end of the bowsprit,
Commemorating her voyage to the Arctic Circle.
Happily, the brass on the bridge is now very shiny – the
Result of much hard work by willing volunteers.
In the night we almost fell into the varnish ‘trap’
Set by the Cadets!
In fact these were repainted benches and handrails on the bridge,
Still a bit sticky when we came on watch.
Giving joy to us all was the sight of dolphins
Rolling and cavorting under our bow wave.
Extra fun was had last night when the Captain and Tamzin burst into song
At 10.30 pm giving us a most unexpected treat.
Today we celebrated Cook’s Assistant Fiona’s birthday with more singing and CAKE!!!
Best wishes from Aft Port Watch: Jenny, Clare, Will, Job, Ford, Norman, Harry and Roman
This morning we were back to the traditional bacon, sausage and perfectly poached eggs by our lovely cook Simon. The vanilla cake with chocolate icing and berry dressing that he baked yesterday for Fiona’s birthday already went missing. The number one suspect is Oscar, but there is not even a crumb of evidence left to prove it…
Today is a more than welcome laundry for forward starboard watch. Everyone’s clothing drained pretty fast in the Azores because we had to be comfortable during the day and change our outfit for the night to be as pretty as possible!
We were happily able to set all sails and turn off the engines for a few hours! We were doing about 5.5 knots. We can already see the temperature difference from us going more North. During the night watches we now have to wear a jacket and long pants. We are getting closer and closer to our goal!!
-Forward Starboard watch: Ros, Tracey, Tom, Stuart, Bob, Alex and Nic.
Today’s blog is being written on the bridge, in…. (“Will duty watch please go and brace the main yards round?”). Fifteen minutes later, and with the four yards on the main mast now eased out on the port side and sweated in on starboard, the blog can continue. In bright sunshine with blue sea and sky, all square sails set, and the engines blessedly turned off. We are making five knots towards the North East and hoping the wind does not drop with the sun like it did yesterday. Monday saw the sails set only to be taken in again and the engines resumed. Our peaceful 8pm until midnight watch revealed a sky filled with stars, while a stunning red moon climbed out of the sea ahead of us, crowned by the Pleiades. We continued to see whale spouts, as we have for most of the voyage, but there are no more flying fish and only the occasional Shearwater skimming the wave tops.
The Murder game has been officially wound up. The joint winners were Simon the cook (nobody was daft enough to upset the cook), Penny the Boatswain’s mate, and Arthur (from Port Forward Watch of course). We are promised a new entertainment tomorrow.
Boatswain Alex gave a talk on basic knots, and murmurs of “round the tree and back down the hole” can be heard from all over the ship.
Linnea put herself back in the limelight after her recent amazing talk on “Climate Change and the Reformation”, by celebrating her birthday today. As is now our custom we came together at the main mast to sing Happy Birthday and demolish the cake freshly baked by Simon. So fresh, in fact, that the warm chocolate topping was seen to be flowing gently back and forth as the ship rolled. Pieces from the leeward side of the tin had many more calories than the rest.
Our watch had laundry today. Most have learned from last time and made an accurate note of what we put in, as after drying it all goes into a communal collection basket. There has been much speculation about whose underpants Frankie will “borrow”, after her name tag was found in David’s after the last laundry.
Today’s talk was given by our merchant navy cadets, Arthur, Roman, Ollie, George and Alex, on the subject “What is a cadet?” they have chosen a fascinating career, whether in sail or on super-yachts, and now at least we know what they are doing on this voyage.
Forward Port: Arthur, Chris, David, Frankie, George, Jon, Paul, Philippa
Birthdays! Birthdays! Birthdays! We’ve had three birthdays almost in a row: 10, 12, and 13 September, being Cook’s Assistant Fiona, Aft Starboard watch Linnea, and Aft Starboard watch Karen. Cook exceeds himself on these occasions; we’ve almost been swimming in chocolate. Yummmm….
Today the wind is up and the engines are off. We are, as Bob says, ‘properly sailing’ and it’s lovely. We sailed out of an ocean-wide front on sail power alone; Nellie really sings when she’s got a lot of sails up. We even had to take down the Royals, as the wind is quite strong.
A pod of dolphins crossed our stern, maybe fifteen or twenty of them. Such happy people, dolphins! Marco, the Cheif Engineer, caught another tuna but we convinced him to throw it back (too small).
The leadership at sea crew, L@s, are experiencing some of the challenges faced by differently-abled people: Tracey has on a pair of sight-inhibiting goggles for the day, and there is a wheelchair hovering in the near future for another L@s. Tracey already knew the layout of the ship before she donned the goggles, which she says is making a big difference in her comfort without sight. Still, she has noticed a heightened acuity in her other senses.
Aft Starboard watch has organized a pub quiz-type of competition for the Lord Nelson. It was released onto the ship this morning; the five teams (Permanent Crew & Engineering, Bosun’s Gang & Catering, Forward Port Watch, Forward Starboard Watch, and Aft Port Watch) have until tomorrow morning at 8:00 am to answer the questions. There’s a bottle of Azorean wine at stake!
Best wishes to all!
Linnea, Peter, Oscar, Ollie, Karen, Sean, and Chris