Travel Logs of Scottie on a learning journey

The original ask of if I required a challenge I was good enough to partake in, happened at headway Jersey. I was both intrigued and driven to prove I am worth the effort of others to have kept me alive and stare in wonder over 2 years at my ability to achieve limits not given boundaries.

When I was given the chance to sail with JST, I was overjoyed. But the time between learning this and the onset was quite long, meaning many things within my life changed. So with counsellor help and my positivity I went to the journey start in good stead.

Meeting with the other 2 headway members on Wednesday 17th May was the start. Chrissy and I had known each other a while but we had not known Stephen for long. An evening at a hotel with a good breakfast had part of me thinking this was my ‘last supper’, can a galley equal or even produce food that I found edible. Over time the answer was simply, all consumed was of a standard I couldn’t afford in a restaurant. Cookie master Micah and his assistant Rowena never to be forgotten because of my turn at mess duty.

On embarking we were given various safety talks about what we should do. This set a precedence of reality, finally I understood that there were serious matters here that could and would change lives. After the speeches of knowledge we had a chance to meet in our watches and grouped for various ‘challenges’.

We stayed moored alongside for the first evening. Giving a chance to get to know small amounts of who and what each person was. For me it was a small compass bearing of the characters I would be sharing my living space with for the next 5 days.

The following day we took on a pilot to take us down the river Avon from Bristol and into the Bristol Channel. The weather was stunning and sunny and we had to get out of the locks to proceed down the river. From the estuary into the sea caused great excitement for me but a downside of it was it was sad to see so many struggles with seasickness.

More training was given for rope and sail work. Washing decks and heads (toilets and showers) and bridge deck watches and helm control given in other words steering the ship. My watch had an incredible experience of a lifetime. Air sea rescue calling in requesting the service of Lord Nelson in an evening training exercise of a high line transfer from the helicopter to the ship.

The training was astounding to watch as the man came on board the ship unclipped and then reattached himself to the winch line and winched back to the helicopter. During this tough task I managed to take the helm for some of the time of the exercise. After the helicopter had thanked the ship for our help in the training I happily gave up the helm mentally exhausted as my concentration to keep a steady course during the exercise was tiring. This brought home that I was a crew member unable for medical reasons to climb the mast but can still achieve things.

The following day we followed the North Devon and North Cornish shore line down to Lands’ End. Where once we had rounded and changed course we set sail. The sails were set and the engines went off. This gave the ship masterful balance and stability resulting in some of those who had been seasick finally getting a great love of this journey that we are on. My watch team was great and so was the mess team I was with, we all pulled together and what was accomplished in such a short space of time was masterful.

Whatever makes this astounding ship tick, myself and I am sure many other people here were glad to be part of the cogs of the wheel to make it all work. We are now heading to anchor off Jersey, overnight, and then it is off to St. Helier. I hope we all look back at this with joy and happiness once our journey ends.