STS Lord Nelson
Canary Islands, December 2004
It was only a few weeks after returning home from MARY ANNE that I received the offer to work on LORD NELSON. Being a certified nurse I was offered a position as relief medical purser on board the English barque. What a fantastic opportunity - escaping the German winter for a few weeks to sail on a tall ship around the Canary Islands. Only 5 days later I sat in the plane to La Palma off for a new adventure.
The LORD NELSON is a special ship. She and TENACIOUS, the other ship of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, are the only tall ships in the world specialized in sailing with physically disabled trainees. There are no passengers on these ships, everybody on board is part of the crew. On LORD NELSON the permanent crew consists of master, mate, 2nd mate, bosun, chief engineer, 2nd engineer, medical purser and cook. They are assisted by voluntary bosun's mates and cook's assistants. The trainees on board are called "voyage crew". The up to 40 voyage crew (of whom 20 may be disabled, up to 8 of them wheelchair users) form 4 watches who run the ship on a rotating watch rooster. Each disabled crew member is buddied with an able bodied crew member who is attached to the same watch and lives in the same cabin to help whenever help is needed.
I join LORD NELSON in Santa Cruz de La Palma where they had stopped for a day on their way from Madeira to Tenerife. The first impression I got already from the airplane. With her rigging illuminated I spotted the barque from my window place. Half an hour later I stand on the quay in front of my new home for the next weeks. She is beautiful, even though she is a modern construction with partially automatised rigging. The superstructures are a bit unbalanced and the bowsprit is strange as it has a handrail.
On the quay I meet some crew members. They had been touring the island with a rented car and now returned to the ship. "You must be the new medical purser - come this way!" I follow them up the gangway, over the bridge, through the chart room inside the ship. Here I meet Helen, the regular medical purser who will show me the lines until I take over in Tenerife. She guides me to a cabin where I shall live. It is tiny. There are 2 bunks in it and before them there is barely enough space to stand. I share it with Monica, one of the voyage crew.
In the morning a first look around the ship. Then breakfast: cereal, sausages, eggs, beans, toast, tea. Afterwards signing in and the compulsory safety walk over the ship held by Fred, a bosun's mate. During the first day I mainly follow Helen to see what I will have to do. I meet the other crew members and get acquainted with the ship's routines. Mainly I try not to stand in somebody's way and to memorize all the information Helen gives me. We have left La Palma in the early morning and now the LORD NELSON is rolling gently in the Canary swell. This is not a problem for me as long as I am on deck - but most of my work is below deck... Fortunately I manage not to get seasick.
After a night sailing we arrive in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. One of the advantages of the job of the medical purser is that I do not have to go watches and so I enjoyed a full night's sleep. It is the last day for most of the voyage crew of this voyage. Most of them plan to come back as soon as possible and most of them have been sailing in LORD NELSON before. Some will stay for a few more days to help the crew during the maintenance week. The ship will now stay in Tenerife for one week of maintenance works before the next voyage crew arrives. Among those who stay is a group of 14 cadets of the RFA. They collect their first experiences on ships here. They are a happy lot and we have much fun with them. Some of them are really good, but others are masters in avoiding work. So during the happy hour when everybody cleans the ship it happens that we have deserters...
Web Report 30-11-2004 (Helen Searle, med purser)
We tied the
ship up in Santa
Cruz de la Tenerife yesterday amid a wind that was blowing us off the
dangerously close to a swanky new gin palace worth a disgustingly large
of money. The day was saved however by some smooth direction form Dave
who was driving, and some excellent heaving line throwing and mooring
Shore leave followed and then the last supper was attended by all but three of the crew (someone had to look after the ship!) and a good time was had by all.
Today saw the tearful goodbyes over the day of some of the voyage crew and Lindsay the Bosun's Mate. Just in case I missed anyone, I'd like to say a fond farewell and it has been lovely sailing with you all. Oh and so long and thanks for all the fish... Paul. Goodbye also to Fred the fish, glad you made the taxi, what a runner, and where are all the fish?
The RFA cadets are all with us for another week's maintenance, as are Jack, Anne, Alec, Alison and Klaas. Welcome to the new crew who have also joined us for the week.
Today saw a busy and productive day of maintenance. The fore course was taken down and changed back to the old one, and tonight the cadets start harbour watches, led by Mark and Faith.
I hope you have enjoyed the web reports during this voyage, thanks to everyone who contributed. I'm off for some well-earned leave.
Web Report 02-12-2004 (Betty Renz and B. Beuse)
We are in
Santa Cruz de
Tenerife. The maintenance work is in full swing with lots of banging
clanging. The ship looks like a construction site. The new fore course
taken down and was replaced by the old one. The mizzen sail has also
down for repair. Now the most of the cadets and volunteers are busy
painting. Steve, the bosun, is a bit upset if rain interrupts the works
but we don't mind, 'cause we saw a rainbow over the mountains.
There had been some changes among the crew in the last days. The voyage crew left on Tuesday and so did some members of the permanent crew. Captain Mike Forewood, 1st Mate Dave, 2nd Mate Jerry, 2nd Eng Chipps and Medical Purser Helen went on leave. In came Captain John Etheridge, 1st Mate Neil, 2nd Mate Mark and me, Baerbel, as new Medical Purser.
Monday evening we had dinner out. We went into a restaurant on the quayside. Afterwards some of us continued into a bar, coming home in the early morning light. Actually Steve and I were the last ones as the others had managed to catch a taxi ...well, that's our story.
Tuesday we visited the ROALD AMUNDSEN, a German sail training ship berthed next to us. We were given a nice tour on board. Later the crew of the ROALD AMUNDSEN came over to us with Klaas and me giving them a tour in German language.
We are moored to the town side of the port, which is very convenient for the people who want to go to town, but it is where the lorries gather to get on the ferry. Yesterday evening quite a few people went ashore and were lucky to be in the right place in the right time to see the Christmas lights being switched on and to hear the choir sing. It is all very beautiful but it is hard for us to believe that it is really December now. The temperature is about 20 degrees and we wear short trousers and t-shirts.
Helen has left meanwhile. I am now in charge for below decks what is not so easy. People come to me and ask me questions about what to do where and when and are waiting for decisions. Only problem is that I have to find out myself first... Luckily I have help in Betty. She is an old friend of the ship and has come to help with the maintenance. She knows the ship for a very long time now and shows me where to find things or how to do others. So together we fight the laundry mountain and organize the linen locker new. Everything looks nice and tidy when suddenly a bang is heard. Wurzell, one of the cadets has smashed a porthole while he was rust chipping at the outside of the ship. Guess which porthole... of course, the one behind the linen locker. So everything must be taken out to clear the space for Neil and Steve who are going to repair this. 2 of the cadets shall help us with that.
While Betty supervises the works inside the linen locker for me the next program point is on the list. Captain John has given me "Manual I-IV" - 4 big folders of ISM regulations, company rules, standing orders and safety associated stuff. I have to read them all. Once I am through with that the practical part with a familiarization walk over the ship with John and some drills will follow. Amazing! Luckily I already know the ISM code from the MARY ANNE and so at least I understand what it is all about. So I sit in my cabin - I have moved into the sick bay by now which is the regular cabin of the M/P - and read myself through these manuals.
Afterdoing all this I now find the time to take a deep dive into the medical equipment of the LORD NELSON. The ship is very well fitted. A complete mobile intensive care unit is there with monitoring, ECG, and entinox. Emergency equipment includes a defibrillator, oxygen giving set, emergency medicaments, chest trocar, blood giving sets and more. We have lots of orthopedic stuff, bandages, creams and of course all the things that the MCA declares necessary for ships of our size, crew and area of operation. Major part of my job is to keep this all in order and to do regular checks with all equipment. Helen has developed a very good system for all this and by following her check lists I find my way through the medical locker.
Web Report 07-12-2004 (B. Beuse, M/P)
We are just
about to leave St.
Cruz de Tenerife for St. Cruz de La Palma. The weather is cloudy, but
enough for short trousers. Not much wind here in port but we hope to
some more of it when we have passed the northern end of Tenerife.
Yesterday the new voyage crew has been joining and they are just receiving the last briefings before we get underway. Everybody is happy although some have to fight their hangovers after having intensively explored the nightlife of St. Cruz in the evening.
The crew is quite multicultural this time. Apart from British and Irish people we have some Spanish, one Italian and one German with us. That reduced the number of users of mobile phoned severely when they found out that their loading stations do not fit into the British sockets installed on board. But who needs a cell phone when we have the wind and the sea and a beautiful sailing ship.
Web Report 08-12-2004 (Alec Townsley, bosun's mate)
Nelson came alongside in Santa Cruz de La Palma at about 1730.
Conditions are a little overcast
but at least it's dry and fairly warm. All the voyage crew were getting
harbour stations after a day of learning about sail setting.
They all seem to be getting on well with the general routine. A few people took advantage of the quieter times on board today to go aloft for the second time, good to see confidence grow. For me it was nice to get back out on deck after being Galley BM for the last two days, an MOB recovery drill took place and after this was completed brilliantly, as the boat was already out we got some snaps of the ship under sail with everybody's cameras.
Despite being on deck again there was little to do aloft so I managed to keep out of the way of rope snakes! I have to tackle them tomorrow when doing some work on the fore topsail so wish me luck. (RFA cadets may know what I'm on about but I don't suppose anyone else understands this seemingly bizarre statement.)
I'm now off for a shandy or two!
The new voyage has begun. The cadets have left meanwhile. The new voyage crew has survived their first night at sea. Well not all. Some of them got severely seasick. Yesterday was a busy day for us. It is amazing how many drills can be put into one day. Evacuation drill, fire fighting drill and man over board drill followed each other. But there is no way around it. In case of an emergency only a well trained crew has a chance to deal with it. The times achieved in these drills are impressive - especially when bearing in mind that wheelchairs have to be lifted up the companionway with a block and tackle and many of the voyage crew are doing this for the first time. Now here in La Palma the voyage crew will go on a bus tour over the island. The permanent crew will do all those things for which there is never enough time when underway - like paperwork. However, some of us used the lunch break to take the DOTI boat out to the beach nearby for a short swim.
We stay here for 2 nights and so the evenings are used for night-clubbing and partying. One major meeting point on board LORD NELSON is the bar. Almost every evening most of the crew are sitting together in the ship's bar to reflect the day while having a pint or two. The prices are moderate and the bar is well equipped including different single malts. The rule for alcohol on board is "everything in moderation", what means that drinking alcohol is only banned for those under 18 and those who are on watch or due for watch. However, a visit to the Guinness bar in the port is normal program during shore leave. And so in the evening several little groups head ashore to see what's on.
Web Report 11-12-04 (B. Beuse, M/P)
At the moment
we are sailing
off La Gomera. The scenery is fantastic with really high mountains
out of the sea. The weather has been fine and sunny so far - only
should have turned the wind into a more favourable direction. We tried
our sails though speeding at tremendous 1.5 knots. Tonight we will stay
The day went by with some training. Apart from learning the lines there is much you can learn on the Lord Nelson. E.g. I had some first-timers during the happy hour. It seems to be quite a challenge for some male crew members to use a hoover or to sweep the floor. So here's the good news for their wives back home: they'll be perfect house men when they come back to you! Also Triona (cook) had her fun with this. Ken, normally BM, is part-time cook's assistant for this voyage. Only problem - he has never been cooking before. However, I think he looks marvellous with his coloured cook's trousers combined with his rigger boots...
We have left La Palma and are heading for Gomera. The weather has changed in an unexpected way. The normally so reliable north easterly trade winds have been replaced by a stiff south westerly breeze due to a low pressure system which has decided to move over the Canary Islands. With Gomera being south of La Palma the use of our sails is very limited and we have to employ the "iron staysail" to reach San Sebastian in day light. Gomera is very scenic with volcanoes and tropical vegetation, cliffs and black lava beaches. One main attraction of the port is the Club Nautico, a sailing club with it's club house situated in a cave in the cliffs. As the crew of the LORD NELSON is welcome there and the prices are cheap that is the place to go to in the evening.
The next day starts with the assisted climbing. This is a special rig climbing session for those who need a little more help to go aloft. While the wheelchair users are hoisted aloft in their wheelchairs at the main mast, Steve (bosun), Alec (BM) and I are going on the fore mast with 2 girls with cerebral palsy. Both have a hemiplegic syndrome and difficulties with balance and grip. To make climbing safe their harness is attached to the halyard with 2 strong crew members on the other side. Steve now goes aloft with them one by one while showing and explaining exactly what to do. Both make it over the difficult foottock shrouds onto the first platform. After a short rest here both now want to go higher - and finally even reach the mast top. Now having come so far there is another challenge ahead: laying out on the yard. Unbelievable for me - both make it. I have been climbing a lot and I have been doing rig training for many people, but never before I have been touched in such a way. To see how these girl with only a little help make it to a place where many able bodied strong men get shaky knees and to see how their confidence grows by doing so is amazing.
By the time when we return to the deck it has started raining. Brilliant. This is my half day off. The only half day off in 7 days work. I had been hoping for a nice stroll through the town. I go even though it is raining. San Sebastian is a very nice town with small plazas and narrow streets. It is not so spoiled by the tourism as the other places in the Canaries and I really enjoy the day. Only too soon it is time to return to the ship as we are leaving for Gran Canaria in the afternoon.
Web Report 12-12-04 (B. Beuse, M/P)
We are at sea
Tenerife in a fresh southerly breeze. Sailing with half wind we do
knots what is real good fun.
The day started off with the assisted climbing which was a very interesting experience for me. Being new to the LORD NELSON I had never seen this before and was amazed to see what is possible. Maria and Jan made it right up to the mast top and later laid out on the yard.
For the rest of the morning we had time to explore San Sebastian de La Gomera which would have been really nice had it not been raining all the time. So we all came back to the ship soaked wet. But very soon it cleared up again and by the time when we had left the harbour the sun was shining.
In the early evening some of the permanent crew gathered on the aft platform around Michael. He had brought the ashes of a man who had been a sailor all his life and who wanted to be buried in the sea. Michael, who is a reverend, spoke some prayers and the ashes were slipped over board. It was a very touching ceremony.
We are now bound for Gran Canaria which we plan to reach tomorrow morning.
Web Report 14-12-04 (B. Beuse, M/P)
We had some
nice sailing from
La Gomera and did some tacking and wearing. In the afternoon we dropped
off Puerto Cemento with its romantic cement works... We went swimming
ship and Sam, Carlos, Francisco and Jonathan were swinging with the
from the galley roof. In the evening the engineers prepared a punch as
sundowner on the bridge. We stayed at the anchor for the night being
into the sleep by the swell.
We are now in Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria. This is a very nice little port on the south coast of the island. At the moment everybody of the voyage crew is either in the town or at the beach. The permanent crew is busy with the preparation of the barbecue on the quay, which is planned for tonight.
The next days provide some relaxed sailing. I get on well with my work below deck. The laundry mountain has vanished and checks of the medical equipment are done. This gives me time to enjoy the sailing and to practice navigation. Mark (2nd Mate) allows me to use the sextant to achieve a noon position fix by observing the sun's meridian passage. So after lunch I find myself on the bridge nock patiently observing the sun through the sextant. The sun rises higher and higher, stays for some minutes and then starts to sink again. Now it is time for the calculations. Mark shows me which tables to use and how to make the calculations best. We are very satisfied with the result of our efforts. The position we get in the end is only about 1 mile near GPS position. It is a good feeling to know that we are able to do this and do not have to rely on technical stuff. Not only that the GPS is liable to the good will of the US who can decide any moment to shut it off, it is also relying to electricity what is no problem on big ships like LORD NELSON which has an emergency electric generator, but can be problematic on yachts.
While the voyage crew is enjoying the trip and happily applies their newly achieved knowledge of sailing and line handling for us of the permanent crew it is time to prepare for the next voyage. The first data about the new voyage crew has arrived and we are thinking about buddying arrangements and how to put together the watches. As for the next voyage one watch leader is missing I am asked if I would like to stay on for another week to be watch leader. Normally an easy decision, but it will include the Christmas holidays... I discuss this with my son - and finally agree to stay.
Web Report 17-12-04 (B. Beuse, M/P)
from Puerto Rico
had been tremendous sailing with very favourable winds. With the ship
in the high swell it was again the happy hour which appeared to be very
challenging. Everything below deck was rolling and tumbling about,
stayed where it was put down. Francisco was heavily struggling with the
as "Henry" escaped him several times...
In the afternoon Mark (2nd mate) gave lessons about the weather at sea which were very interesting. So afterwards everybody was discussing about clouds and wind.
We are now in Santa Cruz de Tenerife again. Yesterday evening most of us were out for dinner in the Monte Carlo restaurant. As usual the evening was continued in the Irish Pub dancing and chatting away the night. And as usual the morning saw a number of hangovers...
Now the voyage crew has left and the ship feels somehow empty. It has been a very nice voyage with lots of fun - especially with the Spanish people.
We are back in Tenerife. Helen has returned to the ship. I move from the sick bay into a small cabin next door. It is general habit for leaving permanent crew to have the cabin ready for the on-coming crew member to move straight in. So today it was a little bit like in this old Miss Marple film where everybody takes his belongings and moves from one cabin to the other. Everybody is busily cleaning and tidying up, writing handover notes and voyage reports. We have a few days until the new voyage crew arrives as the next voyage will start in Las Palmas / Gran Canaria. In-between is a delivery voyage of one day from one island to the other. We are only a handful of people for this, only permanent crew and some local volunteers. Due to strong head winds - the north easterly trade wind is back - real sailing is not possible and all is done under engine. Some stay sails are set to reduce the rolling of the ship but the effect is minimal. Still some of our volunteers are severely seasick and remain in their bunks most of the time.
At the arrival in Las Palmas we see PRINCE WILLIAM. On board the brig which belongs to the Tall Ships Youth Trust are some good friends of the LORD NELSON crew. Some of our crew members have been working there and vice versa. So we are invited to come over by Derek, the master of the PRINCE WILLIAM. Soon afterwards we are sitting together in the permanent crew mess room of the PW chatting about the latest tall ships gossips...
It is crew joining day again. I am in a different position now. This leg I will sail as watch leader. My watch is the forward starboard watch and will consist of 6 people. Apart of me there are John, Jeff, Matt, Tanith and Anna. I am curious for them. Anna is full-time wheelchair user. Her buddy is Tanith. Both are only 19 years old. Even younger is Matt, who is only 16 and the youngest crew member for the voyage. Also part of my watch is the oldest crew member - Jeff. John is somewhere in the middle between me and Jeff. So it should be a good mix. Having never done the watch leading on LORD NELSON before I now have to read myself through another manual: the watch leader manual... Luckily Klaas, W/L of the forward port watch gives me a hand where I don't know what to do. Due to flight delays it lasts until midnight until everybody has arrived. So all initial meetings and drills are postponed for the next day.
Web Report 21-12-04 (Helen Searle, M/P)
Over the last
few days the
permanent crew, Alec and Andrew (BM's) and a handful of volunteers,
Tiffany, Events Manager from the office, moved the ship from Tenerife
Palmas, Gran Canaria where the voyage crew for LN 586 arrived to join
It was a long drawn out day, because the outbound aircraft from Britain were playing silly games with their time tables. A good meal and a good night's sleep were in order as the last party did not arrive until about 22.20hrs. I was shattered by then, if no one else was!
So the voyage really started this morning with a good cooked breakfast, prepared by Fiona, with Joyce the Voice's help in her capacity, this voyage, as cook's assistant. This was cleared away and then the permanent crew introductions began (all in our posh togs!) which led nicely up to smoko. The first Evac drill was completed and then hands aloft for those able to climb the rig under their own steam, then the bracing talk and drill took place, wearing everyone out nicely before lunch.
We let go the lines at 13.43hrs and sailed away from the berth under the fore tops'le and the outer jib, under John Etheridge's fine command and are now sailing under the aforementioned sails and also the fore course, and main jib.
The engineers, Pickles and Chipps are doing nasty things with black water tanks... but the cloud is dispersing and there is definitely a promise of sun as we leave an overcast Las Palmas, I think we are headed for Gomera, but when I went to ask Dave, the Mate, whose on watch at the moment, he just said "South", with a far away look in his eye - I thought this was an opportune moment, so I tried to do a deal, as he's the only member of the permanent crew who hasn't done the web report as yet. I said if he does it on Christmas Day, I won't nag him for the rest of the year - 2004 that is
Our passage is laid down to San Sebastian de La Gomera. After leaving the berth under sails - a maneuver not seen too often in these days - we are now running before the trade winds which drive us south at a remarkable speed. Unfortunately this will not last too long as these islands are very high and in the lee of the islands there is almost no wind. We are on the 8-12 watch this evening and so it is us who looses the wind and has to call for the engineers to put on the engine for some hours until we pick up the wind again on the western end of Gran Canaria. Soon after the end of our watch - we had just gone to bed - the wind freshens up again and soon gains power until it reaches 9 Bft, in gusts even more. The Canary Islands have an exhilarating effect on the wind which after an undisturbed passage of 1000 miles becomes squeezed between the islands. In addition to this the waves become very steep and so the ship is rolling severely. None of us finds sleep this night until we reach the lee of Tenerife in the early morning light.
Web Report 22-12-04 (B. Beuse, W/L)
We are at
anchor south of
Gomera. The passage from Las Palmas to Gomera was a bit rough due to
winds and heavy swell. Last night was a hard challenge for all crew
ship rolling about and most of us found into sleep only in the early
hours when we lost the wind in the lee of Tenerife.
So after some hours of recovery in almost no wind we reached the other side of Tenerife and again wind and sea were throwing the ship about. With San Sebastian being a lee port Captain John decided to anchor in a sheltered bay instead of calling port. Great fun was when we reached the bay and Pickles suddenly shouted over the bridge that there was a nudist beach ahead. I have never had so many volunteers for the lookout before...
The voyage crew has mixed opinions about the weather. Quite a few are seasick, but most of the others are fascinated about the power of the wind and the height of the waves. Having seen this Master & Commander movie they now feel like being right on the scene.
The permanent crew is meanwhile busily planning for Christmas. The ship has been decorated even though some of the boys did not want to be festive. No way. They had to be and so the steering wheel got wrapped in pink and silver, the bar has blinking lights and Christmas decorations is everywhere. As Dave (mate) wants us to sing a Christmas carol for Christmas Eve shanty singing has now been replaced by rehearsals of Christmas songs done by every watch.
Everybody is a bit disappointed that we do not call in San Sebastian, but there is no way. John tries it, but the wind and current make it impossible for us to get into the port. Attempts to find shelter in a bay nearby also fail and so he decides to head for the south of the island to anchor in the lee of the mountains. We are on watch from midnight to 4 this time and by the time when we take over from the forward port watch we can see that PRINCE WILLIAM is anchoring only 1 mile away from us. Unfortunately they arrived to late to ask for the permission to chat with them over the VHF. So we only see them, but cannot get into contact with those who are on night watch on the befriended ship. However, we do not get bored during our watch. The wind is still strong and so it is necessary to check anchor and bearings regularly, to observe the weather, to listen to Channel 16 for weather warnings and to do our rounds over the ship to make sure that everything is in order. The anchor watches are held by the watch leader and 2 members of his watch. A nice opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better and to speak about the "other life" when we are not at sea. In the morning we weigh anchor and sail back to Gran Canaria. John wants to be on the right island in case of the weather worsening. So if it should get worse and we cannot make it to Las Palmas it would be possible to get the people to the airport with taxis from where we are.
The passage back to Gran Canaria is another rough ride. Some of the watches are severely reduced in number due to the fact that it is too dangerous for wheelchairs on the bridge now and due to people being ill. Apart from seasickness some kind of virus has hit the ship and has put down into bed a number of crew members with diarrhea and vomiting. My watch is on the lucky side as we are still able to provide helmsman, lookout and mess duty even though some of us have to leave the bridge from time to time for a quick puking over the side... In the evening the anchor falls off port Mogan. The next morning we will sail to Puerto Rico to spend the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the holiday resort on the south coast of Gran Canaria.
After arrival in Puerto Rico we start again with the assisted climbs. To my great surprise Anna makes it aloft not only onto the first platform but also on the yard. She is a wild girl and even though she is a full-time wheelchair user she is eager to take part in everything. Having a very good upper body strength she compensates the bad coordination of her legs. When coming down her face is brighter than the sunshine. She knows that she is the winner of the day and her success is like a Christmas present for me. In fact all of my watch have made it aloft now and I am proud of them.
Web Report 26-12-04 (Ed and Geoffrey, voyage crew)
aboard started in the traditional style with a Christmas Carol Service.
Originally planned to take place on the Bridge, the venue was changed
to the bar
(ho, ho, ho). This was due to the Puerto Rico version of snow arriving
the wrong moment (rain!) The Permanent Crew welcomed us all with a
sausage rolls and mince pies and proceeded to entertain us with their
It was the efforts of the four Watches that showed the most inspiration and talent and should have been recorded for posterity." Away in a Manger, Silent Night, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem plus Santa Baby were all brilliantly performed. (I've got you on video Ed, Helen). The abilities of the various lyricists to convert the adventures of the previous few days into words was wonderful - if perhaps special to this voyage. The carols were followed by a poetry recital and a memorable performance, by Vivienne of the song "I'm just a girl who can't say no". The majority of the voyage crew then departed for the town and assembled twenty plus strong at a beachside table for Sangria, food and more Sangria. They returned in two's and three's several hours later, some even in time for their Harbour Watch duty.
Christmas morning dawned a bright, sunny and WARM day. We kicked off celebrations with a "Bucks Fizz" inspired breakfast. The smoked salmon, scrambled egg, hash brown, croissants, toast, marmalade, coffee and more "Bucks Fizz" was accompanied by the non stop tones of mobile phones as Christmas greetings were exchanged around the world.
There followed the mandatory photo shoot on the quayside after which the voyage crew were granted Shore Leave until 15.30hrs. Some, surprisingly decided to go back to sea to see if they could see any dolphins in the sea you see? For the Permanent Crew several hours of sweated labour commenced as they prepared the Christmas dinner.
Voyage Crew returned to find the lower mess transformed. The tables were beautifully decorated and arranged so that everyone could sit down together. Christmas crackers were pulled, party poppers fired under the orders of the mate (and Mark) and at about 16.00 the wine was poured and the feast began. What a feast it was! What attention to detail! Waited on, hand and foot, by Permanent Crew immaculately dressed in their no1's (save for Nadine in a very fetching black dress) the meal commenced.
Christmas Day should be renamed as St Fiona's Day in honour of the lady responsible for such a magnificent meal under such conditions (Joyce should be mentioned in dispatches).
Merry Christmas from Nelly!
Not much to add on this report about Christmas on board LORD NELSON. It was great. Definitely an alternative to roasted goose and mother-in-law... I enjoyed most to lay on the beach on Christmas Day and to have a swim in the Atlantic Ocean even though the water temperatures had meanwhile dropped to 16°C. Oh yes, and there is something more to note. Clearly Ed and Geoffrey were most attracted by Nadine's dress, but I must mention Dave (mate) in his posh full uniform which suits him very well and Jerry (2nd mate) who dressed up in his kilt what looked really good.
The next morning we leave early. There are still 30 miles to go and the wind is blowing from ahead. We have the 12:30 to 4 watch today and for the first time we are all complete on the watch. My people are very brave. Although some are still suffering from seasickness and though the wind is again rising to gale force and the ship is again rolling about heavily they all show for their watch duties in time. So we do the last complete watch of the voyage. By the time when we hand over to the aft port watch we can already see the port entrance of Las Palmas. Yet there are still 2 more hours to go as due to the strong head winds are speed over ground is only about 2 kts with both engines full ahead.
27-12-04 - time to say good-bye. After exactly 1 month on board it is now time to pack my things and to fly home. Again a ship has become home to me and it is sad to leave the crew which have become friends. Hopefully it won't be for long as I plan to be back soon.
See www.lord-nelson.eu.tc for photos and more about the voyage.