So when the invite landed in my inbox a few months later I gladly accepted with the hope that my 4 fellow crew mates were all "Old Salts" as it were and that a 5th member was more of an added bonus than a necessity. How wrong I was....!
|Yarmouth, Isle of Wight|
So we jollied on our way across the sea and from time to time interjected the sound of the ocean waves with our dulcet tones as we bellowed out a sea shantey or two. Unsurprisingly, even Rod Stewarts "I am sailing" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1v60FITAfY although not technically a sea shantey, still got an airing. Even the wild dolphins swam along for a singalong.
|Dolphins in the wild!|
And so onto our next misfortunate incident. We had been anchored overnight outside Christchurch Harbour and were preparing to set sail the following day. The water level was low and required an expert hand to steer us out of harms way. So why in the hell was I given the helm?? I struggled to keep on course and grounded the boat....oops! Our Captain ordered his crew to the foredeck where we had to huddle together and jump up and down like skippy the bush kangaroo, in order to allow a flow of water to run under us and promptly provide enough bouyancy to lift us off the river bed. After providing several minutes of free entertainment to the curious and highly amused onlookers, we were afloat. It was also here where I managed to capture on camera some shots of the resident swans. (not whilst I was steering)!
I should mention here that certain crew members were often under the influence of drugs.....well a slight exaggeration.....sea sickness tablets to be precise. Even on the relatively calm waters, this debilitating illness was evident on board and in order to cope a prescription of chemical cosh drugs was regularly and over eagerly administered by the Captain. Mmmm....was this his ploy to keep certain crew members sedated or fear that the newly upholstered cabins would otherwise come under attack from projectile vomit? Either way I was one of the unaffected and it was my cast iron stomach (idiom only....certainly not literally) that meant I could stay down in the galley and prepare food and drink whilst lurching back and forth like a drunken sailor as the waves lashed against the hull.
The days ran leisurely in to one and the sun beat down on us as we sailed along the southern coast of England anchoring in little picturesque bays and ports along our way.
Everything was going swimmingly and I became more and more familiar and comfortable with the workings of the boat and the duties required on the upper deck.. .....and then we lost a sail.
Ah well "worse things happen at sea".
But despite a depleted crew, nearly being sunk, running aground, losing two sails and being plagued with illness we all survived and thoroughly enjoyed 10 sun filled days at sea!
I haven't been invited back yet though....; /