Carnets de voyage

Trip Information

Dead mans chest
Dead mans chest (50)
Trip Date:1982
# Photos:12 [View]
Countries visited:Irlande, Pays-Bas, Royaume-Uni
Vue: 3865
First trip was from the Clyde down to Portsmouth. I set sail as one person in a group of twelve that made up a watch and there were three watches that had to man the ship 24 hours a day. So each watch worked eight hours a day and over that fortnight each watch took it in turns to do the rotation needed so that one watch did not go from eight pm to four am in the morning all the time. That was the dog watch and its not an easy one to do as your body is aways telling you that it needs sleep.
First we had to get some training in how too set the sails and bring them about when we tacked and bring them down when they were not needed. This we did on our way out of the Clyde. The next night we anchored up off Arran and went ashore for a BBQ and there were loads of seals on the beach which disappeared into the sea as soon as we got close. After that it was off up to Stornaway navigating through the Isles. Dolphins would occasionally come up to the bow of the ship to play in its bow wave, very spectacular. The first part of the trip was very pleasant, not too much wind and quite sunny. Sometimes we would get into the inflatable and take a ride around the ship to gets some holiday snaps! Well that's if you can call hard work a holiday, loads of work to do, wash the deck, help cook, clean all those brass bits and there were a load of them, then of course there was the constant adjusting of the sails. Up the mast, tie on and shimmy across the spars either to let the sail down or take it up. Some lads did not like this at all then there were those who absolutely loved it and if the sea was rough it was quite an experience. God, what would it be like in a gale or storm with the sails that need stowing away or reducing in surface area! One day we had wrapped up a sail only for a gust of wind rip the hard canvass sail from nearly two dozen hands and throw some of those lads across the deck. The power of the wind in these situations just has to be experienced, it is just phenomenal and that's why it can drive a massive ship at speed through the ocean. Lter that week we stopped at Tobermoray, I had got use to the motion by now, but had no idea that when you got on land, it moved, I was walking up to the pub tottering left and right as though drunk, however a few beers later and the problem was sorted. Off again the next day, passing through many straits until we got to Stornaway, that was a very small town but it had a disco and it was Sataday night, a few more beers then and back to the ship. One thing I do remember was that some of us took to diving from the deck into the water, quite a drop and actually we were not allowed to do this. Anyway when each person hit the water, a green fluorescent light would momentarily glow then fade away, this was bioluminescence which I had not seen before. Got a good telling off the next day though.
At this point it was time to turn round and head south and through the straits between Skye and the mainland we went, past a place renown as the Devils Calderon. It has this name because of the large whirl pool that forms as two tides clash together but here on this day it was very much calmer and it was here that a pod of over 50 porpoise swam past us.
A trip not to be forgotten for the epic one night caused by a few lads from Glasgow who were on the trip to try and get them out of trouble, sort of adventure training so as to encourage them to improve their lives when they got home (they got the trip paid free from the government and the others, well I seem to remember paying £400 which actually was great value)
Anyway, they had an argument over something and it became quite obvious that the kitchen knives, which were somewhat, large figured in the fighting just about to erupt. I slid off quietly and removed the knives but in doing so slashed open my hand. An awful lot of threats that night and a sort of pirate mutiny. I got threatened with being knifed if I did not tell were the knives had gone, fat chance of me telling you were they are if you then go and use them against me. Yep! "Piss off" came to mind.
That all settled down over the next few days but one of the lads departed.
Not a trip to forget and then we hit the Irish Sea, bugger me that was rough, sick as a parrot I was. I was ok on deck and manning the sails etc and in fact spent most of my time at the wheel. Bloody great big steering wheel with long knobs on it. A huge compass rolled about and the direction was a rough estimate, up we went towards the sky then back to Hell as though we were been driven into the sea. Then at the last moment as the bow crashed into the next huge wave and palls of foaming white water with spin drift hurtling horizontally through the air crashed over the deck, the ship slid up the wave to its crest sending us skywards yet again and process started again, occasionally we would roll to the left or right quite alarmingly and the sea would wash past the cabins on the deck. Freezing cold I left the deck after many hours trying not to get sick, under deck was terrible, bits and bobs everywhere and believe it or not some lads were at the table eating. Plates, saucepans and every conceivable kitchen item fixed to something solid. I remained on my back now really sick as a parrot. This lasted a day and night then the sky cleared, beautiful, crisp and fresh and then the Isle of Man came into view in the far distance. We stopped there for a day and landed ashore with wobbly legs. First time I had seen plastic pound notes, all in Isle of Man currency.
After that it was an easy trip sailing around Cornwall and onto Portsmouth, although we did anchor in a small village along the coast but the far distant memory can't remember quite where that was.
Next time I went, I went as a watch leader and only had to pay a small sum. A very entertaining trip as we went to Cherbourg then on to Amsterdam. That night on the way up the English Channel we had the best winds I had seen. Sails set, it was a direct run and fast, I did not know that sailing ships this size could carve their way through the sea like this, no rough stormy weather with up and down but winds that were perfect, strong enough to drive the ship forward but not enough to whip the sea into mountainous seas. Amsterdam, well I had never been there before and yes with a group of young men when we went ashore it was off to the red light district. Actually it was quite hard to find, though eventually find it we did. Have to admit to visiting the Sex Museum, won't forget that in a hurry! Mighty strange things in there.
Well that's that, never did go sailing again on the tall ships but I see they do some down in Tenerife, might just have to go again because they now have square riggers. A worthy adventure holiday for anyone and I would thoughtly recommend it