Voyage Journal

Just recollections of a sea voyage I made on a square-rigged sailing ship

Left home at 0145. Far too early! As I was driven through Lancaster in the taxi, some revellers were still leaving some of the nightclubs.

I arrived at Manchester airport just after 0300 and checked in. My spare leg had to be security screened separately to the rest of my luggage and the look on the face of the x-ray machine operator was priceless! I had to wait until 0400 for the security control to open and could pass through to the departure lounge. All the shops and cafes were closed, as the flight was the first one out that morning. The flight was called at around 0450 and I made my way to the gate. There, you could see out onto the ramp and the aircraft, a Boeing 757-400 (G-BAYX) was being de-iced. Boarded the flight that was surprisingly full. I had a great seat on the aisle in the front row, so I got the occasional glimpse into the cockpit. The flight was great as we flew over the Midlands and crossed the coast near Southampton. Then we flew over France, passing near Lyon and over the Pyrenees. We were well fed with a full cooked breakfast. Just as we started the approach, the pilot told us the bad news. The temperature in Alicante was 9°C with showery rain. Not what I had expected in ‘sunny’ Spain. During the descent, I could see snow on the mountains! The plane turned over the sea and as it banked, I could see the Lord Nelson in Alicante harbour.

The plane landed fifteen minutes early and clearing customs and collecting my luggage was quick and easy. There was a taxi waiting to meet me. The driver took my luggage and drove north along the coast into central Alicante. The sea was battering the coastal defences, shooting spray 10 to 15 feet into the air. The taxi ride was exciting, as the driver hardly used his brakes, doing all the acceleration and deceleration through the gearbox.

I arrived at the Lord Nelson at 1130 local time. The Medical Purser met me and gave me a quick tour of the ship and a warm welcome. The rest of the crew arrived in dribs and drabs throughout the day. In the bar after dinner Arturo, the Italian 2nd Engineer, was trying to iron a shirt, never having ironed before. A quick ironing master class ensued and all the permanent crew were volunteering items for him to practice on! The Australian cook’s assistant delved in the dressing up box and produced a coconut bikini! I found out how all the crew were masters of innuendo…and so to bed.

The End

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