Thursday, 2 April 2009

My trip on the Jeannie Johnston trip to Dublin - day three

The next morning I was still feeling a little queasy, but generally I was in a much better condition. I was a little green behind the gills, but most of the nausea had gone. I managed to wolf down a bowl of porridge, then went on watch for the 08.00 to 12.00 shift. The permanent crew were all doing running repairs to the ship - wrapping thick string around steel ropes to protect them, then covering the string with tar to waterproof it. Maintaining a ship like this is a full-time job, and seeing people do this fiddly task whilst high up in the sails was an impressive sight.

We did a clean below decks, brushing and washing the living areas whilst another watch did the heads. I chose to skip lunch as beans on toast followed by carrot and coriander soup was not too appealing given my somewhat poor constitution. The permanent crew are all tough people, a toughness that is visible even in the relatively calm seas and sunny weather. The seasickness of the previous night convinced me of something that I had assumed before I had set off - that I was, at heart, a landlubber. I still held out some hope that things might improve, and now that I was over the initial illness things would improve.

Seeing Start Point for the entirety of the four-hour morning watch was quite depressing. It hardly seemed that we were moving - because of the tide and the direction of the wind we were only doing one or two knots. After lunch we did better - seven to ten knots. However, Dublin still felt like a long way away.

The crew listened to some racing on a radio - there is a racehorse owner on board, along with his friend, who owns a stables. Of all the crew Jim seems the most archetypal sailor - he has a shock of white hair along with a long white moustache. His eyes look as though they have seen many different sights and lands. The captain is a very pleasant, friendly man, focussed (as is to be expected from someone in such a position) and experienced - he had been at sea for many decades.

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