April 22, 2013 in Category At Sea,Scarlett Adventures...

Stormy, Stormy Night

(It’s been nearly six months since I last wrote about my adventure at sea, and I could give you a million and one reasons as to why I haven’t finished the intrepid tale, but quite frankly I forgot. You can catch up on the rest of my adventures at sea here)

My first night shift had been… eye opening. I’d seen the stars like I’ve never seen them before and felt a rush of adrenaline that only comes from being completely convinced that you’re about to die.

After not nearly enough sleep we were all back on deck again, desperately trying to avoid the colony of seasick casualties below, (who, by this time, weren’t even pretending to hide the fact that they were milking it)

As always, the day was smooth sailing. The sun was shining and – with all of us on hand to help – there was actually time to relax and enjoy a life at sea. The night, on the other hand, was much different…

tall-ships-liverpool

It was our last night shift and my watch was covering 12am-4am; the graveyard shift as it’s known by seasoned sailors – that one that drags but nothing major ever seems to happen.

It got to quarter to four, (with nothing to report but a harsh wind and a devastating case of ‘hat hair’) and although Dominic, (a budding skipper, rum thief and all-round decent guy) had come up ready for his shift, there was absolutely no sign of the rest of his watch. It looked like we were set for an 8 hour stint on deck.

Naturally, I was fucking fuming. Not only was I still bitter that they had polished off the whole ship’s supply of ginger biscuits to ‘settle their stomachs’ – leaving me, the only vegetarian on board, to eat nothing but mashed potato and my own supply of pear drops for the remainder of the trip – but now they expected me to pull an all nighter on their behalf.

Finally, about an hour later, two stragglers came up insisting that they “probably wouldn’t be much use”. By this point I, quite frankly, I didn’t care whether they did nothing but throw up over the edge of the ship – I was going to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow I drifted off to the sound of waves hitting the ship.

I’d only been asleep for twenty five minutes when I woke with a start. The waves I’d fallen asleep to less than half an hour earlier now sounded like they were crashing into my bunk and it quickly became clear that the ship was nearly on it’s side.

The ship was groaning as I lay in the dark of my empty cabin, breathing deeply to combat the roller-coaster effect of the ship was swaying from side to side.

“Everything’s fine” I told myself, as I tried to fall back to sleep, “if the was any trouble they’d wake us up.”

Suddenly I heard a crash. The lights were turned on and the Captain burst into my cabin like the incredible hulk, carrying Hannah, (just 17, the youngest on board and the only other female under 45). Confused and trying to adjust my eyes I sat bolt upright – obviously forgetting where I was and smashing my head against the top of my bunk.

I leapt out of bed – luckily the fact the nights were so cold meant I was sleeping in thick wooly tights and my Boyfriend’s jumper, otherwise clambering out of the top bunk like a baby rhino in front of the Captain would have been a completely different kettle of fish. Hannah had lost her footing, fallen across the slippy deck and narrowly avoided going overboard by hitting the bow full-force.

We put her to bed and as the Captain left I said “If you need any help on deck let me know OK.” I was obviously just being polite. Not only did I have absolutely no interest in getting back on that deck in the middle of a storm, but trying to change back into all of my ‘on deck’ layers whilst the ship threw me around like a rag doll was a suicide mission in itself. 

“Erm… yes, we might do. I’ll see how we get on first, but… we could use another set of hands”

Shit.

He left. I climbed back into my bunk; “well if they need me he’ll come and get me” I thought, closing my eyes.

I lay there for thirty seconds while the waves crashed above my head – with my eyes shut, the increasing more violent swaying of the ship was even more noticeable than before.

I opened my eyes.

“For fucks sake” I murmured, trying to steady myself as I dug my life jacket in out of the pile of clothes that had fallen as the ship blew on it’s side. Before I knew it I was back on deck, and drenched within a minute. The starry sky that had mesmerised me the night before was now nothing but thick, black storm clouds. The heavens had opened; the unforgiving wind blowing sheet rain in every direction – and waves spilled onto the deck. This was not what I signed up for.

The next hour was a blur of pulling ropes, running around the deck trying to pretend like I knew what I was doing and desperately trying not to fall overboard. Until, finally, the sun began to rise and with it the storm seemed to settle.

At 8am I finally crawled into bed; exhausted, hungry and soaking.

A few hours later I climbed back on deck in time for the last leg into Liverpool – and was greeted by a blue sky and a blazing sun. I sat down with the rest of the crew – people who had been strangers less than a week ago but now felt like family – and pulled out the hip flask of rum that my fella had given me for ’emergencies’.

As we pulled into the dock, the Captain came over to congratulate each of us for our hard work. “…and you” he turned to me, “you surpised me last night! I wouldn’t have expected it, but you did well… sailor.”

“Yeah well, this pirate stuff isn’t too hard” I said as I swigged my rum in the sunshine – and right at that moment, it wasn’t.

25 comments… read them below or add one

abeerfortheshower April 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

You handled things much more bravely than I would have, but then again, I can’t swim, so my level of terror would have been much greater. Also, I probably would not have been on that boat in the first place. But still. Very cool story.

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 10:42 am

I’m not a great swimmer either, I was just kinda hoping if (read: when) I fell overboard someone else might be a good enough one to get me xx

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Babs April 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I’m impressed you got back out of bed, I don’t know if I’d have been so nice lol

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

I know I’m a saint – messing I wasn’t impressed at all lol x

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ShimonZ April 23, 2013 at 8:48 am

Ah, it sounds like a wonderful adventure, despite your fuming and cussing. I think you had a great time.

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

It was certainly an amazing experience xx

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Leanne: A Little Bit Fabulous April 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

Great story, it sounds like a fabulous adventure xxxxx

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks Leanne, it was a once in a lifetime experience x

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snowbird April 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Wow….what a fantastic tale….sounds scary though! Here’s to being a pirate!xxxx

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I’ll drink to that x

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A Daft Scots Lassg April 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I still have going on a cruise on my bucket list but my hubby gets motion sickness so I fret that it will never happen (with him I mean). I may have to take my friend or sister with me rather….I’ll remain dreaming.

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Scarlett April 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I would love to go on a proper cruise! It would be such a good way to see loads of places at once xx

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Gorilla Bananas April 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Shiver me timbers, Scarlett, I never realised you were a nautical cove! What exactly DID you sign up for? I hope you were a good chaperone for young Hannah and protected her virtue as fiercely as you protected your own!

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Scarlett April 25, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Haha! Well, I knew I was signing up for some pirate action… I just expected it to involve a lot more rum! xx

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Stefanie April 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Ugh, I was annoyed for you just reading this. Was it the crew’s fault that the ship was out of control or just a really bad storm?

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Scarlett April 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

IT was just a really bad storm to be honest – but it would definitely been a bit easier if they’d have been on board to help out! x

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Marina May 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Yikes! I had no idea your adventure would turn as thrilling/dangerous as it did. Sadly, the part that really stuck out to me is that the meat eaters deprived the vegetarian of one of the few things she’d be able to eat. I guess maybe that means food is way more important to me than it should be? Obviously I’d make an awful sailor. On the other hand, it is evident that you are made of very tough stuff!

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Jess @UsedYorkCity May 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I had no idea you were a sailor, how cool! I tip my hat to you, mate! xx

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Scarlett May 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

I wouldn’t quite go that far but thanks girlie xx

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Elle May 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

That last line freaking killed me. You handled that situation like a fucking champ. Way to go sailor!

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Scarlett May 7, 2013 at 9:22 am

Haha! Thanks lovely xx

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WeezaFish May 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Oh lordy!! Does sound like an awesome experience, despite storms and lightweight crew members :) Hats off to you lady for grabbing the experience by the .. er, ropes. Yo ho me hearties, yo ho.

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Scarlett May 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

Ahh thankyou sweet x

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Nicola May 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

How am I only just reading about all of this???
Loved all of your posts, they are brilliant! And you took some major points for the team miss!! Hats off to you!
x

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Scarlett May 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

Ahh thank you my lovely xx

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