Tall Ship Pelican of London welcomes a Resident Writer, Natasha Pulley, aboard Leg two of the Darwin 200 UK Voyage.
Natasha Pulley will be writing daily blog posts to give an inside view of life on board. We will be sharing these blogs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram as well as uploading onto this news page. So keep your eyes peeled!
Day 1 – 13th June 2021
Boarding a tall ship is massive fun; especially if you arrive a few hours too early and the ship is twenty feet below the quayside. Across the morning, a good few of us made an elegant and catlike climb from the dock (I’m lying, of course I’m lying) and waited our twenty minutes for the results of a Covid lateral flow test. Once we were cleared, the rest of the morning was mainly about getting sheets onto our bunks and learning new names, and finding out how the heads work.*
Especially if you know you’re going to be seasick at some point, it’s easy to feel anxious or even downright scared about embarking on a voyage like this. It’s an amazing prospect, being at sea for a month, but fear of being in pretty serious pain and discomfort can be powerful, and that anxiety definitely had an effect on me today. More or less the moment lunch was over, I collapsed in a bunk and slept till dinner. When the ship is in port is a good time to catch all the sleep you’re not going to get later anyway. On Pelican’s watch system, you work between six and twelve hours every day, and some of that, normally, will be in the middle of the night.
A lot of the people on this voyage, including me, were also on the ship for the Darwin 200 voyages last year, there are plenty of familiar faces. It’s not quite like coming across people you’ve met before just on the street or in a coffee shop. You know you’re going to live on top of these people for a month, that they’re going to help you when you’re confused, that you’re going to be knackered at four in the morning together and wet and jubilant about unexpected sun together. All that means that reunions are full of genuine joy, even if you don’t really know each other that well.
We have all kinds of people on board. We have a resident artist who has already started sketching; we have seasoned sailors, marine biologists, a team of divers who are quarantined at the moment and negotiating a bit manically with other people to buy them chocolate from the shop up the road; cadets studying with the Merchant Navy; the television presenter who’s chartered the ship; and I think nearly everyone has already learned the weather forecast by heart for the next week.
So the mood aboard is pretty fizzy — especially because we seem to have a really brilliant cook, which is the difference between having a good day and a terrible one.
*Occasionally and skittishly.
Visit her website: www.natashapulley.co.uk to see more of Natasha’s work!