A mariner’s first trip is a love affair, a privilege, an experience for sure! Although no stranger to a ships gangway having sailed on TS Royalist and TS John Jerwood with the Sea Cadets the gangway leading onboard the P&O Nedlloyd Hudson felt like a tower. I still remember being driven to Southampton by my parents, boot fully laden, a jovial and relaxing trip, I felt completely at ease with the prospect of my first 3 months at sea. Then I saw her, 278 metres long, seemingly over flowing with thousands of containers, she looked colossal… my heart sank… This thing was bigger than canary wharf!
At the gangway I met the Third Officer, a true professional and friend to this day, he handled my induction and all my initial onboard training as well as my long term training portfolio. It is so important to give someone a good first impression of a ship, especially a first tripper because after all they really have no clue what they’ve gotten themselves into.
Why is a first trip a love affair? Well who doesn’t love a new adventure? You learn so much about yourself in those first few months, everything is interesting, impressive, and seemingly unique, you even learn a new language, Jack Speak! Although the days of dhoby and scran are nearly lost I still feel it important to encourage such traditions where possible, that golden rivet still hasn’t been found and someone has misplaced the long-stand!
The travelling was of course the thing I loved most about my first tip, arrival at each new country was an adventure all of its own and learning how to moor this colossal feat of engineering alongside using huge winches and with only 2 crew and an officer at each end was fascinating, yet daunting. A love affair simply because you see so many things that you will eventually learn to do yourself, proud in the knowledge you will soon be riddled with skill and experience! Arriving alongside was often fraught and the odd curse word could be heard on the wind but overall an amazing experience, but the real experience started once we stepped off the ship…