And so our last day has come – and we are very sad. We had a good night’s sleep and woke to find ourselves on the Mersey Bar being met by the pilot as we headed into the river Estuary. Blue Watch helmed into dock and Bethan, Peter and Isabella did a great job – Captain Roy was very impressed!
Our last day has been very busy – it’s a big ship to clean! Scrubbing, polishing, shining and washing until every last inch is gleaming and meets Rocky’s exacting standards. Then it’s time for the social climb, right to the top of the mast, and up to the Manx flag which was bravely carried up by Tim.
Lunch, group photos and waving goodbye to our lovely permanent and volunteer crew – and we’re leaving, off on the ferry back to the Isle of Man.
This has been a very special week. We came onboard as Year 9 students from 5 different secondary schools, not having met each other until 8 days ago, and here we are leaving as friends and shipmates. We have spent the week learning together, developing our skills and experiences together, and taking away new ideas and knowledge that we never expected to have.
We have had a real adventure – we’ve laughed, cried, struggled and triumphed and we are leaving as a strong group. We’re sad to say goodbye and hope to come back again; a week is just too short!
Thank you, everyone!
Day Six – A new challenge (White watch)
Today we left Belfast and headed back out to sea. Everyone agreed that Belfast had been a good city to visit and that the council were really kind in letting us into the Titanic exhibition for free. Most of the crew and Red watch were up really early as we left Belfast at 6am but our watch got to stay in bed a bit longer.
Today we were set a new challenge. We had set the fore course and main and fore lower topsails before on this voyage but we hadn’t set the upper topsail. This is a different type of yard as it needs to be lifted into position for sailing. Rocky and Fliss told us that this requires a lot of muscle power and that is why we hadn’t set it before. First of all some people had to climb all the way up to the yard to put the sail in its gear. Watching them from the deck they seemed really brave as it looked a long way up. Once they were down it was our turn to work together to try to lift the yard into place by heaving on the ropes. It took ages! It was very heavy and it was really tiring to heave for so long, but we did it. It was really good to see three sails set on the same mast as before we had only ever seen two.
Tonight is another interwatch competition – the knot relay.
Day Five – Belfast (Blue Watch)
This morning blue watch took over from white watch at 4am for watch. Meera and Fliss came to wake us at 3.30am so that we could get ready. At 7.10am we set some sails (the fore course, the fore lower topsail and the main lower topsail). At 9.45am we began to approachBelfastharbour. This meant that we needed a pilot onboard to help us. Rocky went to open up the gate on the starboard side of the ship so that the pilot could come onboard and he arrived shortly after. Once we were near the berth, Fliss launched the RIB containing Rocky and the day workers. This meant that they could catch our lines on the dock wall and help to tie the ship up.
Once the ship was tied up, it was time for happy hour. This is when we clean the ship from top to bottom. After happy hour it was time for lunch – Leek and Potato soup – yum, my favourite.
Once we tied up the ship we had lunch and then everyone started to get changed into their “shore clothes”. This meant lots of hair straightening and skinny jeans. The ship was tied up next to an entertainment centre and we were allowed to choose whether we wanted to go bowling, to the Science centre or to look around the centre/visit fast food places. Most of us went bowling or bought pizza. The council had arranged for us to go and visit the Titanic exhibition for free. Belfastis famous as it is where the Titanic was built. We went to the exhibition in two groups. Inside the building it was really interactive and you could see the size of the ship and lots of information about its story and how it was built.
On the way back to the ship we spotted a corner shop and lots of us took the opportunity to stock up on drinks, chocolate and sweets ready for our final night watches. Once back onboard and after we had eaten dinner it was time for the boat race. Red watch won the most original design and white watch won the actual races. With only two competitions left there is only two points in it, so anyone could win.
Day Four – At Sea (Blue Watch)
Just after lunch we brought our anchor back on board the ship and left the Isle of Arran. In the morning meeting the Captain said that our next stop would beBelfastand that we would be allowed to go on the land to look around. This caused a lot of excitement and my watch spent the morning deciding which fast food they would most like to buy inBelfast. We have been spending lots of money on chocolate and cans of pop from the little shop on board but all agreed that chips or Pizza in Belfast would be good.
This morning we had another inter-watch competition – the rowing race. In our watches we had to row around the ship racing against the other watches. Some of the crews were really bad at rowing in a straight line and some boats took forever to reach the finish line. It was really good fun and the best bit was when the students beat the teachers in the final race of the competition.
Before we get toBelfastwe have to spend another night at sea. Some of us are a bit worried that we might become sea sick again but we have all taken our tablets and hope that it won’t be as rough as last time. Night watches are hard but they can also be fun. Our boxes of watch biscuits keep us going through the night and we know that we can go on land tomorrow.
We are also preparing for our next interwatch competition, the boat race. This is different to the rowing race as instead of racing real boats, each watch has been given a little wooden boat to decorate before racing them tomorrow night. Points will be given for the originality of the design – my watch is doing a bowl of fish, chips and peas.
Day Three – The Isle of Arran (Red Watch)
Last night we spent our first night at sea. The sea was quite rough and lots of people were seasick. Even though people were sick (even some of our teachers), we still had to do night watches and steer the ship. It was really hard to stay awake during watch and it was freezing cold. We did have our watch box of biscuits to give us energy though.
Today we got some of the sails out on the ship. Once they were out, we switched off the engines and went sailing. We spent today travelling North and ended up near the Isle of Arran where Rocky the Bosun dropped the anchor and this meant that we could all have the night in bed.
After tea we had an interwatch quiz – we had to guess the logo, name different cartoons and identify the celebrities. Each watch had to work together to complete the quiz.
The place where we anchored was in a little bay and it looked really pretty at night with all the lights on the houses. Being anchored helped all of the people that had been seasick to get a good nights sleep ready for tomorrow.
Day Two – More training (Red Watch)
Today I was a messman, this meant that I was woken up at 6am and had to be dressed and ready to start work at 6.15am. I spent most of my morning in the mess or the galley. I set the tables for each meal, served the other crew members their food and washed up after each meal.
In-between my galley duties, we were taught how to climb the rigging safely. First of all we climbed up the mast to the platform, (which is about 1/3 of the way up) and then down the other side. Once we had all got the hang of it we then went back up the rigging and out onto the yards to learn how to put the sails in their gear and how to stow them away again. The day ended with a large group of us playing cards in the mess until it was time for bed.
Day One – Joining the ship in Liverpool (White Watch)
I was woken up at the far too early time of 4.50am this morning. This was so that I could be driven down to the ferry terminal in time to meet up with the 47 other people that were also going on the trip.
At the ferry port we all met up and got on the ferry over toLiverpool. The journey was quite long and a lot of us slept to make the time go quicker. Once we arrived inLiverpoolwe were met by one of the watch leaders called Harry who also lives on the Isle of Man. We packed our bags onto a coach and were driven to the docks where the Stavros was tied up.
Once at the ship we were divided into 3 teams – red, white and blue and we met our watch leaders who showed us where we would be sleeping for the next week. We then ate lunch (which was burgers) and started our training. We were each given oilskins, were taught how to steer the ship and learnt what to do with all the ropes. By 9.30pm we were all really tired and went to bed.