Never a dull moment!

The tall ship voyage on the Pelican of London was an extraordinary experience, which I am grateful I got the opportunity to participate in. Although it was only 10 days, they were quite possibly the best and most memorable days of my life. There was never a dull moment on board and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

We boarded the ship at 10am on Sunday. I was both terrified and excited. I was scared as I didn’t know anyone or anything about how the next 10 days would be. It was a comfort, though, to have my fellow Guides beside me. I was also ecstatic and hopeful to meet new people and learn new skills. I hope to have both of these for the rest of my life.

We soon got to know the other trainees and, by the second day, it felt as if I had known some of these people for my whole life. The second day was also when we started to learn about sailing a ship. Most of the learning was done on our watches.

The watch system made it so you were usually on watch a third of the time. This meant that we bonded with the others on our watch and, although some watch times were more desirable than others, there was never an unenjoyable watch.

We learned lots of new skills while on board, one of which was climbing the rigging. I didn’t do this as much as some others as it was entirely voluntary. However, I did try it a few times as I was trying to push myself to do new things.

Another skill I learned and loved was helming. While we were on watch, we all got to take turns steering the ship by changing the rudder angle. One of the biggest issues with this was trying not to oversteer. We were always supervised by a member of the crew who were all very helpful and understanding.

As I mentioned before, I tried to push myself to try new and scary things on this voyage. One example of this would be the day we went swimming, which doesn’t sound scary but I was a little worried because I can’t swim! The crew helped me out by giving me a buoyancy aid. Many of the other trainees were more adventurous and jumped from the bikini deck, a rope or the bowsprit but I decided to start small and just jumped from the rail. This worked well for me the first time but the second time my swimming suit got caught on a pin and ripped! Luckily not many people saw this, and those who did just wanted to help. At the time I was a little embarrassed but I can now see the funny side.

Another element of the voyage was the views from the boat. It was always so beautiful and you never knew what you would see but it never disappointed. The views were always a highlight of the night watches – whether it was watching the sunset on the 8pm to 12am, seeing the stars on the 12am to 4sm watch or the sunrise on the 4am to 8am watch. Of course, the day watches had equally stunning views as well, like the time we saw dolphins!

As the voyage was ending, we decided to throw a small party with lots of sweets, crisps, and juice. It was fun and soon turned into a sing-along. Fortunately, some people brought instruments. We had two guitars, two ukuleles and two tin whistles on board. Everyone sang along without judgment. It was one of my best memories on board.

I loved every minute of the trip and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. If I could go back and change anything I would probably just have packed more warm clothes but, other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing and, if given the chance, I would go again in a heartbeat.

It was a truly unforgettable experience.