ship on the 27th June 2009 while she was berthed at Canary Wharf,
London. We were to set sail only a day or two after my
so my first job was glamorous assistant to plumber Phips, uncoupling
our sewage pipes and hauling them up to deck 9.
Shown here, Becca helps take up the gangways in the early hours of the morning.
I was sailing with the ship I had worked so hard to prepare.
While we were waiting for this lock gate to open, someone on shore realised they'd left their palm-top on board, so we lowered it down to the quayside for them in a hard-hat tied to a heaving line.
mooring stations, Becca was stationed on Anchor Watch on the
foredeck, which mostly consists of sitting on the hawse pipe
what the anchor chain runs through), so I kept her company as dawn
broke over the Thames.
The Millenium Dome, which normally doesn't get a second look from me, did look pretty impressive in the sunrise.
our first port of
call, barely a day's voyage away. We spent two weeks in
and I began my work in the carpentry department.
Special mention must be made of a tool-belt given to me by Tom last Christmas which made up for weeks of inaction while I was teaching by proving invaluable every single day throughout my stay on board.
|After a fortnight of Irish summer (yes, there was a fair amount of rain), walks along the canal and the occasional trespassing adventure ("What? Private land? Sorry, I'm English." doesn't go down well in Ireland for some reason - could it be there's some historical cultural context I'm missing?), we left Europe for the first time in Logos Hope history.|
like the Titanic, we
were setting sail from Cork on our maiden transatlantic crossing, and
we were fairly sure we wouldn't sink. Unlike the Titanic, we
fades from view, not to appear again for two weeks.
The 6-hour time difference of an Atlantic crossing is usually the cause of inconvenient jet-lag, but spread out over a fortnight manifested itself as an extra hour of sleep every two days. Except for night-watchmen.
vehicles will traverse as much of the globe as these Logos Hope vans,
securely strapped down to Aft 6.
The sea was relatively calm for the entire two weeks, but the continual swell was more than enough for most of the crew at one time or another, and a bucket of seasickness tablets was made available at the service desk.
|It's always been a dream of mine to work my passage across the Atlantic, but I never dreamed I'd get to do it alongside the girl I love. I highly recommend it. By this time I was augmenting my carpentry with some maths tuition in the mornings, in the only floating school I've ever come across. Teaching bearings was, for once, applicable.|
|This shot is not, as it may appear, a carelessly taken photograph of a casual-yet-cool sailor by a passerby. It is, in fact, a carefully set up self-timer job. The tilt of the horizon is due to the fact that the camera, precariously perched atop a wing mirror, is in the process of falling off. Seems being at sea makes balancing things tricky.|
|A galley porthole provided a great opportunity for another self-portrait. If I remember right, my ship-family were enjoying some ice-cream during prayer-night.|
carpenter in what has
become a smaller department, and project workers being a dying breed
(not literally, despite the impression I may have given last time), I
was given projects to organise and work on myself, so I had a lot more
independence. One of the main projects was heavy-duty
to the couples' beds on board - apparently the original design wasn't
very conducive to... marital bliss.
(if you like the background of this collage you can download your own - I made it myself, as a byproduct of lots of painting)
in his element 2000
miles from land, and it's a wonderful thing to be able to share an
ocean sunset with someone special.
|Due to the curve of the earth, any ships further than 10 miles away would be out of sight, so most days, unless you were in the right place at the right time, the only sign of life aside from ourselves would be the dolphins, whales and flying fish.|
|As the golden sun slowly sinks below the horizon, Adam gazes across the landscape, watching as lights begin to appear in the darkening valleys, and the glimmer of a motorcar disappears over the hill. No, wait...|
|It's surprising how many friends one runs into when taking a stroll outside after work. It's like they don't want to leave the ship or something...|
|I am reliably informed that ships embarking on a transatlantic crossing from Cork are obliged to ensure that, at any one time, a) there is a couple posing on the railings to the Titanic theme song and b) Pirates of the Caribbean is playing somewhere.|
|What happens when you get 350 keen missionaries and refuse them contact with anyone but each other for two weeks? Well, as it happens, some form of worship event, accompanied by yet another sunset. A byproduct is the construction of a 'salt-water holding tank' (aka Swimming Pool) on deck 9.|
|In my capacity as hardened adventurer, it would have been an opportunity missed had I not, just once, spent the night in a hammock, aboard a ship, in the middle of the Atlantic.|
|Lunch in the mess frequently is just that. Tables are traditionally strewn with the debris and implements of the day's work, chairs strewn with the day's workers, and faces strewn with the day's rations. Once I attempted to create a noodle-soup eating device comprising a fork and a drill. Suffice it to say this did not turn out to be the optimal solution to my food-related problems.|
|It's not all limes and barrels of salted pork - these salmon and shrimp were donated a few weeks previously by our friends in the Faroe Islands, and Andy West, head chef extraordinaire, barbecued them up for ship's company part-way through the voyage.|
|I believe this was my idea, as was my decision not to participate. The ingredients: an Aussie who can't (or won't) distinguish between foolish ideas and fun pastimes, a Yank who refuses to decline a Challenge, and a toasty-hot industrial sandwich-toaster.|
|Mustering the largest captive audience in the entire ocean, Brian and I hosted the second Logos Hope fun-night of my career. With dance numbers from the Angels, blind guitar playing by welder Aaron, a skit by the STEPpers (Short Term Experience Program), ventriloquism, magic acts and comedy, a fun night was had by all. I even told a bed-time story at the end.|
|First view of land. Thanks to the invention (and recent installation) of water purifiers, we could theoretically have stayed away for longer, but most people's legs were looking forward to the horizon - and their lunches - staying put. Our first port of call: St Vincent and the Grenadines.|
|Keith and Eleanor feast their eyes on the early morning view from their vantage point on deck 9.|
|The Caribbean is very hot, and also very rainy. Between brief spells of torrential downpour, our welcome committee's steel band empied the water from their pans and serenaded us as we approached.|
|Becca was on bridge-watch for our arrival in port, and we watched enviously from the windows while our shipmates piled off the ship to have a swim. Shortly after this, swimming off the quayside was banned - apparently that nasty stinging sensation is urchins and jellyfish.|
|As soon as watch finished, and we'd taken a quick dip in the blue blue sea, we wandered through the town gawping like tourists. Everywhere we went, what with having a distinctive skin colour and all, we were hailed as "fram de book boot" by the locals, and offered taxi rides by approximately 27 different people.|
|Ah, the obligatory tourist photo - next to a goat outside a cemetery. Slightly further up the road, a man was drumming on an upturned tin, singing something heartfelt about education. Pretty much anything ending in 'ation' sounds great in a Vincentian accent.|
|This comely dwelling, with a view down the hill to the sea, struck me as the kind of place my brother would take a liking to. He could sit outside it of an evening and drum along with his neighbour down the hill. And get soaked and sunburnt at the same time.|
|This little mud-whattle hut has no purpose that I could see, so I bestowed upon it that of Photo Opportunity, and went on my way.|
|Now, the details are a little hazy, but I have a feeling Brian was trying to explain, through the popular medium of nutella-and-napkin, some electrical phenomenon. As v increases, it would appear, x decreases. Interesting. Brian, if you ever read this - let me know what it was all about, will you?|
|The hold. This is the forward part of deck 3, where tonnes and tonnes of books and CDs are sorted, stickered, stacked and stored. In our first port, if I remember the figures right, we sold 84,000 books. Last time I was here, we spent a week grinding the deck in readiness for this.|
|The view from Deck 3 shell-door. I spent much of my working day in and around this area, between the dull dusty interior and the hot humid but incredibly bright and colourful outdoors.|
|Of course, while I never got a tan, working as ship's carpenter almost exclusively inside the ship, some people were even further from the sun than I. During the voyage, the engineers were working in temperatures of upwards of 45 degrees. Needless to say, this gentleman chose a moment when the engines weren't running to perform maintenance on this cylinder head.|
|The lazy life of a Caribbean cruiser was not mine, but for the humble sum of 15 euros a day I got views like this from the top of my home. Adam actually put a hammock up on the highest possible point of the ship - just above the mast-house. Highly recommended.|
|After carefully modifying this heavy-duty ring-bolt, I discovered that it makes a surprisingly good looking earring. So I have a weakness for A2 Stainless M8 bling. But she wears it so well.|
|My powers as a conversationalist were no match for a hard day's work, apparently. Aww.|
|A ship's outing gave us the chance to see the rainforests, bathe in waterfalls and hear the song 'One More Night' played over the radio no fewer than 15 times.|
|I always suspected the whole idea of vines that you could actually climb up and swing from was made up to make people like me spend money on exotic holidays. Turns out it's all true!|
|Cadet Officer and Cambridge Mathematician James Berry returns to his roots (or, at least, some roots) suspended from a creeper.|
|That's my girl, that is. With me. In the Caribbean.|
|Ooh - pretty trees.|
|This place felt like wandering through David Attenborough's Planet Earth (filmed on location, on planet Earth).|
|You're standing where the tree which formed all this once stood. Long after it was choked by this strangler-fig, the fig continued to grow, building a strong cylindrical lattice far up into the canopy.|
|Strangler-figs, especially when augmented with handy creepers, make fantastic ladders.|
|We agreed at the time that this looked photoshopped, but reasoned that we could make it look more real later on. By photoshopping it. To avoid such hypocrisy, I'm just gonna leave it as it is.|
|"Pirates be ye warned" is the notice that used to adorn those rocks off the point you see in the distance. This jetty is, in fact, none other than the jetty upon which Captain Jack Sparrow alights at the beginning of the film, while his holed dinghy sinks beneath him.|
|It's a photo of us looking at photos. Does it mess with your head? No?|
|This is Grenada, our second island. Feel free to admire the hills and low houses, and calm blue water, but I'd like to draw your attention, if I may, to the little homemade boat in the foreground. It not only has the handle capabilities of a box, it actually is one.|
|My girl and my ship. What the former lacks in draft and advertising space she makes up for in beauty and portability on land.|
|In return for distracting her while on bridge-watch, Becca was good enough to help out in the carpenter's shop from time to time. Actually, here we are designing modifications for her new cabin. I believe the specification was "a thing to keep stuff in". We carpenters are specialists at precisely that kind of thing.|
|Twenty minutes and two drilled fingers later, we have the finished product. OK, I exaggerate, it was one finger, drilled twice.|
|The (relatively) cool evenings were the most popular time for visitors, and Grenada saw many more thousands come on board to see the ship and to buy books. Meanwhile those of us who were available would amuse the crowds waiting patiently to board with activities such as unicycling. At least, I tried, until being told by one man that I was a danger to the public.|
|When one visits one's girl by the sea, one's friends should expect lots of photos of one with said girl.|
|This water is full of little jellyfish and sea urchins, both of which were contributing factors in Becca's insistence that she not be thrown into the sea. I resisted the impulse manfully.|
|We had two mooring lines snap quite spectacularly during some rough weather, and a few of us were unofficially enlisted to help the deckies make ready for an emergency departure, out to sea clear of the quayside until the swell died down. Here Michael, a welder, helps dismantle a gangway.|
|While at anchor off the coast, we were not sufficiently far to allow use of the salt-water purifiers, and we were overdue for a top-up to our fresh water tanks, so showers were short and water was scarce for a day or two. Nice sky though.|
|Crane duty, more frequently performed in much more torrential conditions than here shown, involved lowering workers over the side in cages to chip rust off the anchor and repaint the area. Becca spent many days standing there in the rain with nothing to do but wait for the radio to tell her "a little to the left, please" every hour or so.|
|As far as finding nice spots to hang out goes, a hammock on a ship with a view like this takes some beating. It's hard to remember, sitting here with cold toes in a Coventry November, just how uncomfortably hot it got out there.|
|Many old, and even English-looking, buildings are still standing in Grenada, although most of them were severly damaged by the hurricane in 2004 and are still awaiting restoration.|
|The grandly named Golden Eagle lay at anchor not far from our own vessel. With an enviable ventilation system and rapid embarkation capabilities, it probably even beats our top speed. I suspect it's also more fuel efficient: at a generous estimate, it would take the sale of 800 such small boats to fund the Atlantic voyage of the Logos Hope.|
|God is a painter and all the world a canvas.|
|He also made this sky, and that ocean. And that girl. Nuff said.|
|I find this amusing - this poor chap is heaving with all his might on a stiff crank while his coxswain, Becca, casually gives her orders via a raised finger.|
|John Bleakley continues his training as lifeboatman, a cool 20 metres above the sea. That knotty rope is in case the boat falls and the four crew decide that clinging to life beats clinging to a rapidly falling boat.|
|The only creatures more uncomfortable with the heat in Tobago than us were probably these crabs. With colours and shapes that British crabs frankly couldn't pull off without looking out of place, they were spread out by the side of the road or carried along in strings to be sold, live, to braver tourists than ourselves.|
|Our day out together combined flyering, talking to a number of people, being soaked by an impromptu but unsurprising rainstorm and a walk along a beach scattered with coconuts.|
|One of my last jobs on board was a task I'm still not entirely sure I understood - described to me by an artist rather than a carpenter presented some difficulties of translation. Frankly, I was ambivalent to the impact of whatever it was I was making, I just needed to know how close to the fire station would be safe to stick the thing.|
|It was, in essence, a door. With some kind of frame. Incidentally, cutting out that beautifully curved wave crest from MDF was how they lured me into the murky art-world of back-stage Deck 4 in the first place. Pretty, ain't it?|
|Features to notice in this classically self-timed photo: the shine of a recently deckie-polished wooden railing, a rainbow over the sea to the right of the island, my "has it taken it yet?" expression aimed at the camera.|
|The great toilet paper fire of last year (it was a storeful, not an isolated roll) provoked some thought about fire fighting procedures, which culminated in the creation of a bridge-mounted fireplan covered in perspex for scribbling on, and with the ability to fold into the ceiling. Quite proud of that bit of work. Of course, ideally they won't ever use it.|
|You may recognise this girl. She was kind enough to accompany me to the airport, where I generously spilled a pina colada over her. I think she took it for the affectionate gesture it was intended to be.|
|This is Tobago. Or possibly Barbados. Or Grenada. Or some island in between. I ended up flying from Tobago to Barbados, from Barbados to Grenada, from Grenada to Miami and from Miami to Heathrow. For someone who didn't fly at all on his easterly crossing of the Atlantic, I made up for it on my return.|
|Arriving in Grenada at midnight with nowhere to stay and no flight till 9 the next morning is a good time to have a bit of local currency on you. The customs agent called a guy who picked me up, put me up in this concrete bedsit place and drove me to the airport the next day for the equivalent of about £20. He told me about the hurricane of 2004.|
|I joined the Logos Hope at the start of the summer in East India docks, beside Canary Wharf. This is our berth as viewed from the air on my return to England.|
|For reasons which would be inexplicable to most who weren't involved, my last night involved 6 friends and a huge freezer room. We may have been the coldest 7 people for hundreds of miles. The ice-cream became progressively more solid as time went by, and Pete the Quadrio made an appearance from Australia via the internet. Epic.|
|A precious summer packed with all the recommended ingredients - good friends, rewarding work, beautiful countries, unique experiences and, of course, my Becca.|
Logos Hope so far: A slideshow of the Logos Hope story - from purchase to present day. Potted history narrated by me.