Let me introduce myself. My friends, acquaintances and others will have their own opinions about me, either good, bad or in between I suppose. But for those who don’t know me I will give a brief introduction.
I first went to sea in the Merchant navy many years ago after leaving school. My first trip lasted 11 months and 20 days, things were very different then. I remember joining my first ship in Portland, England on a dark, wet and windy day. We had to take a launch out as the ship was at anchor, as we neared the ship I was overwhelmed by its size and shocked by the industrial level of rust coating its cold grey exterior.
After the initial shock I took to the seafaring life, it suited a young man looking for fun, adventure, independence, responsibility and a certain degree of mischief. The fact that it came with a pay check made life even better.
Over the following years I took my examinations and progressed to obtaining a Masters Ticket (Certificate of Competency) and eventually having my own command. I have worked on many different types of vessel in different trades. There were tankers, coasters, bulk carriers, liner ships, general cargo tramps, offshore supply boats and anchor handlers, tugs and tows, oil rig moves and some I will be happy to forget.
There were good and bad crews but mostly good people doing what they enjoyed and providing for their family. Of course there was occasional bad weather, but I only remember a handful of moments of disquiet.
Later I was encouraged to ‘go ashore’ and work in the office and have a home life or ‘proper job’ as my shore based friends would say. Going ashore led to working and living in the UK, Africa, Middle East, S.E. Asia and Australasia. I have visited more countries than I can recall, stayed in thousands of hotel rooms and flown the worst and best airlines.
I have been in, on or around ships, boats, other floating stuff and maritime activities all my working life. I am happy in the marine world and enjoy the company of other marine related people.
Over the years I have also developed deep respect for the marine environment. You could call me an environmentalist, I believe we need to preserve our environment from harm while at the same time maintaining a practical balance with human needs. Over recent years I have been horrified by the increasing levels of plastic waste I have seen around the world and disappearance of wildlife from vast areas.
I do not class myself as a sailor, I am more of a seafarer or seaman. I derive pleasure and satisfaction from sailing a boat that is propelled by natural elements, using wind, tides and currents to travel. With Truce that opportunity has come again and I expect to become a better sailor with time. One thing is certain, I am continuously learning.