30th October 2001
I woke early with my alarm. The ship wasn’t rolling at all. It was either very calm or we were in harbour. I dressed quickly and went up to the bridge expecting to see the Santa Maria tied up to terra firma, but São Miguel was astern of us and we were steaming through a mirror calm sea.
The ship owner had come aboard during the night and left again with five of the crew who had caused the trouble. It was bizarre to me that this had all happened in the early hours. I had images of the owner being a mafia gangster called ‘The Codfather’ and the five crew being ‘cleaned up’ under the cover of darkness.
We have spent all day at anchor just offshore waiting. Tonight we sail to São Jorge ready to collect the replacement crew who will arrive there tomorrow. I desperately hoped that we would be able to go ashore and explore São Miguel, but apparently there isn’t enough room for us in the small harbour, with all available spaces full. It is so frustrating to be so close yet so far from a new and exciting place. I’m gutted.
I lay on my bunk reading, and at some point dosed off. I dreamed about Amy and she had curly hair, it was like it goes after she’s been swimming, or how it looked after the May Ball. When I woke up I felt a bit homesick and realised just how much I’m missing everybody.
For some reason I brought with me a photo album, and whilst I had regretted bringing it’s extra bulk at first, now I was really glad I’d packed it. I flipped each page slowly, savouring every detail of every photograph, laughing out loud at the funny stories they invoked. I saw an idyllic childhood, full of love and laughs and the best family anybody could wish for. It reminded me of the TV series ‘Darling Buds of May’. I feel very lucky.
By rights I should be bored, but I’m not. I can happily sprawl on my bunk or sit on the bow just thinking about things and people. Normally, I am too distracted to think properly, but out here there are no distractions and I can remember things I thought were long lost to my memory. It’s nice to know that they haven’t been lost, but just misplaced among the other clutter in my head. Who’d of thought it could be so satisfying to just ‘be’ and to lose yourself in thoughts and memories?
On a less profound note my first wage should go into the bank today, and so far I haven’t witnessed a single fish caught!
I have changed some of the names of the people and vessels to protect the identity of those involved, but this is otherwise a true account of my experience. If you enjoyed reading this diary extract please feel free to share it. If you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe by clicking here, and ensure you never miss a post.