1st November 2001
Pinch punch first of the month, no returns for the day. I had a surreal dream that I was diving on one of my favourite Cornish dive sites (the Runnel Stone) in gin clear but dark water. The sea was calm and our dive boat was the Santa Maria. A white whale kept gently ‘mouthing’ my head in the same way curious seals nibble on diver’s fins to feel what they are.
The same routine but in reverse now as we head back to the fishing grounds. There’s not any work to do so it’s just a case of passing the time. Perhaps it was the strange dream, or perhaps I’ve been at sea too long already but the whole day was a bit surreal.
I plucked up courage to partake of the after-lunch orange eat-off. The speed at which the Officers can eat an orange is really quite shocking, it’s as if they are competing. They peel and eat them so quickly that I had, until now, shied away from revealing myself as a mediocre orange eater at best, or a complete orange novice at worst. Having studied the Officer’s technique over recent days I finally felt confident enough to give it a go. I sliced the peel off both top and bottom and then ran the knife from end to end cutting the peel into pasty shaped segments. Then, teasing the knife underneath, I was pleased to see how easy it was to remove the peel, even so, by the time I had peeled my orange the others had eaten theirs and were picking their teeth. I fell slightly short of mediocrity, but had surpassed the orange novice grade.
For some reason there was cause for an impromptu treat, and after the oranges came cigars and whisky. I like to think it was because they were impressed with my orange eating abilities.
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.