Day 114

8th February 2002

I booked an aerobus which picked me up from the hotel and delivered me on time to the airport. It only cost 2.5 euros for a door to door service – absolute bargain. Portugal seems to have really nailed their public transport network.

The flight was uneventful other than a bit of turbulence. I was on my way to the toilet when it started and the hostess asked me to return to my seat. I wondered what she would have thought about the ‘turbulence’ I had experienced on the Santa Maria.

When I arrived in London I decided that I’d get the tube from Heathrow into the city and go straight to Victoria where I could leave my luggage and where I’d later take the train to Gatwick. I doubled back on myself after leaving my bags and got off the tube at South Kensington with my survival suit, books and reports for the office. I was not best pleased to find that Ed in the office had forgotten that I was due to arrive and had gone off to play squash! I had to wait an hour for him to come back.

After a debrief of about 45 minutes I was again travelling back to Victoria. I didn’t realise there was a British Airways desk at the train station but was glad to find that I could book my flight and check in my bags from Victoria allowing me to make my own way to the airport later. It saved me lots of stress and carting of luggage. I had only eaten the aircraft food all day and so I was starving when I ordered my meal at Gatwick. I didn’t have much time but packed down a big meal and a small bottle of wine just in time to check into departures 30 minutes before my flight. I was feeling quite smug about how well all of my travel plans had gone, and then I learned that my flight to Newquay had been delayed! I resigned myself to people watching from a pub in the departures lounge, and it was all quite enjoyable. My first couple of pints of lager went down an absolute treat; they only had bottled beer on board and it was scarce as gold dust. I realised how the trip has given me a new appreciation for things, even such that a flight delay was a real treat!
After a delay of 2 hours I boarded the little dash propeller plane and off we set for home. The flight was very comfortable and the take-off and landing very smooth. As I climbed down from the plane I could see Mum, Dad and Abs. It was absolutely fantastic to see them again, they hardly recognised their bearded son and I hardly recognised Abs in her huge heels.

We spoke non-stop during the drive home, and it was such a pleasure to be able to speak openly and freely without censure or without fear of judgement.

Mum and Dad had put a up a Christmas tree in the garden for my homecoming and welcome home banners and balloons. My bed was made ready for me. It was bliss beyond words though it was difficult to take it all in and still is.

It’s hard to summarise a trip with so many good and bad experiences. I don’t have a single regret and all the experiences whether they were good, bad or ugly have enriched my life. I have one more thought on goodbyes……they make great homecomings.

The End.

9 thoughts on “Day 114

  1. Hi, another good yarn, thanks. After a week spent sitting in a Falklands’ court observing a trawler captain being prosecuted for inaccurate catch reports, it’s good to get a glimpse into another side of the industry. And by the way, the Ilen was featured on page 11 of the January 19 edition of Penguin News – the weekly Falklands newspaper. I hope I can get to see it soon. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great read ross,
    i live in newfoundland and worked at both cold storage here in harbour grace and bay roberts and we had many foreign trawlers land here that fish the NAFO area and 3L area, they were mostly shrimp when the quota was big, had ships from estonia,russia,lithuania,faroes,danish,spain,portugal land here actually we had the santa mafalda, santa isabel, santa cristina, calvao and Festeiro land here 5 or 6 years.
    best of luck in doing a novel and looking forward to it if you do one.

    best regards,
    jerome

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    1. Thanks Jerome, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I really enjoyed my brief couple of days in Newfoundland – would love to return there someday. Really interesting to hear about those ships landing there. All the best, Ross.

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  3. The end of a great adventure & first long sea trip which I thoroughly enjoyed following. Just wonder what you have done in the intervening years. Lets hope they have been good to you!

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging comments- it means a lot to know people are reading and enjoying it.

      I continued going to sea for another 12 or so years. Life has been good mostly, and now I live in the Falklands with my wife and three children. I don’t work at sea anymore, part of me is glad and part of me misses it.

      I hope to write a novel which will draw in some of my experiences, that’s the next challenge!

      What was your experience of being at sea? Thanks again for reading and commenting, Ross.

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      1. Hi Ross thank you for your reply & happy to hear that you are happy too. Long way from where I reside in Ireland to Las Malvinas but way back in the 40s a local boat builder was asked by a company in that island to construct a vessel to trade there. She was constructed & set sail crewed by 3 local lads who had never left the Irish coast before. Being excellent seafarers they delivered the boat which was about 40 feet long but constructed like a tank & she worked till more modern vessels replaced her.& lay alongside a wall for years. The son of her builder discovered her & a group of enthusiasts returned her as deck cargo to his yard where she has lovingly been restored to her former glory & due to be launched later in 018. Her main timbers were still in perfect condition & apparently is a beautiful vessel once again. Her name was the ILLEN called after a local river .Just a bit of history.
        I was born into na trawler owning family and began life as a commercial fisherman on the wild Atlantic.I remained at that for 20yrs or so but Long trips was playing havoc with family life so I took a shore role in the business. I am now retired but still love to go on the odd trip. When the sea is in your blood its hard to live on land.
        Sorry for the long reply but that’s me when I start.

        Continued success & happiness to you & your family

        Tom Coughlan

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Tom, the Illen is a well known boat here and I had heard something about her restoration- great story and I’ll keep an eye out for news of her launch.
        When I started a job on land I told my wife to lock me in a cupboard if I ever came out with the silly notion of going back to sea again- I know the pull it has and have until recently kept going back, so I fully understand why you still go on the odd trip!

        All the very best,

        Ross

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