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The Seaman’s Return to The Sea.

The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.51 to 3.5 m (8 ft 3  in to 11 ft 6 in), with a mean span of 3.1 m (10 ft 2 in). Albatross measured off the coast of Malabar and New South Wales, Australia averaged a wingspan of 10 foot.
The wandering Albatross, a miracle in flight! For the seaman this is another ship and another voyage

The pay-off is spent and the sea calls you back once again. This is your livelihood, your destiny, perhaps the perpetuation of another existence. Life is eternal but mortality is not. We live only once but part of the soul, our consciousness, moves on to another embryo to become another person.  A person influenced by the wisdom of many incarnations.

Now we are of the sea, we are seamen, proud young men ploughing the oceans of the world, making new shipmates and experiencing the gratification of being a mariner.

Directed by the Pool clerk and holding a white slip we go down to the dock to sign onto our new home; at least it will be our home for the next few months.

The dock water is like a mill pond and, in the corners of the dock, flotsam and jetsam huddle amongst the rainbow smeared multi coloured patches of oil. The ship is a hive of activity.
Derricks topped, yard and stay, with one over a hold one over the wharf. The clackity clack of the steam winches as they heave the cargo from the hold, then the married runner transfers to the yard and is pulled over to lower the cargo onto the dock.

The deck is a mess with folded tarps, hatch beams and hatch boards lying around amongst the dunnage, this is not how I like to see a ship.

Soon we are signed on and assigned to a watch, the ship leaves the wharf and all hands go to ‘Stations’. We pass through the lock with the shore gang singing out instructions to each other. They have rope fenders to cushion the bumps against the lock wall.
“Keep off the knuckle harry!”
The vessel slowly moves out in to the muddy brown river and immediately the crew start clearing the decks and washing down. It’s not long before all is ship-shape and the watch keepers move off to get some shut eye.

We awake to the drumming of the engines.
“We’re outward bound, we’re outward bound, we’re outward bound,”
they seem to be saying….. I look forward to the time they say,
“We’re nearly home, we’re nearly home, we’re nearly home!
Wishing our life away, definitely not, it’s just all part of the game.
The weather is fine as we move south towards Madeira from where we alter to a south-westerly course that will take us to the east coast of South America and those coffee coloured senoritas. That thought sticks in my mind, after-all bagging off is part of the sailors’ life.

The days move along, the weather remains fine and an Albatross joins our voyage. With a huge wing span they glide effortlessly, skimming the waves. One old salt once told me they were the souls of dead seamen but I’ve heard the same said about Porpoise and Dolphins; I loved the Albatross.

The weather is changing, wavelets ripple across the sea. The ship rolls to the gentle swell but then the white-caps appear and the swell begins to rise, the ship becomes livelier as she moves to the sea. One has to get his sea-legs as he rolls from side to side when walking on deck or along an alleyway.
The wind increases and waves get bigger, the swell is rising and the Albatross is nowhere to be seen. We are miles from land and storm clouds are in abundance, perhaps the Albatross is above the clouds sheltering with the angels?

The wind is gale force, the ship is screeching and groaning, pitching, tossing, rolling and she seems very stiff; we can blame who ever made the stowage plan for that.
It is all discomfort as one is thrown around the bunk, not much sleep. Bugger!
How long is this going to last?  No sooner has the thought passed through the mind the storm starts to abate. The wind drops, the pitching/tossing and rolling is getting less; sanity has returned to the ocean.

Out on deck the spray has vanished as the sea gets calmer. Then we see the Albatross gracefully, effortlessly skimming the wave tops once again. Time to get some bronzy (suntan), get ready to impress the senioritis. Life is sweet and our thoughts are carnal, we’re seafarers once again and thinking like them…. May this life never end! Forum Index -> Liverpool and Merseyside History & Nostalgia
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