Soren Larsen in the Caribbean.
Just one year ago I was waiting to join
a sailing ship in the Caribbean. Now the anniversary of that time - I want to recall
The ship was called the Soren Larsen;
it was built in Europe for the transport of timber, but is now based in New Zealand and
provides holidays for those who want to experience sailing a tall ship.
The photograph right shows the
Soren underway between St. Lucia and Granada.
I dont speak from wide experience
but I cant imagine a better ship to sail in or a better place to sail her. Added to
this was the advantage of escaping the English winter for the deep blue seas and the warm
days afloat, or on the golden stretches of sand that form a necklace round each of the
In charge of the motley
passage crew was Sally Anderson: the first mate.
Left is Sally on the fore deck as the
sun goes down.
The job of first mate will be
rationalised at some time in the future: it combines the roles of teacher, public
relations manager, union representative, senior member of the professional crew and
operative responsible for the untangling of anchor chains. When the rationalisation does
come it will sweep away much of the culture that belongs to the era of sailing ships. We
shall also lose the personalities and the charms that this culture breeds.
Many of you will have read Sallys
log which keeps those of us who left a little bit of themselves on the ship in touch with
how things are going.
In charge of the boat and the
administration were the captain and purser who resolved numerous problems with an
Sallys team included Jima the
boson, Barry the second mate, Peter the engineer, and Troy who was in his element
whether it was diving beneath the boat or climbing to the top of the mast. The cooks were
the heart of the boat. We woke to breakfast on deck, we broke for lunch when the passage
making allowed and in the evening after drinks on deck we feasted on three course dinners
below decks. These occasions were the focus of our social life aboard.
Here are Jima and wife Sally (who is
part of cooks team) enjoying one of the rare personal moments that their duties on board
allowed. I imagine they are now enjoying summer alongside the southern ocean.
Here are the crew furling the sails on
the foremast after a days sailing.
Not all our time was spent on board.
Most evenings we would go ashore to visit either a museum, or a bar, and some of our days
were spent exploring the islands. Right is a photograph of an island that might
have been designed as the result of being inspired by a dream.
Left is one of the local
tigers resting between fishing trips.
Not all the life in the Caribbean is
above the waves. One of the most impressive parts of my voyage was the opportunity to dive
beneath the surf among the coral together with the abundant and colourful fish.
Here, to conclude this brief
reminiscence, is a photograph of a dense shoal of fish swimming over a bank of coral.
Above this shoal a pelican was diving
to gorge on beakloads of these silvery fish!
All the very best to all I sailed with.
Carribean Dec 2000