7am and we’re woken up by a very loud Blackadder-like “Wake up ladies there’s work to be done”, followed by stomping on the roof. Immediately my mind was cast back to the early morning starts aboard Ramprasad and for a split second I thought that perhaps I’d made a mistake joining Voyager.
My early sailing career taught me a lot of things about life at sea. Perhaps the biggest lesson was how to get on with fellow crew members. It’s something I’m still learning. Occasionally, however, there are times when one comes across certain types of people whose behaviour is beyond one’s control. No amount of swabbing the decks or slaving in the galley will ever make life easier on board and this can be compounded by a long journey where getting off the boat is not an option.
After a chat and a beer we got to know the boat and I made the schoolboy error of choosing the smallest bunk in the fore cabin. Twat. My fears of an uncomfortable sleep, however, were dispelled after my first night aboard Voyager.
Crew of Voyager, October 2003
The last leg of my trip was to be spent in some good old Saffron Walden company, staying with Topher and his charming girlfriend, Rachel. I don’t think I need go into any detail regarding Amsterdam – all the rumours are true and it’s here to be discovered for yourselves, if you haven’t already been.
My stay in Sintra, however, was topped by a visit to the enchanting Quinta de Regaleira. Although the house was interesting it was the garden that could not fail to impress. Set in large tiers this steep tangle of orchids and large trees was littered with castle turrets and water features, but it was the Initiation Well that really blew me away. The well was over 60 feet deep and wide enough to walk down. Truly this was something out of Tomb Raider as I descended down the well via a stone staircase bordered by large archways.