Yard Arm Twisting

06 Nov

Twenty years ago today, this became my home for a month.  It was exciting and terrifying, encompassing and isolating, exhilarating and exhausting – I did everything, navigation, pulling on ropes, lots of pulling on ropes and the coiling and tidying of them afterwards, there was food preparation and dishes to do, daily ship cleaning and participation in the rotational watch, where we took helm, kept watch, completed Met Office reports … oh and watched dolphins, whales, fishermen and the skies.  The night skies have never looked so brilliant nor the dark as dark.

I boarded in Southampton and eventually made it to the Canary Islands, the crew of 52 started as utter strangers and grew to comfortable friends – well you had to, there are no cabin doors just curtains and en suite is a mis-pronounced piece of candy.

During all my trips I kept a very detailed diary which I called my [dis]Abled Sea-persons Twig, many years ago I uploaded it to LiveJournal but it has been removed or lost over time – shame really.  Three of my trips are blogged on my web site, I really should get round to adding this one as well.

Looking through the photos and books of that time the memories are warm yet edged with a sorrow, some of those faces are now dead, people have moved on to other adventures and pastures, but for a month we were in our own little bubble and shared a great deal together.

I miss that version of me – but maybe not the permed hair.


Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “Yard Arm Twisting

  1. Bushka

    November 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    HUGS! Wish I could deliver them personally! I am one of your ‘admirers’….Maybe, one day, I’ll get to deliver them personally. Take Care! xxxxx


  2. gillyk

    November 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Very impressed – what a strong-hearted thing to do!


    • amgroves

      November 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      I couldn’t do it today, I’d be too chicken, lol.


  3. la_spice

    November 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Wonderful memories you wonderful girl ~x~


    • amgroves

      November 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      I was only ever going to do it once. I worked for two years getting the sponsorship funds and planning this once in a life time thing. I did a further three ‘never again’ trips, lol. I remember being hurled from ‘out of my depth’ to ‘so in the zone’ via ‘I don’t fit’ and ‘this is home’.


  4. foxhat

    November 7, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Permed hair?

    How long did that last aboard?

    Sounds epic.


    • amgroves

      November 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      LOL, it stayed pretty well even with all that sun sea and salt. Mind you I needed a serious hair harvesting when I got home.


  5. KEGGY

    November 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    What a marvellous adventure. It is one of those things you will never forget. You do get close to people on trips like that. And then you go your own separate ways. I am so impressed that you did this. You obviously have a sense of adventure :yes: x


    • amgroves

      November 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      When I was 17 I took myself off on a coach trip holiday, by myself, met a few nice people, travelled the Rhein. Always had a sense of wonderlust. Before my brain really understood the future limitations of my disease I wanted to join the Navy. Maybe it came from having overseas holidays from age 2 1/2.



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