As per usual, we assembled at the unit at an hour which does not bear mentioning. With bags packed and seating snatched we jumped into the mini-bus for the short trip to Cumbria. We were all very excited for the two weeks on ship that lay ahead although we were slightly envious of our compatriots’ luck of choosing the phase involving distillery tours, press coverage and festival access!
The experience of the students varied from a few days on ship to numerous previous deployments. Unfortunately, this experience was not enough to avoid the pandemic of sea-sickness which broke out after venturing out onto the Irish Sea for two hours. After this trial-by-water, however, the stomachs were soothed and the ship was constantly abuzz with chartwork being conducted by the off-watch whilst the on-watch navigated the ship under the ever-watchful eye of the CO and the wandering XO.
Our next harbour day was in Padstow, arguably the prettiest part of Cornwall. The town was very pretty, the cuisine was essentially owned by Rick Stein and the beach was beautiful. It was here that we had to continue on without the company of Archer as a member of their ship’s company fell ill.
Due to prevailing weather conditions, the pilotages around Guernsey were cut short and we made our way to Cherbourg. It was here that we had our delicious deployment dinner in Le Vauban despite the broken, beaten and scarred state of the students.
We returned to Eastbourne whereupon we were welcomed by the Royal Naval Association and the night-life of the town. It was a fun-filled ending to what had been a testing yet fulfilling phase aboard ship.