After boarding HMS Pursuer we made our way to Brighton. En-route we were able to find our feet with chart work, plot, officer of the watch and helm after not being on ship for a while due to new engines being fitted.
After a night out in Brighton, we made our way across the North Sea to Zeebruge. I would love to say that it offered us the chance to soak up some sun, and top up the tans, but unfortunately the weather was not that great. However, spirits were not dampened as after getting ahead in our work we were soon in Amsterdam. Whilst sailing to Amsterdam we were in company with HMS Trumpeter (Cambridge URNU), HMS Explorer (Yorkshire URNU) and HMS Biter (Manchester URNU). This allowed for some friendly competition between the four ships, in the grand old sport of water ballooning, and gave us the opportunity to meet other URNU students from around the country.
We were given our harbour day in Amsterdam which gave us a chance to explore the city, eat off ship and visit some of the sites. Being a tad late for the boat tour we decided on the next best way to explore the city - a pedalo boat! Never mind being on ship and getting up at 0600 every morning, the real challenge of phase one was squeezing all five of us into a standard size pedalo whilst staying dry.
After saying goodbye to Amsterdam, with an amazing night out, we then went on to the quaint town of Enkhuizen, Netherlands. On our way there we passed by huge offshore wind farms and the causeways in the sea that allow cars to cross the water and reach the land on the other side. After Enkhuizen we made our way to Eemshaven, Wilhelmshaven and Cuxshaven (all in Germany). The highlight of deployment for me was traveling up the Kiel Canal. We passed under the huge bridges which line the sides all the way and kept our speed down so as not to damage the banks, while passing the huge container ships travelling in the opposite direction. Although the passage took us hours, we arrived in Kiel and berthed in the German Naval Port. Unfortunately, we had missed the Kiel festival by one week but caught the tail end of it that night in a final trip into the town.
Overall, the phase went very well. The weather held out for us and we all flew home from Hamburg looking forward to the next time we will be onboard ship.
Mid Alice Fingland