We sailed overnight to Swansea, where the depot is, and the Chief Officer decided to give us shore leave for the day as the crew were busy with loading and discharging buoys, which wasn't something we could get involved with yet. (I think they wanted to spend a bit of time with us to assess how responsible and safe we were before letting us out while operations were going on). Not complaining, we happily bimbled off into town and did some entirely unnecessary shopping! That evening we steamed to an anchorage off Tenby and stayed there for the night, ready to start buoy work in the morning.
While most of the crew got on with buoy work, S and I were detailed to help with preparations for the VC. VC stands for Visiting Committee; once a year the Elder Brethren of Trinity House go around the lighthouses to inspect them, and the easiest way to get to many of them is via the ships. My first job was helping put the stanchions for the awning on the helideck up to clean and check them. We then got told that the awning wasn’t going to be used, so, we took them down again! After that it was brasso detail, which turned out to be a regular feature of my life for the next week or so. It's a fairly boring job, but I actually quite like the satisfaction I get from making something that's blackened and filthy looking become shiny and clean. The frustrating thing is when the rain comes down and undoes all you hard work... Needless to say, it started to rain after afternoon smoko, so I helped rig the screen that goes around the boat deck at the stern and we knocked off after that.
Next day I got the rope (from the right end this time) and all the bits and pieces to do whippings and spent the morning splicing the new ropes on to the gangway and whipping the ends. It was nice to be doing something that I knew would remain there for a decent length of time and was also suitably salty and seamanlike. I showed S how to do a splice and have promised to teach her how to do it properly and some knots too, all that time spent doing knots and ropework on Pelican has certainly paid off! The afternoon wasn't nearly so much fun though as it was back to brasso duties, polishing the Elder Brethrens Clock, bell and binnacle.
So, that was my first week, I'll try and write some more about it soon, but it's now time for some celebratory tea and cake as I've just had news about my stability result. Our tutor can't give us our actual results yet as they have to be verified, but we arranged a Green, Amber, Red code for him to email us with to give us a heads up on whether we needed to start revising again. He's just emailed me saying "Your test was a brilliant shade of GREEN! Clearly you put in the effort - Well done!" So I'm on top of the world!!