I thought I would like to share some stories from my journal. So here is a bit of a classic, way back from 1996 when I’d just finished my third (and final) year of uni studying Commerce at UNSW. At the end of the year I went away with the faculty Commerce Christian group. It was a few days away and involved much fun.  This is an abridged version of one particular event of that famous Commerce Bash…

Tuesday 5th December 1996

[After a morning of Bible reflection and discussion, then lunch (I described lunch as ‘delicious, some stuff with something else in the middle’ ) and a trip to the beach, the attendees of the Commerce Bash gathered in a park in readiness for the photo hunt.]

We each got a camera and went in a team in a car and had to take photos of stuff.

In our team was Stu Starr (driver), myself, Jon Blencowe, Tony Wright and Squish. We had a great team and we sort of worked out what to do.

We headed off and went to try and find the tourist information place and we found the Catholic church, got a photo there. Then we saw the girl guide hall and we got a photo with the people there – points for little kids. We were getting warmed up and we then did a human pyramid with a group of little kids, and then we raced over to the Bowling Club – where there were lots of people bowling – and we got that photo.

Then to a corner shop where we found lots of ice-creams and a photo there and we asked directions to the police station and cemetery.

Then we drove to the police station and by this stage the policeman in charge was a bit annoyed at heaps of people coming through and annoying them. We also got a photo of us smiling outside the funeral parlour!

But we got the photo and then to the cemetery and we weren’t entirely sure where to go. So we saw this girl  walking beside the road, so I wound down the window and said, ‘Excuse me, we were wondering if you could tell us where the cemetery was!’ It was a bizarre request and we all cracked up later.

Anyway, we got to the site and found a grave with the name Elizabeth Stack, so we did a ‘Stacks on’ in front of the site.

Then out and on driving back we the girl who helped us and we waved and honked the horn. She must have thought we were loonies!!

Anyway, we did a couple of our creative shots, we got a photo of Tony dressed up in Anthony’s motorcycle gear (looking very seedy),  beckoning outside a pre-school! We thought it was pretty funny.

Then next we got a photo of Stu preaching from the Bible outside the ‘Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’, we were all disciples at his feet – it was quite funny.

Then we went off to find the Lake Haven shopping centre and we got there, got a photo of heaps of animals (birds) in a pet shop.

Then found the train (in the shopping centre) and then we took off and had to finish our photos.

We went past a primary school and it looked like they were having a pageant of some sort, we thought if we ran out of time we’d go back.

Then we drove to the golf course – got a photo on a green with some bewildered golfers and then we went to the highlight of our trip, the turnoff sign to Buff Point.

Squish was in the car and squirmed, I maintained my modesty by taking the photo – but Tony, Stu and Jon stripped down and put a hat in a strategic spot and we took the photo.

We couldn’t believe it – but then we took off.

We stopped at a sign that said Newcastle, we wrote SAND, and put it in front of the New and had Sandcastle 60 – we aimed to get 60 sandcastles.

Anyway, then we decided to go to this primary school (Gorokan Primary) and we raced in and it was a kids dance – there were hundreds of kids around and Tony took the photo and we raced out again.

We were in hysterics thinking that no-one would be able to beat us (especially at 20 points per kid!)

Then we went to the Lake Haven Shopping Centre again and we finished off the film and it started to absolutely pour.

We then put the film in and we had finished. The only thing we didn’t get was buried in the sand – head visible!

So we celebrated and Squish bought us all ice creams from Maccas.

Tony and Stu and I were chatting in the car, Stu said, ‘This certainly is a good team building exercise’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve grown to hate you all!’

But we went back to where the BBQ was supposed to be – talking mainly about the Buff Pt shot and the hundreds of kids.

We had a fantastic photos hunt – thoroughly enjoyed by our team.

Anyway, we got back to the camp and talked to everyone, Darren couldn’t believe that people in our group actually went ‘Buff’ naked.

[After this we had dinner and card games and then the photos returned with the winners of the famous Commerce Bash photo hunt…]

But, the photos came back and they were hilarious. The Buff Point one turned out well, as did most of our photos.

The other groups basically didn’t have a chance, we had hundreds of kids and animals and old people etc etc.

Then they announced the points. One team got 425 or so, and another two teams got 520 odd and 570 odd. Then our team got 1725 points!!

We got more points for our picture with all the little kids in (31 kids – 620 points) than the other groups got all up!

It was hilarious. We also won 3 of the 4 special categories. We lost the landscape one, but one the funniest individual (sleazy guy beckoning outside a primary school), the funniest group (Stu preaching outside the JW’s) and the most creative near Buff Pt!!

So we won by miles (although they tried deducting 1000 points for ugliness and 200 pts for another silly reason.

But out team dominated and collected the prize, which was glory and honour and humility!


Pip’s sudden death was a dreadful shock to the whole team. We actually weren’t that far from Antarctica and after the drama of the morning we tried to come to terms with what had happened. I’ll continue the events of that fateful day.

Thursday 25th January 2001 (continued)

People began sobbing and I stared blankly and couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t work out what would happen to the rest of the trip – what would happen?

I wanted to be alone and I went up on deck. We had passed into the Antarctic zone with icebergs etc. I looked out and saw an incredible sight of icebergs floating magnificently in the ocean and I saw King George Island with the curved masses of ice in beautiful blues and whites.

However the sight of this seemed irrelevant – the sight of my first iceberg seemed like nothing compared to losing Pip. I felt numb. It felt irreverent to take photos.

I just stood up on the deck watching the world go past, a remarkable Antarctic world and I just thought. I thought about death and the mission and Pip and what had happened.

I had felt bad that I hadn’t done much to help.

I tell you, the worst thing I had to do was to carry Pip, when dead into one of the cabins. She looked dead, no life in the lips, eyes shut – lifeless corpse. It was a terrible thing to have to do.

So I just stood and watched and looked at Antarctica – we had arrived, but under the most tragic of circumstances.

When I went up on deck I said to Jane, ‘I’m just going outside, I may be some time’.

Anyway, it was good to stand up on deck on ‘growler duty’. I was there for a while by myself then Damien joined me. We talked a bit and looked at the snow and ice. Damien said, ‘it’s a bit irrelevant now, jut just doesn’t seem important’. I didn’t feel like taking pictures – it just didn’t seem right.

Damien and I talked a bit and then Marcus came up and joined us on deck and we talked some more. All of us were in shock and we couldn’t quite believe what had happened.

My mind was racing, do we stop here, will I get to see Antarctica, how do I respect Pip?? So many questions.

Talked a bit with Marcus and Damien and then I took a few photos.

Antarctica really is an amazing place. All around me I felt power, the sheer power and size of the ice and snow. It has a strange feeling. I felt like I shouldn’t be there.

Anyway as we went past King George Island we got closer to Bellingshausen and I noticed a storm brewing. We motored into the bay where the base is and we needed people on deck to help get things ready.

We put the sail away and tied everything up and went into the bay. I saw a blue iceberg, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

The wind picked up to some 30 knots or so and we got closer and closer to Bellingshausen.

We sailed through an ice-field, there were growlers everywhere and we had to slow down so we could get through ok. The wind was very strong, but we got through fine and eventually found the bay and saw the Bellingshausen base for the first time.

There were quite a number of buildings there, mainly the Chilean base, but we could see the Chilean base on the left and Bellingshausen – the Russians – on the right.

All of the buildings seemed so out of place, they seemed such an intrusion on the natural beauty of King George Island.

We anchored and then went down to the saloon. Jane and Lynn cooked us up some food – sausages in pastry – quite nice.

Then we had to recount the whole story. We went through everything and wrote it down so we could all agree on the correct sequence of events for future reference.

The tale was quite sordid as we recounted all of the details. I didn’t say very much at all, I realised how little I had to do with Pip on those last couple of days. Lynn, Damien, Marcus and Mark and Jane bad been the best with her. I felt guilty that I hadn’t done more to help at all. I liked Pip and I had a couple of good chats with her. She was quiet – but a very valuable member of the team.

Eventually we finished recounting the details which seemed to take an eternity. We got our stuff ready for transfer to land. We went across in the Zodiac an met up with the Russians on land.

When I got onto land it felt very weird. My body was so used to the water. My head and body was spinning around. I had sea-legs.

Then we got onto the back of a Russian truck an we went up to our ‘hotel’ (later one of the Russians described it as a ‘1/2 star hotel’). It was situated high up away from the rest of the base. It overlooked the bay, but it was hard to say what we saw, for it was dark.

We got to our rooms, they were dry and warm. It was an old scientific research area. There were beds there and bedding. We got our stuff together there and made up beds etc.

We also met Oleg and Valerie from the Russian base. They gave us a bottle of cognac and Damien go out a bottle of whiskey.

We talked briefly then the Russians left, I was totally exhausted so I prepare myself for bed. I thought the others would as well, but they sat up talking and drinking. I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn’t above their drinking and talking.

In my head was the Bible verse from Ecclesiastes, ‘A time for mourning and a time for joy’. I felt it was the time for mourning.

Eventually they all went to bed and I got some sleep.

We were much closer to Antarctica and then came the day that changed the trip and our lives forever.

Thursday 25th January 2001

I was awoken at around 2:30am by Damien, I was on the 3-7am shift to watch the boat.

I got up and was ready to go. It was freezing. I spent a lot of time on the front of the boat on iceberg duty looking out for growlers (submerged ice) and icebergs. I spent a lot of time talking with Brenda and a bit of time talking with Lynn.

Lynn spent a lot more time below deck looking after Pip. She was really sick, so much so that when I got up Jane was going to sleep in Pip’s cabin to look after her and watch her.

The morning shift was very uneventful, in fact I don’t think we made a sail change. There was no wind – we just motored along.

Jane came up at one stage and gave us an egg – for breakfast! It was nice.

The highlights of our watch were some penguins swimming and some seals.

Then at 7am I went back to bed to get some sleep.

I woke up again about 1.5 hours later. There was pandemonium and action in the passageway.

I heard a beeping from the Nav. area and Jane came in and woke up Marcus.

I then say Marcus and a couple of others drag Pip into the passageway. I prayed for Pip then.

I got up but I didn’t fully know what was going on. I looked out of my cabin and I saw them administering CPR to Pip. I saw Hilda and she had a kind of shocked look on her face and said, ‘She’s not breathing’.

Suddenly I realised just how serious the situation was. Mark was running around with various needles etc and he told me to sit at the chart table and write down any message that came through.

I sat there and heard the whole story unfold. There were people madly giving Pip CPR and rubbing her legs to try to keep her warm – but there had been no pulse and she hadn’t been breathing. It was looking really bad.

We got a message from a ship called the Orlova, they were about 4 hours away to the north. We had a bit of a conversation with them (Emily was doing all the talking) we even turned around to try and get closer to them.

However we had a conversation with the doctor on the Orlova and we relayed Pip’s symptoms to him. We said that the patient was without a pulse for about an hour or so, then I heard the doctor say that he recommended we stop CPR, ‘the patient has expired, you’ll only exhaust your crew’. I couldn’t quite believe it – Pip was dead! It couldn’t be true could it?

Mark was injecting all sorts of things, adrenalin, insulin, Dramamine, but he had no injection called ‘life’.

We kept going with the CPR and I prayed more.

We had news of a navy helicopter on its way, so we changed course again and tried to get closer to the helicopter.

It was only 11am but the morning had seemed like an eternity. Everyone was looking concerned and people were quite shocked.

The helicopter eventually arrived – I played my small part relaying messages from the radio and getting Em or Mark to take them.

When the helicopter came it was incredibly dramatic. Two royal navy servicemen came down. The spray and the noise and the wind was incredible.

The navy doctor was there only for a little while – they only had a few minutes on the 2041.

He pronounced Pip dead and then the servicemen were winched back to the helicopter and they took off.

It confirmed what we had all feared, but Pip was dead. Yesterday she was alive – I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she said, ‘A cheese sandwich’, ‘with butter’. Now I would never hear her voice again. It was almost unbelievable.

When the Navy servicemen left we put the boat in neutral (there was still no wind) and Mark called an emergency meeting.

We were all pretty gutted I mean what could you say or think or do! Pip was dead, one of our team, the Mission Antarctica 2001 team, was dead! I mean dead! Not just sick or late or missing or irritable – dead! Not alive!

Mark said that he, Em and Mike would sail the boat, we were left free.

We’d settled into life onto the yacht and we got closer to Antarctica.

Wednesday 24th January 2001

I awoke and I tried to work out what time it was. I hoped I had slept through to the next watch change and I was quite relieved to see my clock at 10:28am when I got up. I had a shave and ate something.

Our watch’s job was to get lunch ready. So Lynn and I began chopping things up for sandwiches. We got a whole load of food ready an I went around taking orders. We made up sandwiches and distributed them. I think the appetites are returning – people ate a lot more!

I had a bit of time till our next watch – 1pm.

It was a glorious day, blue skies, hardly a cloud to be seen. Unfortunately this meant no wind.

I got into all my waterproofs etc and went on watch. It was like being on a cruise! The sun was warm and people lay about on deck. The water is incredibly blue. We are gradually making our way across. There isn’t much wind. The main thing we’ve done on our watch is let the yankee out. Not much else. Just sat back and enjoyed the glorious weather.

Absolutely nothing happened on our watch. I went up to the bow of the boat (I think that is the right term for the front) and sat and watched the sea and let my mind wander.

I sat right at the front and looked back at the boat rocking and making progress over the water. I watched birds flying around and I just watched the deep blue water. It was a beautiful rich deep blue colour. I enjoyed sitting at the front of the boat.

Then back and sat around some more. I got quite hot with all my fleece and wet weather gear on. Sat around and the afternoon moved along. The entertainment was the Yank and Irishman sparring in a verbal duel. They are a funny pair.

Eventually dinner time came and Matt had cooked up a delicious shepherds pie thing, it really was nice. Ate that and sat up with the others. I also say up and ready some of Brenda’s ‘Hockey News’. Ice Hockey is a totally different world, I know nothing of it at all.

Eventually our watch finished at 7pm exactly the way it had started – except that the Yankee was out! It was still a gloriously sunny day. It had been very quiet – a little wind and the engine had been on all the time.

I looked at the ocean around me, wherever I looked I could see the ocean, from horizon to horizon and all in between. The big restless, blue alive ocean!

I then went and had a shower and since the engine had been running there was hot water. My shower was brief and rather swayee, but very refreshing.

The sun is about to set – I’m going to watch the sunset and then go to bed, I’m on the 3-7am shift tomorrow morning. Hopefully there will be a bit of action.

I watched the sunset – it was quite nice, but it was getting cold. I bade goodnight to those on deck and to bed.

We continued sailing steadily south. The trip continues as the seasickness affected the crew.

Tuesday 23rd January 2001

I woke up a couple of times during the night, but I got up at 6:30am or so and attempted to to do my shift. I got into the wet weather gear and then Brenda, Lynn and myself did our shift. Mike was our watch leader.

We didn’t actually do very much, we put the yankee out and that was about it. We just sat around feeling cold.

I watched the water – there was water from horizon to horizon. It was very soothing to watch.

I also enjoyed watching the birds sail and drift over the water. The albatross’ with wonderful wingspans just glided over the water. They seemed so much more at home than myself. We really didn’t do much.

Lynn and I sang sea shanty songs – we didn’t know the words so we just did the actions. We also sang, ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ and ‘What shall we do with the sleeping Brenda’. We had a good laugh.

Some of the others came up to do lunch and we chatted with them. Marcus was just too cheerful! He and Damien were coping very well with the sea-sickness!

I had been eating steadily over the morning and a bit of porridge and a bit of chocolate and the odd biscuit. I had kept everything down well. I ate half a sandwich for lunch.

We were off at 1pm and I hung about in the doghouse for a bit. The scenery was the same, rolling waves and cloudy all around. The temperature went between 8 and 12 degrees in the doghouse.

I went downstairs and wrote my wrote my sit-rep.

Oh – Andres had sort of roused – but not really. He said “I have been asleep for 16 hours and I still feel ill!’ I wrote the sit-rep, mentioning the fact that a lot of people had come down with sea-sickness and Marcus was too cheerful and Andres had a nickname, ‘Condor’.

After writing the sit-rep I went to my bunk and had a bit of a sleep.

I got up at 6:30pm for dinner. Dinner had been prepared by Marcus and Damien and it was nice – a beef stir-fry with rice! I ate a bit.

Pip and Hilda had arrived for dinner – Pip was feeling a lot better, but still not the best.

I sat in the doghouse for a bit and then went down and did the dishes with Lynn.

After that I came back up to the doghouse and wrote in here. We are presently a bit under 40 miles from the Antarctic convergence zone. This is where we have special rules about waste disposal etc. We’ll also have to keep our eyes open for icebergs and whales.

It is currently overcast and drizzly, there is a bit of wind but we are driving with the motor. Our progress has been steady.

I killed a bit of time, read a bit about the birds of Antarctica and the Drake Passage. We’d seen some albatross’s and petrels.

I lay my head down for a bit, I was on the 11-3 night watch.

I and Brenda and Lynn prepared for the watch and we were ready at 11pm. Emily was our watch leader.

Initially there wasn’t much to do. We just sat in the eerie twilight. After a bit I went up to the bow with Lynn and watched the ocean from the front. She asked me if I studied the Bible much, I said I did and we had a good conversation. She has had a lot of Christianity in her upbringing, Bible verses and Christian schooling. It as a good conversation.

Anyway, we had some action, the wind steadied and strengthened, so we had some sailing to do.

We let out the Yankee and the staysail. We got up to 10 knots – we switched the engine off and it was the most exhilarating experience.

The wind was quite strong, so we reefed the mainsail as well! Plenty of action. It was very exciting, the waters rushing about, putting up sails as the yacht sped along. All done in the dark.

It got dark for a couple of hours and at around 2:30am it began getting light again. The days are incredibly long here.

We aroused the next watch – which was good for I was getting really tired. It was 3am and very cold!

The next watch came up and took over from us. I went to my bunk and to bed.

Our trip continued as we left land and began our trip to Antarctica. We were sailing into open sea…

Monday 22nd January 2001

Got woken up, I didn’t sleep as well, I got very hot overnight in my sleeping bag.

Had breakfast and then did a couple of jobs on deck and we prepared to leave.

We had a briefing and then left Chile at around 8:4am. My stay in Chile had been brief – very similar to my day trip to Malaysia a couple of years ago.

We sailed off from Puerto Williams (with the engine on). Again the morning’s sail was very pleasant. We put up the mainsail and motored down the Beagle Channel.

We practised a man overboard drill. I was on the helm at the time, so I had to steer the boat right around into the wind. At that time the wind was quite gusty (25Kn) so it made the drill a bit ‘exciting’.

Then we took it easy for a bit. Then Mark got us onto our watches – our first taste for the sailing. I was on Watch 1 with Brenda and Lynn until 1pm.

We started our watch, another group went and made lunch and another group sat in the doghouse. We sailed down the Beagle Channel.

Mike was our watch leader and we put a couple of reefs in the mainsail, which was quite dramatic. I copped a wave in the face as well, which was amusing for some.

The watch was quite dramatic at that point with a 25Kn wind and us on deck. But we were under control and we sat back and enjoyed the scenery for a bit.

The hills became lower and there was less snow. We gradually left the craggy snow capped peaks behind and the passage became wider.

We had lunch which was excellent. Spaghetti + salad + sauce. It was great. I ate that up in the doghouse. Then the rest of the team went on watch and I had free time, so I wrote in here.

It is a glorious day, we have seen hundreds of birds, the wildlife is excellent. The channel hasn’t been too rough but we haven’t actually hit the Drake Passage yet. We should be there fairly soon, then the big seas begin.

Sat around on deck for a bit and seas remained quite choppy. The joviality and jokes began slowing down as people began to feel a bit queasy.

I was feeling quite fine sitting in the doghouse. I was quite enjoying it.

However I had to go down to the toilet and start thinking about dinner. Lynn and I went down and it was hard to get about. Going to the toilet was a bit of an adventure.

But then I started feeling a bit crook. I sat up in the doghouse again.

Pip had won the sea-sickness competition and others were following suit. I felt worse and worse and eventually I had to get the bucket and I saw my spaghetti and mince again!

I then went and crawled to my bed. I felt pretty bad and I lay there. It was around 5pm. Dinner was a long way from being ready, in fact I think I’d be lucky to make my watch at 7pm.

Andres also came to bed and I threw up again. It was a pretty awful experience.

I definitely wasn’t going to make my shift at 7pm, in fact out of Brenda, Lynn and myself – only Lynn was able to do the shift. Marcus helped out.

It got a bit rough as well. We had some large gusts of wind – one gust got up to 42 knots! It was pretty windy and the boat rocked a lot.

Sea-sickness was bad, I just felt sick and like I didn’t want to do anything. I felt so lethargic. I did get some sleep though.

This was the day – the day the trip really began. I’d slept my first night on a yacht we were about to head off.

Sunday 21st January 2001

I slept fantastically. I woke up at around 6:30am and was up for breakfast. Ate brekky on the boat – cereal and UHT milk. Breakfast conversation was good, Hilda didn’t get in until 2.30am!

Then we did a few things, we prepared the boat for sailing and we practised some knots. The general standard amongst the group was pretty low. Damien and Pip were very good but Andres and the Canadians didn’t have much idea.

After that we took some team photos and tidied up. Mark did all the customs stuff with our passports etc. Then we were ready to sail at around 10am; except for the fact that there was no wind!

Andres pointed out that Marcus is your typical American – always talking, always eating with a baseball cap on.

We motored out of Ushuaia and we were off, off on the 2041, off on our great adventure – the adventure of a lifetime.

Mark was at the helm and he talked to us about what we were going to do. Our first task was raising the mainsail. We did it bit by bit and after much teamwork and help from Emily, we raised it! (there wasn’t any wind though).

We practised a few techniques and then we decided to have some lunch. Marcus (American – food is his speciality) went down and took charge.

I sat up on the deck watching the scenery. Again, it was nothing short of spectacular! We watched Ushuaia gradually become smaller in the distance. The Beagle Channel was like glass as it was so calm. We went past snow capped mountains and we could see the reflections on the water. We also saw many birds and wildlife. The sun was warm and it was quite beautiful. I even took the wheel for a while and chatted with Mark.

It was when I took the wheel that lunch was ready. Marcus had organised a delicious ham toasted sandwich. We all enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

Then after lunch the wind picked up a lot and we pulled out the Yankee. With the extra sails we had a lot more extra speed. We got up to nearly 10 knots at one stage!

We learned new techniques and new words – luffing etc. We also began some tacking manoeuvres. We all tried the different positions. After a couple of tacks I got the general idea of what had to happen on each tack. I began to get the hang of sailing. It was an excellent, exhilarating experience to be actually sailing! No motor – we got to our destination by sail power.

Then we practised a couple of man overboard drills. We went through the procedures and at one instance we threw the flag overboard and collected it.

Eventually after a great days sailing we made for Puerto Williams (Chile). We arrived and berthed on the jetty.

We did some cleaning up on the yacht and made everything tidy. Mark also did another briefing on man overboard manoeuvres etc.

Then it was free time. We got ready and then had a bit of a wander into Puerto Williams. It is a Chilean naval base so there wasn’t much to the town. We all had a look around – it was deserted. I suppose it was Sunday evening, so nothing was open.

It was a bit of a dump, dirt streets, small houses and unkept gardens and parks.

Wandered back to the boat and looked at the ‘yacht club’.

The others went to the yacht and I had a wander. I walked down the road and to a little bridge. I noticed a car stopped – looking at something on the pond. It was a moving log – a beaver! I went across and watched it for a while. It was great to watch the beaver in the Patagonian wilderness!

Then back to the yacht, wrote in here waiting to work out what happens with dinner. So a great day again today, sailing through Patagonia. Tomorrow it really begins – the Drake Passage, watches and everything. I’m learning a lot about sailing and I’ve even managed to use a clove hitch for a real situation!

We went onshore again to this restaurant that the customs officer recommended to Andres. We all walked up there through the thriving metropolis of Puerto Williams. We found the restaurant and went in. It was only the 2nd day he had been open.

His eyes lit up when we all walked in; we all looked pretty inconspicuous tramping through Puerto Williams with our red jackets etc.

We got there at around 9pmish and had some drinks. It was a bit of a speciality to Latin America, some alcoholic drink – similar to a margarita.

We chatted away and had a great time. We worked out we were eating at the most southerly ‘restaurant’ in the world! Quite a good experience.

The food came gradually, some entrée (a kebab style thing) and then some delicious hot bread. It was yummy.

I had an excellent conversation with Damien – we talked about religion for a bit as well. He asked if I was a bible bashing freak (i.e. want to convert you) – I don’t know how clear I was with my response. He is Catholic and goes to mass every week, but he doesn’t read his Bible. He is quite happy with what he’s got and doesn’t want anyone telling him what he should believe. But we had a good conversation.

The topic of what people thought about each other before the trip came up. Apparently Damien thought I’d be a pain. Hilda said she thought I would be older and more serious. Everyone said I didn’t look anything like the picture on the Intranet!

Anyway, eventually our dinner arrived – it came one by one and mine was the last to come! It was beef and chips and egg and tomato. Not too bad, but I had filled up on bread, so I couldn’t finish my dinner.

It had been a fun night, we had all enjoyed the food and the conversation.

Then finished up and headed back to the boat. I was pretty full – then got ready for be. In and to bed, my second night on the boat.