Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008
Friday 5th September 08
The sailing phase of Exercise MIDNIGHT SUN has finally come to an end. At 0815 this morning the crew met up at the yacht to find out what unlucky cleaning jobs they were going to be awarded with for the day. But before this delight could be revealed the yachts contents had to be fully unloaded, every locker emptied so that the boat could be thoroughly cleaned. It is surprising how much equipment had to be unloaded, all the crew’s issued clothing and sleeping bags, from both legs, all the uneaten food (much of which has some how found it’s was into the students bags!) The clothing needs to be dried out after its 5 weeks at sea, and this is not an easy task as winter seems to be here already and it has been raining all day! All the extra equipment that the Royal Signals added to Adventure to make life a little easier also needed to be removed and all the original equipment that we had chosen not to take had to be replaced, and all this was being carefully watched by Stuart, itinerary in hand.
Once fully unloaded the deep clean began, rubber gloves were donned and the bleach and disinfectant were out in force! The beds had to be aired, the galley and heads scrubbed, bleached and disinfected, the forepeak emptied and cleaned, and the bilges deep cleaned. The crew are still working in their watches and there is still inter watch banter, which goes to show how adventurous training like this creates team work and camaraderie. It brings people together from all walks of life; some who had never met previous to meeting at the TA centre in Windsor, and create a strongly bonded team, an outsider looking in would say the crew had known each other far longer than three weeks.
One of my best moments of the day was our ‘Award Ceremony’, 5 of the crew were awarded their ‘RYA Competent Crew’ certificates. All had reached and surpassed the required level over the many weeks of training and 3 weeks at sea. Well done to all!
The planning that goes into a major project like this takes a huge amount of imagination and a massive amount of effort, with hours of planning, phone calls research and sourcing of equipment. With in the sailing side of the expedition their a few people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the projects success. Our utmost thanks go out to these background workers, Capt Mark Giles for administration and kit acquisition, Capt Terry Hackett, SSgt Daz Cattle & Sgt MJ Holt for the training weekends and JSASTC for their continued support. Our thanks must also go to the Master of Signals Gen Sir Sam Cowan & Brig David Hargreaves and our new found friends and colleagues at BT as our key sponsor. It was truly fascinating to see the ERT set up in Greenland and have such a comprehensive demonstration of the equipment being used.
It is now down to me to write the final lines on the completion of this resounding success. Another 20+ personnel have endured the rigours of ocean sailing and have learned many valuable lessons in doing so. I can only urge anyone who has read about our exploits and have thought about trying sailing for them selves and are currently serving or as a member of the TA to give JSASTC a call and you never know, you could be writing a blog for your friends and family to read from a thousand miles offshore and in a distant country! All you need is drive and ambition.
“What have you done today to make you feel proud?”
SSgt Darren (Windy) Gale MBE, Skipper Adventure Leg 2.