You only have one chance to make a first impression and the HMS Protector ( an ice patrol ship in the British navy) certainly put on a show!
Captain P.J. Sparkes is one of only a very few full (4 bar) Captains in command of a vessel (most full captains in the Royal Navy drive a desk). He is what you would imagine from a British naval captain- affable, polished and a bit quirky. In his former position he captained vessels chasing down pirates off Africa (so a bit a of a lovely cliché really)- and sometimes institutes “Talk Like A Pirate” sessions on the bridge (yes he told a sailor to say “its clear’o stern me hearty” and not “sir, it has cleared the stern, sir”. The Captain informed us that our first day at sea would be devoted to practicing essential naval skills. We thought this was special, but as it turns out the Royal Navy does at least 3 exercises a day, however none of the other exercises were nearly as photogenic as these.
We have a couple of days of sailing (and trying not to get sea sick through the Drake!) before we start our work in the Peninsula.