Sunday, 1 July 2012

I have a blog? ... Oh yeah.

IF i am totally honest, i would say that i had completely forgot that i had this blog, but since i'm not I'll tell ya'll i've had a very busy two years - and here is how it went ... After my 5 month trip on board the Seven Seas Mariner I came home for about 3 weeks before getting itchy feet and heading back! I completed another two months on board before begining Phase 3 of my training. everything went well and by July 2011 i was back at sea! This time circling South America. What a trip. Bringing you more up to speed, i am now studying in Phase 5 and only two weeks away from my final exams! I have Orals and Writtens going on for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. If all goes well i should be back on board a ship by August! Happy days! I'll pop back in a few days and tell you about the Oral exam!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Home time . . .

So, I am back in sunny Scotland . . . actually I am lying. It's not so sunny - in fact is covered in snow which is a nice change to the blistering heat I have had to endure over the past 8 months.

I have settled well back into college life and things seem to be going good although I should probably be studying a little more, and not cracking away at a Blog.

I've recently discovered the wonder of Twitter (@ThomCampbell12) and to be honest I love it. I have always been a major Facebook fan, a vowed never to go to another social networking site, but Twitter isn't like Facebook, MySpace or indeed bebo. I feel like with twitter I can call it the way I see it. I can complain about my train journey, or about the boring day I am having and not have 200 friends comment on it. There is something. . . 'free' about it.

I feel the ship has changed me somewhat. Perhaps I have grown up and matured a little, perhaps not. It has spoiled me for sure. It has shown me a lifestyle that is beyond what I could ever have imagined. Every morning waking up into a new port and place, seeing some of the world’s most beautiful places like the Amazon River, or The Bosporus and The Dardanelles, as I say - spoiled.

One thing that is awesome about being back is having a Starbucks Coffee each morning. It really makes my day. The coffee on the ship was good but i love a cheeky Starbucks before classes each morning.

And now I will head back to the Nav. Maths revision . . . the joys.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

How does Rio De Jeneiro work for you? 23rd Feb? . . . Hmm, i'll have to think about it . . .

Thom, we have you scheduled on the Seven Seas Mariner boarding on 23rd of February for 5 months, that work for you?

Well . . . YES!!

After a brief visit from my Training Officer i decided i would email my company and see when they thought i would be going to sea. Luckily, the people i am working for are absolutly first class. I got a reply within minutes and they told me the very thing i wanted to hear - you are going to Rio.

So I finish Phase 1 on the 19th of February and join the ship on the 23rd! Can't ask for better than that. I will be joinin a vessel called the Seven Seas Mariner, one of the most prestigous vessels in the World. Shes a 700 passenger luxury cruise liner and my first ship.

I'm looking forward to Phase 2. Its a chance to get to practise everything i have been taught so far, to see the World and to meet new people - lots of new people.

Exams, Exams, Exams . . .

It would be lie for me to tell you that so far this course has been difficult. I spend my days sitting, lecture after lecture finding very little challenge in the work we are doing.

This week however, an exam on ship stability interrupted my usually quiet day. Stress ensued, panic set in and suddenly i couldn't remember anything. In the college Ship Stability is a subject that carries with it an air of insecurity, no one looks at the subject and thinks that they are guaranteed a pass, even at such primitive levels. As it turns out everyone was stressed for no reason, as most people are confident that they have got the pass they needed.

As you probably know i'm not entering that last few months of Phase 1. Things are getting serious, subjects are finishing up and final exams loom.

The SBO exam is on Monday, and after a brief look over the notes it will be another one that lacks a challenge. Steve, the SBO lecturer is no doubt an intelligent man, who knows everything there is to know about Cargo and Ships, and is even known as the colleges 'Cargo man' but his teaching methods are boring, he shows no sign of interest and as a result neither does anyone else. Regardless of that, we still have to pass an exam.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Challenger 72' Yacht!

Challenger 72' - OYT Scotland - What a Week!

Well, after what was an all to short week, my opinion on Wafi's has changed. It was quite simple one of the best weeks that i can remember. Not only did i gain some technical knowledge on ropes and wind, charts and met., i gained life skills, new friends and i learnt a lot about me.

We were sheduled to board the yacht at 1400 on the Monday afternoon, and we thought we would set sail soon after but unfortunetly the weather just wouldn't permit. We spent the night in Greenock and the next morning, we were off.

Tuesday wasn't the best say for some of the crew, 8 out of 12 of us being sick only hours into the journey (thankfully not me!). The water was rough, with some serious waves and winds, but in good spirits as everyone was we knuckled on. There was no set destination initially, we were just heading down the Firth of Clyde but it soon became apparent that a great distance was out of the question as winds picked up and night came in. We headed down the East coast of Arran and sailed into Campbeltown where we spent the night at anchor. It was a long night but truly awesome.

Wednesday was a relatively calm day, very easy sailing as we headed for East Loch Tarbert in Loch Fyne, a little North of our position. Not much to say about that day, except that me and Tim were cooking and everyone has lived to tell the tail!

The Race To Loch Ryan
On the Thursday morning the other Challenger 72' yacht that was travelling with us left about 30 minues early, so after catching up to her the skippers decided to make it a race down the 12 hour sail to Loch Ryan, first yacht west of the Buoy, won. It had a few tense moments where both yachs were neck and neck but we eventually took a commanding lead to arrive 30 - 40 minutes ahead of the Alba Explorer.
Loch Ryan was also pretty amazing, it is a very busy ferry terminal and it was nice to see some of the vessels that a few cadets on this course will be working on.

As we led up to the end of the week things were all pretty calm, until the Saturday. Forecast was Force 7/8 Gusting at 9 - yeah she was at 9 all right. It was tremendous. The weather was fantastic, waves - massive waves - crashing down on the deck, we were soaked, 15 knots at one point and we were tacking and gibing all the way down and up - AMAZING.

Onboard Lifestyle

Onboard all the crew took a turn at cooking Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Also every morning we had a 'happy hour' where one watch cleaned the decks and the other wach cleaned below the deck. It was an essential daily clean to maintain hygeine on board.

The beds were like cots or hammocks with sides. They were relatively comfortable and after a day on deck you were ready for a sleep. The Galley was small but well designed and he seating area was awesome, a large table that most of the crew could sit around for meals.

The Challenger 72'

The actual yachts we were on were 72 foot world class yachts. They are in a class of there own and have navigated the World twice. They are designed to sail at a list to increase speed.

OYT Scotland
Ocean Youth Trust Scotland are a Volunteer orginisation who take 12-24 year olds out on these yachts. The orginisations work does wonders for young people, from boosting there confidence to getting them out and about, interacting with others, learning new skills and most importantly having fun! For more information on OYT Scotland visit there web site:

Monday, 26 October 2009


Well, it's been a few weeks since i last made a blog, i was off on STCW'95 courses two weeks back, and then away on a Challenger 72' Class yacht! It was fantastic, i'll tell you all a little about each, starting with the courses.

Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping 1995.

Personal Survival Techniques

The PST course is exactly what it says it is. An instructor comes in and teaches yo techniques that will save or prolonge your life when you are in a disaster at sea, focusing on what to do when you are in the water after the ship has sunk.

Initially it focuses on the types of equiptment used, GMDSS and such . . But then i goes on to the 'fun' part - the pool drill.

During the PST you will have to perform several 'manouvers' in the pool, these include things such as flipping an inverted life raft, creating the circle of confidence, performing a two man lift and the best part, jumping from a height . . well - stepping!

After you have completed everything you sit a very brief multiple choice exam and then you have your certificate.

Elementary First Aid was actually pretty boring, long and tedious. I'm not going to say much about it except that it is important. When you are doing it you do see the need for it and how you will probably end up using it at sea.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

STCW 95 Short Courses.

Well, this week is set to bring some interesting courses my way. Tomorrow (Monday 12th, October) I have a Personal Survival Techniques course which is one of the STCW'95 training courses that all seafarers, ratings and officers must have. And then on Tuesday i have Elementary First Aid training, another STCW'95 course.

Personal Survival Techniques (PST) will mainly be a two hour wet drill which will conist of:

  • Demonstrating a Dry Board
  • Demonstrating initial and secondary vital actions
  • Enter from a height (About 2m i think)
  • Demonstrate swimming method for 1 person
  • Demonstrate huddle
  • Demonstrate Circle of Confidence
  • Demonstrate 2 person huddle
  • Demonstrate Crocodile in pairs
  • Demonstrate towing a casulty by hand and foot
  • Enter Raft Wet
  • Demonstrate 2 man and 4 man lifts
  • Demonstrate righting the inverting life raft
After completing all that competantly i should be issued with the certificate!

The other course that we should be doing on the Tuesday will be Elementary First Aid which i know virtually nothing about!

Just a short blog today, i must go and copy all my notes from last weeks classes into a more legible format!