Update on Jamie from the Indian Ocean

I passed out of Britannia Royal Naval College (Like Sandhurst – where Dan went and Fran is now going.  Congratulations on that by the way!) in December 07.  I have been at sea since mid January completing my common fleet time onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.  Below decribes what it has been like. 

Merlins landing just after we sailed

Valetta (grand harbour)

Before I ramble on too much, I thought I would let you know, I am sitting in my cabin writing this with a harrier jump jet landing less than 2m above my head.  The jets have only just arrived in the last few days so it has not been too noisy before they arrived.  When they start night flying I am going to have to wear ear duffs to bed!!  By the way I am not lucky enough to have a computer with internet in my cabin, it is just easier to write this on my laptop first.   

The trip so far has been ace.  It got off to a bit of a slow start, because it took us over 5 weeks to get out the English Channel due to various problems.  Once on our way the first stop was Malta and the people were standing all around Grand Harbour as we entered.  We were at Procedure Alpha, which means there are a few hundred people on the upper deck in our No.1 uniform (smart ones!).  It was an awesome sight.  

Being one of the YOs (Young Officers) onboard I get pinged (chosen) for lots jobs other officers do not want to do.  One was attending the wreath laying ceremony in Malta.  Which actually turned into a nice afternoon off the ship with a few beers in the Mayors office.  If you check out the link below you will see some phots of me saluting at the ceremony.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/server?show=nav.1268&imageIndex=5

We had a young Maltese officer staying with us for part of the journey to Malta, so he showed us some of the good bars out there and I managed to squeeze in a days diving.   Then we sailed east towards Cyprus (where other ships joined us to make up the taskforce) and then transited south through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. 

Suez

Suez

Sunset

Task group half way through Suez

 Task force half way through Suez

Once into the Indian Ocean we headed to Muscat, Oman.  Since we had been at sea for a few weeks the first night out turned into quite a large one.  As soon as midnight came it got even bigger because it was my birthday.

The morning of my birthday started very early because I had put my name down to go Via Verrratering and gorge walking.  It took 2 hours to drive inland to the mountains.  I was not feeling to bad until we got out the jeeps, harnessed up and heading over to the gorge itself.  By now the lager sweats were in full swing and I was scared stiff looking over at the 40m gap and 100m drop.  Once I was clipped on the first thing I had to do was go across the gorge on a zip line.  I have never been so scared in my life! 3 hours later, 2 or 3 more zip lines, it was all over and I actually really enjoyed it.  After that we drove higher up to scramble, jump and swim down the gorge in under 2 hours.  There was not much water in it, but enough to jump off things.  If there was a flash flood and you paddled it you would be dead – it was like Chateau Que on steroids.

Via Ferrata

 In Muscat I squeezed in another days diving, some shopping and time on the beach (tried to swim/paddle, saw big sea snake, ran the hell away).  Everything is shiny and new, with loads of very rich people around.  Water surface temp was around 25 degrees and you can buy a Hummer H3 for less than £15,000.  Food was nice (eat in some 5 star hotels, so I am not sure that’s reflective).  Ship life isn’t too bad, I changed the spark plugs on one of the gas turbines (similar to those on concord), conned the ship during various bridge watches and lots of task book work with every department onboard. 

I am back in the UK towards the end of April when I fly back from India.  But I have my fleet board first.  On passing I get my commission from the queen (some job security).  If not………………..well lets just keep the fingers crossed!

Me in Muscat in silly shorts

How is everyone doing?  I hope you are all well, obviously Will still likes drinking Scotish river water!  Paddling in Scotland sounds like another success!!

I am at the following email address until I fly home! (305-yo10@a.dii.mod.uk)

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4 Responses

  1. Great to hear from you, fantastic stuff, love the pictures

  2. Nice update, sounds like you are doing some top stuff.

  3. Oh yeah, last comment was me

  4. sounds absolutely fab…am quite jealous..

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