Our ship was surrounded by clouds of birds including Petrels, gulls, and albatrosses during a recent day at sea. It’s perhaps more bird life than I’ve ever seen in one place before at sea, and it’s awesome. As the deck crew waited by the Delta on heli rescue standby duty, we are mesmerised by the sea birds gliding in, almost onto the deck of the ship and soaring in the ships wake. Yesterday we also saw a couple of sharks and endless seals sunbaking in the waves.
A surprise boat launch exercise was the breakfast task for the deck crew and we were all satisfied that we could get the Delta ready to drop in the ocean in record time. Almost as fast as the French navy patrol boat (which was docked behind us in Wellington) could launch their far smaller and lighter RIB.
The ship is in her best condition ever and the spots of rust (the deck crew’s obsession) are fewer and fewer. It’s a relief to be on campaign as most of the hard maintenance work is over for the time being and we can concentrate on training, training and more training. Small boat launching yesterday, abandon ship procedures, radio protocol and more. There is an atmosphere of calm. We are ready and for the first time we are waiting for the whalers to come to us.