Start of Journey, April 21

BALLAST

An exhausting day. Reported at 08:30 to the quay and loaded stores all the morning. In afternoon, the pig-iron ballast arrived and had to be loaded on board by hand. Each piece was enormously heavy and felt like the coarsest sandpaper. I quickly ruined a pair of gloves which I had to wear if I wasn’t going to end up with bleeding hands.

Jack Scarr (Journal, 10 April 1957)

Our first job was ballast. Everyday for a week we loaded ballast in the form of short rails and firebars and pig-iron. We manhandled it and stowed it till every muscle in our bodies ached, till our soft hands blistered and bled, till nails were crushed and toes banged. After 75 tons -- she was down to her mark -- but we put more in, then took her stores.

David Cauvin (Journal, no date)


MEDIA COVERAGE

There is serious trouble with the Daily Mail reporter who has written a sensationalist article that the ship is dangerous and had canted over when the first treasure chest was put aboard. The crew has reacted with fury. When the journalist next came aboard, he was tied to the fo’c’sle stanchion, with a sack over his head. There was then talk of making him walk the plank, but fortunately common sense prevailed. I had no desire to end up in Brixham jail. Jumbo Goddard satisfied himself by pouring water down the neck of the unfortunate reporter, who bore this ordeal with some dignity. It is unpleasant to see a whole crowd turn on one man. I untied him and pulled the sack off his head. The crew gave him three cheers.

Jack Scarr (Journal, 15 April 1957)

Stanley Bonnett, the Daily Mail reporter, was a victim of our high spirits after he had written that we only had a 50-50 chance of reaching the States. Not realizing the resentment his article had caused, he came aboard the following morning in the usual way to chat with us at our work. But this time he was roughly seized, a sack was tied over his head and he was propelled, struggling fiercely—and probably imagining that he was destined for an unseasonable swim—to the fo’c’sle, where he was bound to a stanchion and anointed with cold water. The following day a very complimentary article appeared in the Mail.

Peter Padfield (Voyage, p. 15)

One of the newspapers of England, wrote that we had less than a fifty-fifty chance of making the crossing safely and that the ship was unseaworthy. As soon as the reporter who had written the article came on board, we lashed him in a burlap bag and trickled some water down his neck. I feel sure that he was quite frightened, but shortly we let him loose after numerous photographers got a number of shots of him in this embarrassing condition.

Charles Church (Journal, p. 4) 


STOWAWAY

It has been expected that someone would try to stow away for the voyage, and as soon as we left a thorough and systematic search was started. It wasn’t long before we found one. He was an ordinary-looking young man wrapped up in a hammock -- my hammock -- in the ‘tween deck. His supplies consisted of an overcoat and a bar of chocolate. We gathered around as he was yanked from his hide-out, we continued to gaze at each other in amazement until the Second Mate bustled on the scene and roughly removed him to the upper deck. From there he was pitched over the side head-first into a Press launch which had been hovering suspiciously close, and after him a bucket of dish-water from the galley.

Peter Padfield (Voyage, p. 26)

Then there was a dramatic and unpleasant episode. The Mate discovered a stowaway skulking under some blankets in the ‘tween deck. There had been a rumor earlier that the Sunday Pictoral had been trying to plant a stowaway in the ship. The journalists’ launch was hailed and the wretched stowaway was dragged up the ladder and across the deck. ‘Get off my ship!’, roared the Captain. The stowaway leapt over the side just as someone poured a bucket of water over his neck. Then someone seized a bucket of potato peelings and tipped them down on his back. He leapt down in terror and scuttled into the launch cabin like a rat down a hole. He kept well out of sight. It was all thoroughly nasty, like going home and finding a burglar in the house.

Jack Scarr (Journal, 20 April 1957)

It was not long after we had shipped our tow that Mr. Wicksteed came on deck to tell the Captain that we had a stowaway. After the search we had made this seemed quite impossible but a few minutes later a man in his middle twenties appeared on deck. A bucket of potato peelings and dirty water was emptied over him, at which he leapt over the side on to the forecastle of a press launch we had called alongside to take him off. I have never seen anyone get off a ship as quickly in all my life.

John Winslow (Journal, 20 April 1957) 

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