Seagull – Day 1Posted: May 3, 2010
My first day back at sea after 19 years, and we have a North Easterly blowing. It’s like I’ve never been away!
Leaving Harlingen harbour on the tender started bringing the memories back, pushing out to sea towards a radioship that we could hear but not see.
90 minutes or so later we were coming alongside the Jenni Baynton, the former lightship which transmits the Dutch station Radio Waddenzee by day and the English language rock of Radio Seagull in the evenings and overnights.
Coming on board brought fresh memories, the melée of tendering, the babble of dozens of simultanous conversations in different languages, that “ship” smell of metal, grease and diesel.
Then the tender departed, and we were alone under grey skies on an increasingly lumpy sea. It is only when the tender is sailing away, leaving you behind that you feel the connection to land finally sever. This is no longer a day trip.
“Once you’re out there, you’re out there” as someone advised me many years ago, on the eve of my first ever stint with Radio Caroline.
Old memories there may be, but I’m making loads of new ones too. Radio Seagull, anchored well out from the Dutch coast and transmitting on AM with a nice big ship-based tower does feel familiar in many ways, but is fresh and exciting in others.
I’ve never been on a ship which manages to use space in such a strange TARDIS-like fashion as the Jenni Baynton. From the outside it looks modest, but inside wide sweeping corridors and broad staircases give a much more open feel than on either the Ross Revenge or the Communicator. The ship boasts two messrooms, generously sized studios, and, much to my surprise a large dancefloor with tables, lighting equipment, DJ booth, and fully equipped bar!
My first show on Seagull was a pleasure, playing my choice of classic and modern rock, album tracks more than singles. The audience are musically curious, so straying far off the beaten track is encouraged.
And as I was on air and darkness fell, the wind got up to a 7 and beyond from the north east, the rain and spray was battering on the portholes, and the ship was moving in the seas, though not uncomfortably so.
I know I’m going to like this.
Radio Seagull can be heard online at http://www.radioseagull.com
Come and join us!