The Watchman

My fourth night on board the Jenni Baynton and I am standing anchor watch for the first time.

Basically this involves being awake and alert through the night, being aware of the ship’s position and anything going on in the vacinity, as well as doing a walk around each hour to check all is well, paying particular attention to the anchor cable.

It’s my first time having any kind of marine responsibility since the last days of Caroline at sea, and I take it seriously. Sure, I’ll joke that I crashed the last ship I looked after into a sandbank, but in truth I can’t forget how our arrival on the Goodwin Sands in the early hours of the morning came as a complete shock to us, when really we should have noticed earlier that we were out of position. After more than 1500 days anchored at the Falls Head, complacency had crept in, with me as guilty as anyone. Not that the outcome would have been changed in any way by our awareness, but in different circumstances the delay in gaining situational awareness could have been critical.

So now I’m acutely aware of how easy it is for things to change on even the most innocent looking of nights, and I acting accordingly.

The studio is the highest and warmest room inside the ship and with the best view, but lots of distractions too. So my back is to the music, my gaze is outwards, and my walkabouts are regular and thorough.

Mother Nature won’t catch Conway napping a second time 🙂

As I write this it is 0449 nearly time for my next round, and the horizon to the east is already glowing a predawn blue.

Another couple of hours and it will be time for bed.


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