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Admiration: Captain Barbara Campell

Leaving Bermuda on Tenacious. Barbara often stands on top of the deck house to get a clear view ahead!

Leaving Bermuda on Tenacious. Barbara often stands on top of the deck house to get a clear view ahead!

This week’s Photo Challenge is to “depict something or someone you admire”. I’d like to introduce you to Captain Barbara Campbell, for whom I have immense admiration.

I first met Barbara about 20 years ago, and have since sailed with her on a number of voyages on the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious. Among the JST’s thousands of voyage crew, she is known affectionately as simply “Captain Barbara”.

In a storm, Atlantic Ocean.

In a storm, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Barbara began her maritime career as a deck cadet with P&O in the 1970s, a time when a life at sea was not generally considered a career option for women. She worked her way up to deck officer and then in 1986 obtained her Master’s Ticket — the first woman in Scotland to do so. While working on ferries and cruise ships, Barbara also “moon lighted” on tall ships, doing odd voyages on Lord Nelson, for example, from 1992. She became captain of Lord Nelson in 1999.

In conference with the first mate, Atlantic Ocean.

In conference with the first mate, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Being a ship’s captain is not all about giving commands: Barbara does more than her fair share of rope pulling and mast climbing. She often makes me feel guilty! I remember one morning on Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean, my watch was setting a sail before breakfast — with more duty than enthusiasm, it must be admitted. A little white blur shot out of the deckhouse and clapped onto the line with us. Yup, Captain Barbara. As you may imagine, our efforts suddenly intensified!

On long voyages such as ocean passages, there’s time for lighter activities, too. Each JST ship carries up to 40 paying “voyage crew”, and Barbara joins the fun.

As Neptune, King of the Ocean Waves, with consort and assorted members of 'his' court, for the Crossing the Line [Equator] ceremony, Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean.

As Neptune, King of the Ocean Waves, with consort and assorted members of ‘his’ court, for the Crossing the Line [Equator] ceremony, Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean.

Dancing a reel with the voyage crew, Atlantic Ocean.

Dancing a reel with the voyage crew, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Judging a kite flying competition, Atlantic Ocean.

Judging a kite flying competition, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Barbara Campbell is a true trailblazer and role model for women in what had been very much a man’s job. Physically petite, she has tremendous presence and authority: when you see her with first mates towering beside her, there’s no doubt who’s in charge! I’ll be sailing on Tenacious around Fiji for two weeks in June, and I hope Captain Barbara is onboard.

Leading a church service, Atlantic Ocean.

Leading a church service, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

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Dancing at sea

The rhythm of rope pulling (Lord Nelson, Pacific Ocean)

The rhythm of rope pulling (‘Lord Nelson’, Pacific Ocean)

When you’re sailing on a tall ship, it can sometimes be a “dance” just to stay upright! In the photo above, you can see how everyone hauling on that rope is moving in rhythm (apart from the chatting couple at the top of the photo, who appear to be sitting out this particular dance). We even have a special rope-hauling chant to keep us synchronised:”Two-Six-HEAVE!”

On one transatlantic voyage, we had an accomplished bagpiper among the crew. So one day, near 36.07N, 47.21W (between Bermuda and the Azores), there was Scottish dancing at the mainmast! In this shot, the couples are rehearsing the steps without music.

Dancing a reel (Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean)

Dancing a reel (‘Tenacious’, Atlantic Ocean)


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Eye in a coil of rope.
Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean, sunrise
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Early mornings around the world

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

For someone who insists she is not an early bird, I have a remarkable number of photographs taken very early in the morning! I haven’t inflicted them all on you, but there are quite a few, from various travels. They are in no particular order other than alphabetical by place name.

A man on the beach, Durban.

A man on the beach, Durban.

The pier, Eastbourne.

The pier, Eastbourne.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, 'Lord Nelson', Indian Ocean.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, ‘Lord Nelson’, Indian Ocean.

'Sudarshini' and 'Tarangini' of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

‘Sudarshini’ and ‘Tarangini’ of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

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Serenity at sea

“And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity.
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.”
– Christoper Cross, ‘Sailing’

Lord Nelson Indian Ocean

Just before dawn, Indian Ocean ‘Lord Nelson’

Sunrise, Indian Ocean  'Lord Nelson'

Sunrise, Indian Ocean ‘Lord Nelson’

The most serene time on a tall ship is just before dawn. The ship’s crew are all asleep, except for the duty watch and the officer of the watch. As the stars give way to the sunrise, you feel as if you are the only people in the world.

(I couldn’t decide which of these photos to use, so went with both.)

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Messing about in a boat

On the move - Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean.

On the move – Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean.

This morning, I made a provisional booking for another long voyage on this tall ship. This time, the Jubilee Sailing Trust‘s Lord Nelson (‘Nellie’) will be on the move from the Pacific coast of Panama, through the Panama Canal, coast-hopping along Costa Rica then over to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, before finishing in Cuba.

My booking is ‘provisional’ due to two factors: a watchleader spot still available (half price!), and my employer agreeing to five weeks off work next January/February. I figure they survived me being away for nine weeks to do the Indian Ocean in 2012, so five should be a mere formality. 😉

(Update: although I was indeed granted 5 weeks off work, the JST cancelled this voyage due to insufficient bookings. Not impressed.)

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Reflections 2: Pools, puddles and other bodies of water

This is my second post on the subject of Reflections, this time restricted to reflections in water. The first three are from Auckland, New Zealand, a place with a lot of water throwing back interesting images.

Maritime Museum, Auckland.

Maritime Museum, Auckland.

'Lord Nelson' and a puddle on the quayside, Auckland.

‘Lord Nelson’ and a puddle on the quayside, Auckland.

This image in a pool outside the Auckland Art Gallery reminds me of a watercolour painting.

This image in a pool outside the Auckland Art Gallery reminds me of a watercolour painting.

Palm trees reflected in a very shallow canal, Goa.

Palm trees reflected in a very shallow canal, Goa.

Sillustani, Lake Umayo near Puno in Peru.

Sillustani, Lake Umayo near Puno in Peru.

This puddle in Sydney is like a portal to another world.

This puddle in Sydney is like a portal to another world.