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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 137838 times)

Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #300 on: April 10, 2009, 07:50:40 PM »

After the Athletics "season" had run its course many people were left in a state of limbo. The British forces were beginning to run down with many of the expatriates having to endure the Herc. flight back to Ascension. And they are welcome to it. The RN had pulled back a few ships to more temperate climes, so leaving the RFAs to do yet more of the jobs they were supposed to do. Not all of this was "Bad News" though. Until now the "jollies" had been treated as an RN "perk" and the RFA was ignored. So visits to South Georgia had been the preserve of the war canoes. As far as we were concerned a trip over to S. Georgia was more than just a "jolly". Ever since the Argentinian "scrap-men" were ejected, and the Argie sub "de-commissioned" a small contingent of Marines had been based in the old Grytviken Post Office building. They obviously needed re-supplying every now and again with a bit more than a Frigate could supply. And what better to do that than an ammo ship that also doubled up as a floating supermarket. Enter "Fort Grange".
Normally a Merchant ship without a passenger certificate wouldn't be able to carry more than 12 passengers. As we would often carry as many as "was required" a few more places were sort of advertised around the bazaars on a "first-come, first accepted" basis. Being a pretty full ship what with the flight on board we had space for about 20 extras. Sometimes the word "democracy" fulfills its meaning, so we had a passenger list of 1 Brigadier, a couple of army Captains and the rest were sergeants and army privates. A nice mix.
Although South Georgia is just over 800 miles fro the Falklands the bit of water between them is amongst the lumpiest and windiest stretches of water in the world. Not too bad getting there as the wind and sea is more or less astern. Of course, in "really bad" weather a stern sea can cause problems with steering and "pooping" (make your own minds up about that), but this time there was no problem.  Going back is always a different thing. Very uncomfortable....even more so for the "passengers" I suppose. Not my problem!
Entering Grytviken Bay was a bit eerie. Total silence. Towering mountains that deflected the SW gale. The "Blue Glacier" shining a brilliant pale blue in the sunlight. The snow bleaching off the top of the surrounding mountains. The magnificent clear and clean air and visibility.....and the silence.
A lot of "Ground Rules" for those going ashore had to be laid down, and these were presented by the OIC of the small "resident" team of Marines. Most of what he said was just common sense. We had permission to take souveneirs of whatever size (a lathe, for instance) and anything lying around...but no vandalism. Basically, take, do not destroy...ever.
RFA crews on the whole are a few years older and more "proffessional" seamen than their RN counterparts, so we had no problems with these rules. Because (I think) the sense of isolation and stillness of the place gave many of our ships company a bit of "breathing space" not normally found on board, many preferred to wander alone or in pairs. No mass parties.
Solitude and silence seem to be alien concepts to many young people today, so we as a whole were quite horrified by the levels of vandalism wreaked upon this beautiful place by some previous RN crews. Don't argue....I KNOW what ship they were in.
But of course our flight had to ruin all this tranquility. At "home" one more aircraft is just a minor intrusion, but here it was an abomination.A pox on them. The excuse for flying was that the herd of wild deer needed culling. These deer had probably been "imported" to vary the menu of whale meat. But when everyone left at 5 minutes notice the deer were just abandoned. They have become very stringy and not very well nourished animals, but they still breed. However much I agree with "culling" I was not alone in feeling absolute disgust with "our" flight actually machine -gunning the fleeing deer from behind (in both senses of the word). It only made it worse when they (the flight) couldn't understand why they were treated with disdain fo a couple of weeks or so.
My first "excursion" was solitary by choice. Time to myself. Looked at and into the flour silo that was still full of flour and home to millions of rats.(Never seen a human, so no fear...and none from me either), The full and slowly leaking oil tanks. The workshops that would only need a squirt of WD40 to look immaculate again. the little church....ah, well, different here. A simple wooden building on the lines of a Methodist Chapel with ground floor pews and a surrounding balcony. This was evidently the "social centre" as well as a place of worship. Films were shown here as evidenced by the smashed remains of a projector and reel after reel of old film strewn all over the place and trampled on. This, and other acts of mindless vandalism almost became my abiding memory of Grytviken. But the sheer beauty of it all pushed those thoughts away. I plodded over to Shackletons grave / memorial. Very simple and very apt. While I stood there and pondered on his feat of climbing the mountains behind me I for once in my life felt very humble.  Until the bloody Sea King came back and ruined my reverie.
Grytviken was a whale processing plant. It must have been hell working here, but around the corner so to speak is another base called "Stromness". This was the engineering and repair yard. So we took Fort Grange around to "have a look". No signs of vandalism here. Everything just as it was when they all upped-sticks and left at short notice. Although this was 1982 it really is true that unfinished meals were still there. Astonishing. But I expect modern tourism has ruined the best part. The solitude and silence.
I was going to put some pics on here at this point, but I've realised that the pics themselves have a little story. So that's the next one. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #301 on: April 10, 2009, 08:05:09 PM »

A first glimpse outwards fro Grytviken, before the Sea King flashed up.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #302 on: April 11, 2009, 07:14:48 PM »

I originally started off by describing each pic, until I realised that they really speak for themselves. Some are of Grytviken and some are from Stromness. The mood is the same. I realise that during the Southern Hemisphere winter the "population (in general) and the whaling ships plus their catchers decamped to warmer climes for refit and so on. "Southern Harvester" and "Southern Venturer" were regular visitors to the Tyne during our summer. The catchers were more likeley to be found in S.Africa.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #303 on: April 11, 2009, 07:17:21 PM »

2 more in this series.
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #304 on: April 11, 2009, 07:30:18 PM »

Great photos Bryan.

Is that your ship in the background of the first and last photos.?

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #305 on: April 11, 2009, 07:38:50 PM »

Great photos Bryan.

Is that your ship in the background of the first and last photos.?

Roger in France
Yes, RFA "Fort Grange".
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #306 on: April 11, 2009, 07:44:24 PM »

More that are self explanetory:
This is not meant to be a "travelogue", but it is based on the maritime life as found in S. Georgia.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #307 on: April 11, 2009, 08:03:33 PM »

This is the last post from S.Georgia.
Particularly aimed at our Engineering fraternity. Guys, eat your hearts out! All this equipment is available for free. All you have to do is to get to S.Georgia, dismantle and load what you want and ship it home. Easy.
The "odd-ball" here is the last pic. When I was wandering around a large "shed" I came across a wall that didn't look like a wall.
On further inspection I found I was looking at the open ends of literally hundreds if not thousands of boiler and condenser tubes All about 20' long. Perfectly preserved. Must have been worth a fortune!. All I came away with was enough Lignum-Vitae (shaped) to make a very nice biscuit barrel.
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craftysod

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #308 on: April 11, 2009, 08:21:42 PM »

Brilliant story of your life Bryan,the last photos bring back memories,S.Georgia is very eerie,like a ghost town.
You can go into the library or the chemist,everything is still on shelves,and peoples houses,it is like everyone just vaniished.
The place had bulldozers just sat there for years but in perfect condition,scrappys heaven
Mark
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #309 on: April 11, 2009, 08:28:44 PM »

I thought that would be the last of the Falklands for me but yhe masochists in MoD thought otherwise and so bunged me on to RFA "Regent" (sister ship to "Resource"). At least it wasn't a bloody tanker again. I hate tankers. I love the people and enjoy "the job", but tankers and me have a mutual dislike. I like cargo to be "visible" and not some strange smelly liquid powering through a pulsating rubber pipe. Valves and things to open and close were always a closed book to me although I could muddle through without much in the way of empathy. At least I can recognize a bomb, or a pallet load of sausages or beer and so on. But how do I really know that the pulsating rubber pipe is actually shoving through Avcat, Lube Oil or Deisel? Too late to take a sample. Heart attack time.
But I will get around to the next few years even though the earlier years are both fresher in my memory and a bit more "interesting" than the last years. So. I'll continue when I get a second wind. Thanks for reading so far. Cheers. BY.
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TCC

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #310 on: April 12, 2009, 05:50:22 AM »

I was always led to believe that the Russians did have a bottom crawler, but no-one either saw it or could verify it. I think Tom Clancy was not just using his imagination on this one. BY.
Yeah, the Norwegians have photographed caterpillar tracks in the entrances to their harbours.

The Russian SBS?
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #311 on: April 12, 2009, 09:18:30 AM »

See Jimmy James postings on page 16 of this thread.

BM
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #312 on: April 27, 2009, 07:49:03 PM »

While still grappling with the cut / cop /paste saga I remembered that somewhere I had a few pics taken during "race day" as poorly described earlier. A "sports journalist", I am not!
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #313 on: April 28, 2009, 11:37:04 AM »

Is it just me or is this thread bordering on brilliant?!!!

Martin   O0
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #314 on: April 28, 2009, 06:14:13 PM »

HOW DARE YOU, Martin.....it is not "bordering on brilliant" it is brilliant!

Bryan is being very humble and self effacing about it. I suggested he edit it into a book (others have subsequently suggested the same thing) but he has said, "No".

If I still lived in England I would show it to a couple of commercial editors who, I am confident, would approach Bryan with a ghost writer to knock it into shape as a book. A good script writer could then turn it into a film. I can just see Finnes playing BY! But he would have a better tailor for his uniform!

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #315 on: April 28, 2009, 07:38:51 PM »

HOW DARE YOU, Martin.....it is not "bordering on brilliant" it is brilliant!

Bryan is being very humble and self effacing about it. I suggested he edit it into a book (others have subsequently suggested the same thing) but he has said, "No".

If I still lived in England I would show it to a couple of commercial editors who, I am confident, would approach Bryan with a ghost writer to knock it into shape as a book. A good script writer could then turn it into a film. I can just see Finnes playing BY! But he would have a better tailor for his uniform!

Roger in France
Dear God!!! Thats the last thing I want. All I want is to have a quiet and peaceful life after the years of turmoil. I don't mind telling the story (my version of it, anyway) but a literary hero I'm not. My life at sea was basically one of acceptance. Take what is thrown at you, suss it out and go on from there. Really no more than anyone else in those situations would do.
This forum is an open one. I don't claim any copyright on anything I have written. I only do it for hopefully the enjoyment of others who read it. And quite probably a little bit of "look at me" sort of syndrome....but I hope not. BY.
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Bartapuss

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #316 on: April 28, 2009, 08:42:05 PM »

Hey maybe Hollywood would grab the idea and set it in the Yank navy and BY would be portraid by Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone or even Steven Seagal  :-))
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Malcolm Reade

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #317 on: April 28, 2009, 09:13:26 PM »

BY's natural modesty belies the story teller within!

Truth is, that when a tale must be told, the writer cannot deny himself, nor should he.

Brian's text may well need the benefit of some ghost writing, but it is a fascinating story, and the accompanying photographs make it truly unique.

This work HAS to be published, and if nothing else, the proceeds perhaps used to fund a maritime charity, should the author wish to deny himself the benefits?  There are many that are well worthy, as I'm sure BY would agree?

Malc


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craftysod

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #318 on: April 28, 2009, 09:33:00 PM »

 And quite probably a little bit of "look at me" sort of syndrome....but I hope not. BY.
Why not,you have shown at lot of people the insight of another man that has had a fascinating career.
And is prepared to share your story of your life with us who have only dreamt of your adventures.
Yes i spent 10yrs in the navy,good times and bad,but could not put down in writing as you have,and shown
the people who have not been to sea,how life can be.
Cant wait for the next episode,and we should vote at the end of your career on hear as to whether it should be made into a book
Mark

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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #319 on: April 28, 2009, 10:15:42 PM »

HOW DARE YOU, Martin.....it is not "bordering on brilliant" it is brilliant!

Bryan is being very humble and self effacing about it. I suggested he edit it into a book (others have subsequently suggested the same thing) but he has said, "No".

If I still lived in England I would show it to a couple of commercial editors who, I am confident, would approach Bryan with a ghost writer to knock it into shape as a book. A good script writer could then turn it into a film. I can just see Finnes playing BY! But he would have a better tailor for his uniform!

Roger in France
What! What "uniform" are you referring to? As far as I can recall I've never posted a pic of me in a uniform of any sort. Must be an imposter. You would be amazed at the transformation of me in "foul weather"gear to "full tropical whites" when at a "xxxxx"-up (sorry, I meant "cocktail party"). Could even moderate my language (and dialect) sufficiently enough to be understood by the Korean Minister of Defence...and that took some doing!
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #320 on: April 28, 2009, 10:16:28 PM »

Hey maybe Hollywood would grab the idea and set it in the Yank navy and BY would be portraid by Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone or even Steven Seagal  :-))
Foxtrot Oscar.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #321 on: April 28, 2009, 10:20:40 PM »

BY's natural modesty belies the story teller within!

Truth is, that when a tale must be told, the writer cannot deny himself, nor should he.

Brian's text may well need the benefit of some ghost writing, but it is a fascinating story, and the accompanying photographs make it truly unique.

This work HAS to be published, and if nothing else, the proceeds perhaps used to fund a maritime charity, should the author wish to deny himself the benefits?  There are many that are well worthy, as I'm sure BY would agree?

Malc



No. I don't agree. For many reasons. I could enumerate them later but there are not many charities operating now regarding UK seafarers that I would trust very much. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #322 on: April 28, 2009, 10:29:18 PM »

And quite probably a little bit of "look at me" sort of syndrome....but I hope not. BY.
Why not,you have shown at lot of people the insight of another man that has had a fascinating career.
And is prepared to share your story of your life with us who have only dreamt of your adventures.
Yes i spent 10yrs in the navy,good times and bad,but could not put down in writing as you have,and shown
the people who have not been to sea,how life can be.
Cant wait for the next episode,and we should vote at the end of your career on hear as to whether it should be made into a book
Mark


Kind words Mark. I have been (honestly) surprised by the interest shown. It all really started off with me answering Colin Bishop (I think) regarding odd bits and bobs of bits on older ships.....and just grew from there. But, as they say, many names have been changed to protect the innocent. You really have only read a fraction of what I have seen and wished I had'nt. BY.
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kiwi

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #323 on: April 29, 2009, 08:27:07 AM »

Brian,
Whatever you decide to do re a book, you decide, but let me tell you, I'd be at the head of the Que at the book shop.
BUT, keep them stories flowing on the forum. I find them full of interest and an incite into another world.
So from one traveler to another, well done. Brilliant, just doesn't seem to be an adequate  expression of your illustrated writings.

kiwi
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #324 on: April 29, 2009, 05:38:09 PM »

You know, what with the problem I'm having with this flaming copy and paste malarkey, and my reluctance to do double typing again, I'm beginning to wonder if the easiest way out is just to print the stuff and post it in an envelope to Martin; and then let him get over the Forbidden bit! Actually, another thought has just sneaked into my head. What if I just scan the printouts and post them as "pics". Think that would work? Think I'll give it a try. Wish me luck. BY.
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