Back on the job. After a sunny weekend I drove down to Southampton and hopped on the Sunday evening ferry across to Cowes, in the Isle of Wight. It was a lovely crossing – warm, still air and the sky turning red as the sun set over the coast. Once I had disembarked I headed for the UK Sailing Academy, where I would have a week of training before sitting my GOC (General Operators Certificate) a maritime qualification allowing yachties to use various different telecoms systems at sea. Whilst I wasn’t expecting to be doing much (any?) work at sea, a lot of the same systems are also used down at Rothera, so this was a good opportunity to familiarise myself with them and gain a few free CV points.
The UKSA turned out to double up as a children’s holiday camp, and even late on a Sunday evening there was a roar of noise from hundreds of kids running riot. However, there was a compensation – having negotiated my way past 3 different security systems I found my room on the second floor with a pair of panoramic windows overlooking Cowes harbour. By carefully shutting one but not the other, I could filter out most of the screaming children and hear just the cries of gulls and the lap of the waves below.