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LLogs Pers Mark (Chokey) Luff

LLogs Pers Mark (Chokey) Luff
LLogs Pers Mark (Chokey) Luff

Saturday 28 Feb – Thu 5 Mar 09

Did the day start with a bang? Well, I wasn’t quite sure.  We only got into Malta yesterday, and it had been a busy day at that.  So the previous night was our first night ashore since leaving the UK 12 days earlier.  I have been to the Mediterranean before but I had never been to Malta, so it would be rude not to get off the Ship and investigate Malta’s nightlife on my first night there.  With a varied selection of bars, restaurants and clubs, there was plenty for all tastes, although I settled nicely for the Hard Rock Café.  Saturday’s routine was fairly relaxed (just as well really).  Just a morning turned to, handing out some last minute exchanges of Euros for the Ship’s Company, helping sort pay queries, issuing Temporary Memoranda, booking travel. Lunchtime meant it was time to sample Malta from a different angle.  Armed with my camera (and my pale skin) it was certainly obvious that I was a tourist here but more to the point one of the many matelots from that Task Group taking part in Taurus 09.

It was definitely pleasing to see the sun out and not the overcast greyness that we normally find back in the UK at this time of year. Taking full advantage of the weather I got a few photos of the harbour and the nearby market.  I then settled down to sample some cuisine. Well I say cuisine lightly as this particular meal was just a burger and the biggest burger I had ever seen; the contents of which are too vast to list here (and I bet the amount of calories too vast to mention either!) 

Sunday was to be a Sunday Harbour Routine for most – just 1 hour’s work to make sure the Ship stays clean, tidy, and somewhere we can live.  However, not for me.  It was my turn to do my duty in the Ship’s Control Centre. The heart of the ship requires a watchkeeper to ensure that the ship remains safe at all times, alongside or at sea, with a myriad of panels of flashing lights alerting the watchkeeper to smoke alarms, fires and floods then feeding the information to the ‘Duty Watch’ to take action where necessary.  Almost everyone takes it in turns to be a part of this – responsible for the safety and security of everyone else onboard.  From fighting fires to dealing with security attacks, a Duty Watch has to be ready to handle anything.

Monday. In return for working two 6 hour stints yesterday, I had today off.  A last chance to buy some gifts for home. My son’s birthday tomorrow, better pick up a cheesy T-shirt. Finished the day off with a few pints and wished a farewell to Malta…
…for now.

Sailed on Tuesday, back to the daily grind.  The ship went into Defence Watches for the next phase of the Exercise.  For most of this week, we are practising Anti Submarine Warfare along with the rest of the Task Group.  It’s a slow process, using an advanced  towed array sonar, helicopter, and other ships, and the Ship gets into a routine fairly quickly.  For most people that meant 6 hours on watch (working) then 6 hours off watch repeated for the whole duration of Defence Watches.  The off-watch time is for eating, exercising and sleeping, before going back on-watch.  It leads to some odd routines.  The chefs for example, cook 4 meals a day, supplying food for 170 people, whatever the weather.  For me however, I maintain a daily working routine, to provide continuity to the rest of the Ship’s Company, like cheque cashing, pay queries and other administrative support.  All in a day’s work for a Leading Logs Personnel.