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Bahrain, Cluedo and Mail

 

 Again it’s been a while since I updated you on my travels. We made our way through the Gulf of Aden, an area which has had a lot of press coverage recently due to the piracy and drug smuggling activities, and then on through the entrance to the Gulf; the Straits of Hormuz.  This is a narrow channel with Iran on one side and United Arab emirates on the other, and so transit through is a time of heightened security for the ship. Finally after 12 days at sea we reached Bahrain for a well deserved visit along with the chance to embark a significant amount of stores for the ship. I had a chance to relax and enjoy the facilities at the US Base which included a shopping complex, restaurants and an outdoor swimming pool, which I spent my day off lying beside to start my deployment tan!. A lot of the ships company went to watch the rugby team in action at Bahrain Rugby club. This was an excellent social evening with luckily only one minor injury during which I got a round of applause as I ran across the pitch during the break in play in flip flops to see how he was. Comments such as tackle her she has the ball were heard but luckily not acted upon!

 

After leaving Bahrain we proceeded to the Northern Arabian Gulf (NAG), where we will be spending the majority of the next 4 months, and joined the task force protecting the Iraqi oil platforms. The Ship’s Company are now settled into defence watches, and the ‘off watch’ activities I talked about last time are well underway. I am afraid to say that I was brutally murdered by the chief of police onboard in the cluedo game. He plotted with my first aid team and got them to lure me into the aft first aid post which is in the mess social space of one of the boy’s messes. While giggling his head off he jumped out at me and ‘killed’ me with a box containing emergency breathing device for use during fires etc. So now out of the game I am assisting others in their plots, which can be quite elaborate like our Logistics Officer using one of our fire exercises to ensure he got his victim to go to a compartment that they would not normally go.

 

I have been quite busy medically since we arrived in the NAG, but not with our own ships company who seem to be very healthy at the minute. As one of few ships in the task force that carry a medical officer I can be called upon by my Commanding Officer to help with casualties on the other coalition ships, oil platforms, fishing boats or tankers. In the last few weeks I have visited a tanker along with my Royal Marine close protection team and also conducted a fresh cases clinic on one of the oil platforms, treating both US and Iraqi personnel.

 

I am not impressed with the weather here at the minute, it has been grey and cloudy for the last few days and in fact has nearly been cold on the upper deck. I appreciate that it’s possibly not cold in relation to UK temperature but I have got used to a nice balmy 20-25deg now. I am still keeping up with my training and go running before lunch followed by circuits in the evening. These are normally held on the flight deck and are a tiring but social end to the day with most people hanging around for a chat afterwards while watching the sunset. We had a big moral boost when we got a few weeks worth of mail onboard, most people got either letters or parcels from home as it is free to send up to 2kg parcels to those onboard as part of our deployment welfare package. Part of my parcel was a pink princess duvet cover which I now have on my bunk and also some books, DVDs and my mum being practical as always sent me a few pairs of pants.

 

Everyone is looking forward to our mid deployment break where friends and family are flying out as we stay alongside in port for 2 weeks. This gives the engineers a chance to fix bits and pieces that cannot be done at sea and to re-supply the ship for our next period at sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo of Lisa Martin Lisa Martin

(Currently: back at sea)

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