Currently transiting the Dardanelles and experiencing light and variable NE winds with nil swell
Welcome to day 20 of our voyage. Tonight is going to have to be a short Log as we (the Staff Crew) are still bringing the Ship back from a rehearsal for the International Sail Past for ANZAC Cove and the World Voyagers are waiting for us back in Canakkale after completing today’s Battlefield Tours followed by some free time to enjoy dinner and look around Canakkale.
The time is now 2030 and by the time we get back to our mooring and get the World Voyagers back onboard it will be 2200. So this is Part 1 of the Log Part 2 will follow tomorrow morning.
Until tomorrow, take care
As promised, please find attached yesterday\\'s/todays Captains Log beautifully written by our New Zealand World Voyager Logan and Australian World Voyager \\'Chook\\'. Please enjoy.
Captains Log 23 April 15
It was an earlier and colder start than usual yesterday morning as everyone got layered up and ready to come along side in Canakkale. As coincidence would have, it the president of Turkey had the same idea and took over the berth we were planning on using. Our first plan foiled we moved to our contingency plan and we prepared to be shuttled by the RHIB to shore. After communication with HMNZS Te Kaha, the New Zealand Naval warship moored next to us, they agreed to help with the shuttle service with their slightly bigger jet RHIB as well.
Upon arriving at the marina and taking our first, long awaited, steps in Turkey a few of us started to feel the affects of land sickness (characterised by the feeling of constant rocking while standing still). We then rushed off to the ferry where we were met by our tour guide for the day. After a quick trip over the Dardanelles we moved on to see the historic battle grounds of the ANZAC campaign.
For those who haven’t been to the Gallipoli Peninsula, or seen photos other than those of the war era, let me paint you a picture – we are visiting in Spring, and the fields are green with new life, flowers blooming and birds singing. There are pine trees and rolling hills, well covered by thick vegetation, a crystal clear blue sea lapping gently at the shore under an even bluer sky. To stand in this place today and to know what happened here 100 years ago has been one of the most surreal and conflicting sensations of my life: how can such a beautiful place be at the heart of so much pain and suffering?
We began our tour by visiting Peace Park – we had arrived early and so were alone as our guide explained in detail the campaign to us, and later in exploring the abandoned bunker come loose from the shore, Brighton Beach, the original intended landing point for our ANZACs in the distance. From there we bussed to ANZAC Cove, and I for one was not prepared. I have read many accounts of the Gallipoli landings, of the struggle to get ashore, the beating waves, the cliffs with which those young men were faced once they got ashore, but standing there on this bright sunny morning I could not contain a sense of overwhelming hopelessness for the task with which they were saddled. I, as many others around me, cried for the enormity of the challenge and the loss which it entailed on that small beach before us a century ago. We paid our respects in this place not only for ourselves, but for our countries and futures.
The next stop on the program was North Beach, which we were unable to go down to due to the ANZAC Day preparations and dress rehearsals for the event. As we will be on deck for the event itself, it was nice to feel a part of the program as we watched the choir sing one of their pieces by the side of the ANZAC memorial where the dawn service will take place.
From there we moved to the first of several cemeteries on the peninsula. These are places of great reverence and quiet beauty; resting between neat lawns and scattered flowers, under the arching limbs of old trees, white headstones mark the final resting places of the young and old who fought and died in Gallipoli. Walking among them, we were struck by the youth the presented over and over – 16, 17 and 18 years olds, extinguished so early, so far from home. None of us could imagine what it must have been like leaving family and country so young, to travel so far, to such a place as this must have been. Many of the inscriptions were quite moving but one truly stuck – ‘Deeds, not words’. Lest we forget.
Lone Pine cemetery was named for the single pine tree that was left when the ANZAC troops arrived there. Being in the cemetery was intensley overwhelming and humbling. Surrounding a pine tree in the centre, planted after the war, is row upon row of white headstones. The most sobering aspect for Logan was the memorial wall for fallen soldiers who were never found or buried. ‘His Great Great Uncle, Allan James Noel Wylie’s name is on this wall. To see and be connected to one of thousands of names at Lone Pine and Gallipoli made this visit to the wall immensely special’.
Many of us had names to find in Lone Pine, and to be able to pay our respects in person was truly something moving. I (Chook) had a record of my own great grand uncle, one Arthur Wellesley Dreves, as buried in Lone Pine, but after scanning the headstones could not find him. My heart sank at the thought I would not be able to pay my respects, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology and a handful of people to which I will eternally be grateful, we found that although he had died in the battle of Lone Pine, he had not been buried there, but rather in the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery just a little way off.
The cemetery lies at the bottom of a long and winding path, out of the way of the main tourist routes, on a quiet hillside overlooking the sea. Arthur’s headstone rests at the base of one of those splendid arching trees which are planted in many of the cemeteries, beside a flowering pink oxalis. When I saw his name on that small white headstone, nestled quietly between the friends with which he fought, I could think of no more beautiful a place for him to rest eternally. The inscription reads ‘In loving memory, his sun went down, whilst yet it was day’. He was 28.
After Lone Pine, we continued on to the Turkish Memorial, which is itself very beautiful. Our half Turkish, half New Zealander crewmate Sedef was afforded the opportunity to pay her respects there, as we reflected upon the loses the Turkish side suffered too.
Next was the New Zealand memorial at Chunuk Bair, where a grand statue of Ataturk, father of Turkey, stands as sentinel atop the hill, facing inwards towards Turkey, binoculars around his neck. From here we could see the whole of the Gallipoli coastline and inland as well – there are few coves in that view worse to land boats into than ANZAC Cove, with its high hills and deep valleys. A lovely Turkish man took our group photo while his brother jumped in with us; the friendship between Turkey, Australia and New Zealand has never been more pertinent than here in this place, where we stood 100 years ago, on opposite sides of the line but facing the same heartbreaking losses – comrades, friends, family.
Our journey back to the ferry was subdued and quiet, many of us reflective and drained from the sheer emotion of our visit to Gallipoli’s historical sights. We were looking forward to lunch as a distraction from our heavier feelings, but found it to be so in a wholly unexpected way – our late schedule meant it was amusingly rushed: as soon as a plate was cleared of food it was replaced by the next and the next. Four courses down in twenty minutes is easily a new record, even on board Young Endeavour!
The afternoon was spent in Canakkale itself, with the boat off performing necessary engagements with other naval vessels. Celebrations are occurring at this time of the year and there are people everywhere. Blue eyes are considered lucky in Turkey, and not for the first time I, and a number of other blue eyed crew, were asked if ours were ‘original’. The music and laughter contrasted greatly to our morning experience, but it was cathartic in a way, and we soon found other Australians in cafes to sing our anthems with (cue Jimmy Barnes). The night was topped off with a water and light show to the strains of traditional Turkish music, and fairy floss by the wharf. We boarded our ferry to the ship, thoughts of warm showers and cosy beds forefront in our minds.
Back on the ship, we quickly realised that Kenny and the other staffies had different plans for us. Tight time frames meant it was time to offload trash and onboard water; 6,000 litres of it – in 20 litre bottles. The worst was yet to come though, for once it was one board, it had to be emptied, bottle by bottle, down the two pipes leading to the below decks tank. Funnels at the ready, we took off with great gusto, working in shifts, to beat starboard team for number of bottles emptied. There is something special about being splashed with water and having run down the inside of your sleeve at 12.30 at night in 7 degree weather that brings you together as a team, and though none of us was dry at the end, we all went to bed cold, but accomplished and among friends.
Logan and Chook
Shout out for Chook – Hi mum, I’m alive Can you please give Meg some cheese, it was her birthday the other day. Hope you’re enjoying your travel Buns, I’ll see you soon. Love you mum and dad, and Scott – congratulations on your graduation, I am so proud of you.