For five years I was a crew member aboard 'The Matthew' of Bristol.

I sailed thousands of miles aboard her and she kept me safe through some of the most incredible adventures of my life.

She was built at Redcliffe Quay Boatyard in Bristol and when aboard you cannot help but be impressed by the workmanship. This helps us to feel safe when ploughing under sail through rough seas.

It is quite a strange thing to sail aboard a ship. With a crew 7-20 people of all walks of life, thrown into a little wooden bubble bobbing about the sea. The crew tend to bond pretty quickly.

You trust your lives in each others hands and share sights, stories and laughter, when filling the hours on watch.

                                   We found and ate floating melons off of  the coast of Cornwall.

                                             Sailed through darkness, fog and planks going into Brighton.

We've been accompanied by phosphorescent dolphins on the way to France (equally as exciting as the phosphorescent starboard head, which was like flushing stars down the toilet!). 

                                                       Caught mackerel along the way for breakfast.

          Fired cannons. Survived storms or endured long periods of going backwards against the tide

                                                               Sid on the whipstaff.

We've tucked away in many a bay or harbour to shelter. Banished to land to drink for days awaiting a change in the weather. Always to a warm welcome and maybe a shanty or two!

A video for Breamie. 
In memory of a dear friend and well loved shipmate aboard 'The Matthew'.
The kindest man with the biggest heart. 
More like a pirate than any of us and without even trying.

                            Doris the Gorilla. A temporary figurehead for 'The Matthew'

In 2011 it was the 175th anniversary of the Bristol Zoo.
To celebrate, local artists were selected and invited to decorate gorilla sculptures as part of a summer arts trail.
The project became a huge success with folks in their thousands traipsing all over the city to photograph all of the 61 statues.
The Wow Gorilla's were then sold at auction raising an incredible £427.000 in one evening.
The money raised went towards gorilla conservation abroad and to Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal at the Bristol Children's Hospital.
My gorilla Doris was the 61st gorilla, added as a surprise addition during the trail. 
She was a temporary figurehead for the tall ship 'The Matthew' and even ventured out to sea on a few voyages! 
At auction she raised £6000 for charity making the whole experience even more wonderful.

Doris moored up after her voyage to Cardiff.

                                 Photograph by Shawn, volunteer aboard 'The Matthew'



Some images of ship and crew.

                                                                    Walking the Plank!

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