At the port we had to wait for three hours before boarding the ship; we then had to pass through Customs and at lost the ship sailed. It was towed along part of the way down the Thames to the open sea and then it was left on its own for the journey through the North Sea.
Life on board was pleasant and the food was good. We passed the time in writing letters to our parents, playing deck games and generally enjoying ourselves. Each evening we had dances and went to bed at 8.30 p.m., and the rule was "lights out at 9." The weather varied at sea and was not so good near land. Two days after leaving Tilbury we reached Bergen in Norway.
Bergen is an old cobbled town, and is well-known as a fishing port. There we saw, and went up, the side of a mountain on a funicular railway. From the top of the mountain we had a tremendous view of Bergen, and away down below we could see our ship at anchor in the harbour. The Norwegian people were very helpful, hospitable and very friendly. This was our first stop in a series of four the others were to be at Kristiansand Bay, Oslo and Goteburg.
At Kristiansand we held a regatta in the form of a boat race and after the regatta we cruised up the fjord to Oslo. There we were entertained by some Norwegian children, and taken up to the Homenholen Ski-jump where Winter sports are held - these sports are seen each year on T.V. There too we saw the "Fram" which carried the famous Norwegian explorer, Nanson, to the Antarctic before our own Scott. He died while trying to save an Italian explorer. The well-known "Kon- Tiki" raft, which carried four men to the Polynesian Islands and back, was also on exhibition. Wax models of a whale shark and pilot fish were suspended from beneath the raft. At another exhibition nearby we saw Viking ships and also Viking burial ships. From here we sailed to Goteburg.
Goteburg is famous for its shipbuilding and industry, a much more modern town than Bergen, but old-fashioned to a Londoner as the people still travel on trams.
Our stay in Sweden was a short one and we were soon on our way home, and it was on this return journey that we had our first big storm. The water was lashing everything and pouring overboard, and the waves had become terrific breakers. By nightfall the sea had calmed down, and we had our first view of Britain shrouded in mist. When we awoke in the morning we were already well up the Thames and approaching Tilbury. Soon we were back on firm ground and on our way home after a very memorable voyage.
Stephen Whelan 1 B.