Day 3 |
May 21, 2012

Dartmouth, Devon, UK 

By Chris Harbard, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: N 50º 21' 04", W 03º 34' 44"
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: 18ºC 65ºF

The day started sunny and stayed that way all day. The ship was moored up along the River Dart with the fabulously scenic town of Dartmouth right beside us. After breakfast we disembarked for a one-minute Zodiac ride to the quay and there was a chance to explore a little before the coaches set off for a tour of the Britannia Royal Naval College, a mere five minute's drive away.

The imposing building sits on the hillside just above the town and each coach had to be searched before we were allowed to enter into the college grounds. It was designed by architect Aston Webb, who also contributed to the design of Buckingham Palace in London. Long corridors were lined with portraits and I had to remember that I was only allowed to take photographs in certain places, and I couldn't talk to any of the people there apart from the official guides. It was a fascinating tour with so much naval history, from Nelson and Trafalgar to more modern times. Finally we reached the 'bar' where there was an impressive array of mouth-watering canapés and drinks which made me wish I'd joined the navy if that was part of their three square meals a day!!

The short coach ride back took us to the centre of town, just by the quay, and I decided to explore a little, enjoying the older buildings, each one different from its neighbour. It appeared that nothing had been built there which was out of character, and most fascinating was the station – built for a railway that never arrived and now converted into a restaurant. Back on board ship there was time to prepare for the briefing and recap which took place at 5.30pm with Robin telling us about our visit to the Isles of Scilly with trips to Tresco and St Mary's. Then after I looked back at the wonderful swans of the previous day, Imogen told us about weather vanes and the royal coat of arms, with a final floral flourish from Hans-Peter. The Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party introduced everyone to the senior staff on board, and was followed by a sumptuous meal, which would be difficult to better. Let's hope the forecasted weather for tomorrow is correct!