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16th July, 2013



After another well executed and interesting fire & lifeboat drill, involving me being the fire team leader of ‘Team Bravo’ and a simulated oil fire in the galley, I was fortunate enough to be able to go ashore in the lovely port of Gdynia. Having been one of the major Polish ports in the Baltic Sea since 1924, Gdynia has a very strong maritime and naval influence and feel. Whilst ashore I saw a variety of Armed Forces (particularly naval) training facilities and in addition Merchant Navy officer training schools. Along the main harbour front I found two ships that particularly took my interest, both of which were open to the public. The Polish destroyer ‘Blyskawica’ was built, in the UK in Cowes in 1935-1937 and served as a key part of many Polish sea going operations, covering over 148,000 miles at sea, since 1976 she became a representative vessel of the Polish navy, leaving active service and more recently has become a floating naval museum.

I was fortunate enough to be able to have a look around her and have an interesting conversation with one of the junior officers on-board all of whom are active naval officers, however he did seem very jealous of my cadetship on board a cruise ship! The other ship I was fortunate enough to have a look around was the ‘Dar Pomorza’ a three masted tall ship, based in Gdynia, that is involved in sail-training the local youth, I was also informed by a member of the ship's company that she was a feature in one of the French society painter Jaques-Emile Blanche’s lesser known works, on one of his famous visits to Poland to capture the beauty of the Polish landscape.

After my visit to the ships I managed to grab a late, but very enjoyable lunch in a local restaurant and returned to the Sapphire. Whilst it was a brief visit to Gdynia, it was certainly an enjoyable one.

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