Notes From A New Recruit!
Like you, I have been reading Malcom’s fascinating articles about his talents as an experienced watch keeper at the Lookout manned by members of Portscatho NCI.
I am one of their newest recruits and am under training at the moment. My parents moved to Trewithian more than 35 years ago and I remember walking across to Pednvadan all those years ago and being intrigued by the Coastguard Lookout as it was at the time. My father subsequently helped out from time to time.
Now that we are living in the same cottage in Trewithian, we pass the Lookout on a daily basis exercising the dogs. I have always been fascinated by the sea and now have a boat at Percuil.
One of my first experiences of life at sea would have been in full view of the Lookout when I sailed from Falmouth in 1975 aboard the STS Sir Winston Churchill and we crossed Gerrans Bay. That trip taught me basic skills involving plotting charts, listening to weather forecasts (mostly gale warnings), tides and a healthy respect for the sea!
These have all come in use as I have begun my training at NCI. Recruits should attend monthly training sessions and a monthly meeting covering administration, news from NCI and specific. Much of the rest of your training is carried with a mentor (a qualified watch keeper) at the Lookout.
Out there we have elaborate weather equipment, charts, tide tables, a VHF radio, almanacs and of course powerful binoculars and a telescope. As you can imagine, in summer there are all sorts of potential dangers from yachts, blow up dinghies, kayaks, tides and winds. We have a lot to look at and a lot to note down.
Only a few days ago we saw a man take out his two children in their dinghy with an outboard. Off they headed from Portscatho Harbour towards Porthbean and Curgurrel when the engine appeared to run out of fuel. Poor man, it was a long way to row back to Portscatho! They were safe and all wearing life jackets – we followed them every metre of the journey……just in case. Maybe they, like many flocking to our beaches, were oblivious to the important work we do.
I have to admit starting with slight trepidation, but have been made to feel fantastically welcome. Working at the Lookout with different Watch keepers (in addition to my mentor) has shown me how others like to work whilst I get into as much of the routine as possible. Spot, Plot and Report is the key to the job. I know we still need more volunteers.
If you want to find out more ring Bob on 01872 -580720 or Robert on 501670. Just as I did!