Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Pronounced 'May day', is a french term meaning 'Help me'. It is derived from the French verb 'aider' which means 'to help'. A mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. In maritime terms (and they seem to be under threat from certain quarters) a call of MAYDAY triggers the highest possible level of response from those who hear it. Hence the urgency of our launch today.

And the thing is with Lifeboat shouts, they are never expected. Just when you think all is quiet and everything is going according to plan something turns up out of the blue.

The plan for this morning, as it happens, was to make a shedload of jam sandwiches for my younger daughter's 5th birthday party. As it happens, this wasn't to be. Just as I was reading Eve's (7 years old) book with her, our pagers went off, and I found myself racing down to the boathouse.

And it turned out it was one of those rather odd shouts where you are out there, but nobody seems to understand exactly why! A MAYDAY call had been heard on channel 16 VHF by various parties, yet no one had comms with the MAYDAY casualty and no one had a firm position. Consequently we (and Beowulf, a passaging lifeboat and rescue 106) spent a rather fruitless few hours stooging about the channel looking for something or nothing.

Gav, as usual, managed to make an art-form of stoicism as he helmed during our close-in search of the cliffs from Anvil point to Chapman's pool.

And, when all is said and done, all that we found was this forlorn looking packing case, floating on it's lonesome, about a mile South-East (135 degrees) of St. Alhelm's head.

Let's hope that it was a hoax...

Here's to us, one more toast, and then well pay the bill.
Deep inside, both of us, can feel the autumn chill.
Birds of passage, you and me,
We fly instinctively.
When the summers over and the dark clouds hide the sun.
Neither you nor I'm to blame, when all is said and done.

(When all is said and done - ABBA)

1 comment:

nonsooth said...

I feel your pain. We had a mayday like that recently. One call, and no response to hails. We sent a helo and a boat out to the area with no results. It's frustrating.

I'm inclined to think it was someone messing around with a radio, but that's just a guess.