Paul Attrell – HMS Arrow

Paul Attrell, HMS Arrow

Dec 1989, we were entering Tampa Bay, Florida for Christmas/New Year stand-off in the middle of a six month West Indies Guardship deployment. We were all at Procedure Alpha (lining the guardrails around the upper deck) in tropical uniforms ready to enjoy all that the Sunshine State had to offer for two weeks.

As we approached the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge across the bay, the early morning sun disappeared, and fog rolled in so thick, so that as we passed beneath the bridge we struggled to make out the top of the mast, never mind the bridge.

By the time we got alongside in the harbour, it had started raining and we are all frozen in our thin cotton uniforms. The captain ordered a return to Blues and, within a week, Florida was experiencing its first snow in two hundred years.

It wasn’t a total washout – I did get married while was there and we will celebrate our 30th Anniversary on the 22 December.

Paul Attrell