A woman who embarked on a Tall Ships adventure more than two decades ago took a step back in time at a special event.
Thrill-seeking Elsie Joel, from Whitley Bay, marked her retirement as a midwife and nurse in 1993 by visiting the Tall Ships Regatta on Newcastle Quayside.
She boarded the Eye of the Wind and after chatting to the captain and crew, was offered the chance to join them two days later to join them for the race from Newcastle to Bergen.
Twenty-three years on, the 83-year-old Elsie rejoined the Tall Ships celebrations at Blyth quayside for the start of the Tall Ships Regatta.
She had been invited to the opening ceremony by Northumberland County Council where she enjoyed VIP treatment and shared fond memories of her Tall Ships adventure with former work colleagues.
Elsie said: “I went on to the Eye of the Wind Tall Ship for a brief tour and I ended up having a very long chat with the crew and then with the captain.
“I thought what an amazing life it must be to be free on the ocean sailing all over the world.
“I couldn’t believe the captain invited me to join them for the race and I just had to say ‘yes’.”
Elsie helped with the domestics on board the ship and had a go at working the sails but what she loved most were the evenings, chatting with the crew at night under the stars.
She added: “Afterwards, I often thought of that wonderful journey and being on the ship, sailing by the stars and being part of that lovely crew, and it helped me in my job to see things differently.”
Local County Councillor Susan Davey, who helped to fix up the celebration for Elsie at Blyth, said: “I knew Elsie from working in nursing and healthcare at Cramlington and I’m still amazed at her story and how spontaneous she was in joining the crew of a Tall Ship.
“Sailing to Bergen, Norway, was an experience she treasures and it was wonderful to hear her stories and see the old news clippings of the adventure, and to share those memories with her in person at Blyth.”
Elsie was delighted to see the magnificent tall Ships again and still feels the pull of the sea.
She said: “It was lovely to be remembered and to be made a fuss of, and it was very nostalgic to see the Tall Ships again.
“I did think for a moment about joining a ship again but I know my husband would have really missed me.”
A fleet of 18 vessels (representing 10 different flag states) took part in the race to Sweden.
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