Letter: Dutchman’s fond memories of famous weekend in Whitby

w041506h pic Alan Wastell''The Endeavour leaves Whitby in choppy seas heading for for Holland.
w041506h pic Alan Wastell''The Endeavour leaves Whitby in choppy seas heading for for Holland.

Nice to read about the famous Whitby weekend 20 years ago in 1997 on Twitter.

On your request to share a memory from that weekend, for me this particular weekend is a nice memory too.

In 1997 Whitby was still one of the UK ports the steelplant Hoogovens in Ijmuiden, Holland, sent her products to.

On the day after the Endeavour replica entered Whitby I arrived on board the coaster ‘Steel Shuttle’ which had a cargo of steel coils in her hold.

I was on board as a guest, I worked at the office of the ship owners’ company in those days.

At high tide just after dusk of a beautiful evening we entered the harbour and passed the swingbridge.

Both sides of the river were full of people waiting for the bridge to close so can they could pass it again.

It was crowded because of the event of the ‘Whitby homecoming’ of the Endeavour and I never forget the shout from ‘Steel Shuttle’s’ captain Honig after we almost passed the bridge as it was like all the people were waiting for us to arrive.

He shouted: “Hello England, here we are.”

And some of the people were clapping and shouting back to us. The same night we were guests of the port authorities and the agents, which was a nice party as you can imagine.

I stayed the whole weekend, slept in my tent on a campsite close to Whitby and celebrated four beautiful days. I returned to Holland with the next coaster which delivered steel in Whitby, the ‘Steel Sprinter’.

The only sad thing was that I missed my girlfriend’s birthday which she did not like too much and almost wanted to break up with me.

But luckily we still are happy together these days and together we returned to Whitby in 2004.

I never forget Whitby.

My career went in a total different direction from shipping steel to fisheries-research and these days I am weekly checking what is happening on Parkol Marine’s shipyard and other fishing-related news.

Sadly there is no steel shipping to Whitby anymore.

This was my memory on a marvellous weekend in May 1997.

I hope to come back not long from now.

Marcel de Vries