My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Boat Bit Part 1 - 3rd - 10th October

Well, what to say! Mental! Singapore Dock is huge and crazy and I am totally overwhelmed by it all as I manouvre round huge containers and marvel at the massive ships - I really can't take in the size and my heart is pumping. I am suddenly aboard meeting the Captain (do I really call him Captain or does he have another name? I am not offered one for now so I will stick to Captain, pretty cool eh!) Then I am off for my first meal and meeting the Officers and Crew. The officers are from Russia, The Ukraine and The Phillipines. The crew are all from the Phillipines, plus a few extra from Singapore - who are on board to weld for 20 hrs a day!! 26 of us in all and no other passengers which is a shame. The first thing I notice as I sit down are the vitamin C tablets and my mind goes into a momentary irrrational thought about how quickly I could get scurvy and could I die in 2 weeks!! but then I recover! Calm! Meal times are a joy! I love them. If I do not show up they worry about me and phone me up. Then I am not allowed to do anything myself - too polite to me here but I don't like too much service (I hope they will get to know this but they don't!) So there is a combination of meat and potatoes, rice and fish in various guises with the odd piece of fruit and vegetable thrown in and ice cream and cake on Sunday too. Sometimes I try to make lame conversation with a Russian who either doesn't understand or doesn't want to. Sometimes I have a giggle with those who can. Everyone says 'Good Appetite' as they arrive and leave and I cannot stop staring at the plate of processed meat which seems to be untouched since day 1. Actually I enjoyed the food, I just ate too much! I tried to offer my services in the kitchen ( I thought my time in the CAT veggie restaurant might help?!) but they thought not and when I tried they thought I was crazy! I got handed a big wodge of dvds by the Captain and start to wade through them. I wish I had grasped the dvd situation beforehand and could have brought all those films I have been wanting to watch for ages but not had time or also as I don't have a tv/video/dvd or electricity! Anyway the first days pass easily. Views of Indonesia, lush sunsets and a volcano! Lots of eating (worried I might not get in the bridesmaids dress!) and the only activity I get is walking up the stairs after dinner! Lots of time to think. One thing I wonder is if there is a way to measure/quantify my amazing experiences and make a financial/emotional/cultural/environmental comparison - but that is for the acedamics and the thought stops there! So this ship is more Russian than the Trans-Siberian (sadly no vodka and it is an alcohol free ship for the crew - but not for me sadly drinking red wine alone!) I spend most of my time talking to the officers. Alex from St.Petersburg has good English and we get on pretty well. He shows me the engine room (big, loud, hot) the controls etc. and generally helps to keep me sane. After 6 days we arrive in Fremantle to a beautiful moonset/sunrise and dolphin combination and I am allowed on shore! It feels like cheating and like I am not really in Australia but it feels pretty damn good to set foot on Australian soil (sand!) I HAVE DONE IT (nearly...) I decided to try to find my 2 lovely pals Charlotte and Dom, living in Cottesloe just 2 miles from the dock. Happily Dom and his brother Rupert are home to entertain me for the day but sadly I miss Charlotte. It is great to turn up at a friend's door 10,000 miles from home un-announced and wake them from a hangover! I don't really feel like I am in Australia yet. Except for the funny (infectious) accent (I refuse to pick it up) and everyone being overly helpful and cheery (worries me at first but great!). Back on the boat at night time and we set off for the bumpy part of the journey around the south coast......


At 9:21 pm, October 16, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Aussie Babs

Give it time and the old english asscent will turn into an aussie one, your there for two months, your not going to be able to help but pick it up in that time.

It was a shame that there where no other passengers to share you red wine with, but guess that just means a backer hangover for you then.

Sorry I forgot to tell you about being able to watch DVD's on the ships, but I did remember to tell you to take plenty of books...

Glad you enjoyied your meals on the ship, good job you did make the bridesmaid dress 2 sizes bigger then... sorry, i'm sure your still as fit and trim as ever.

At least you offered to help cook, and get to see the engines, only two areas of a cargo ship worth going to really.

Well done on getting to aus in one piece and still as sane as you where before you leave Mach

Lots of Love and a couple of good drinking buddies

Steve XXX

At 6:39 am, October 19, 2006, Blogger Birdz said...

Hi Babs,
wow, you really made it - congratulations! Following your trip online (with a bit of envy and much respect for your courage!) is a bit like watching a film - well written and funny. Thanks!
Good luck for the rest of your trip!

At 3:05 am, January 24, 2007, Blogger Tabitha said...

Hi Babs,

I stumbled across your blog today and it inspired me and I wanted to leave you a comment. Your sense of purpose is a real inspiration. I am extremely glad that you have shared it with us all.

I wish you all the best of luck and hope to hear more from you in the future.

The best of wishes and peace to you



Post a Comment

<< Home