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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Bumpy Bit - 10th - 14th October

Although I am told the weather is pretty good, we still start rolling all over the shop almost as soon as we leave Fremantle. There are cool plastic mats which hold everything from pot plants to waste bins down. (I forgot, I did get a temporary job as 'gardener' for a few minutes and revived a dying pot plant from its dark and dry misery!) but everything else falls on the floor and I have to time my walk up the stairs to go with the lurch of the boat and sleep sideways on the bed. The first new adventure is the Chief Officer's plan to take me out onto the lower deck and to the front of the ships straight after breakfast. There is lots of spray and water sloshing on the floor as I loll around in my XXL bright blueberry looking waterproof and my pyjamas. It is pretty fun and exhilarating. We then go down loads of steps to the very bottom of the boat which is a bit eerily quiet. Then back up and we are just about to go back inside as a huge wave comes up at us and swirls around our bodies and we are soaked to the skin - much to everyone's (including mine) amusement. Luckily my only symptoms of seasickness is a bit of an annoying headache and it is hard to sleep at night and so I find myself sleeping quite a lot in the day too. I don't know how all the crew manage to work as much as they do, every day. The more I see and chat, the greater insight I have into their lives aboard and it is pretty full on. I know I couldn't do it. I know for a lot of them it is just for the money and I hate that. There are varying levels of interest, some like their jobs, some don't and as much as they like aspects of the life at sea they are still away from home for up to 6 months at a time and away from contact (unless at a port where you can phone) and freedom. Viktor, the steward, who is cool, has not seen his 5 month old baby as he has been away for nearly 7 months. The next few days pass quickly/in a blur mainly sleeping and typing up my diary on the computer and watching more dvds. I even manage to compose a new piece on the accordion - inspired, (maybe?) We begin arriving to Melbourne in the afternoon but it takes us 3 hrs through dusk and night so I am again availed with beautiful skies and scenes. There is even a web cam I discover - Hi Mum and Dad! The soundtrack to our arrival at first is some super cheesy love songs and then we are joined by the smartest pilot to help steer us in (in his suit and tie, under his waterproofs - almost James Bond). The Russian's are just giggling about something, who knows what! I am feeling a bit of cabin fever so I am glad to arrive but I cannot leave properly yet with all my bags as there is no customs. I am allowed ashore and get the free bus to the seaman's club the Stella Maris ( I have to say I am a bit wary about what it will be like after some of the crew are quite blatant about telling me they are looking for a strip club straight away!) but it is actually very lovely inside, friendly, cheap guiness, free cake (someone's 50th birthday party - no stripper!) and free lemons (scurvy?) The local paper says the headline 'Sheep Rush' which amuses me greatly! At the end of the night I have to go back to the ship and wait for customs who arrive early the next day, check my bag for food and wierd stuff and set me free. I am in Australia for real - 45 days after leaving the UK!!


At 2:14 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

Hi Babs

Congratulations on making it to Oz in one piece.

Really inspired by your journey and hope to follow in your footsteps one day.

Enjoy the wedding!


At 4:05 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger Leah said...

Hi Babs!
Congratulations on your (so far) successful journey. Welcome to Western Australia (my part of the world)! Hope you enjoy your time in Oz.
All the best for the rest of the journey!

At 9:05 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger shwmae said...

Your last 2 entries have had me in tears...what an amazing trip. You are an inspiration. LLONGYFARCHIADAU x

At 11:34 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Aussie Babs

Only the British would go for a tour ot the front of a cargo ship in rough weather in they PYJAMAS..... No wonder The Russian's where giggling, probably thinking about the mad British woman in her wet pyjamas, will it puts a smile on my face.. So glad you got to explore the ship, must of been like going down into a deep cave being at the bottom of the hull.

Good to see you have been able to keep your green fingers with you.

I think I now know why you drank so much vodka on your trip, it was so you could practise walking when unstable, with all the practise you seem to have got in walking round the ship in rough waves must have been a piece of cake.

It's great that you have made it to Auss, even if it was to Melbourne on the opposite side of the country to Brisbane, guess your probable well on your way either across country via Aires Rock, or round the coast, for most people that little trip from Melbourne to Brisbane overland would be to much of an adventure to try, yet alone doing after a 45 day trip from England/Wales, Really proud of you...

Lots of Love and Luck, oh and try not to get lost in the outback, that would be a really sad reason for missing the wedding...
Steve XXX

At 10:59 pm, October 23, 2006, Blogger Amanda said...

What a trip - very impressive final leg across the sea in wet pyjamas composing new accordian tunes. Well done you
Thinking of doing some travelling ourselves as tinker just got her passport
amanda & tinker x

At 1:03 pm, October 25, 2006, Blogger steveestir said...

glad to see you made it safe and sound.
enjoy Oz,
you are missing the weather here im sure, not cold yet but getting wetter day by day.
take care

At 9:36 pm, October 27, 2006, Blogger Berni said...

been folowing your blog its ben great reading . i do hope whne you return home you will put on a link to a site where we can view some of your pictures of your travels .. not being a great traveler my imagination can't work that hard !
enjoy the wedding !

At 10:21 am, April 18, 2008, Blogger Nicky and Larry said...

Hi Babs,

Not sure if this is the right way to go about contacting you or not, hope you'll get this message.

We are in the process of following in your footsteps - we're in southern Thailand at the moment and will be getting on the Theodor Storm at the end of May. We've been travelling since November and have had a completely amazing time. We are hoping to get to New Zealand after Australia, and beyond if at all possible but we haven't exactly got any idea at all how this bit is going to pan out yet!

Our reason for contacting you is to ask whether you can remember if, when you passed through Australian immigration, you were asked to show an onward ticket or not. We have 6 month tourist visas which say that we need to show an onward ticket, but because we are looking for a way to New Zealand without flying we're not going to have one. We really don't want to buy a flight (hopefully to cancel) before arriving if we don't have to.

Any advice gratefully received! Also any other advice you might have about the boat journey (things we might find useful to bring, etc.) We're slightly worried about the food 'cos we're veggie but we've told them well in advance so hopefully they'll be able to accommodate us!


Nicky and Larry (from Bristol)

At 3:35 pm, April 23, 2008, Blogger Babs said...

Hi Everyone
Especially Nicky and Larry
Please leave your email address so I can contact you to answer your queries!
With regards this question about visas I had a 3 month tourist visa and didn't have to show an onward ticket. I didn't have one either. So that is all I know. Sorry! I don't think they are as tight as they used to be.
With regards the ship, the food was very meat and fish based but if you have told them that is all you can do. The crew and officers change so you won't necessarily have the same people anyway. I tried to help out in the kitchen but they thought I was mad and weren't having it! Maybe take a few supplies just in case but there was so much food that even if you just removed the meat/fish bit there would still be loads. It is not the most ethical fare either.....
Since the Theodor Storm I have been on another ship where there was a lot more to do. But on this ship apart from a dvd player you have to self entertain. My advice would be to talk to the crew and officer's more. When I was on board there were some friendly souls and some less than friendly. I felt a bit anxious as a girl alone about befriending the men but in some ways wish I had spoken to them more. As you are two people it may be easier for you.
Good Luck.


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