Well shiver me timbers and all that malarkey, here we go on a 2500 mile trip from Singapore to Ulsan in South Korea.
Strange that I had to double take on Ulsan as I thought it was the blue stuff that you put down a chemical bog but that was Elsan.
Now we are in 2016 it is hard to imagine that from 1969 to 1972 I lived in a house that had a chemical toilet because we had no flushing one nor mains sewage. Nor did we have hot running water and used to bath in tin bath in front of the rayburn. (ha ha I can feel the startings of a monty python sketch there)
Eventually we had septic tank fitted and even though the bog was outside it was still a joy not to be having to dig a hole once a week to bury the contents of the chemical in, which was never a pleasant task I can assure you.
I guess that’s why when we had the dunny going in France (up till last year) I was always chuffed with it because it was self composting and just used wood ash and sawdust to break itself down.
It would be a bit tricky to have inside a house I will admit, but it is so simple if you have the space outside and dont mind the journey there and back in the winter.
Anyway I seem to have meandered off up shit creek there for some reason, so back to the here and now:-
It is 0001 hours on the 19th April.
We are at 07* 05’N 109* 04’E just coming up to Vanguard Bank on our Stb side where the water rises from 500 meters to about 30) in the middle of the South China Sea, or if you prefer we are 225 miles SSE of Vung Tau on the southern tip of Vietnam.
We are steering 035 and making 7.6 knots. So far we have travelled 454 miles since leaving Singapore with 2055 to go.
The sea is near enough calm, there is a beautiful balmy NE wind blowing at about 14 knots and the temp is about 30 degrees.
It is always good to leave the anarchic cauldron of noise that is a dry dock or repair yard, the banging and clanging, the bashing and crashing, the burning metal smells from welding and oxy-acetylene cutting, the sirens hooting or wailing, the grinders sparking, machinery running, fans blowing, radios squawking, people shouting, sweating, swearing, skiving and smiling, cranes lifting and lowering, scaffolding going up and down, the feel of sand blasting grit in your nostrils, the stench of spray paint curing, the relentless cacophony, the unsubtle and unclean symphony of heavy industry.
There is a satisfying and palpable release of tension as the final office whallah heads down the gangway, the ropes are let go, and once more the ship comes under the stewardship of the marine crew and the project crew who are preparing their kit for the job ahead.
You are back to an environment where everyone knows their job and the result of everyone doing their jobs is a smooth running harmonious vessel where each cog in the wheel is respected for their own part in the team.
All of us can only do our jobs because of those around us are doing theirs. It is an often unspoken but tangible camaraderie. It is why I love what I do for a living and why I particularly like being on a sea passage.
It is such a satisfying and pleasing routine of plotting our progress on the chart, and checking the course and the predicted weather against our own barometric and wind readings and the state of the sea and sky.
It isn’t quite the romantic ideal of an open deck and being able to foresee the weather changes by your own senses, knowledge and experience, but it is an enjoyable process none the less.
I went for a walk on the heli deck this afternoon and had a big grin on my face as the warm breeze brushed over me and as I walked around I could see nothing but sea in a 360 degree unbroken horizon.
Make no mistake that I miss beyond measure the greatest pleasure of my life, which is tucking up on the lee side of bum island with MrsB, and just being with her, and also spending time with my children and learning of their busy interesting independent lives, however being out on the deep blue sea is about as an enjoyable way to spend our time apart as there is.
This is us sailing
I will be trying to write something everyday of the passage, sometimes fact sometimes fiction and I will also be offering a music track each day I write for your listening pleasure.
Here is a very apt first one but you will need to copy and paste it to get it to work
Love and Peace