The plane was three quarters full, mainly old, middleclass Brits heading southeastwards for the sun. Fortunately the patron saint of disgruntled ex-mariners travelling by air provided for a roomy trip and three seats were to be had, all for grumpy sea.
The agent was there with a big board welcoming us onsigners. We were shown to a large tour bus and told to wait for others to arrive. It was like being on your hols only there was no (fortunately) orange Tracy from ‘Holtours’ shouting at us all to enjoy ourselves.
After a short while a bunch of Thai welders turned up and off we set. Ten minutes later and they dropped us at the gangway and that was that arrived, we were.
Have been here before, just the other week so induction malarkey was waived and a cabin assigned. Hmm not very 2014 it has to be said, quite glum and gloomy really. Poor comms, no noise insulation, no carpet, no easy chairs, no multi channel telly, no lights over the desk, no IDD phone. Oh dear, why do they let these things continue?
Some operators run state of the art equipment. Some operators run aged gear but upgrade it to make it luverly. Some do neither. The answer is to make a law that says only Norwegians run this sort of thing, that’d drive up standards.
Yesterday the AC was too cold, people were shivering. Today it’s the opposite, melting folk laying about all over the place. Keeps us on our toes and no mistake. A five day passage ahead. Thank goodness for Kobo. It’s a saviour. The twice yearly Kobo book buying session is very enjoyable. Sorting through tons of choices for hours and always coming back to the titles you’d got in mind in the first place. Mainly.
Overnight the ventilation system seems to have been ‘sorted’, awoke after a good sleep to a cabin pleasantly ‘ambient’ and nice. The vessel is underway having left the anchorage the previous evening. It’s not a fast thing. Being designed to sit in one place most of the time any passages it has to make seems to be a challenge. With a strong westerly up our chuff, so to speak, progress so far is good. That said, every minute takes us father from a stable and unthreatening place and nearer to one that is, arguably, very much the other way.
Other than hostility from shipmates or insanitary conditions nothing bothers old allastea on these trips to foreign parts on clanking old tonnage. If however there is no internet or email connection to be had on these adventures then all is NOT perceived as good. ‘He doesn’t like to be cut off’, so to speak. That seems to be the general consensus aboard too. Aware that there must be many people who would consider cyber disconnection a wonderful relief from keyboard slavery or persecution, here, at the moment, it is at best an inconvenience, at worst, a grade A1 pain in the arse.