Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
169Trip End ??? ??, 2007
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I went out to one of the balconies and saw a sight I'd seen a few moments earlier. This time though some of the crew were pointing so I asked what it was. I'd already seen the smoke and it looked like an oil rig from a distance or some machinery bellowing out smoke. The Philippino guys were more concerned and told me it was a container boat on fire. The distance was only about 15 miles and as we got nearer I could make out a helicopter and a few Navy rescue boats so it was more serious than I'd thought.
Later on, after dinner, I was out on one of the balconies taking photos unwittingly next to the Crew's Smoking Room. They'd already started with their party and called me in. I'd already had two of my beers and was happy to join them. I met Jess, the cook, and all the other guys including Joel, Lito and Artemio. I have to name them here or their names will be lost to me forever. We had a surprisingly good time having beers (their beers) and talking. After a while the guitar came out and we had a sing song with Joel and Jess the guitar players. Jess's one ambition in life is to see Paul McCartney play live. Once he's done that he can die a happy man he told me. I told him I'd seen him a couple of years ago at Live 8 - I hope he gets his turn. They told me about a recent passenger called Barbara
I was relieved to find some people on the boat that I could talk to and have a good time with. I knew it wouldn't be like this every night as they have to be careful about the booze they consume. Not because they're on duty or anything but because the 15 crates put on board in Singapore have to last the officers and crew one month. On hearing this I felt bad for buying one crate for my own six days! Each time I offered to bring my own down they refused saying "Philippinos love to be hospitable". I did bring my own only after I'd left the party to go to toilet
The weather so far on the voyage has been great. The sea has been relatively calm and there's been very little rain. Today we worked our way through the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java so we're now in the Indian Ocean. Jess told me that when the sea gets up and everyone is being sick from sea-sickness he only serves porridge!! That's because it's cheap and if it's coming back up anyway..... Apparently they have only have a modest budget per person per day which makes the galley effort even more impressive.
I went to bed feeling happy that I'd found some friends. I'd still spend a lot of time alone doing my own thing and watching Chris's dvds but it was good to now I had some pals on board.