Tag Archives: World cruise

17th January

Many of you commented and asked questions on the children’s crossing the line ceremony.  The ‘fish’ is a standard part of the ceremony, the ‘gunge’ being a matter of choice; the children’s being meringue mix!  The adults’, which will take place later, involves our crew, while guests are bystanders.  The Staff officers, myself included, will pass judgement on the miscreants and the penalty is carried out, the ‘gunge’ being more adult-friendly :-).  I will post photos after the event.

The ‘penalties’ pale into insignificance compared to my Crossing the Line experience  in 1970, when on my Training ship  😯 .  There were 12 of us ‘apprentices’ on board the “Clan Sutherland” a cargo ship, built in 1951.  Clan Line was part of the “British & Commonwealth” shipping company who operated over 84 ships in those heady days, when the British Merchant Navy was the envy of the world.  Having completed our initial training at the School of Navigation at Warsash, near Southampton, we then commenced our practical training.  The Clan Sutherland was originally built with 12 passenger cabins; these had been converted to house we cadets.   I joined her in London, she was berthed in King George V dock, so busy that ships were double-banked; lying alongside each other to increase the dock’s capacity.  Ironically, it has all disappeared, part of the ‘Docklands’ development and is now towering office buildings and apartments, not to mention London City airport, one I use when ‘hopping’ between Holland and U.K.

She operated as any cargo ship would and we , with our Training officer, Derry Sinclair, were, not only involved in the every-day operation, but took classes as well.  My first voyage took 18 months; having loaded cargo from various ports around the U.K. we set sail for East Africa, our first port?  Mombasa, Kenya.  We then went south, calling at various East African, South African, South-West African ports before heading towards the Mediterranean.  Here we discharged and loaded cargo before heading south again, eventually returning to the Med, where, 18 months later,  we left the ship that we had become so fond of.

I digress, however we obviously crossed the Line and suffered the penalties that Neptune decreed.  Being a cargo ship, there were ‘no holds barred’, up to and including shaving of heads, being coated in foul-smelling liquids and other obnoxious substances which took days to clean off.  Our ‘swimming pool’ was a box-like structure, consisting of wooden supports and a waterproof canvas  slung over it, filled from the fire main and lying on the foredeck, near the cargo holds.  Happy days  😆   Little did I know then, in my innocence, that in the years to come, in more serious times I would abandon ship, be closely affected by the “Herald of Free Enterprise” disaster and, amongst others, be involved in the Swissair 111 crash at Peggy’s Cove.

On a brighter note, Hazel had her birthday on the 14th and officers and guests were invited to a quiet celebration in the Pinnacle grill.  The Chefs had enjoyed the opportunity to show off their skills.

Some Birthday cake! A ‘devil-dog’ 

Butter poached lobster

Heirloom carrot salad

Lychee and radish sorbet

Sable fish

We have also had our first ball since I last wrote, the Main lounge was packed with ‘masked’ revellers; here’s one of me at the dinner prior to ‘Tripping the light fantastic’

I have also taken some more photos of areas which guests seldom, if ever visit.

Our ‘I-95’ as we call it; the main, central corridor on our ‘A’ deck, looking forward…

…and aft.

Our ECR, or Engine Control Room.

The Print Shop and Eddy, our stalwart printer,  he can work miracles!

A section of the Laundry

Moi, at my desk; using a tripod and an app on my phone, for remote shooting. I am writing here now.

After our crossing of the Pacific, we have a mere 650 miles to go before our destination of Nuku Hiva. on the 19th  The vastness of this ocean never seems astonish me, 8 days and we are only halfway across it.  Being an avid historian, quite how the naval forces of WW 2 even managed to find each other for engagement is beyond me.