Diary of a seaman

diary-of-seamanNov 27, 2013

Dear Friends,

Today evening I’ll be flying to Johannesburg, South Africa and join my ship in Cape Town. I may not be able to access my FB/gmail for a few weeks/months. Message me your email id to which I can send mail from my ship’s personal id. Take care friends. Au Revoir.

Dec 2, 2013

It was a good opportunity to visit S. Africa. I stayed in Cape Town for a little more than 1 day. It was a good experience. I could not believe it. The country has developed way beyond my imagination. I liked the way the people mingled with each other. There was no discrimination at all. All the whites and blacks were working together. The people were very friendly. I also noticed that food was quite cheap compared to most of the countries I visited which makes poor people to survive easily. Our agent took us to a hotel where we had to stay for a day. The hotel had numerous car showrooms nearby – Audi, BMW, Mini, Benz, etc. Even though the place was commercial, it had a country look. There was grass everywhere and trees were planted in a phased manner. I visited a place where music was played on the streets with xylophones, saxophones, and traditional musical instruments. It was lovely to see people watching the street musicians.

The country has developed drastically after Nelson Mandela took over. I really appreciate the way people mingle with each other unlike in most other countries I’ve visited especially (the blacks and whites part). There is a good social life. People love chatting. I have never heard so much of chat in airplanes/buses and public places as with these people. In most other places people are very reserved; they don’t talk unless spoken to. The day we were supposed to join our ship, we went to a shopping mall to buy a few things and missed the shuttle service. We were short of local currency and didn’t have time to change money to pay for a taxi. So we decided to walk briskly to our hotel but knew we would be late. After walking for a few minutes we were stopped by the local police. Hearing our predicament, the police graciously offered to leave us at the hotel. We didn’t even ask them. I was amazed. The Police here are friends of people indeed, unlike in our place! They left us near our hotel and we reached exactly on time!

Dec 5, 2013

We left the hotel and went to the port for port clearance. After that we travelled by a speedboat which took us to our ship. This ship is called ‘Eliza’ and is a VLCC (very large crude carrier). It is about 333m in length, 60m wide and 68m tall (almost 20 floors).  It can carry 3.5 lakh tonnes = 35,00,00,000 Litres of oil! Going up and down the stairs will exhaust you if it were not for the elevator on this ship. Many ships don’t have this facility. This ship also has a helicopter landing area. We are currently heading to China. My primary job is to plan the ship’s routes. I am called a Navigation Officer here. I am also responsible for manoeuvring the ship during
the 8 hours of my duty. We get to work with people from different nationalities. Presently on this ship, there are Filipinos, Pakistanis Romanians & Indians. On previous ships I’ve sailed with people from Russia, Venezuela, Ukraine, British, and few others. People are friendly and professional. The Mariners get to see different places, meet different kinds of people, get to know new cultures, get to taste a variety of foods, have opportunity to learn new languages, feel different climates all over the world, and the best thing of all, they get to see the Creator’s handiwork.

This is indeed a beautiful planet. There are some countries like New Zealand(my favourite country) where the greenery is amazingly fascinating. Kenya is a beautiful place known for Safari and a beautiful river near the coast of Mombasa. Egypt takes me back to the times of the Pharaoh in Exodus. The camels walking in convoy on the sand dunes is amazing to see. The numerous dykes in Netherlands, the rowing boats and the water-taxis traveling between them and underneath the small foot over bridges are a lovely sight to see. The world famous Bucklawa sweet in Turkey and shawarma in Israel still make my mouth water when I think about them.

Well organized Americans, the disciplined and punctual  Japanese create curiosity. The Opera house in Australia, the Empire state building in the US, the sky high tower Burg Khalifa in Dubai are favourite spots for tourists. The busy Chinese streets and the empty snow laden roads in Estonia make me wonder how different the world is altogether. Port Thessaloniki in Greece reminds me of Paul’s journeys while the streets of Jerusalem in Israel remind me of God’s Love for the people of Israel. I work from 12-4 pm and 12-4 am. In the evenings I read some books, yesterday I fi nished ‘Following the Master.’ That was a good read. Prof Enoch’s story was amazing. I didn’t know that he had so much association with Jehovah Shammah, the assembly I belong to. Bro. Bakht Singh impacted many lives including mine. I should have read it earlier. I buy so many books but don’t read them. Thank God I at least brought them so that I could read now.

It’s a good time to read books. I started reading ‘Evidence for Truth-Vol 1’ yesterday. It’s very interesting! Though there are some negatives to this career like – being far away from family, experiencing ferocious weather, possible encounter with pirates (fortunately, we were spared being attacked once!) There are pros and cons in every profession. For recreation, we have half a basketball court where we play. Sometimes Cricket is also played. There are other games like tabletennis, chess, darts and some more indoor games. There is a small swimming pool on the opposite side of the basketball court which can be used if someone wants to have a taste of the water we were sailing in. There is a guitar which we play in the evenings with some singers who sing very well – mostly Filipinos (who are known world over to be born singers) How would you feel sailing on a ship under which the depth of the water is more than 6 km? There are many deeper places where depths are not yet surveyed. Man possibly may not be able to reach into these depths in the near future, not even with a submarine.

Jeslyne Isaac &  Prem John 
(To be continued in July-Aug edition)

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