A slow boat to China

February 28th, 2009 by scott and becky

Over the last few weeks, when people have asked Becky’s mom about where we were, she replied with “On a slow boat to China”. Well, Singapore is not exactly China, but our boat was headed to China after it dropped us off.

An Indian Ocean pig roast!

An Indian Ocean pig roast!

Our “Slow boat to China” was an enjoyable experience that was quite different from our trip across the Atlantic. We were concerned about the long time the ship was at sea; however, it turned out we need not have worried. Crossing the Indian Ocean does not involve more than 2-3 days of time without losing sight of land. Also, because of the land in the way, most of the shipping traffic takes the same route, so we were almost always within radar range of at least one other ship. We certainly did not get the “only people on earth” feeling that crossing the Atlantic Ocean gave us. The trip was broken up into 1-3 day segments which made the passing of time go quicker:

  1. Barcelona stop.
  2. Mediteranean Sea transit.
  3. Suez Canal transit.
  4. Red Sea transit.
  5. Gulf of Aden – piracy area transit.
  6. Gulf of Arabia transit.
  7. Rounding Sri Lanka.
  8. Indian Ocean transit.
  9. Straights of Malaka.
  10. Singapore.
Garbage in Malaka Straights

Garbage in Malaka Straights

Throughout the journey, we never had a clear day. The weather was sunny, but there was always a haze on the horizon that limited the visibility. It also meant that there was no chance of seeing the Green Flash . The haze gave you a feeling of being enclosed, and was rather eerie at times.

We did not spend as much time on the bridge and did not make as much of a connection with the Hanjin Brussels crew as we did on MSC Alessia – although Scott did play a couple of games of ping-pong with Rene the Cook and a few other crew members, so that helped break the ice a bit. It seemed to us that on this ship some of the senior officers were not as respectful of the Filipino crew and officers as on our other ship. There is always a hierarchy between officers and crew, on any ship, but it seemed to us it was a bit different on this ship. When those at the top of the hierarchy respect those at the bottom, everyone is much happier and things are pretty relaxed on the ship. On this ship, we could feel tension between the crew and some of the officers, which was rather sad.

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