Sunday, 26 June 2011

Day 5 (4th of October)

After a very nice asparagus omelette we headed out to the stern wrapped up in most of our clothing. On the way along the side of the deck we came across a seabird (possibly a petrel) which had landed itself on the passage. It’s wings looked fine, but it’s walking was useless which is to be expected of a seabird. We weren’t sure if we should pick it up and throw it into the wind, so we just left it there and it had gone when we got back. At the front we saw about 25 dolphins, lots of seabirds and a few lost birds hanging round the ship. There were about four small land birds and a bird of prey, which took to chasing them at times.

These were evidently lost and since we’re middle of the Pacific with no water or food for them they didn’t stand much chance of survival. We could hang on to the small hope that they might make their way to the Aleutian islands. The chief officer told us that birds often get stuck on the ship and that there’s not a lot that can be done. Once hundreds of swallows adopted the ship, roosting behind the accommodation block, but the next day they were all dead. There’s the body of a small black bird on the ledge outside the bridge that flew into the glass. Very cold, despite all the clothing, we had to go inside for warm-up ping pong and to hang around in our cabin.

Real mashed potato with parsley, pak choi, cauliflower, carrots, peas and kohlrabli was on our lunch menu, with a fruit salad of orange juice, kiwi, water melon, orange, apple and grape to follow it up. There was a bit of moaning over lunch about paperwork and ‘shit’. Outside the mess room on the whiteboard was a message inviting all passengers, officers and crew to the evening’s Birthday celebrations with live music in the crew’s recreation room. Our afternoon was spent with another ping-pong session and then looking at the box. The trick to seeing a whale seems to be to watch a DVD and then open the curtains and voila you see one. We saw two (and about six dolphins) in this fashion and both times a mad dash for cameras, binoculars and clothing that might in some way keep us warm ensued followed by a sprint down the corridor so we could go outside to get some pictures. ‘Mahlzeit’ (this is what the captain, officers, engineers and Max mutter to each other when they enter or leave the mess room) consisted of potatoes, aubergines, tofu and odd but tasty star shaped green vegetable in vinegar with chives. Seeing as we had almost forgotten what the bridge looked like we joined the chief officer for about half an hour. There we saw where we were on the charts and screens, were shown a few more buttons and I steered the ship .1 of a degree with my finger.

Since we were expected at the party we ventured downstairs to see the highlight of ship life. There the live entertainment was one of the Filipino’s on his guitar, with the rest of the crew joining in for the bits they knew. He then progressed to the kareoke machine and singularly sang the night away. Jenny got roped into chess playing against Martin and then a Filipino who works in the engine room who probably let her win. There was a constant supply of fanta and coca cola and bowls of peanuts, crisps and pringles were placed in front of us. We then conversed for a while with the officers and second engineer, the chief engineer having already made his exit from the ‘shit’ kareoke. The chief officer wanted the engineer to test that we could speak German. The engineer however seemed to have forgotten his German and could only come up with things like ‘Guten Tag’, which according to the Polish officer is three year old language, and ‘Guten Abend’, which you can understand at three years and one month. The chief officer was very surprised to hear that the engineer has four children. The chief officer seems only to have a son and is currently working on his son’s entry for the school art competition. Desperately needing to go and pee we made our exit at around eleven. Despite being very tired the coca-cola combined with the time changes had reduced my falling asleep capability and I lay awake for ages.

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