UK or Bust: Tagalog, Table Tennis, and Open Ocean

Day 14

9:28pm Nuuk Greenland Time


I woke up to a dreary, grey, rainy day at the mouth of the St. Lawrence. Yet still the sea was calm, and there was hardly any motion of the ship. I saw a family of dolphins this morning jumping out of the water alongside the Malaga. At breakfast I ate with the Filipino crew, in the crew’s mess hall. They set a place for me with in the officers mess, but the German officers are more reserved than the crew, and I find I’m more comfortable, and have more interesting conversations with the crew. I’ve been slowly learning names, as well as some Tagalog, like salamat for thank you. The electrician, a man named Ariel (we call him Elec), is quite intelligent, and speaks good English, and was telling me about being a Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve also had good conversations with Joelas, Cirillo, Regner, Warren, and Mario. I played my guitar a little, and the cook especially was fascinated- he’s saving up for an Ibanez electric himself.


This afternoon when it got sunny, I took my thermarest, a bottle of water and beer, and headed up to the bow, where it is quiet because it is far away from the engine, and the refrigerated containers whose fans make a lot of noise. There’s never anyone up there, and it’s a nice place to reflect. It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom feeling the salt spray and the wind, leaning over the railing and watching as we glide across the water. It’s also a little unnerving to think that if I fell overboard, most likely no one would ever notice and that would be that. I fell asleep in the sun on the deck for a while, and then read some of my Ben Elton book, Gridlock. I decided that a week at sea (the captain estimates arrival in Antwerp on Sept. 5th) won’t be so bad, quite relaxing actually.


After dinner, I joined the crew for a few games of table tennis downstairs in the gym. They’re quite competitive, but very good natured, and I shared my case of beer with them. They tell me they will fill the pool with sea water tomorrow, so I can go for a swim (just gotta watch for sharks).


I can stop by the bridge any time I want, and they have multiple printers and faxes spitting out the latest weather conditions in the Atlantic, and computers plotting the course. It’s like having your own personal NOAA.


We are passing just to the south of Newfoundland, and there are now swells in the ocean. I began to feel a little queasy, so I put on my anti-nausea wristbands, and ate a couple of ginger candies. Hopefully that’ll do the trick. Tomorrow when I wake up, we’ll really be out in the Atlantic Ocean.

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