The Slow Boat to China part 5

The dining area

The dining area

Tuesday 28 October 2014

We didn’t meet up today, but I’m sure we will later. This ship is so big and has so many passengers, around 2,300 I’m told, that you could meet once and never meet again.

The day started quietly and we resumed our discussion about what the time is. The ship says it’s one hour behind Perth time. That’s very strange, because we’re well east of Perth by at least an hour, so the clocks should be ahead. The time lines must bend around Thailand or something.

Man Overboard! It wasn't a drill.

Man Overboard! It wasn’t a drill.

Then after lunch, at 1.54pm (my camera tells me so) came a PA announcement, “This is the bridge. Man overboard, man overboard.” All very calm, and it wasn’t an exercise. Wow.

The ship immediately began to slow and turn to starboard, my side. An orange life ring was thrown overboard (above) and it started trailing copious amounts of orange smoke. You don’t turn a 155,000 tonne ship around easily. I reckon it took more than 3Km and 20 mins to go around 180 deg. Soon we were pointing in the opposite direction and could see a large island about 10Km away, at least. There were around a dozen Vietnamese fishing boats in the area too, but none of them made any moves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen there was a shout and I suddenly saw three figures floating in the water. But they were wearing plastic wings, like water wings, and appeared to be enjoying themselves. There were no frantic waves for help. They appeared to be just lying back, kilometres from any land. Crazy.

Vietnamese crazies?

Vietnamese crazies?

The ship was slowed to barely moving and at 2.17pm a large orange jet-boat launch was lowered over the side, roaring off astern. It moved out of sight and about 2.30pm the bridge announced that the three people had been transferred to a Vietnamese fishing boat for return to the shore.


The swimmers were taken by this launch to a nearby fishing boat to be taken ashore. It cost the ship more than an hour, doing a full circle, slowing to a stop, then accelerating again. It must have cost tens of thousands of dollars in time and fuel.

What the hell were they playing at? It would have cost this ship an hour’s time, at least, and probably tens of thousands of dollars in fuel and time costs to rescue these idiots. We were already running two hours late from Bangkok, so now we’re at water-ski speed to make up time.

It made for an interesting diversion and I’ve got at least five minutes worth of video clips to prove it.

Now for some rays.

Later: my GPS showed us travelling at 41Km/h, compared with 31Km/h earlier so we really have speeded up.

We knocked off most of Jan’s bottle of cabernet sauvignon last night. Very nice, too.

We also watched Pavarotti under the stars around the pool, then attempted to watch a movie on the ship’s TV in the cabin. I say attempted. We got an hour into quite a good movie (The Time Traveller, by coincidence) and it stopped. We attempted many times to restart it but to no avail. So much for that. It’s an inadequate server that can’t keep up with the demand for bits, I think.


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