Hectic, is something of an understatement.
I arrived in Thailand on Saturday 17th, a little tired after two back to back six and a half hour flights.
The boat was in the Marina waiting for me, on the ‘Punishment Dock’, so called as it is the furthest point from the entry to the marina and you are on foot. Still, having been on my arse for the previous 13 hours, a little walk might do me good.
Boat not looking too shabby, my first time on a Trinity – made in the good old US of A – Fuck Yeah!
It has suffered at the hands of a previous engineer who I have crossed paths with before, a real dick head – and that’s putting it politely. The outgoing engineer who had taken over from him, I felt sorry for. He was completely fried, nerves shot and clearly in need of escape. A combination of things I guess. A younger fella who had previously worked as a second, never a chief, so a lot more responsibility but also having to deal with the mess that the dick head had inevitably left behind after two years or more of doing sweet F.A.
A new Captain started a year ago and very quickly got the measure of the dick head and fired him. The most recent guy had tried to catch up but due to a very busy schedule, I suspect, has not had the time to get to grips with everything.
Anyway – this had all mounted up to a point where I stepped on board and took over.
07:00 on 23rd December, we dropped lines for the first time and headed out towards our pick up, 10 days with 6 guests, en route for Burma, or is it Myanmar?
Not problem free though, and pretty much immediately after leaving, problems started to arise. The night before we left, I still had the engine contractors on board with a non running engine up until almost midnight. Thankfully, that team of four Thai engineers worked their rings off to get me back on the road.
Air con not cold enough – hardly surprising with only 2 of the 5 systems working correctly. Hydraulic oil temperatures too high and activating alarms, Air compressors shut down without warning and as a special christmas day present, a newly rebuilt generator shut down while on load and dumped some of its coolant out.
It was going to be a mission for sure. I was working my guts out just to keep the boat navigable.
There is one huge benefit though – a single cabin all to myself, with a proper size bed. It seems that no matter how tired I get, a sleep in the full size bed is a delight to behold. I am glad I didn’t opt for the sailing boat !
Of course, there is the question of internet connections as always. Crew seem to think that it is a right of passage that the owner will spend 4k a month on an internet connection so that they can continually post shite to Facebook. Thankfully on this boat, both of the Captains share my thought on Internet use, that being the crews use should be restricted, especially when the owner is on board and his connection is shit slow. So we have a clever little control unit on board that allows us to control who can access the net and when.
Up in Burma though, none of the Thai mobile phones are working, nor is my English one so comms is proving to be a bit of a mission. That said, thinking back to 2012, I was still crossing the Atlantic without internet – a 16 day trip at best – these youngsters just don’t know they are born – I am getting questions now because they have not had access for 2 days………!
Back to Thailand for the 1st January and a 4 day turn around until the next guests arrive for another 5 day trip although I am told the next guests generally move around less. The party we have now, move three times a day at least.
Burma was stunning. That is coming from someone as well travelled as me – by far the most beautiful place I have ever seen – bar none!
Imagine my dismay when we are anchored in a bay with not another single boat in sight, there are three beaches a short paddle from us, all without a single soul on them and all of the guests are sitting in the main salon with their heads buried in their smart phones – all of them, without exception.
The boat is fully equipped with Jet Skis, Water skis, wake boards, flying wings, inflatable slide from the upper deck to the water, Scuba gear, paddle boards and two RIBS for them to use – but they opt for the dumbest activity possible.
I am not sure when I will get to post this to the blog but I wanted to write something so made it today (28th December) and will upload whenever there is a good internet connection.
Still aiming for a month off in April – I can tell you I will be well in need of it by then
So today, I finally got into civilian clothes, the first time since the 17th of December !! It feels good. The boss left yesterday but not before leaving each individual with an 18,000 baht tip. 18,000 baht sounds a lot more than it is but I always remember that I work on a privately owned ship, not a charter vessel where tips are a regular occurence but the salaries are less. I was more than happy – I had worked my rough nuts off keeping the boat going for 10 days but he already pays me well – to be tipped anything is a huge recognition of appreciation.
In real terms – I have been here for two weeks now and not needed to spend a single penny. In fact, until I got my tip, I didn’t even have any local currency. So that 18,000 baht will probably still be in my wallet in a couple of months time when I break for a holiday.
Christmas and New Year passed in just a moment – I didn’t really miss it. It is weird though, how as you get older, it begins to mean less and less. I am not sure how much I ever believed that a lady could get pregnant without shagging and that three chaps could follow a star to Bethlehem and accurately pinpoint which stable the star was hovering over. I mean come on, in astrological terms – it just doesn’t work.
That said – I did have a moment a couple of weeks ago – you know those moments of clarity – walking through an airport with your ear buds in when an absolutely stonking tune comes on. Riding the escalator up to arrivals in Doha Airport when this little tune came on………..enjoy
You may remember me writing about Naughty Boy a couple of years ago……..turn it up – listen loud!
January 3rd, 2017 at 12:30
Great blog and scene setter for the next chapter of your life and what a part of the world to do it in. Watched a nature programme last night about Thailand, absolutely beautiful and having seen Burma portrayed in similar programmes, your simple description sums it up. Definitely a part of the world to be considered for a visit as long as the ‘wilderness’ is in the itinerary.
Not being a music officianado and definitely not down with the kids, that’s people your age, I have listened to the Naughty Boy track and it’s Dix Points from the Rugby jury.
Your monetary description has left me pondering a possible scenario were we to find ourselves at the bar in Thailand. If I needed to borrow a Baht, would we do the cockney thing and call it a Simpson ?!.
Keep safe, good health and calm waters for 2017, with a big kiss from you know who.
Monica & John.