Tag Archives: Doha

It’s been emotional !

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!




Guns don’t kill people – Rappers do

Am I the first person ever to fall asleep while inserted into an MRI scanner?  The noise and vibrations were so harmonic, I actually nodded off for a while.

She said it was a 40 minute session but I don’t believe her, I think she short changed me.  For the first time in 21 years, I had to pull my ring out – not what you are thinking…..!



Surprisingly, that ring section is hollow.  I thought it was a solid pin but hollow ends can’t be all that hygienic.  I did also ask the nurse why you can’t put metal inside the scanner. She laughed and said it would stick to the sides and never come out.  You would be pretty screwed if you had artificial joints now wouldn’t you.

Anyway, lets talk a little more about Qatar.  Interesting place, lots of Indians, Kenyans and Philippinos in the workforce.  it’s all very very polite and friendly too.  Clean as you like apart from the desert sand.  If shopping is your thing ladies – there is Mall after Mall after Mall.  Very westernised – there are many times when it feels and looks just like Florida.  Petrol is cheap, around a quarter of the price in Europe.

Lots of work happening in preparation for the World Cup, a new underground system is under construction as we speak with tunnelling just finishing last month, major road improvements too – but still the place is two thirds empty.  I also got my temporary driving licence




You might think that my name is Wayne Thunder from that – but it’s not!  I was also not born in 1922.  That said, they did give me a 4.0 ltr Toyota to spunk around in, and a 75 ltr per week fuel allowance – not too shabby I guess.




So I guess all that’s left for me to do now is sign off with something smart and witty – problem is, I am feeling neither of those this evening.  For us, the weekend is here.  Friday and Saturday are the weekend, Sunday a normal working day.  So Thursday evening and guess which fool is on watch?  Still, all being well, at 8am tomorrow morning I could be stood down for the weekend.


Let me leave you with a little something from back in the day from Goldie Lookin Chain






Cold Feet

Imagine my anticipation.  Flying out of Birmingham Airport on the 19th October, heading to Qatar for the first time.  The legendary customer service that you might expect from Qatar Airlines coupled to the fact that I would be flying on the new(ish) Boeing Dreamliner for the first time.  The dreamliner – for those that don’t know, is cutting edge carbon fibre construction.  Now, translating the phrase ‘cutting edge’ into my engineering mindset, I get the phrase ‘new in the market’ or to put it another way ‘not yet proved to stand the tests and rigours of time and flight’.

So, I wandered up to the boarding gate a little ahead of time to get a look at the wee beastie and see if I could calm my nerves some.  I peered in the early morning gloom at the front of the aeroplane and saw something that did indeed rattle my cage somewhat.

See, call me old fashioned, call me what you will, aluminium repair tape has its place in the world, I agree, and have often used it, normally around exhaust joints etc etc etc.  Never in my wildest dreams would I think of using it on a vehicle that travels at 35,000 feet in excess of 500 mph – least of all, would I expect to see it holding the pilots window in place on the latest Boeing Dreamliner – but by christ, that is what I saw.



Yeah – this was going to be the longest 6 hours of my life.  Except it wouldn’t be.  It turned out to be 7 hours.  Apparently the incoming flight had a Mini Cooper in its hold and the cargo boys at Birmingham were having some trouble getting it out again, so I sat at the gate for an hour biting my nails.

My excitement and apprehension was cut short though. I have a problem with airlines – none in particular, they are all the same.  Being 6’3” I struggle with leg room.  Most airlines combat this by taking an extra £50 or so out of my wallet for letting me sit in the exit row seat (also very handy for being the first out if something does go wrong). Except on this flight, and my return leg, all those exit row seats have been reserved by 5 foot midgets. An extra problem on the Dreamliner as there is something the size of an xbox under all seats, with the exception of the middle seat.  It stands in the inside edge of the seat leg, effectively reducing the width of the space under the seat in front – or in more simple terms, the space where you want to put your feet is reduced and now to combat the Xbox installation, you have to sit crooked in your seat for 6, if not 7 hours.

Now, without getting off topic, this is one of my biggest gripes with modern world.  People keep selling us upgrades, better services, more comfort, faster response times, more overhead locker space etc – but who the fucking hell thought that it would be a good idea to wedge these metal boxes under the seat exactly where 6 people in each and every row want to put their feet?

Personally I never travel with a bag that tests the weight limit of the overhead bins, I would much prefer a little less up there in favour of more leg room at my seat.  I can’t imagine anyone in the world would agree with Boeing designers on this one – with a few exceptions – Hipsters and Apple Lemmings,  because we all know that Hipsters and Apple Lemmings just have to wank on continuously about how good all things modern and diverse are – the fuckers !

Moan over.  Now, I have added a few photographs from a recent visit to Portugal so do pop across to the photo section and take a little look.  Nothing spectacular, but all the same, have a look.

And Finally

Cold Feet – I just watched the last of the current series (courtesy of my newly acquired VPN, I can now watch all the UK TV while globe trotting).

Think back 15 years or so when Cold Feet first came about – It was astounding back then.  It was one of those TV programs that when it was on, you were always home to watch it.  Never missed, and always planned for, it was an epic from a good time in life.  The whole country used to talk about it.  Sure, there were others – 30 something from the 80’s, ER in the 90’s, Six Feet Under in the 00’s, but this was just better, home grown better, and Faye Ripley with that Manchester accent used to (and still does) drive me wild.

For me, it picks up perfectly where the last series finished over a decade ago.  The characters have grown older perfectly and it still makes me feel warm inside – like a good glass of red and block of chocolate.

So I was sad to see the last one go tonight but then I remembered that it has been commissioned for a second series so I am happy again.  Tra La Laa


Now really and finally

16 year olds do not have the right to use the phrase ‘back in the day’. Come on, back in the day means at least half your life ago – so when you are 40 and you say back in the day, you are referring to the period in your life when you were 20.  I just don’t see anything that could have happened that was so memorable for an 8 year old that they need to recall it with their adolescent plebs.

Oh yeah back in the day when we used to buy penny chews on the way to school….


Now the last really and finally…


If you want to see where I am right now, take a look at the link below.  I am in a place called Doha, which is in the Kingdom of Qatar.  I am here for a 5 week gig, working on a boat that is moored at a place called Porto Arabia on The Pearl.  They were kind enough to supply me with a Toyota 4×4, a fuel allowance for the car and a massive, and I mean mah-hoosive apartment on The Pearl overlooking the Lagoon and the City beyond.  There is more than enough room here for John and Mon to come and stay – I actually think Rue might even manage it!

The Pearl, Doha

Chuckle Vision

It’s Sunday, so before I start the normal moan and groan, let’s have a little happiness shall we?  I saw these two cats the other day and they reminded me of the Chuckle Brothers.  I did watch all the way to the end and did even manage to chuckle to myself a few times.  I bet you a pound to a penny you can’t watch these two without having a laugh.


I told you so – to me to you to me to you to me to you

Now, let’s get started on the more serious stuff.   Scary Clowns.  I like this new craze but have yet to sight one for myself.  Why do I like it ?  well, when one of these fools stands in front of me, one of two things will happen.

If I am in my car, the suspension will be lowered so that when I drive over them, there is no space between the underside of my car, the road and their head.

The other option will be simply to thrash them to within an inch of their life with my bare hands.

I wonder how long it will be before one of these dick heads gets a good pasting or better still (In the land of the good old USA – shot to pieces).  I look forward to reading that story on the BBC.


Staying with the USA at the moment, I really can’t wait to see which candidate gets elected.  I have to admit that more of me would like to see Trump in power purely because he will shake the shit out of the establishment – god knows all political scenes would benefit from a good shake up.  I do feel for the yanks though – I mean really, it’s not much of a choice is it now?

The ideal political situation is to have two opposing parties that are both suitable enough to be in power, that keeps everyone honest – but America, holy shit – not a choice I would want to be faced with.

Lets moan about good old Apple again.  I see they have a new OS on release now, been out for a week or two.  Now historically, for the last three or four years, I have always waited before upgrading to read the reviews.  This stems from an old upgrade I did that was so shit, I actually uninstalled it and ran with Mountain Lion for the next three releases.  Anyway, as a matter of course, I look at the reviews in the app store.  Now normally the reviews are so bad – so unbelievably bad.  This has been the case for the last three OS releases where more than 50% of reviews were giving just one star, with many recommending that you don’t install it.

So I look again in the App store this morning to see what the last two weeks of reviews are saying about it.  What did I read?  Nothing. not one single review has been left.  Now normally that would suggest that no-one has taken the app but in this case I can’t believe that in the last two weeks, none of the apple lemmings have clicked on the download button.

That leads me to only one conclusion.  Rather than deal with the issues that users have openly complained about – remove the platform that allows them to comment about it.  Can that really be the case?  Apple, what is wrong with you? I predict grim things for your future.  I am one more step closer to a return to a Windows system and an android phone !

My next startling prediction will be that in the next iPhone, the earphone jack will be back!


Now, on a happier note – on Wednesday I am heading to Doha, Qatar for a 5 week assignment.  Never been there before and always been curious about it so a 5 week stint is perfect for me.  My only concern is the new Dreamliner I will be flying out of Birmingham on.  My concern is all about carbon fibre.

I have been sailing on boats made out of that stuff for years without concern. My issue is flying with it.  lets see, a failure at sea level in a boat is pretty easy to overcome – I can swim.  A failure at 35,000 feet is a little bit more tricky to deal with – I have still yet to perfect my gliding techniques, especially when I am unconscious due to lack of oxygen.  That said, lack of oxygen should make hitting the ground at 120mph fairly painless.

Anything else to moan about ?  No I don’t think so.

I would like to say hello to a few people though.  I did recently open a Facebook account again after a good 5 years without one.  My reasons where completely innocent – there were a couple of recruitment pages that I needed to access on there.  That said, people started noticing I was there again and sending requests.  I very quickly realised why I had stopped using it all those years ago.

So I decided to never send a request but always accept them if I was sent one. (see Shazza, that’s why I couldn’t look for you).  I even got requests from people I have no idea about – weird huh?

It’s all in the cards – I swear.

Honestly, I had forgotten just how fecking windy Sagres can be.  Its blowing a hooligan here, to hard to go surf on the west coast and there is no swell down south.  Thankfully myself and Poopie managed to find an apartment with full AC so we are sitting pretty tonight in the warm dry air of a Portalaia apartment.

We have managed a couple of biking events and some walks too but man alive, it is blowing here.  Not sure what we will try tomorrow.

I have noticed a shift in the typical tourist.  It has been three years since I was last here so things have changed a little.  The house is covered in a jungle – nature is trying to take it back.  I have also noticed a shit load of cyclists, bus loads of hikers and even some runners but generally, the average age of the tourist hs increased.

Interesting that.  As the age increases, undoubtedly the disposable income also increases so the plans that started several years ago of building more upmarket hotels seems to be paying off.  It is also very busy here, which is unusual for the end of September.

I also had a meeting with the local council today.  Remember, Sagres is a place where everyone knows everyone so when a cousin of a friend asked about my house, his uncle pulled the files in the local council and noticed why the previous project I submitted was declined.

He asked me in to talk to him where he showed me exactly why the project to build a new house in 2010 was declined.  In essence, I needed two aerial photos from the archives for pre 1951 and pre 1980.  This will then prove the buildings I have were there at certain times in history and with this proof, I can go back to the council and they will issue a certificate of legalisation for the property.  With that certificate, the original project would have been approved.  Sadly now, the project has expired but with a new project, there would be no reason not to approve a build.

What really gave me some hope was when the council architect suggested that I make a project and get it built so that we can attract more tourism to the area and loose the old ‘falling down’ image that the area has.  All in all, a good feeling about making something new.  Who knows what will happen next?

Moving on – I had a tarot session the other night.  Now, while I would not dismiss the black art of Tarot, I am more of a person that wants to see scientific fact before I acknowledge something.  Clearly with Tarot – there is no such evidence.

So, my card reader discussed several interesting cards – make of this what you will.

I am at a crossroads with my career and looking at several options right now.  The Tarot reader is a personal friend of mine so knows a bit about me.  The spooky thing was, the card that told her this was a picture of a man looking out to sea at 4 ships.  Spooky huh?

Not spooky enough?  well try this.

The money card showed its face several times.  This got me thinking.  I have had a couple of emails from Camelot this last week about winning lottery tickets.  See, while I am out of the UK I can’t access my lottery account so maybe I have hit the jackpot and wont find out for another week?

OK, maybe I am not the latest millionaire.  I share a post office box here in Sagres with some friends.  They keep my mail safe until I manage to get back here.  In amongst the 30 something unopened water bills was a new cash point card for my local bank here, and I could still remember the PIN number – Spooky huh?


Back in January 2015 I applied (again) for some Amex cards in $ & €.  My super helpful wealth manager told me that there was a problem and I couldn’t have them.  At the time – I was more than fucked off with her – turns out she was something of a knob, so I left it alone and decided not to pursue it.

Low and behold – amid all of those unopened bills were four letters from Amex.  Two letters giving PIN numbers for each card and two more with statements.  I called Amex and they confirmed the accounts are still open and if I wish, I can have new cards.

Holy crap !!!!!  and I haven’t even checked my lottery account yet.

The cards also suggested that the best of the new jobs was a job in Qatar for 5 weeks – strangely enough, it was my favourite too.

So it looks like I will be in Doha soon.

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