Monday 07 April 2013 – On the sea.
After a brief attempt at sleep in the cabin I moved back into the library room and slept on the wooden floor and surprised myself by getting a couple of hours sleep before getting up around 7:30.
Much later in the day I discovered there was a duty roster stuck to a wall by the door, I was expecting there to be one, but no-one had pointed it out to me, so I had missed a couple of chores. One of the daily jobs is to be up early to make bread, so I had fresh homemade bread with vegemite for breakfast.
I was going to go into town with one of the dive instructors, Zach, to pick up some new tanks and a couple of other bits and pieces. I also wanted to get myself a mask, a dive log book and if possible a rash top for snorkelling.
We caught the train into China town mid morning and got the shop just before 12:00. The tanks were not going to be delivered until 1:00 so Elvin, the shop owner took Zach and I to the local food hall for some lunch and I had more noodles, this time with tofu chicken, it was pretty good.
I managed to get all the stuff I wanted from the dive shop and Elven took us and the tanks back to Infinity which was cool. We got back at 2:30 and I was keen to get a swim in the pool as it was quite warm and very humid under a low and thick sky. I was advised we would be leaving in twenty minutes so took a quick walk up to the convenience store to grab some supplies for the next leg of the journey as I was not sure how long till we arrived at Tioman Island, the next location with shops.
There had been a lot of thunder and lightning all afternoon and just as we were about to up anchor the skies finally opened and the rain came down in buckets. Which meant we were not go depart for a while, at least until it had slowed to a mere storm. I put my boardies on, took my shirt off and went and stood outside in the heavy rain – it was lovely and cool out there in the rain so I grabbed my little waterproof camera and hung out on deck for a while.
We finally departed Singapore at 5:00, it was an interesting exercise getting a 36metre boat off of its mooring. Not something I had been involved in before. It was a frenetic few minutes of shouted commands, rope pulling and running around in the small tender boat disconnecting the ropes from the buoys holding us in place.
And finally we left the marina in Sentosa into the open sea.
Once out of the harbour we spent half an hour rolling ropes up and tidying the deck before raising the tender for storage on deck.
We motored out to the edge of the shipping lane ‘super highway’, two streams of east and west bound vessels, there is a vast number of ships here, mostly huge! We had to wait to be cleared by Singapore immigration and customs and then further for clearance to cross the ‘super highways’ to the lane we were going to be motoring in. The sun was setting under very cloudy skies and the lightening was still flashing over the city.
And then finally as the light slowly disappeared we were under way – for me to a whole new adventure of living on a boat for a month, and hopefully some awesome diving.
I had my first dinner on the boat, a spicy vegetable dish with rice. The kitchen is pretty well appointed but it gets furiously hot when the oven is on. When I was cleaning duty the other day we were working in the kitchen while coffee was being made and it was roasting in there.
There is a watch roster for all the crew and my turn started at a reasonable 10pm. I tried for a nap prior to my shift as it was not too hot in the cabin, however we seemed to have mobile data for most of the time before my shift so I was on the internet for a while rather than sleeping.
The shifts are three hours long and split into three one hour sessions. Watching, steering and supporting – in that order. It is surprisingly hard to spot things in the night, especially on the Singapore / Malaysia coast – there are so many vessels it is hard to work out what is a vessel and what is something on the shore. It was my job to keep an eye on everything that was moving and we were passed by some massive ships as we cruised east at 5.5 knots. The three shifts mean there is three people plus a master on duty at any one time, with a new person on each hour, so plenty of people to chat to while on duty.
The steering part was challenging to start with, it is a large boat so takes quite a few seconds to react to any steering changes – and by the time it does I would have over corrected and be heading a few degrees in the wrong direction. It took a while to get used to :
My final session of supporting started with filling in the log book, a task that is done every hour as the steering shift changes and then it was hanging around till 1:00 am till my shift was over, no one wanted coffee so there was not much to do.
I collapsed into bed at 1:15 and fell to sleep fairly quickly. It is so good to be out of the marina and on the way to new adventures. I had a good day.