Saturday, May 28, 2011

Across the Ocean of Challenges

I am blessed to enjoy the joining wife privilege granted to all Officers in my husband's company this summer, in time for the school break.  For the  first time in his entire seafaring career, I was scheduled to join together with him  who will take over command of a six (6) months old container ship, in Durban South Africa.
We arrived Durban last April 4, 2011 and was supposed to board the ship on the 5th but due to some labor disputes and systemic issues on the container tracking at the terminal we stayed at the hotel for (three)3 days. It was an opportunity to explore the place, especially the nearby Beach front and the famous Ushaka Marine World Park. Fortunately, we were not alone in the hotel waiting for joining, the family of the Chief Engr. and the Repair man  from India and the 4th Engr. from Myanmar was also there. 
We spent the time  strolling around the famous Ushaka Marine Park, 
making  memories of a new friendship. After three days of waiting, 
we boarded the vessel, and we still stayed in port for two days giving 
hubby enough handover time. A sumptuous lunch at Cafe Fish sealed 
the changeover of command. 
Our next port of call was Cape Town in South Africa and the Chief Engineer already planned a trip for his family, that is to visit the city's landmark the Table Mountain through a cable way ride. I was invited to join them when he learnt that hubby can't go ashore because of a ship's certificate that needs  to be renewed and the Port Authority still didn't come on time, and we have to leave.The view at the top was really breathtaking and the trekking adventure was truly exciting. 
From Cape Town, SA, we proceeded to Newark, USA traveling for 
seventeen (17) days at sea of non stop rolling and pitching, being at sea, change people. The ocean has been one of the biggest challenges in my life, not only physically but mostly emotionally. The stress of long travel, confinement and separation from my son is wearing me down, but the solace and serenity of the ocean in the arms of the man I love, no matter how rough the weather gets was a source of comfort. It's familiar now. It's hard to take anything the ocean throws at you personally, even, if it meant pampering time for me, when my motion sickness was at its worst.
Reaching Newark was a great relief  of the life at sea. It was where 
I got the chance to be reunited with my college classmate that 
I haven't seen in the past twenty nine (29)years. 
Meeting his whole  family  only showed that the warmth of  our 
friendship transcended the test of distance and time. 
Thank you for your time and for being a generous host, making 
the short stay in New  Jersey memorable. I left New Jersey a bit sad, 
because I missed meeting my relative who is a doctor and had to go 
on duty that day. Hopefully, next time it will be providential to us.

A sneak picture taken at the APM Terminal in Norfolk, Virginia 
was a special photo memory, a privilege that I am grateful for. 
I was told that the crew once attempted to take some pictures, but 
they were not allowed to, for security reasonsOn shore leave, 
they were very frugal and cautious of  their spending. 
They mostly shop for electronic gadgets and for things to bring home 
for their love ones.  Really, times have changed. 
They were totally different  from the ones I sailed with, 
twenty (20) years ago, when hubby just started  his command of 
the general cargo ships with gantry cranes and the bulk carriers later.
Hubby concurred my observations and he said that on board the ship is a new breed of seafarers.  Even if they belong to diverse races and cultures, they are working together for excellence as a gesture of support to meet the performance standards set by the company. 
Souvenir shot with the Officers and Crew 
One thing,  I have learnt from this travel was that the strength in unity goes beyond race, culture and gender. With the no blame policy of the company, making mistakes and learning from them was one of the finest things in life they can experience. 
 As part of their social welfare activities to foster camaraderie, a monthly BBQ party  where they grilled  their own food was made north bound and south bound to celebrate personal milestones and special occasions. The no alcohol policy of the company made bonding moments on board a clean fun. They gamely played the following:
The Dart's killer game
The threading the needle game.
the karaoke and bingo socials
Cash prizes were awarded to the winners from their social welfare 
fund provided by the company. Thank You for the times well
spent with you on board.  It was indeed, a perfect serendipity 
in distant shoresTill our next journey.
The contents in this article are views of my own, the photos
 used are of the crew onboard the ship and not the ship itself.
The edited version of this article was featured in:


  1. hello ma'am! May I just ask? Are you a Filipino? You live in Manila right? :) saw it in your profile~

    Anyways great travels!
    I'll be glad to hear from you too;

  2. Hi Nicsy,
    Yes... I am a "Tsinay"...a Filipina of Chinese descent..Thanks for dropping by...

  3. What a wonderful travel experience you had indeed . So many exciting moments that I was living vicariously through your vacation photos.
    Hopefully, your next trip will be providential for us both, and to Jun as well.

  4. Hi Ting,
    Yes...Things seemed to be in our favor because Jun's next vessel will still be trading the same route,and with that news we will have more chances of bonding with each other every year..he he he...
    Take Care..Stay Beautiful!

  5. Very touching...thanks for sharing your travel log and the story of the officers and crew.

  6. Hello Ervin,
    Yw...thanks for reading...hope i can visit you someday..:-)