Well there we go, Tuesday again for, and re-living yesterday better!
As we move in a north easterly direction, about every 2.5 days we will move the clock forward by 1 hour, so losing an hour of my life! Better for mind, body and spirit than that harsh, all on arrival day, aeroplane shock!
We are cruising at 16.5 knots but showing only 15 across the ground as we are fighting an easterly current. The wind is a consistent 20 knots ESE, but with our speed its almost 35 knots on deck, so quite a blow! The swells are of moderate and consistent frequency making for a lullaby pendulum roll. This is all typical trade winds stuff we are getting into and the ambient temperature is slowly warming up in sync.
We have 1600nm to Tahiti and are just passing over a 100 x 100 nm area where there are 5 or 6 sea mountains. Mts Seafox, Curatuck, and Burton, etc. The surrounding ocean bed is 5000-5400 metres deep and then these sea mounts rise some 3000 metres from the ocean floor with the relatively conical peaks just 2000 metres ‘under us’!
What a fascinating planet we living on, hey?!
Earth, Nature and Humans
If you are an anthropocentric you’d say: “Yes, and it’s ALL for us Humans to use.”
If you are a Pantheist you’d maybe say: “Yeah, astonishing and we are just another one of its creatures living for a short time in its eternity. Never trying to dominate, always vulnerable to its grand Adventure!”
Oh well, the sooner we all have a common view of our Human place and Human responsibility for our Human Survival and Success on this Planet the sooner One Point Zero will become a reachable goal. Many may not view us as having a problem because some higher power will look after us, and anyway if we only four (success from three) score and ten years on the planet, and everlasting life in ‘heaven’ is our conditional destiny, then what’s the problem, Howard????? That’s why I find Thomas Berry’s approach so great as he, decades ago, was trying to point to Our One Point Zero Challenge and changing Catholic paradigms. An inspiring and revered activist!
I do believe the way we view the interconnectedness of Nature, Humans, and Out Planet is critical to solving the challenge we face. Here I am not pushing any religion or cult, because I don’t have one: Just a strong sense of planet / Nature belonging spiritualism! I do genuinely believe all religions and all cultures can fit under a simple all-encompassing belief of how we Humans belong to our home, and relate to the Planet and Nature all its other living members.
Ship Life Routine
Food first: Breakfast is at 7am, Lunch is at 12, and Dinner is at 5pm! Yeah, 3 large meals from Marian’s (sorry not Mario) kitchen, and ‘we’ the three of us passengers sit in the officers mess, with our own table. Things are very casual, the kitchen is next door, and part of its a snack kitchen where you can help yourself to tea, coffee, soups, noodles, bread, crackers, condiments, etc throughout the day. Tony Luis Salvador from India is our attentive waiter, and as is often the case in hospitality, the guys around the food appear the happiest on the ship! The food is standard balanced diet, ‘canteen type’ food, no luxuries here, and far more in quantity than I need!
From the upper deck to the bridge is eight stories high. My cabin is on the 6th level, and the dining room and kitchen are on the 1st level. Most of our movement is up and down. There is a lift that one can take if one is in a hurry or feels you have had enough exercise for the day! Most of us using it don’t seem to meet either criteria so that made me think what other criteria there could be for using the lift?:
Ha-ha, that wonderful word that us anthropocentrics invented, and one, maybe for good reason, doesn’t seem to exist in Nature: Convenience! The modern day necessity and key element of The Good Life!
Well after finding out that the rowing machine and exercise bike are not in good shape for serious use, I’ve decided to forgo the lift and the stairs will be a partial substitute. Mostly there is only one person in the lift at a time and so the generator fuel oil bill will see a reduction, while I live more intensely human, and use the time on the stairs for activist thinking time about you, this blog, and society! So other than the ‘Convenience salesman’ who loses his commission everybody wins! I know this all seems small picture stuff, but behind it is a big picture message!
My Fellow Passengers
In my two fellow passengers Tom and Eric I have found fellow adventurers and couldn’t have asked for better, easier guys to connect with. It is really great to have their younger generation perspectives. Both around 35, Tom is Australian, WA, and two months ago started a world motorcycle trip in Perth. Having ridden across Australia, he has now loaded his bike on the ship for California where he will cross the US and then on by ship again to Europe. Eric is a 6ft 9’giant American originally from Florida but left in 2014 flew to Cape Town, and started a huge surface of the planet trip. He bused it the length of Africa, by sea across to Europe, and then bus through Europe and Asia. From there he took a ship to Australia, and that’s where he picked up Cap Capricorn. Early days yet, and as we have shared a few stories, they are very interested in One Point Zero.
From the moment I have boarded this ship I have been pleasantly surprised by my acceptance as one of the crew and I have been free to almost do whatever I like. Beyond the obvious safety stuff, there are virtually no rules, and one is free to go anywhere on the ship. The other interesting thing is that liquor is free of duty and retail mark up so the prices are so low one questions the trick?! Anyway not that I’m drinking much, but just nice to not be part of some captive prisoner pricing that I’m sure cruise ships push to the limit.
The Ship’s Tour
Now to the tour with Singh yesterday: Well Singh is the 3rd Officer, so there is the Captain, then Chief Officer, 2nd Officer and then Singh. He is 25 years old, from India where he did his Maritime Academy training. Apparently a huge college in India, as there is a huge demand for Sea jobs, as land jobs dry up. It takes 4 years theory and 1.5 years practical to get to his position. I must say I was quite surprised at his youth and relative inexperience on paper for the position. A real lovely guy and we connected well, as he told me the trials and tribulations of the nomadic life, and nomadic relationships!
Typically the crews work 3-5 months on and then take 2-3 months off. Each time starting a new contract, and probably on a different ship. Cap Capricorn is registered in Liberia, charted by Hamburg Sud, a big container logistics operation, and then the crew work for an Israeli company that contracts to the German, Hamburg Sud. The crew of cap Capricorn come from: Poland, Romania, India, China, Croatia, and the Philippines. So this is one totally international operation. I have to say what makes me real sad, and I mean real sad is to see how many of these guys clearly hate what they do, and the life they live. I have taken on it myself to try and bond positively and in a caring way to each and every one of them. I have found that in showing them my ‘seaman’ side and my understanding of their life / work at sea struggle, have had a few warm interactions already. I do think it is a tough life / career they have chosen.
Cap Capricorn was built in China in 2011, and it looked like virtually everything down to its critical ships engine is Chinese! Three large fuel oil generators provide power for the ship, and I was surprised to learn that about 40% of the power goes to run those refrigerated containers that are part of the freight on board. Monitoring of these fridges and their temperature control is a key crew responsibility. So just appreciate that NZ lamb and green lip Mussels you UK readers buy at M+S etc… Enjoy the lamb while you can because as One Point Zero takes hold of you you’ll become a (virtual) vegetarian like me! (I’m sure you all know the bad footprint of farmed meat, and particularly if it isn’t from your farm around the corner!
While discussing the fascinating whole container logistics world, Singh told me that in Rotterdam now the whole container ship unloading and loading operation is done by robots, not a single crane, or container mover driven by humans. When I think back to the crane / vehicle busyness of Tauranga, and imagine Rotterdam to be significantly larger and busier, I’m forced to think how all this fits into a New One Point Zero World. The obvious answer is that there will be no or very small Rotterdam terminal because we would have all learnt to appreciate what we have in our own back yards and not need to ship stuff we demand from all around the world to satisfy our insatiable need for novelty! I know it’s not as simple as that but I somehow don’t think the solution lies in larger, busier ‘Rotterdams’. Scary thoughts hey, and more exploring there soon!
I’m getting into my work routine, and productivity is improving each day. With the rolling of the ship my keyboard error rate has shot up dramatically, but that won’t prevent me sending out some more meaty content soon. In that context I do wonder how those that have read ‘The Facts’ on this site have reacted? Maybe you knew The Facts, maybe you don’t agree that they are Facts, I’d like to understand more…
Also, I’m very aware that many will see my ‘No fly’ stance as futile, maybe asking:
How does Howard think him stopping flying is going to help, the planes are still flying even if he isn’t, and anyway I heard ship travel has a deeper ecological foot print than air travel…?
I’m very aware of all this, but in responding I’m not sure whether my response should be in the context of followers’ acceptance of The Facts and the One Point Zero Challenge or their denial of the situation? This is my challenge and I’ll be responding as best I can to cover both possible bases.
Off to my rolling bed, and what is turning out to be a rainy late afternoon here!