Days M129-131: Three Sheets To The Wind

Fri 03.02.12 – Sun 05.02.12:

Friday took us around the Southern Cape of South Island and along the majestic Fjords of the incorrectly-spelt Fiordland National Park. As part of the deal for the free cruise, I had offered to do a talk about my travels for the delight of my fellow passengers. The talk went down quite well, and I was buoyed by the presence of my new buddies onboard, the Young Guns.

You see, there were not many 32 year olds on board the Sea Princess. In fact there was only one. I know that cos I met him. So the options consisted of hanging out with people old enough to be my grandparents or with people barely old enough to buy cigarettes. Of course, I balanced this out rather well, managing to get myself adopted by the grannies during the day and being the irresponsible adult corrupting the youth of Athens during the evening. As only half of the Young Guns were old enough to be in the nightclub after 10pm, we ended up in the library playing board games until the wee small hours.

With my lecture out of the way and with nothing to get up for the next morning, it was time to down the remains of my minibar and cause as much mischief as I could get away with. Which was a surprising amount. The next morning, thunder rolling in my head, the phone in my cabin was ringing. I was too scared to answer it, thinking it might be reception giving me a right royal telling off for last night’s shenanigans.

Turns out it was reception, but they just wanted to ask me if I’d like to come up for a tour of the bridge. Whoops!

Saturday was formal day, and since I had been invited to cocktails with the captain in the evening, I decided that this might be the day I would wear the suit that Mandy had lugged over from Australia for me and that I had been lugging around New Zealand for the past two weeks. The shoes made me wince (I’m big on being smart, not looking smart) but I endured: it was a good excuse to get my laundry done. So, all shaved and respectable-lookin’ I rambled around the ship until it was time for the ‘Where In The World’ quiz, which I won, on my Billy Lonesome, just to prove I could.

MAKE IT SO!!!

After downing the prize: a bottle of champagne, I set off for the ‘new year’ party that was taking place in the main atrium. A bit of goofy dancing later and I was outside the Razzmatazz Nightclub, three sheets to the wind. Apparently at some point I stood up, declared that I was far too drunk for this kind of thing and took myself off to bed. True story.

Sunday was the last day of the cruise. By now we were very close to Australia, having ploughed across the Tasman Sea in at record speed. That night the Young Guns had decided that there would be no sleep til Brooklyn, and who was I to argue?

Must... Destroy...!
COWER BEFORE ZOD!!!

I’ve pulled more all-nighters than the average bear and with what was left of my wine, I made sure that I was sufficiently intoxicated to meet the customs guys at 6.30am the next day.

This was a fun cruise. A very fun cruise.

THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!!!!!!

Day M181: How The South Pacific Was Won

26.03.12:

The Pacific, south of the equator line, is now complete. Yes, there were a handful of territories – Niue, Tokelau, French Polynesia, Pitcairn & Easter Island – that I skipped, but if the purpose of this adventure is to have great stories to tell the grandkids, I need to finish this quest so I can work on spawning future generations of argumentative scouse dingbats to tell the aforementioned great stories to in the first place. Happily, I did get to visit the French territories of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna (both of them!) and the US territory of American Samoa, bringing my ‘territory tally’ up to 9.

Here’s a rough map I knocked together of the route I took, including ships and dates. Clicky for biggie.

How I Visited Every Country In The Pacific Without Flying

MASSIVE THANKS must go to the cargo kings of the Pacific Ocean – Swire, Neptune, PDL, PIL, Reef and the cruise queens – Carnival, Princess and P&O. Alex Pattison (Swire), Rowan Moss (PDL), Captain Hebden (Neptune) and David Jones (Carnival) in particular went that extra mile to help this raggedy stranger take a giant leap forwards in achieving his dream.

Finally, hats off to Captain Bernie Santos of the Papuan Chief, Captain Don McGill of the Southern Pearl, Captain Andrey Verkhovsky of the Southern Lily 2 and Captains Sireli Raloka and Bob Williams of the Scarlett Lucy. It was a real honour to sail with these guys.

All in all, a pretty successful five months! I only wish I had known (at the time) that the Scarlett Lucy came into Honiara on the way to Nauru. Had I know that, and had Neptune been happy to let me on board last October, I could have jumped off the Papuan Chief and jumped on the Lucy, cutting out the massive backtrack to Australia from New Zealand – saving myself at least a month’s worth of travel.

But then I wouldn’t have scored a free ride as a VIP on a cruise ship, so I’m really not complaining!!

As I keep saying, there’s no manual for this type of thing – it just goes to show that good information is priceless. Now, with Nauru out of the way, I must turn my attention north to Palau and Micronesia.


The Cap Serrat left in the wee small hours of the morning, and the only other ship that will get me to Taiwan (in time to make April’s one and only ship to Palau and Micronesia) leaves from Townsville, 1,300km north of here in just three days time, and I still haven’t got permission off the owner to board the vessel. This is cutting it tight and making a huge gamble – if I don’t get on the Mell Seringat on Thursday I’ll have lost another month.

After saying my goodbyes to Captain Bob, Rusi, Peni, Cookie, Douglas, Bese, Labe, Ricky, Meli, Patrick, Peter, Hendra, Daniel, Asi, Manasa, Martin and Chief Tarawa – I reluctantly disembarked the Scarlett Lucy, my home for the past 34 days. I set course for the Mission to Seafarers in order to take advantage of the courtesy bus that takes salty seadogs like meselfs to the nearest town, Wynnum. A train ride to Brisbane city’s south bank, a rather unfortunate looking set of nuclear bunkers that substitute for a cultural quarter. A good place to run to when the North Koreans attack, and also there’s free internet.

After trudging through my back-log of emails and correspondence, it became clear that I was no closer to being allowed on this ship than I was 24 hours ago when I was in the middle of the sea. Tomorrow I’d have to make the decision whether to head up to Townsville anyway, but today I could (kinda) relax. I met up with Crystal, a mate off the Pacific Pearl, and we settled in for an evening of pizza and beer before I crashed on the coach. The Pacific Ocean is magnificent, but dry land does have its bonuses.