We clambered onto the ship via a long, swaying and feeble plank of wood, moved through the galleys and emerged onto the deck where we had decided to splash out a little for a cabin. However, when we opened the door to our cabin, a face glared out at us from within. It had been double-booked. Dad and I stood there as the crew burst into activity all around us – shouting into phones, ushering us into different cabins, a lot more shouting into phones. Finally we were told to go back to our original cabin from which the original occupants had been told to bugger off – and were never seen again!
The boat itself was clean, well-ordered and very pleasant. The people were extremely friendly. We quickly made a number of friends – the chief engineer, a preacher, other crew members and a few students and children. Something we missed at the time was their incomprehension when we told them that we were going to Ternate for 4-5 days. “Why??” they kept asking us. I think we understand their question more now.
One funny thing about the boat was that the aircon straddled our cabin and the cabin next door. Over the course of the night we proceeded to have an aircon war with the neighbouring family with temperatures ranging from 16-29 degrees where we would alternately wake up freezing or covered in a thick film of sweat.
When we finally arrived in Ternate we had spent 18 hours on the ship and hadn’t eaten a proper meal in 48 hours. But, dad (who is known to get seasick on a 45 minute ferry) hadn’t vomited, so it was a massive success!