This is the place for your yarns, get in quick before we run out of space! alehouse is burning up his keyboard!!
This is the place for your yarns, get in quick before we run out of space! alehouse is burning up his keyboard!!
BLUE FUNNEL`S `EURYADES`.
Samnesse 02 08 10.43 Launched as SIMON B. ELLIOTT, lease lend to Britain
1943 SAMNESSE, MOWT (A. Holt & Co, Liverpool)
1947 EUMAEUS, China Mutual S.N.Co (A. Holt & Co) - British flag.
1952 GLENSHIEL, Glen Line Ltd, London- British flag.
1956 Requisitioned by MOT as store ship in Suez crisis.
1957 EURYADES, China Mutual S.N.Co.- British flag
1959 December changed from Glen Shiel to Euryades
1961 MARINE BOUNTY, Bounty Shpg.Co, Liverpool (Wheelock, Marden & Co, Hong Kong)- British flag
1962 Prestige Shpg.Co, Hong Kong.- British flag (same managers)
1964 Mercury Shpg.Co, Nassau.- British flag.
25.2.66 Aground at Hasieshan, China coast, broke in two, CTL.
EUMEAUS (3)/EURYADES (3) was built in 1943 by Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard at Maryland, USA with a tonnage of 7308grt, a length of 441ft 7in, a beam of 57ft and a service speed of 11 knots. Holt's acquired eight Liberty ships and the Eumaeus was launched as the Simon B. Elliott for the U.S.M.C. but completed for the Ministry of War Transport as the Samnesse with Alfred Holt & Co. as manager. She was purchased for the China Mutual Steam Navigation Co. in 1947 with whom she remained until March 1952 when she was transferred to Glen Line and eventually renamed Glenshiel. In 1957 she returned to China Mutual Steam Navigation Co. and was renamed Euryades. Four years later, in 1961, she was sold to Bounty Shipping Co. of Hong Kong who renamed her Marine Bounty. On 25th February 1966, during a voyage from Chingwantao to Singapore with a cargo of coal, she ran aground at Hasieshan in China. She was later refloated but was driven ashore again and broke her back after she was abandoned.
VOYAGE OF `EURYADES`????..
Ted , my old school mate from Bolton, and I went to the Pool and were told to go to Odyssey Works the headquarters of Blue Funnel Line and see Captain Greenwood. He signed us on the Euryades, a Sam Boat which was laid up in the River Fal. So the following day with 14 other men we met at India Buildings in Liverpool`s Water street. There was a coach and in the back were several mattresses, bed linen and lots of other stores. We climbed aboard at four pm and set off for the long journey to Redruth in Cornwall a fourteen hour drive, no motorways in those days.
We had a couple of stops on the way and had a couple of pints at each one. All the mattresses were laid out so we could lie on them and have a sleep on the way. We arrived at Redruth at six in the morning and then carried all the gear down a path to a boat landing and stowed them aboard a boat that was waiting for us. We went down River a while and came to a ship by the name of `GLENSHIEL`. A rusty hulk of a SAM boat that had been laid up there for three years.
We climbed aboard and loaded the stores A cook flashed up the Galley while we did the stores and made us a breakfast. The Engineers went below to sort out the engine room and to see if they could start her up and get power on. The ship was very damp and musty and was in need of a good clean throughout the accommodation.
We had a couple of days there, she had her anchor out forward and was moored to a buoy aft.. When everything was running we went forard to heave away the anchor. After three years the anchor cable was more than two feet thick with barnacles, too wide to go over the gypsey and through the spurling pipe, so we had to smash them with two big lump hammers. We eventually got going and made our way down the River to Falmouth and into the dry dock.
We had a few days in dry dock, they scaled bottom and gave her a good paint, we had to repaint the funnel from Red to Blue and stencil a new name on the lifebuoys and life boats, from Glenshiel to Euryades and we
also painted our cabins. They were manky. We had nine A.B.s at the time and a Bosun. We didn?t have a full crew yet, we were to take her back to Birkenhead to load a cargo for the East.
We sailed from Falmouth on the 22nd of December 1960 and hoped to be home by Christmas Eve, but that was not to be.
We got off Lands End and it was blowing a terrific Force 12 hurricane.
We were just like a balloon being blown over and everywhere. We had no steerage way or head way and even going backwards. We had to open Number 4 hatch and get several hoses and put them over the coaming and just pour water into the hold on both sides of the shaft tunnel, which would stop the free surface effect, and sink her deeper, increasing the draft. Christmas Eve arrived and then Christmas day
And we finally arrived in Birkenhead on Boxing day four days from Falmouth. We were all exhausted, had no sleep for the four days.
We were sent home and told to report back on board on the 7th of January 1960.
Ted and I got the train from Liverpool to Wigan, we had to change there to get another to Bolton. The next thing we knew was our compartment had two railway men putting us on shake, ?Aye Aye, lads, you are in the sheds, What are you doing here? had to much to drink then over Christmas.??
They were lucky to get out alive. We had been fighting for survival while they were with their families, and no ale. We had to climb down from the train and walk half a mile, dragging our bags, along the track to Wigan Station. No more trains today. We were stuck in Wigan and knackered. So we had to get a taxi, the ba*t*rd charged us a fortune, ?Its Boxing Day Lads, I could be home with the family.?
We eventually got home, cost us more to get home than we had earned.
Seventh of January, 1960 arrived and we joined the ship and sailed that evening for Penang, Belawan in Sumatra, and Singapore.
It was blowing a hooley all the way to Gibraltar then the weather turned and it was good to be in the warmer weather again. We had a full crowd on board now, 9 A.B.s a deck Boy and Lamp trimmer from Wales, who was a strange fellow with stranger habits. He enjoyed the company of native men on the Indonesian Coasts. Definitely strange when he could have had a beautiful mik mak. The Bosun was a plonky, we never saw much of him, he was always in his bunk with the D.T.s. If he came on deck we would shoot him with our spud guns, all the Sailors had one each so he would take out a bottle of whisky and turn in again.
The Chinese Firemen and Cooks and Stewards were on board this time.
On the way out it was Chinese New Year, so the Captain let them use the Officers Saloon for their party. The Firemen came from North China, around Tsingtao or Tietsin and the catering staff were from South China, Hong Kong or Canton and they hated each other. The party turned violent and they started fighting, wrecking the saloon then one went berserk with a fire axe and badly injured two stewards before he was over powered. He was locked up in a locker down aft until we got to Penang later where he was put ashore with the Police.
The Captain said it was the last time he would do that for them.
After passing through the Suez Canal, where we loaded hundreds of cases of eggs, stowed on the hatch, we went down the Red Sea to Aden for bunkers and delivered the eggs there. There were a few missing as we would collect a few every day and put them in a bucket and in the shower room was a steam hose that we used for boiling our dhobi, and boil the eggs with the steam. Great for taking on look out at night for supper.
Crossing the Indian Ocean to the Malacca Straits we had boat drill, where, in Blue Funnel was the real thing. We lowered a life boat and Ted, the Sparky and some Chinese and I had to take the boat away. The ship cleared off and disappeared over the horizon and then the Sparky would transmit a distress signal and the ship would come and find us. Ted and I would be turning the handle for the dynamo. The ship would get a DF bearing on the signal then come and get us. Meanwhile an American ship turned up first and tried to come alongside to `rescue` us.
We were shouting ?Go Away its only a boat drill?. The American Captain on his Loud Haler shouted something about `Crazy Lymies`.
The boat was leaking quite a bit of water, The Chinese were screaming in fear with both feet on the thwarts, didn?t want to get there feet wet. Ted and I were baling out continuously as waves would break over the gunnels. The Euryades turned up and we hoisted the boat up and stowed it. A good exercise. This practice was stopped a couple of years later when one of the Blue Funnel Line lifeboats went missing in a squall in the Monsoon, they were never seen again.
We were due to arrive in Penang around noon one day, Ted?s brother, John, was in the Ghurkha Regiment in Ipoh Malaya and had said he would try to see us when we arrived in Penang.
We spent the morning rigging the Jumbo heavy lift derrick, up aloft on the Foremast, We had to send up the topping lift blocks and derrick head blocks and shackle them on, shackle on the steaming guys and then break it out and lower it to the hatch and shackle on the topping lift blocks and wires, then heave it up in position, a good sailorising job, we were covered head to foot in grease when we finished, just wearing a pair of shorts and flip flops. We were coming up to drop the anchor outside George Town. Ted and I lowered the gangway on the starboard side, it was just outside our cabin.
The Captain and Chief Officer came down , immaculate in their `Whites` with the Chief Steward and two Cadets, they were lining up in the alleyway by the gangway.
The Captain said to Ted and me, ?Go away you two men. The British Consul is on his way and we don?t want you dirty scruffy men to be seen hanging around?.
We looked out and a boat was approaching, standing erect in the stern in a very smart white Safari suit, was Ted?s brother, John, he looked immaculate. We moved down the alleyway and watched,
John marched up the gangway and the Captain shouted attention to the other Officers. John appeared on deck and the Captain saluted, shook his hand, called him Sir and introduced the Officers to him and said, ?We?ll go to my cabin for a gin and tonic while the Lunch is being prepared.?
John said, ?Thank you Captain, but before we do may I have a word with my brother Ted and Brian first. ?
The look on the Captain?s face was a picture, Ted and I were falling over laughing. ?What, What, you are not the British Consul??
?No I have only come to see `ar kid.? said John.
?You two, why didn?t you tell me??
So we said , ?You told us to go away cos we were manky?.
The Captain was not a happy man, he had been made to look a fool in front of the other Officers and us two.
We went ashore with John that afternoon. Ted had had a discharge from his pipe, I said ?Who have you been with,? we have been at sea for a month?. He said ?Julie,?
I said ?My Julie? ? He said ?Yes?.
When was that? I was with her most nights except Thursday night, and that was Amami night, when girls stayed in and washed their hair. I wondered where he got to on a Thursday.` So Ted was sneaking into Julie?s flat, giving her one while I was at the pub waiting for him.
He said `you had better have a check up as well. As someone else might have been giving her one as well as us`.
What a mate he was. He was even thinking of my welfare.
So the three of us went ashore got a rickshaw and the man drove us to the Hospital. We went into the Reception, there was a snooty English receptionist on the desk. ?Yes what do you three want?? John said, ?He has a dose?, pointing to Ted, I shouted, ?Only suspected?. The woman looked horrified and said, ?Get out of here, if you are Seamen there is a native hospital down the road, that is where people like you belong, now go away from here?, whilst reaching for an aerosol spray to rid the odour of Seamen away from her nose.
We went out and got the Rickshaw boy to take us to the other hospital. We went in and the reception was crowded with Malays and Chinese round the desk. We towered over them and so the desk clerk could see us over the crowd, ?What do you want? she shouted, John shouted back, ?He has a dose?, again pointing to Ted, so I shouted back ?Only suspected?. All the Malays and Chinese all laughed at us. At least they didn?t throw us out.
They took the three of us in a room with a doctor and a nurse, they asked questions, ?Where was the prostitute when you went with her ??
Ted said, ?I have only been with his fianc??. pointing to me. The doctor nearly fell over.
?I will have to give you a Prostate Massage?, said the Doctor. ?I don?t want one? Ted protested, He had to drop his keks and lean over the back of a chair, Rubber glove and some Vaseline went on, gulp!!! Oh Eck!. Then some nurses came in and watched. The doctor went to town on him with the rubber gloved digit, a very attractive nurse bent down with a glass slide and held it underneath . The young nurses were giggling, the final humiliation of the European.
He pulled his keks up and had to wait, the slide was taken away for tests, an hour later the doctor returned and told us he was in the clear. Ted?s discharge must have been a false one.
We went out with John and went to celebrate in several bars. Before making our way back to the boat.
We sailed the following day for Belawan Deli, in Sumatra. We sailed across the Malacca Strait and up the river to Belawan and moored up there with the ropes on the bight, the eye brought back inboard and over the bitts for easy letting go. We didn?t go ashore as there was firing in the distance, the Rebels were having a go. There was a civil war going on at the time, President Sukharno was not a very popular man with some political factions. He was very pro Communist and the Rebels were made up of Americans, Dutch, Australians and Indonesians who hated Suhkarno
Early next morning the dockers did `nt turn up, and the firing, with bullets whizzing around, was round the back of the godowns, so the Skipper shouted ?Let go?, we cast off the turns and then the eye and started to heave away just as the Rebels ran through the godown firing on the ship. We went full ahead, trailing the stern lines behind us, and we lay flat on the deck as bullets were being fired at us from down below on the wharf, making a terrible noise, I was wetting my knickers, not very pleasant being shot at and trying to scratch a hole in the steel deck to hide in.
Once we got clear down river we heaved the lines in and had a well earned smoko.
The bullets had made a lot of dents in the steel of the ship around the accommodation also chipping paint off, but none went through the steel, tough ships those Sam Boats
We went back across the Straits to Singapore, we went to the anchorage and discharged the Belawan cargo there into barges, then the Singapore cargo. The sew sew Lady came on board there and all hands had sarongs made up, we could have any pattern we wanted but not the same as the Captain. His pattern was exclusive to him as a show of Rank. I bought three, one was for working in, one for sleeping in and a good one for going ashore in, I still have one left after 48 years, and usually wear it when I have had a shower and just lounging around, I get some funny looks sometime off visitors who come to my house and catch me wearing it. But then they have never been to the Spice Islands.
Singapore was always a good run ashore, a good place to go to at the weekend was the Norwegian Seamen?s Club.
It housed the Norwegian Pool and outside was a big swimming pool and bar so we spent all the weekend there drinking and swimming. On Tanjong Pagar Road there were a few little girly bars and dancing. On the way back to the boat landing at Jardine steps I found the Deck Boy squatting in an alleyway playing Mah Jong with the Chinese and he was winning a fortune, a big pile of cash in front of him. He was from Liverpool and had learned to play there. We got him out of there with his winnings, the Chinese were shouting, he was shouting that he was on a winning streak, but I don?t think they would have let him walk away with the money at the end. The Chinese were not happy but there were more of us than them.
A couple of days later we sailed for Tanjong Priok in Java, through the perfumed seas.
Tanjong was to be our home port, we were a feeder ship. going around the islands to all kinds of exotic places, some didn?t even have a name on the chart, picking up five ton here and ten ton there and then take it into Tanjong for the express boats to pick up. It was a good life.
As we tied up in Tanjong, a young native lad with a strong Liverpool accent, ?Hey Lah, yer wanna buy a parrot?? He pulled out a sock out of his pocket and then pulled a white cockatoo out of the sock. ?Here give us a few Rupiahs,? I gave him a handful of notes and I was the proud owner of a Cockatoo, I called him Charlie Kakatoa. He could speak a couple of words in Javanese, and over the next few months I taught him many other words in English and Spanish, Clever lad was Charlie. He started to take a liking to Javanese brandy, and then was always bevied and falling off his perch rolling over on the deck one claw clutching his head saying ?Teda Bagoose? [no good]. He was the same when I took him ashore sat on my shoulder, he would walk around the bar top drinking out of every ones glass then fall off the end, I would have to pick him up and shout at him for being stupid. He was a mess. At the end of the trip I decided that I could not take him home, I could not afford to keep him in Liquor so at the last port, Padang, in Sumatra, I took him to a bar built on bamboo poles up in the air, and gave him to the man who owned it. Charlie sat on a perch behind the bar and watched as the man gave me a bottle of brandy, a tear rolled down one cheek and he just muttered one word, ?Ba*t*rd?. I was choked, he was a good mate, I walked down the steps and hurried to the ship, before a tear ran down my cheek.
First night in Tanjong, in the London Bar I met a beautiful young lady, Dedeh Suardi, with long black hair that I could tie around my waist. She was lovely. I had a good portrait photo of her but the ex wife found it and destroyed it.
When I got Dedeh I also inherited a shoe shine boy, who was the lad who sold me Charlie, I only wore flip flops, a guide, and a rickshaw boy. They came as a team. As I said we were loaded for six months and I put them on the pay roll. Every Saturday they got a wage packet each in an envelope of around two thousand Rupiahs. The other lads had similar teams. They were very necessary for our safety ashore as they were our eyes and ears. There was a curfew around ten pm.
Every day around five o` clock they would be at the gangway in the rickshaw, I would be dressed in my finest sarong, straw hat and Dedeh would be in the back wearing a beautiful sarong and a flower in her hair, and our team taking turns to pedal. It was like a scene out of `Lord Jim`.
One night we were sat on the veranda of the London Bar and at the next table were two American sailors. My lads would sit on the steps and come to me if they wanted a Fanta and then the Americans shouted to me , ?get those kids outa here they are only bums?.
A little while later the kids came and whispered ?Piggy, piggy lackass? (go, go quickly) so we legged it round the back alley into the shack that belonged to Dedeh. It was the curfew, there was a blast of machine ne gun fire and the sound of a Jeep driving away. A little later when it was all quiet we crept around to the front of the bar and the two Americans were dead, blood and cr*p everywhere, they had been blasted with a machine gun and it was a terrible mess, the front of the bar was also wrecked. We went back into Dedeh`s hut and stayed till morning. Very depressing it was. But the kids had looked after me.
Most nights nearly all hands went into the Bataan Bar, it was very lively with a band and dancing with loads of Mik Maks. [Young Ladies]
So one night I went alone to the Bataan Bar and it was full of girls and the crowd off the ship even the Skipper was there dancing, we all had our sarongs on, I was dancing with a Mik Mak, when the bat wing doors slammed open, it was Dedeh with a big panga in her hand, screaming at me, the band stopped playing, and everyone stood silent as she screamed abuse at me.
"You Number Ten Boy. Teda Bagoos, Piggy lacass," All hands laughed as I went out with her back to the London Bar and sat in silence, She just said, `Tomorrow I show you all Number Ten boys.`
We just went to bed, again in that deafening silence that only women can do.
Next morning, we all climbed into the rickshaw and she took me a ride into the country to a cemetery, there were a few graves there, of English Seamen, some were from Liverpool when I read the inscriptions.
She stood there like Boudica and pointed, `All Number Ten Boys, You Number Ten Boy, You, teda bagoos." (no good}, drawing her finger across her throat in a menacing manner.
`No, No`, I pleaded, `Me Number One Boy, bagoos, OK..?`
`OK` , she said,` You be good Boy`.
We went back to the London Bar and had breakfast. and then she let me spend the day in bed. I had had a very stressful night lying awake wondering what the fate of a Number Ten Boy was. I never went into the Bataan Bar or any other bar again.
One beautiful place that we went to, had no name on the chart, it was inside a lagoon, a tug had come from Borneo towing teak logs and just left them floating in the lagoon. Opposite the entrance was a tiny village on stilts over the water. We anchored and had to lower a boat to pull the logs alongside and load them ourselves. There were about twenty logs and then four of us would dive with a sling in our hands and swim under the log and rig it ready for the lift then they were heaved onboard. We went ashore in the lifeboat and the natives were fascinated by us, they had never seen a white man before. The little children were hiding behind the trees, watching us in fascination, we must have been like Spacemen to them. One man was scraping my skin with a knife to see if I was black underneath. My hair was sun bleached platinum blonde, and they were cutting lumps of my hair off with their knives and looking at it as something they had never seen. It was an unusual experienced to be amongst them, probably one of the last places ever to be like that. I think we were very privileged to be there. It was only a small island, we walked around it in less than half an hour with an escort of all the villagers. The trees had monkeys and parrots and birds of paradise. Beautiful.
It probably has a load of ski boats, an Airport, Holiday Inns and Disco Bars now, destroying one the last true paradise on earth.
After two days we had loaded and went off to Tanjong again.
Tanjong Priok. We were soon established there with contacts from the rebels, they came alongside in canoes, who wanted to buy the flat tins of 50 ciggies like State Express 555s and the round tins of Players. We made a fortune with them, and became Rupiah Millionaires. We found out much later that they used the flat tins as land mines, a little explosive and a pressure detonator, when someone stood on it , it blew their foot or leg off and the round tins of players were used as hand grenades, a little explosive, a few nails and a fuse.
We had loads of money, as I said we were Rupiah Millionaires.
Sometimes we did a trip to Singapore and at the anchorage, arrangements had been made for a boat to come alongside the stern in the early hours, and a few boxes were heaved up, these were stowed in the old Gunners Quarters, and locked until we got back to Java and then another boat would come alongside during the night and then the boxes transferred to them with a huge wad of Rupiahs, in the millions. It was unbelievable, how much money we had.
The Rebels where made up of Dutch, Americans, Australians and Indonesians opposed to the Sukharno Government. They were anti Suhkarno as he was taking Indonesia into the Communist Bloc. Whilst we were there in Tanjong, Khruschev visited Suhkarno just up the road in Djakarta.
We were in Padang, Sumatra, when we had an air raid by one plane of the Rebs, with six ships alongside four of them were hit with bombs and set on fire, two settled on the bottom alongside. We were untouched, maybe they knew us. The anti aircraft guns shot the plane down and it went screaming into the jungle exploding in a big ball of orange flames. The pilot baled out, he came over the wharf and his leg hit the end of the wharf and he fell into the water. The Troops got him out and were battering him, he was screaming in pain, his right leg was obviously broken and couldn?t stand up. All this was about fifty yards from our poop. They dragged him to the wall of the godown and propped him up, we could see what was going to happen and all hands were shouting to the soldiers and then they pointed their rifles towards us so we hit the deck. There was a volley of shots and the pilot lay dead in a pool of blood. It was quite sickening to witness the execution. He was a young American.
Up the coast of Sumatra was Sabang, we had loaded some rice and on the gangway was always an armed soldier as well as on the wharves. At noon one day two of the dockers ran down the gangway, the Soldier shouted for them to stop, they carried on running and the soldier on the wharf fired his rifle and shot one in the head, the force of the bullet lifted him completely off his feet and he crashed on the ground with most of his head missing, spurting blood. It was quite gruesome. The other fella stopped with his hands up and the soldiers battered him with their rifle butts. We felt quite sick at the sight of all this. At smoko that afternoon the soldier came into our mess room and was boasting at what a good shot he was, to hit a moving target. He said they had stolen some rice, it was down their shirts so he shot him. These poor people were starving and on very poor pay, they just wanted to feed their families. We couldn?t do much, just agree with him as we had to go ashore and didn?t want to upset him again. I looked at the rifle, it was a Lee Enfield 303, British made in 1906. It was the same as the ones we had when we were Sea Cadets, so I did the rifle drill for him, ?Shoulder Arms, General Salute Present Arms, Slope Arms and Order Arms, and so on?. He was very impressed, I thought we had better keep this killer on our side.
The Indonesian Government kept the people under control by having Javanese troops in Sumatra, Sumatran Troops in Borneo, Celebes Troops in Java and Borneo Troops in the Celebes and so on. That way there was no sentiment between the troops and the local population, so when they killed they were not killing their own people.
In Tanjong Priok, the Militia at the gate were easy to get past, first time I ever went there I did the rifle drill for them, they were quite impressed and I acted like a Sergeant and had them all lined up outside the hut doing rifle drill, all same as British Army. They were like school kids in my hands, though we had to be very mindful that they could quite easy kill us if something went wrong. So every time we went ashore they just let us through unchecked. , On our last night there after six months while I was doing the rifle drill with them I removed the firing pins from some the rifles,
Dedeh and I would eat every day at a small bamboo hut across the road from the London Bar,
We had some of that UDANG, I thought they were small chicken legs in a batter, ?What are these? ? I asked, ?small chickens? ?No this is UDANG, After my second plate full I found out they were frog?s legs. They were lovely. couldn?t eat enough of them.
Another good feed there was Bami Goreng and Nazi Goreng.
Dedeh wanted to come to live in England with me, so I gave her the address of the Queen and told her she had to write to her. I am still awaiting for a knock on the door and finding an aging Javanese lady in a sarong saying, `Hi, .at last I have found you, .you Number ten boy, Teeda Bagoos.
We did many ports around the islands, from Singapore, Tanjong Priok, Tegal, Semerang, Surabaya, Macasser, Wallace Bay, Sandakan, Tawau, Probalingo, Kutching, Balikpapan, Bali, Ujung, Balitung, Molucca, Padang, Belawan, Sabang, Sumbawa, Brunei, Sarawak, and many others some without a name. A lot of these ports were anchor ports, and we had to keep a Pirate watch every day and night. At night we would have two AB.s one patrolling on either side of the ship watching for small boats trying to come alongside., we had light clusters over the side around the ship so canoes could be seen. One night in Semerang, around 2 am I was down aft by Number 5 hatch when I heard a clunk amidships, I walked for`ard with a ten ton shackle in my hand. There was a native just climbing over the rails by Number 4 hatch just abaft the accommodation on the port side. A grapelling hook was hanging off the rails, I ran up and hit him on the left temple with the shackle and he fell back into the sea. I looked over the side and just saw a ring of ripples and bubbles and a canoe with one man in disappearing into the darkness. I didn`t think they would come back again. I shouted to Ted to get the stand by man to get the Captain and report the incident. He came down and had a look around and then complemented me on the action. These Pirates can sneak on board and cut peoples throats in their bunks and steal anything they can. It is and still is a big problem in those waters.
Apart from the killings by the Militia, it was a paradise of a trip. We always returned to Tanjong to discharge for the big fast Blue Funnel ships. Deedeh and my team were always waiting for me.
We were in Surabaya and ahead of us on the same quay was a Soviet Liner, with passengers of the Soviet elite, I forget her name now but she was sunk by the Germans in WW2 and then refitted for the Vladivostok fleet.
We had a game of football with them on the quay and the Second Mate invited us aboard that evening. He was Victor, a big big man.
So that evening, Ted, Blondie, Paddy and I went across and met Victor.
He took us to his cabin and with the Sparky, pulled out a bottle of `Moscow Visky`, it was Vodka really. He poured out five half pint glasses and shouted `Babushka`, which means `Old Woman` in Russian, and we had to drink it in one gulp, or you were an old woman. This nearly blew our heads off, powerful stuff. Then there was more and more. We were drunk as rats, unbelievable stuff that `Moscow Visky`.
Mean while as we were getting bevied, Paddy was going through Victor?s drawers and putting gear down his shirt, he was robbing him.
Then the Sparky wanted to show us his Radio room, so as we were staggering out of Victor?s cabin, he stopped Paddy and removed several articles out of his shirt and muttered a few words in Russian that we didn?t understand. What a ******* Paddy was, it was embarrassing, stealing off the man who was giving us his hospitality.
We went to the Sparky`s Radio Room, and at that time we had never ever seen such an array of equipment, it was space age stuff compared with what we had seen before, on our ship, an old Sam Boat all our Sparky had was a Morse key and a transceiver.
We left the ship and were walking back past the old liner, there were a lot of port holes about waist height above the quay and in one a big Stewardess was getting stripped off ready for bed.
Blondie went up to the port, which was open, and bent down to have closer look, the Stewardess saw him and waved her arm to beckon him closer and closer, Blondie, thinking he was onto a good thing put his head through the port.
She got a head lock on him with her left arm and proceeded to batter his face with her right fist. He was screaming as she did this, pulling him closer, we had hold of his legs and tried to pull him out of the port, but she was a strong woman. She continued to batter him for quite a while before letting go and then battened down the port and closed the curtains.
Blondie was a mess two eyes were swollen and cut, nose busted and bleeding and his lips cut and bleeding. We couldn?t stop laughing at him, what a plonker. We dragged him back to the Euryades.
The following day, Victor and the Russian Sparky arrived on board, The Sparky wanted to see our Radio Room and equipment. I called our Sparky and told him, all about theirs and how embarrassing it would be if they saw he only had a Morse key.
Sparky went6 to see him and told him that it was all top secret equipment and was not permitted to allow anyone near it.. The Russian accepted that,
We took them both into the mess room with some beers, there were already four Danes in there from another ship that the other lads had brought on board. There were a couple of cases of beer on the table and everyone was getting stuck in.
Then one of the Danes who obviously did not like the Russians said something to Victor in Russian, Victor was exceedingly angry at this comment and leaned over the table and thumped the Dane knocking him to the deck. The other Danes jumped up and a big fight started. We were in the middle and we were getting thumped. The lads got the Danes out eventually and got them off the ship, I got Victor and took him and the Sparky back to our cabin.
There were three of us in the cabin, me, Ted and Blondie, so we all sat on the two bottom bunks and opened another case of beer. Victor shouted ?FRIENDSHIP? and thumped me in the ribs, Kinnel Victor, take it easy. He could only speak a couple of words in English. Friendship was his favourite word, every two minutes he would shout ?Friendship? and thump me in the ribs again.
We were sat there in our sarongs, drinking and smoking, when I could smell burning flesh and cloth, I looked down and my sarong was on fire, Victor?s cigarette was against my sarong and set it on fire, I was leaping about and dived through the door into the shower and put it out. My leg was blistered and the sarong had a big hole burned out of it. I still have it in my drawer at home here. I came back and sat down again and Victor shouted ?FRIENDSHIP? and then thumped me in the ribs again.
I was getting a little sore by now, a burnt leg and bruised ribs. Then fortunately, we heard a voice shouting on the quay at the bottom of the gangway, ?VICTOR, VICTOR?.
I ran out on deck and looked over and at the bottom of the gangway was the Russian Political Officer, ?Ver is VICTOR and Radio Officer? Tell them come now.?
What a nice man, he was coming to take Victor away. I went back to the cabin and got them out, the three of us helping them down the gangway, we were all bevied and could hardly stand. The Political Officer was shouting at them in Russian and ordered them back to their ship Pronto. He was not amused at his men being drunk on our ship so I think they would be in trouble when they got back.
We sailed to Wallace Bay, Borneo, it is not a bay but a small village up a river surrounded by thick dense rain forest, where we were to load teak logs, The logs were cut down upriver in the forest and floated down river to us.
There was a grass clearing with a few small bamboo huts and a small bar run by the English expatriates. They were as usual, in those far flung outposts of Empire always ****ed on the gin. We had a good drink with them and during the conversation one of them suggested that we could play football against the local Dayak tribe. He knew them when he went into the forests to search for suitable trees for logging. A match was arranged for Saturday morning and it was to be played on the grass clearing outside the bar. An old pick up truck falling to pieces amid a huge cloud of smoke appeared out of the forest and about twenty of these Dayaks climbed off, A fearsome looking bunch, wearing just a loin cloth and a bone necklace round their necks, and hair standing up, they play football in their bare feet and play their own rules. With the British Consul looking on, it was a real primitive outpost for him, we were told not to score any goals or we would be speared to death, we lost 16 goals to nil. Later, a Dayak who seemed to be a little educated, he could speak pidgin, English, invited Ted and I to his village in the jungle. We went in the old battered pick up truck tied together with string; we were squashed up together with all the other Dayaks. The British Consul told us to report back to him when we returned as nasty things could happen to a white man in the jungle there.
We took off and with all the Dayaks chanting songs we drove through the rain forest bouncing on a track with a truck that had no springs followed by a dense cloud of smoke, it was exciting.
We arrived in the village, it was straight out of `Lord Jim`, there was a long hut on the left, about 50 feet long where all the single men lived and facing it across the Soah, (open space,) was a long hut for all the single girls, and across the bottom of the Soah was another long hut for all the old people who looked after the children.
We were introduced to the Chiefs and Elders of the tribe. It was like something out of Conrad, unbelievable. We stayed in the men?s long hut sleeping on rattan mats and a log for a pillow. Around the `beds` of the men were skulls off men of other tribes that they had killed. A bit gruesome trying to sleep next to dead men?s skulls. I asked my `friend` what do you do if you want to get your leg over with one of the young ladies across the Soah. In Pidgin he replied that you went into the girl?s long hut and took one out and gave her one and then send her back. If she gets pregnant then the old folk look after the children. That night they had a feast in our honour, a huge fire was lit in the Soah and the men were dressed in straw tied around their waists and faces painted in white, a fearsome looking bunch. They danced and sang their songs, as we sat cross legged on the ground and watched. While this was happening the ladies were roasting chunks of meat on the fire and making kava, an alcoholic kind of drink. My friend told us it was long pig, and served to us on big leaves, and it was Pork, lovely.
The following day we had to get back so our friend drove us back and bade us farewell, a wonderful experience of a bygone way of life very few people have ever seen. We reported to the British Consul in his bamboo hut and he asked us all about our trip out there, we told him that they had a feast for us, he asked us what we had eaten, so we told him, Long Pig, ?Do you know what Long Pig is???, we said No, "It is human meat, they usually go to the next village and kill someone and then it becomes Long Pig, human flesh is the same flavour and texture as pig,?.
So we had become cannibals, it was good though`.
A wonderful experience of a bygone age in a world that no longer exists. It can never happen again.
The rain forests have all but gone now, they have been cut down and burned to grow palm oil trees for bio fuels. This has killed off most of the wildlife including the `wild man of Borneo`, the Orang Utang, and the Dayaks displaced and their way of life destroyed. This can never ever be replaced, it has gone forever. All in the pursuit of profits and these mad people who think growing bio fuels will save the world when they are the very people who are destroying it
Since the 1970s, the Dayak have been baffled by the existence of mining projects, logging by forest concessionaires, plantations and industrial timber estates. Socio-economic expert Mubyarto said the presence of the giant projects in Kalimantan and Sabah changed the Dayak?s source of wealth.
The rattan monopoly has impoverished the Dayak in East and Central Kalimantan. The gold mining in Ampalit (Central Kalimantan), coal mining in East Kalimantan and gold mining in Monterado (West Kalimantan) have caused the locals to suffer. The same thing has happened to the Dayak Bentian, Dayak Pawan-Keriau and Empurang. They struggle against the plantations, which are partly financed with foreign loans. They are forced to give their land to the investors. After the land transfer, all the plants, all the sacred places and cemeteries were demolished and replaced by palm oil trees. They are forced to pay the investors for the privilege of living on their own land in installments.
The project ruins the environment, as well as the social, cultural and political patterns. They have marginalized the sovereignty and dignity of the Dayak over the Land and natural resources.
We took our cargo back to Tanjong again. more precious nights spent with Dedeh.
That was the pattern of our trading and our way of life, we thought it would never end.
Then one day it was all over, our time in paradise had come to an end, we had orders to load for home after six months there, even the married men didn?t want to go home.
So the last day was one of tears from Dedeh and my team of boys, I gave Dedeh over a million Rupiahs to share with the boys. That would make them all very wealthy and a good start in life. It was a lot of money in Indonesia, but it was like Mickey Mouse money outside. Couldn?t even change it in Singapore. It was worthless to take out, so I hope my team made good use of it to improve their lives. We all said tearful goodbyes to our `teams`.
Then we were homeward bound and feeling very sad. After loading a cargo in Tanjong, rubber, latex, copra, mahogany and teak logs, spices and so on, we topped up in Singapore, and Padang in Sumatra where I also said good bye to Charlie Kakatoa, in exchange for a bottle of brandy. I felt like Judas. He could still be alive today, Cockatoos live around 80 years, maybe I will go out there one day to find him.
We sailed across the Indian Ocean and up the Red sea to Suez. Once through the Canal it was a fourteen day trip to London where we paid off. It was the end of a very fascinating voyage.
No one can live those lives again, the world has changed so much, we are the very last people ever to experience it, in that paradise we had death, love happiness , sadness, beauty and the ugliness of the dictatorship. Poverty and wealth, violence and tenderness all in a few bamboo huts, the ultimate human experience was in those Perfumed Seas of the Spice Islands.
It was a world that no longer exists, sadly it has gone and can never return.
We are so lucky to have been there, even though we thought it would never end, it did, and for ever.
Shore people could never believe what we did, what we experienced and saw, I never tell anyone about it here, they would not understand.
Last edited by captain kong; 01-19-2009 at 10:00 PM.
I was wondering where he was and when he arrives, eventually, he swamps us.
But what a wonderful way to be swamped Kevin,the old skipper has'nt lost his talent for a good yarn!
Passing by your way on Friday, past Bolton and up to ****heroe on our way to Slaidburn. Staying at the Hark to Bounty for a few days with Ruth - it's her birthday.
Welcome aboard our new home.
Ta for the great read Captain Kong..of the Spice Islands..
fascinating..Sounded very spicey indeed..
I hope the parrot lived happily there after..
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