Day thirteen in the Tasman Sea.
I woke to the sound of a man repeating, ‘Pau te rangi.’ I don’t speak Maori. ‘Pau te rangi.’ It may have been a shift in the engine reverberations creating new resonances, ‘Pau te rangi.’ Or perhaps it was left-over from a forgotten dream? An auditory illusion. Apparently te rangi means ‘sky’. It could have been ‘the sky is clearing’, from Google but when I looked in the Maori Dictionary the nearest I could come to what I’d imagined I heard was: tāepa o te rangi – edge of the heavens or the horizon. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to hear when surrounded by sea?
When I went up to the bridge there was no land around us. No other ship. Not a bird in sight.
No longer smooth, the ship’s rolling did not discourage me from a smart march twice around the deck. It was perfectly safe. I managed to judge when the swell would go under the bow to make sure I was not in a completely exposed area when the Coral began to tip. As soon as a cloud covered the sky, the wind would pick up dramatically and the rolling would increase. I was such a nervous Nellie. I clung to handles well away from the side railing.
I researched the previous Passenger Only One, Philippe Garnier, and found him to be a skilled author and translator. His most readily available book is about a writer of film noir, Goodis. I followed Garnier on Goodreads in case he might publish something about travelling on CC Coral. I wonder what we could have talked about if we had shared that little island table?
My penultimate night on board arrived with a feeling of gratitude I had safely come this far and, given Australia’s bush fires, continued to NZ apace. The clocks went forward another hour. Lunch felt about nine minutes after breakfast and I couldn’t cope with the idea of dinner. It may be the ship rolling again but I really felt like I’d done my dash. I dreamt of simple toast and an oaty latté. 24 hours till land.
Hopefully NZ would require the cleaner fuel to be burned in port because there were definitely fumes in my cabin in Brisbane.
The Chief popped in to remind me it was dinner time (I said I’d skip it!) and to ask if I’d be interested in touring the engine the next day. A spark of interest stirred in my haggard frame. Too right! How kind and interesting.
I made Win and Tin a little thank you card each and popped in a small tip in Australian money. I added my Taiwan leftover cash for Win. I had asked advice from the Brisbane Seafarer’s Mission about this. If you were to do the same should you travel in this manner (or even if you have some warm gear to donate to your local Mission) the kind volunteers would be able to give you up-to-date situation with your particular crew. I thought Cookie and Messy deserved a little nod for looking after me so well. I believed CMA CGM recompense their workers better than many shipping companies but I do not imagine it is a great deal.
As to my hefty detective novels sourced from the Seafarers, I managed to speed through Elizabeth George and pick up ‘The Ice Child’ by Camilla Lackberg, another in the series I started way back at the beginning of the voyage. I would leave both in the cabin, adding to The Owner’s Library. Perhaps you will see them there should you travel with CC Coral?