Day eight and we were in the Coral Sea, that evocative name. There’d been a famous battle here in WWII. To protect NZ from Japanese invasion American and Australian ships routed the Japanese fleet. A copy of James Michener’s short stories, Tales of the South Seas, was thoughtfully provided in my cabin to bring the events to life.
What I saw from my window at 6:30 am were birds! A teeming flock of white sea birds, perhaps terns (?) scattered through the little white horses galloping over the glittering sea.
There were also dark patches, perhaps indicating shallows, lumps of oil or the coral by which these waters are named? Or maybe wind scuffs.
In my morning visit to the Bridge, Myo Han told me he expected to be at sea for another five years or so. He wanted to return to Myanmar to work in some area connected with transport or perhaps as a crew agent. He’d only been Third Officer for twenty days. He knew what was required; a course and at least a year’s experience before he could apply for the next level. Moving to a different ship each contract kept the interest alive for him and would give him wider experience with different systems.
More alarm testing today to keep everyone awake. Third Officer Safety came to tell me to stay away from the fire doors because they slammed shut during the alarm. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere and he was at pains to reassure me I would be allowed to go at 12:00 – for lunch!
A pair of gorgeous creatures, white with dark wings, streamlined bodies tipped with big long beaks. (Probably boobies maybe gannets) The black wings were white to the elbow giving the bird carved white lines of crossed scimitars skimming over the darker water. The two of them flew high and then skimmed down to just above the waves, presumably looking for fish but not appearing to try hard. One clearly followed the other and at one point both rose up into the air and appeared to jostle for position before perhaps they changed leader and went back closer to the water again. They did not seem anxious to find food, nor were they riotously enjoying the flight, but moved efficiently and so quickly as to beat the ship with little effort. I wonder what they made of this stinky, noisy vessel?
On this night I watched ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ another great travel movie filled with art and action. Style over logic. I did feel anxious about the clutch of models draped in bandages. Compare them to the obese and contented matrons providing milk for the youngsters. Surely those dames provided babies in order to be milked? What happened to their calves? Did the skinny models turn into cows once they’ve had their babies or were they specialised for genetic needs? If so, what genetic assets did they provide this warrior race other than prettiness? One would expect the organisation to require strength, intelligence or speed? Even after they had been rehabilitated by the senior women, the scantily-clad pretties re-entered the citadel dressed much the same. Why didn’t their flowing bandages get caught in the truck doors as they ran, backlit like gazelles, to get the truck out of the swamp? And why did those dames reward Max with the biggest and best motorbike?
Tao 44 said, Know what is enough. Abuse nothing. Know when to stop. Harm nothing. That is how to last a long time. Well. There’s sustainability.