We left Fanning lagoon on the same day that we arrived. It was a great day with fine weather, so after discharging a few passengers and consigned cargo, we started filling the created space in our hold with fine quality copra.

A slow time record was established on the crossing from Fanning to Christmas Island: 42 hours. That gives an average speed of barely 4 knots. At times we were doing some 3 knots over ground, because our island of destination was ‘running away’ from us at a speed of 2,8 knots. Luckily we didn’t have too much wind or sea on the nose; otherwise we could just as well have turned around.

So, when we finally made it to the Christmas jetty we were charged to get our load of copra out of the hold and onto the shore. The absence of the regular crane told us that something was wrong: the crane had broken down on its way back from the airport, where it was involved in construction. Luckily the island crew got the crane working within two hours, and we started working frantically with the help of half a dozen local stevedores.

After the galley served dinner for the ship’s crew, shore crew and stevedores, we continued working at the light of our strong flood lights. When it seemed that moral was dropping like starving copra bugs, Inna and I decided to join the chain gang in the hold, scooping up free-range copra and shoving it into the cargo nets. The presence of a female crew member in the hold always makes a huge difference in moral. So around ten at night we could call it a day. The galley brought out ice cream, and everybody went ape, I mean, literally. The whole gang was jumping, cheering and crawling up the towering walls of the now empty hold.

The next day (today), we received our last cargo of this voyage: mainly drums of fuel, lumber and some giant cubes of crushed soda cans for recycling in Honolulu. At 1900 hrs we cast off and made our way back to Fanning. This time at an average speed of 8,5 knots and we are headed to Fanning Island. We will discharge the cargo there (about 100 m3) and then cast off Hawaii bound! Woo-hoo!!!

Bengineer