30th August 2015, Christmas Island
Underway from Penrhyn to Christmas Island our shore-based office informed us about the fact that there were twenty-five monster ships anchored in line off the west coast of our destination. These enormous fishing vessels were swinging stern-to the shore because of the westerly winds that have been pestering the area for weeks. ‘El Nino” rears its ugly tail again creating heavy rain and strong wind from a direction opposite of the usual. In the moment there are three hurricanes raging in the vicinity of Hawaii.
This is the season where huge schools of precious fish like Ahu and Tuna cluster around the Kiribati islands (an area of 150.000 square sea miles) and each of the Purse Seiner’s or long liner vessels are hurrying to get their holds filled.
With so many ships around nightlife on the island flourishes. In the nightclubs I ran into dozens of sailors of various nationalities. “Buenas noches, I’m Mike, helicopter pilot from El Salvadorrrr”. “Hi, I’m Jimmy, engineer on the biggest M.F. Korean long liner around”. Some of the intoxicated comments I could not quite understand so I boggered-off before the fun of bar-fights started. Little has changed since the old days. Sailors spending money on women and booze.
Against all expectations we found good weather conditions coming alongside the jetty. After organizing the hold on Friday we managed to load around 120 tons of cargo (mostly fuel, building materials and grains) on Saturday. Today, Kiribati Sunday the 30th of August, we loaded more than 60 passengers destined for the outer islands. The atmosphere on board is laid-back due to a numbing hot breeze and the absence of waves. Tomorrow we will be selling cones of ice cream as never before, I’m sure.