We woke in time for breakfast and headed down to the officer’s mess, there we were greeted with a wholesome scrambled egg breakfast. The cloud from our adventure was still very real but we tried to lift our spirits through idle chat. The crew were doing their best to make us feel at home, although it must have been strange for them to have foreigners aboard.
The day was used to explore what this island held for the next 10 days or so. Being shipwrecked on a bulk container has its perks. We discovered that there were 4 decks, A to D and then above that the bridge. There were 3 mess rooms (deck hands, officers and engineers), the officer’s recreation room on C deck, although we did not use this as the officers had two travelling wives with them and we felt it was better to give them some space.
There were two wash rooms and out the back was a gym, although very rustic and run down. Of course, over above this we had a 225m promenade to stroll down when walking to the bow. Our play ground was better than being in a life raft, thirsting for water hoping on being found! Shaun and Mike were the first to use the washing machine and discovered the hard way that the dryer had a problem. It tended to pull large threads from all over your clothes. Shaun claims it’s a new fashion design he has created called shipwrecked – not so funny as both their Trekker II shirts are destroyed.
Later we were informed that we were to have a braai that evening by decree of the Captain. This usually happened, we learned later, on a Friday night but he had brought it ahead to lift our spirits and get the crews comfortable with each other.
The braai was ready at 18:00 on the port side deck. It was a great spread of kebabs, chicken and mince, as well as a spicy sausage. There were two large half drum braais for us to cook our meat, which everyone tucked into with gusto. On the seaward side a large table was set up and on it was placed a quarter of a lamb stuffed with a fragrant rice. Other dishes of rice and nuts were laid out as well as a large cake with the ship’s name Golafruz on it.
Cases of canned cool drink and juice finished off the spread. Sean was tucking into the non-alcoholic ‘beer like lemonade’ as if he was back at Cedar Lakes Club house. I couldn’t get enough of the lamb although I must say the lamb kebabs were the best, unfortunately there was only a few of those to eat. The Captain joined us and was encouraging us to eat and don’t hold back. Everyone tucked in and was laughing and joking.
Throughout the evening, we were continually requested to have our pictures taken and in fact ever since. We are certainly going to be popular in Iran I think! The Crew started to dance with each other on the open deck and the Captain started to encourage us to join in. “Cape Town Boys” come on, come on “Cape Town Boys” he shouted. In the spirit of international relations, Shaun Verster decided to strut his stuff first and with a swing of his hips he moved into the circle with everyone clapping to the beat.
Well, I can’t say whether it was a Cape Town Rumba or a Brazilian Samba but certainly there was a large wiggle of his hips and to the delight of the crew he stole the show for a few minutes. Soon most of us had tried a move or two – Wesley, Richard, Peter, Mark and myself. Mike and Sean watched on with a shy grin. If only the world could see us in this moment, it would be hard to explain the experience we had just gone through had just happened.
It’s also difficult to described grown men dancing with each other on the side of a bulk Cargo ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. To outsiders this might seem lame or weird even but to us all it was a coming together around an experience we shared and the celebration of life across cultures.
Just before dark the Captain retired looking happy and content and I thought he would have liked to stay but felt it becoming of his rank to withdraw. As darkness set in the braai came to an end and we all went upstairs to the mess for Coffee. Soon after we went to bed, still feeling tired and exhausted.DONATE