Monday, 19 May 2014

Gears Are In Motion

Gears are in motion, plans are being made. I've spoken to Sushila and Namche is out as there will be no reliable electricity for 3 months from the beginning of June. And I think Mustang would be too isolated for me to get reliable connectivity to work.

So, Pokhara/Annapurna is on the cards. I'd like to get a car and drive from Kathmandu. And we'll see how it goes but I wouldn't be averse to visiting Chitwan National Park if we have the time.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Return to Nepal

That's it. I'm buying our flights to Nepal. Not sure if we'll go to Solo Khumbu or Pokhara (and thus Annapurna Circuit). We can decide that later, like when we're packing or on the flight. ;-)

I'll need to work while I'm there so I'll need access to electricity and connectivity. The connectivity aspect can be handled with my Nepali sims in phone and iPad (as those who regularly read this blog already know) but the summertime means monsoon season and this can and does cause landslides which tend to knock out the electrics.

Right then, tix are booked for outbound on 28/6 and back on 19/7.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Happy King's Day!

Well, after a long and eventful hiatus (that I'm not particularly at liberty to blog about as I must protect the guilty), I am living in Maastricht. Tomorrow is King's Day (Queen Beatrix having stepped down last year) and the Markt (which is right in front of my window) is being done up for big celebrations. I live in a building that was converted from the old Gemeente Spaarbank so it has high ceilings and big windows.

Old City Hall/Markt - Maastricht

And I've been told there's a massive rave on tonight in the park, so I'm going to head on over there later to check out the music.

But check back soon as I'm planning to do a write-up on how people can help the families of the brave Ice Doctors who died on Everest last week. I have been told that it costs $100/month to send a child to a boarding school in Kathmandu and I personally think that's the best way to help. YMMV. There are also links to other charities that help in the area aggregated at Peter Hillary's page.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

So right now we are in international waters, having left Chiwan this
afternoon. The route through the harbour is long and torturous, involving
pilots from both Hong Kong and China. It takes ~4.5 hours each way so we
ended up spending more time in the harbour than berthed!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Have just left port of Hong Kong en route to Singapore by sea.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

 I cannot express what a disaster internet connectivity has been.
There's a guy onboard to fix the internet - we have taken to referring to
him as the Master of Disaster. 'Nuff said.
Plus a screwup with immigration means that there is and has not been
any shore leave at Chinese ports. :-( So I haven't been able to get ashore
to hit an internet cafe.

And needless to say, my plan to spend my birthday shopping and hitting the
spa in Yantian has had to be cancelled. Instead I will be baking
*something* with Cookie for all hands. What that will be I do not know
because as a result of the immigration snafu, we are short of supplies and
there is no flour. I'm guessing I'll end up doing a bread and butter
pudding or a kugel of some sort. Captain has promised to open a few
bottles of bubbly as well. I'll be sure to take some photos, particularly
of the baking, to add to my collection of cooking in odd places.

What else? Well, I have been learning an awful lot about ballast
operations and cargo planning. So much so that I have begun carrying my
notebook with me and have been jotting down ideas for improving the
software. Plus I taught J how to work with csv files so now he can
manipulate the output from the cargo program to generate his report for
Dangerous Goods at each port - a major time savings as he was having to
copy/paste each item from a PDF and this could take hours!

So, I go now to return to the evening watch. The sun has set and we are
surrounded by loads of fishing vessels. There is a steady background
murmur of chinese fishermen taunting each other on the distress band, but
the sea is calm and the humidity is down to 85%, so a lovely night.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

It's 05:00 and I'm on the bridge. The morning shift is from 04:00 - 08:00 so
the wakeup call comes in at 03:40. The bridge is kept dark so that the
lookouts aren't blinded, the only light a subdued glow from the radar,
sonar, etc. There are so many machines that I am reminded of the Monty
Python bit - The Machine That Goes Ping...

Anyway, we have just crossed from the South China Sea into the Taiwan
Strait. A Search & Rescue notification has come in of a man overboard from
another ship not too far away. Meanwhile we must constantly adjust course
due to the prevalence of fishing boats added to which we now keep watch for
the guy in the soup.