54°56′S 67°37′W and VIP

Puerto Williams in Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Must say when I look at the net now it’s not at all the way I remember it, but on the other hand I was only at the airport – and I remember it as an air force base, because there was officers, flags and a military orchestra playing.

Don’t remembering it being a town. Know that Chile claimed it was the most Southern town in the world, but Argentina called it an military base and Ushuaia had the title. So some how I got my wires totally wrong or my memory is getting a bit weak.

After been left behind on the hospital up in Talcahuano – the little red ship left without me for her destination;  Antarctic. She left the following morning after I been remitted to the hospital – she blow the ship’s whistle for me and off she sailed to pick up passengers in Punta Arenas.

A week later I left the hospital – and had some catching up – first I had to take a train to Santiago and stay over night – then fly a “normal” plane to Punta Arenas – after that a six seated little plane over the Andes. Glad I had been able to watches the movie “Alive”, it was released 1993 – the little plane was all over the place.

We where 4 passengers in total and we where all very happy and relieved when landed in Puerto Williams. While going in for landing I could see “the little red ship” down below – so happy to see her.

So all safe on the ground – the show started – officers, yellow and blue flowers and  Swedish national hymn. Me that hadn’t practice my “royal wave” !!! Personal I didn’t have a clue what was going on and still don’t have.

During all the commotion “Lindblad” had anchored and a zodiac (black rubber boat) – was on it’s way to pick me up. Coming along side the vessel – everybody was out on deck.

Captain told me when passengers asked why they had stopped – he answer; we are picking up the most important person  aboard, the Christmas buffet chef. In those days Puerto Williams wasn’t a destination for cruise liners as it’s today, not even for “Lindblad” – Ushuaia was our destination and where we picked up – dropped off our passengers.

Had lost so much weight during my 14 days in total on the hospital I had to tie up my trousers with a rope – and while getting up gangway along the side of the vessel I nearly dropped them.

Think it was Captain Hasse Nilsson’s doing – all the commotion – but it worked. It was nice to be back aboard – and heading for Antarctic, the reason why I join the vessel.

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”
Pablo Neruda
(Chilean poet, diplomat and politician, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, 1904-1973)

Photos provided by;  victory-cruises.com / traveljournal.net /  welcomechile.com /  paulfkerrigan.livejournal.com /mdhlem.net / chocolates-uk.co.uk / varbak.com / ja.db-city com / flickriver.com – Eleanor Marriott

chilean navy, penicillin, black pimpernel and wine

… after being sick since 3.09.78 – when we arrived Bali – 6.12.78 I was taken into hospital at the Chilean Navy Hospital in Talcahuano. During the 3 months had I been treated along the way for inflamed tub, kidney infection and gods know what. Every time we dock at a bigger place where I sent off – to see the local doctor. Every doctor along the route had his own verdict, but the all them gave me penicillin and if it hadn’t been for that I probably need had made it to Chile.
We had an American doctor onboard, but he didn’t know what to do with me.He didn’t dare to anything – after my mistreatment the ship owners only used Swedish doctors.

Thought myself that is was one of my tubs that was the problem – because I had it before and it was extremely painful. The pains where very similar.

Know that my colleague chefs thought I was faking. The First Officer, the responsible for the health aboard – felt helpless over my situation. The Swedish Captain, Nilsson where getting really worried too – could hardly walk. So I decided that I will try to hold out until the vessel came to Talcahauno for it’s week in dry dock before the Antarctic’s cruises.

The evening before – farewell dinner – I don’t remember much about .. where so violent sick. Don’t have clue who served the lobsters – it wasn’t me.

Following morning I pack one of my bags – a yellow one – told my boss that if I don’t come back I want the bag over to the hospital. Knew that I wasn’t going be back – even if I seamed to be the only one. Was in a very poorly shape.

So of to hospital with our local agent – after been looked at by two doctors – and nothing wrong was found when checking my tubs and kidneys – I started crying … where so desperate for help. So the 3rd doctor – very handsome Italian man. He examined me and asked when I had eaten last and what I had been eating. Always when before I became sick I craved for green apples.
– we have to operate straight away !!!!! So tears again, so relieved over knowing what was wrong with me: acute appendicitis. 3 hours later was I laying ready for operation.

Was told by my doctor later that it was the penicillin that saved my life – because it capsules the appendicitis so it doesn’t burst. A method that they used during their exercises out at sea.

Such wonderful people that took care of me and the our ship agent where outstanding. The hospital management saw me as the hen with gold egg – ticking dollars – so I got my own doctor and nursing staff – plus a corner room with full view of the bay.

The tensions between Chile and Argentina was already very high – so their navy was on high alert. Also the Chilean Navy had bought one of the Swedish Navy’s old ship in 1971 – HMS Göta Lejon – and named “Almirante LaTorre” she was  my prime view laying out in the bay. A bit of home so fare away.

Operation went well … after a week and with the stitches taken did I return to the vessel that was still in dry dock and a mess everywhere – was places in a deck chair out in the spring sun on deck, but 30 min later I start to feel sick again. In a hours time after leaving the hospital was I back – and then even more serious ill: sepsis in my stomach – but that is an other fantastic story – that I will come back to.

The Chilean Navy also came to “Lindblad’s” rescue at both hers accident down in Antarctic – first on Christmas Eve 1979 (not aboard) – when it was abandoning the ship, standing in stormy weather on a rock and in 23.11.2007 when she sank.

Chile and Sweden has very strong bonds since the junta took over on my birthday 11.09. 1973 – and our ambassador in Santiago, Gustaf Harald Edelstam, that help so many people escape  from the junta – his nick name became “the black pimpernel”. Today Sweden is the biggest importer of Chilean wines.

“Not a leaf moves in Chile if I don’t know about it,
Augusto Pinochet

photos provided by; hnt.cl / cordell.org / foursquare.com / axortago.gr / blogg.passagen.se / blogg.passagen se / crossed-flag-pins.com / en.wikipedia.org / thewinesellar.net / newsletter.geneanet.org

his name was ivan christian.

The immigration officer on Pitcairn Islands – he was a very slow writer and with about 200 passports in total (passengers & crew) – we had to stay nearly 3 days.

                                                               my passport
3 very special and memorable days – that ended up in tears and high emotions for me when leaving.
With a population of only around 124 in 1978, the people of Pitcairn are descended from the mutineers of HMAV Bounty and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn Islands approximately 3.2km (2 miles) long and 1.6km (1 mile) wide with the capital Adamstown located above Bounty Bay and accessed by the aptly named road, “The Hill of Difficulty”.

In terms of population, the Pitcairn Islands is the smallest democracy in the world.

Not at all an island that invites you at first sight  …It’s just laying there looking like a big rock – very rough and there is only one spot on this island where you can land, Bounty Bay – that has to be with the islanders own built long boats.

25°04′00″S 130°06′00″W

We arrived on the afternoon of 9.11.78 it was a Saturday – and the islanders where expecting us and it didn’t take long before one of the boat was on it’s way out to us for shopping. On their shopping list was pineapples, grapes, milk powder and cheese. Products that they was longing for most. MS “Lindblad Explorer” had been coming there for a quite a few years.

At that time, if I don’t remember wrongly, was there 124 people living on the island. The doctor where from New Zealand and the teacher from UK.
There was an young Norwegian woman that had come to the island by a freight ship the year before – fallen in love with one of the young men and she where married and highly pregnant. In 2011 where there only around 67 Pitciarners left. Wonder if she is one of them.

On Saturday evening was everybody on the island that was able to – invited to have dinner with our passengers – a tradition. 5 course dinner, drinks, singing and dancing. The highlight of the year for them and for us too.

On Sunday it was the opposite – we where invited to be their guests. Passengers and crew (off duty)  first went to church together with them and after that we where divided between the families – and had Sunday lunch in their homes. My family where Ivan Christian’s and his wife together with 6 of our passangers. Lunch was nothing they had prepared special for us – the same as they normally had. Choices where not that big on the island. We had oven baked ham. What a fantastic day.

HMS Bounty’s bible

In the early evening was it time for us to leave – both long boats came out to us to say good bye – we where all singing ” Auld Lang Syne” together and I was crying like a baby. Knowing that I will never be back again – knowing that they will start waiting straight away for “the little red ship” to be back. It was so emotional and now writing about it I start crying again.

2 July 1767 by midshipman Pitcairn aboard the HMS Swallow in 1790, along with their Tahitian women and a few Tahitian men discovered the islands. Fletcher Christian and his band of mutineers seized the Bounty from Captain William Bligh on 28 April 1789 following a voyage filled with disrespect and frequent, sometimes severe, punishments from Bligh toward his crew.

Must say the Pitciarners are an ambitious and resourceful people – they fish, make honey, gardening, handicrafts and maintenance all the buildings and the island. In 1998 did the UK Government aid agency, the Department for International Development, funded an apiculture programme for Pitcairn which included training for Pitcairn’s beekeepers. “Fortnum and Mason” and “Partridges” in London now stock their honey.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ auld lang syne.” 

Photos provided by and thanks to; curtandcindyworld2011.blogspot com / worldisround. com / superstock.com / nationalgeographic.com / lonleyplanet.com /  travel-images.com / en.wikipedia.org

nearly every night fever …

In April 1979 – we started up Shanghai’s first disco ever – in a foyer of a hotel along the river walk … never known the name of the hotel – for me all buildings looked the same … grey. Why this hotel, because it was close to where vessel was docked and for they hade a cassette radio in the reception. So with the two cassettes we hade – soundtrack from “Saturday Nigh Fever” and ABBA’s “”Voulez-Vous” – we danced the evenings away. We, the crew of “Lindblad Explorer”. What a success we made – the staff on the hotel enjoyed our little innocent “nightclub” People of the street came in to have a look at us with their bikes. Nobody joined in …. just stood there for hours watching us. “”Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” the most popular track.

So I’m claiming that I had a significant part in the development of the  entertainment industry/life of the modern Shanghai.

Same miracle with the TV – there was some around – the owners took their TV’s out on the streets so everybody could watch. A fantastic revolution that only took  about 25 years – it was the start of the high tech China we all own a piece of today. I was there when it all started.

“Disco is just jitterbug.”
Fred Astaire

Photos provided by and thanks to: bobccohen.com / cdandlp.com /  cassetteandvideocorner.com

358 days – the little red ship

Original name: Lindblad Explorer
Shipyard: Nystads Varv AB, Finland
Tons: 550
Length oa 72.86 m
Length bp 64.5 m
Delivered to SAL: 1969
Sold: 1982
Today: Sank on November 23, 2007, Antarctic Ocean

MS Lindblad Explorer – the biggest adventure of my life– 07.07.1978– 13.07.1979

From Price Rupert, Canada to Hong Kong .. over Antarctic, Bali, Pitcairn Islands, Philippines, Easter Island, Bora Bora, Japan, Chile, South Pool, Tahiti, Samoa Islands, Argentina, China, Tonga, Thursday Island, North Island, Indonesian, New Guinea, Borneo, Great Barrier Reef, Falkland Islands, Alaska, Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji …. And more and more .. and more. Can’t remember them all. Today I wish that I had kept a diary.

Most memorable ???!! Without any doubts – Antarctic, Pitcairn Island and Borneo Orangutan Survival Center – today called BOS

The only cold larder chef .. we where a brigade of 4 chef’s that serviced up to 120 passengers and 58 crew, 18 different nationalities.

Unforgettable journey – unforgettable year – and I got US dollars tax free for doing it and quite a few!

Will share …. but not the money (all gone) …

“A ship in port is safe,
but that’s not what ships are built for.”
Grace Hopper