By Dave Creamer
A story of 2 tugboats brimming with event, secret, and intrigue.
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Extra resources for Oriental Endeavour
Perhaps they had been thoroughly sensible and had made an early escape from Liberia back to their homes in Thailand. The shortage of fresh water presented a huge and continuous problem. Water supplies inside the dock area were non-existent, but there was a standpipe of sorts in the centre of town from which the local population filled their buckets or containers. During the rainy season, the ever-resourceful Myanmars had to improvise by rigging up large water catchments made from plastic sheeting that could funnel the rainwater into both the tugs’ tanks.
No one in their right mind would willingly exchange the undeniable luxuries of a modern international hotel for the very basic and squalid conditions aboard the two boats. We retired to our comforts for another night. The resident trio playing in the hotel lounge was on good form and joined in with our party celebrations. Jaap, our manager, had tried to keep the matter of his birthday quiet, but a telephone call from his office colleagues in Holland had soon put paid to that idea. To be fair, he quite willingly maintained the right and proper traditions of all nautical birthdays by paying for the few beers we consumed before and after our meal, the bottles of wine 21 Oriental Endeavour we had with our meal, and the Irish Coffees he insisted upon us having at the end of our meal.
Somewhat surprisingly, the washbasin appeared intact, but without either a plug or functional taps. In the main deck bathroom, things were only marginally better, with the toilet, although cracked and minus the seat, still working. The shower cubicle, a filthy and dark area in one corner, had the appropriate hot and cold taps that, between them, produced a supply of cold water to the old and corroded showerhead. This couldn’t 23 Oriental Endeavour be said for the two side-by-side washbasins, which gave every impression of being in reasonable order apart from an absence of water from the taps.