August 9th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Chris amid the chaos on deck

Well, it looked light outside to me!  And I felt as tho’ I’d slept all night.  So I got us up + round to the ferry terminal.  Even tho’, we now estimate, it was nearer 1 than 5.  But then, it was just as well as it turned out, for no sooner had we found ourselves a sheltered spot in front of the ticket office, that it began to pour + pour.  Now we were relatively sheltered, + trying to dismantle a tent in this sort of weather would have been murder.  And we managed, somehow, to get a little more sleep before the lady in the ticket office opened up.  She was very nice, + directed us over to the building where the crew were having breakfast.  They in turn, after regarding our somewhat sorry state, gave us breakfast, so we really didn’t do too bad.

The Keke III was very plush, more like a first-class airline cabin than a ferry – it even had eau de cologne + freshly laundered towels in the toilets.  However, Papeete was no improvement, in terms of the weather – it was still alternately drizzling heavily + pouring.  Val trotted off to get breakfast (no. 2) – bread + milk, + when that was done we were just trying to rouse our enthusiasm for lugging our bags round to the Taporo booking office, when Dave trotted along.  His money still hadn’t arrived, + he began by saying he would have to stay + wait for it, but we persuaded him to forget that for the time being, + come with us.  To be honest, he didn’t need much persuading.  He gave us a hand to take our bags round, + we booked up for the 3 of us to Bora Bora.  It took a bit of persuading to tell the man there that we didn’t mind it being full + sleeping on deck.  We’re not all pampered Americans, you know.  Dropped our bags off on board – it looked very nice, but he was right, it was very full – + then back to town to shop + collect Dave’s gear.  While he was getting that together, Val + I both took a shower.  Val also met Linda off Deliverance – another Aussie address, + she invited us to a party.  But alas we were off.  Ah well.  Dave also told us Doug McAlpine, off Thyme, whom we’d met in Panama, was also in, but he was anchored out, + not on board in any case, so we couldn’t visit.

Dave had been staying on Buenavista, so was leaving some of his stuff there, but we took off the remainder, + off to the supermarket to stock up for our mammoth trip.  Thus, heavily laden for the second time, we staggered out to the boat.  We secured ourselves a place on deck, one of the few remaining, since the ship was absolutely teeming with people.  Surely all these people couldn’t be going with us.  But they were, + more came pouring up the gangplank every instant.  We had a good spot, right up against the coffee bar, giving us something to lean against, + bad too, in that we were constantly being stepped on.  However, once we’d pulled out, + it started to get dark, people settled down.  Of course, some people decided to settle on top of us, but we’re used to that.  And then the rain came, not heavy, but unpleasant.  The only thing to do was unpack our tent + climb inside, 3 in a bed.  It provided only minimal protection against rain + cold, but was better than nothing.  As we snuggled down as best we could, they played part of “Wish You Were Here” – beautifully moody + atmospheric, + the last good thing before the start of what may well be one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life.  It was cold + wet.  The iron deck battered one’s hipbone.  My cold had decided to make its presence known with a vengeance.  During the night various people decided to piss on deck, + quantities of that washed down to us.  In other words, a total fucking disaster.

You would have thought, after more than a year away, and with us still having trouble with time-keeping, that we would have fixed ourselves up with a watch by now, but no, another wild stab at the time… and getting it very wrong.

Good to meet up with Dave again, and, better, to persuade him to come along with us. It’s not that we’re completely bored with our own company, exactly, but it is still good to have a bit of variety with conversation, games, etc. Even so, and with some stiff competition from other dreadful nights, this was bad. I expect we slept more than I reckoned, but it was still miserable.

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