4th February 2002
This could well be my last full day on board; we are steaming flat out to make it to Aveiro, Portugal for tomorrow afternoon.
I’m feeling really bad, I’ll tell you why: On Friday I was hugely relieved after I showed the captain my figures and he agreed that I could send them on Monday (today). Today I was up early and banged out the telex with my preliminary reports and our new ETA to the office. The captain sent the telex no problems. An hour later the owner of the ship was in contact with the captain giving him an earful because MRAG have sent the report to Brussels and there is already chaos in Portugal anticipating our arrival. Miguel didn’t read my figures properly and didn’t realise just how incriminating they are. The reason I feel bad is not because of my figures; they are accurate and true and it is my job to send them, I feel bad because Miguel was so good about the whole thing. I thought he would have got angry or defensive but he didn’t take it personally at all, even though it may mean inspections and fines. I guess having made my position straight from the very start has paid off now.
It is very scary to realise the full extent of my responsibility here, and I can’t say it makes me feel at all big or clever. I can stand by my report, because I know it to be accurate and true but I don’t know how much of it will be acted on. So far it seems to have made its way quickly from London to Brussels and back to Portugal but I wonder what will come of it?
Anyway that aside, things are good; the weather is good, the sea is good, the temperature is good. Last night I stripped all the blankets bar one from my bed and was still hot. It’s a bit of a shocker to come from -15 to +20 in a couple of days.
I spent this evening packing and cleaning my room, it is very nearly done now except for the final bits that I can’t pack until I’m ready to go. I’ve never been so organised in my life…I’ve finished my reports and paperwork (except the expenses sheet), packed and cleaned and we might not even be able to go into harbour tomorrow, we might have to wait until the next day for a pilot.
I’m actually very sad to be leaving this ship and these people and this life. Very excited, but also sad. Alberto came to my cabin earlier and we exchanged addresses. He is the one I must have mentioned before because he has the biggest smile imaginable and always treats me like I’m his son. He speaks a little English and says I’m a ‘very good boy’ and his ‘amigo’. He’s the chap who owns Pirata and the finch.
The captain hasn’t been at all off with me and even made a point of coming to my cabin for a chat tonight as I was packing. I have to admire the way he can separate work from personal life. I suppose when you live at work it is an important skill. I’m not sure I’d be so understanding if the boot was on the other foot.