Saturday, 26 October 2013


I was 3rd Mate on an old cargo ship, steam driven (know as an 'up and down job) and so underpowered that when heading into bad weather, we often went backwards. 
It was 1957 and we were tied up in Hong Kong when a hurricane (typhoons in these parts) warning was broadcast. The captain decided we'd be safer at sea, so we sailed as soon as possible, went south east, heading into wind, the only way really to manage such weather. 
And it blew up very quickly and we were soon rolling and pitching violently, know as 'pounding' in the trade. As it got worse we all collected on the bridge, unsure if we'd survive, such was the ferocity of the weather. 
Then out of the spume and spray just ahead of us, an old wooden Chinese junk appeared, running flat out before the winds and doing well over twenty knots. 
As is passed close down our port side, we saw in its open afterdeck, a bunch of kids and dogs - playing football..!
So don't worry too much about the dreadful gales forecast for the weekend...keep it in perspective, go watch a game of football...

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