Before the trip I had decided that I wasn’t into photography anymore and consequently didn’t bring a camera with me. What a mistake!. However, one of the people that Ron and I signed on with, another lowly decksgutte , did bring a little plastic camera. All of the pictures of the Belnor that I’m posting were shot with this camera.

This is the guy, I don’t remember his name but he was a newbie just like us.

Chaos greeted us. A little man with a red face was gesticulating and yelling in some foreign language at another taller man who had a case of beer tucked under his arm. Ron and I stood aghast as, in a final fit of rage, the little man grabbed the case of beer and threw it overboard! We thought there was going to be a major fight but the big man just walked away muttering oaths in what we learned later was Swedish.

The little man was our captain and the Swede was the Boson (sort of like the foreman in a normal world.) It turns out that this was what was called a “dry ship”, no booze on board. Most Seamen were heavy drinkers and they would stock up their cabins with enough booze to get them to the next port. This ship was a rarity in the seagoing world and the officers tried to make sure that the cabins were well searched and any booze found was held until port or, as in the case of the boson, tossed overboard. The ramifications of this policy were two sided and the dark side didn’t appear until we were well out to sea and the last of the hidden stock began running out.

The second mate signed us aboard and gave us our cabin numbers. We weren’t to be together! The policy was to put the new boys with experienced hands and I was to share a cabin with the ship’s carpenter. Ron went to a cabin with one of the regular deck hands. Of course, we both were forced to take the upper bunks; the lower and more desirable bunks were always allocated to men higher up on the totem pole (which in our case was just about everybody). Two men to a room, two bunks, one couch, one bureau, one tiny porthole which now looked into the dark gloomy world of Port Moody. Some of the crew had been on the Belnor for years and they had managed to claim single cabins for themselves alone. The cabins and hallways were sparkling clean and I was to learn how that came about pretty soon.

to be continued…


One thought on “Japan-4”

  1. I can’t wait for the rest of your travels with Ron, Bob. I’ve heard bits and pieces of it, so I know it’s was a great journey for 2 young, adventurous men.

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