Mariner’s Tale (Part 2)

Paul’s talk today was about his life in the Merchant Navy. His first job was as an engineer on a small cruise liner in 1962. The passengers travelled in luxury, but Paul had to work in a cramped engine room blowing soot from the boiler tubes. But cruising between Bermuda and New York had the advantage that crew members could have a girl friend in each port knowing there were hundreds of miles of ocean between them. Paul’s next post was in a tramp steamer carry cargo across the globe from Buenos Aires to Yokohama and Cape Town to New York. He mentioned that in most South American ports bribery was a way of life and if you didn’t bribe the right official you didn’t get any diesel fuel for the boat. In some of the docks the guards had a shoot first and ask questions later policy and one of his colleagues was wounded when after a night out he had taken a wrong turn on his way back to the ship. His final job was with Cable and Wireless on a ship charged with repairing mid-Atlantic wireless cables. He had some small samples of the type of cable being used and these were passed around the audience.

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