Another day, another ship. Although, yesterday, was a slow day for ship off Port Louis.
The oil tanker seems to have unloaded part of its load, because it’s riding high in the water. I watched a life boat being dropped, manoeuvred to a set of steps running down the ship’s side (I’m sure there’s an appropriate nautical term for side), and then depart in the direction of the port. Some lucky sailors must be having a chance to sample the pleasures of land. The tender has returned and is tied to the side of the ship.
This second ship appeared, and I have no idea about its function. The towers in the middle give a clue, but it’s indecipherable. Another of life's mysteries...
With little else to do than stare at the ocean and its seemingly endless horizon, one notices and studies ships that arrive, linger, and depart the water outside Port Louie. Most are container ships, but one oil tanker came and went.
The above shape appeared on the horizon and slowly glided towards the island. The unusual shape caught my attention: it looked like an aircraft carrier without a bridge. From somewhere in the depths of my faulty memory came the word gas. I guessed—supported by the amount of ship above the water line—that this vessel might transport liquid natural gas. Full oil tankers have a low profile, with the heavy load riding below water. The lack of bridge confused me, since most ships are steered from a point high above the water and the ship itself. I wondered if this ship might have a cockpit, like and airplane, at the front. Two dark spots at the front suggested windows, behind which might lurk a helmsman…although the helm these days is more likely a joy stick…or so I imagine.
Another day. Another ship anchored off Port Louis. Another impulse to the imagination.
As this ship approached from the horizon, I noticed the different silhouette and tried to figure out what kind of vessel it might be. My first thought was an exploration ship, because it came from the direction of the South Pole. Perhaps, it was seeking warmth, fresh water, supplies, and shore life.
Upon closer inspection with my handy binoculars, I discovered that it was a container ship. The difference was the cranes, which large ships do not have. The giants of the sea rely on modern container ports to load and unload. This ship must visit smaller port and offload the containers onto shallow-draft vessels for the trip to land. Not every harbour is Hong Kong or Rotterdam, with 24-hours port operations to load containers onto trucks or railroad cars.
With nothing to do, one lets the imagination wonder to ports of call, container contents, and crew activities. Surely, life on ship is not as nice as life in a luxury resort...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.