On my last night watch as we approached Singapore crossing the busy Singapore Straits, I was struck as I came on deck by the overpowering stench and the huge number of lights. We had crossed the Straits by this time and were following Switzerland in to the marina. We still had to dodge many huge ships leaving port or overtaking us, and identify which ones were at anchor. I hadn’t slept well that night, what with the skipper rushing up and down the port passageway between the companionway and the nav station past my bunk, and the engine room door being opened seemingly every 10 minutes. Apparently the skipper managed to sleep for about an hour and a half. How, I don’t know, because I’m told that when he wasn’t rushing up and down the port passageway, he was rushing up and down the starboard one!
We made it in the end, however, and just as we had been instructed to don our black Henri Lloyd t-shirts, we heard the ship’s name being called from the edge of the marina. Nico, Emma, David and Paulina, Herb’s family and grandchildren and Eric’s Mum Sally had come to greet us with a homemade banner.
Finally we felt that we could celebrate our win. Clipper provided a cold beer each and our welcoming committee a fresh breakfast of fruit, bread, cheese, meat, croissants and cake which we dipped into while doing the rig check and safety checks. Then when we were finally allowed off the boat we celebrated with a lunch of beer, fresh vegetables and steak, salmon or lamb in the nearest restaurant.
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