Last Days at Sea
06.09.1964 - 09.09.1964
(In the morning the Galileo passed west of the spot where, renamed the Sun Vista, she was to sink some thirty five years later, at 1.22 am on 21st May 1999. Ozac 2011)
In the Malacca Strait - Today everyone was still somewhat dejected over the Singapore fiasco. Everything was dull and there was just nothing to do. I was very bored. Late afternoon we rounded the northern tip of Sumatra and, as the seas began to rise, we sailed into the Bay of Bengal. No land now until Ceylon.
In the Bay of Bengal - Worse than yesterday. No land in sight and nothing to do but eat, sleep, sit and talk. I am glad I will be disembarking at Bombay. I do not think I could stand another fortnight. The sea has many moods and is a great elemental force, but no matter where I have travelled in the last two weeks, the sea has looked the same, with the possible exception of the equatorial area, where everything was hazy and still. The sea outside now looks exactly as it did when the ship was crossing the Great Australian Bight, yet we are not far from Cape Comorin, the southernmost point of India. The only thing that makes one realize that one is getting somewhere is to make stops at foreign ports. To Fremantle it was fine. To Singapore it was fine, but then what happened? No one got to see Singapore but from a distance. The whole trip so far seemed pointless, and the prospect of another five days at sea, without land, was not an enjoyable one. We are now three days out from Singapore and I am bored stiff. If I could realize just exactly where I am on the earth things would be different, but for all I know I could be anywhere. When I disembark at Bombay I know things will change, and I will begin to feel the fullness of experience, which I began to taste in that frustrated glimpse of Singapore.
The veil of boredom lifted for a short time this morning as we rounded Ceylon and headed north for the western coast of India. It settled down again as we lost sight of land. I could not realize it was the Ceylonese coastline. Ade and I packed our London bags last night, and this morning we took them down to the baggage room. We now have only the rucksacks and their contents left. Late tonight, as I came up on deck after a documentary film on India, I saw the lights of India for the first time. I do not know exactly where we were, but there were many lights, and it was India.
Tomorrow morning we will be in Bombay and today we could see the Indian coast all day. It still could be anywhere. This afternoon we sorted everything and packed our rucksacks, which were bulging with cigarettes and liquor. The day passed uneventfully, but I could feel myself coming to life again as we approached our destination.
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