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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 41: 4 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days5.00. I try to run round the deck but the wind has shifted to the North-West and is hitting the ship at 50 knots (speed of wind plus speed of ship) and waves are crashing over the bows. There is a tropical storm heading north at Latitude 5 and the captain is hurrying for Hong Kong on full power. There's also news of a 'very severe' storm developing to the East of us. (This was the genesis of Typhoon Tess, which we missed by 48 hours and which was one of the fiercest in living memory.) Roger, thwarted of boat people, is gnashing his teeth that we seem once again to have just missed something truly dramatic. We all blame the astrologer. On my way to supper, I mention the smell of some unpleasant gas.

'Could be from one of the containers,' observes the captain. 'There were five seamen killed quite recently inhaling toxic fumes.'

(Twelve hours after we left the Neptune Diamond in Hong Kong, one of her containers exploded starting a fire so severe it could not be controlled with the CO2 on board, and Captain Tuddenham was forced to bring her back to Hong Kong.)
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 41
  • Date: 4 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: South China Sea
  • Book page no: 131

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