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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 79: 12 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days'Given her a helping hand, Victoria, starboard bow.'

We are aiming for a mooring beside Canadian Explorer of Hong Kong, and a Russian ship. Bente stands in the bow with her walkie-talkie, Danish flag fluttering above her, and blonde hair streaming from beneath her 'Maersk Line' baseball cap. A strange wild Nordic figure in her light blue deck overalls.

For me this is the end of an epic and unusual journey, I'm almost home. For Captain Rodebaek and his crew it's the first of a gruelling series of North Sea stop-overs. From Felixstowe they must cross to Antwerp, from Antwerp to Bremerhaven and Bremerhaven to Hamburg, before turning and heading down the Channel again to Singapore. This is where the crews earn their money, and while TV presenters drool at sunrises, they have only a week of sleepless nights to look forward to.

I unfold a small piece of paper given to me by the jolly German chef as I said goodbye to him in the galley this morning. He said it summed up the sailor's lot, 'We the Willing, led by the Unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.' As we disembark, Passepartout admits to having supplemented the Professor's whisky bottle each night of the journey - four before he even noticed.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 79
  • Date: 12 December
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: Felixstowe
  • Book page no: 252

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