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Full Circle

Day 104: Zamboanga to Sandakan

Zamboanga, Philippines 
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Danica Joy at the dockside. No joy for the traveller.
Michael Palin - Full CircleAfter one or two false alarms, the Danica Joy is to leave Zamboanga this morning for Sandakan, capital of Sabah, formally British North Borneo. Nonoy is at the dockside, smoking heavily, more preoccupied and a lot less avuncular than when we last saw him. Looking at the boat on which we are to cross the 'treacherous seas' between here and Borneo, I understand his anxiety. The Danica Joy is a squat four-hundred foot roll-on, roll-off tub, still moored to the dockside and already pitching about like a drunk. Nonoy knows, and he knows that we know, that the Danica Joy, a substitute for the bigger ship that should normally be on this run, is not built for ocean work. Like the rest of us he is hoping and praying she'll make it. Certainly there is a sense of occasion. Crowds, noise, shouts, blaring of car horns create an atmosphere of amiable frenzy, as if this were the first ship ever to leave Zamboanga.

Eventually all those who have to be on board are on board, the folding green gangplank has been winched up and we heave away hard to starboard and out past the gorgeously named MV Magnolia Grandifloria, a ferry even more battered and desperate than the one we're on.
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  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 104
  • Country/sea: Philippines
  • Place: Zamboanga
  • Book page no: 145

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