Yesterday evening in Port Kelang I watched a small container ship make way out the channel. I’d noticed her at dockside earlier because she flew the Union Jack from her stern. This was the first vessel I’d seen with a home port in the British Isles. She was displaying lights all along her railings. With the inky jungle behind her, the little Brit looked ghostly coasting out into the gathering mist.
We made way in the night as I slept, but I woke momentarily to notice the Ural’s gentle, cradling roll. There’s nothing like sleeping at sea.
We continued on in the Malacca Straits heading generally south toward the equator. Along the way we passed quirky local fishing craft with high sweeping prows, cabins that look like one imagines the privy behind a pagoda, and decks stacked with nets. Loaded to the gunnels, they are making their way home. Benji the Bo’s’n, our helmsman, says he wants one. I’d don’t blame him, they have a charm all their own.
A conversation on a touchy subject with Benji the Bo’s’n, our worthy helmsman:
Benji: You Irish. Passport says born in America. You American too? (No secrets aboard ship, I guess.)
Me: I’m Irish.
Benji: Could live in America too. Why you not live in Miami Beach, someplace nice?
Me: West Cork is my home. It’s very nice.
Benji: I once live in Long Beach. Very nice.
Yes Benji, Long Beach is nice, but it’s an acquired taste, like Stoli and caviar or, perhaps, brats and Budweiser. Miami Beach, Graveyard of the Elephants, not so much. My heart is in West Cork.