“You’re going WHERE?” inquired friends. It wasn’t so much my destination(s) that fascinated them: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Colombia and Costa Rica – rather the fact I had chosen to get there by ship, and not a cruise ship. I was going to be a passenger on board a Del Monte ‘banana boat.’ In short, I was going to experience life on the high seas on a container carrier.
“But why?” asked my father.
“The journey’s all part of the fun…besides, you should understand, being an ex man of the sea” I replied. Having been nurtured since birth on stories of the great high seas and countries afar, my wanderlust for all things original had certainly been, in part, from his gene pool.
I boarded the Hornlinie German ship in Le Havre, France. Registered in Liberia, she was an impressive sight – the bridge (where we all slept, ate and wiled away the time) aft with the containers forward of that and as I was lead up the gangplank by Stewerd Slava, I felt a growing excitement tinged with slight fear bubble up inside: 5 weeks round trip – 11 days at sea until our first port of call, Guadeloupe. What would be in store for me, amongst all these sailors? Would I be the only female? Is it SAFE?? I have an overactive imagination and all sorts of scenarios had popped into my head – mostly involving hot sailors.
My private cabin rivaled that of any cruise ship – champagne and flowers greeted me. Unpacking, I opened my cabin door at a sharp ‘rat a tat tat’ and found a German couple standing there: Bernd and Christina. They helpfully advised that there were 5 other passengers, the rest would be crew. Bliss - only 8 of us!