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Thread: A trip down the West Coast

  1. #1
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    Default A trip down the West Coast

    I joined the Obuasi of Elder Dempster in Liverpool October 69. Our accommodation was aft on the poop. When the ship is at sea this is a good place to be, plenty of space to move around. Dhobi lines and homemade hammocks rigged from the awning spars, far from the madding crowd. Once we hit the coast our story changed, working all day in the oppressive heat, not a hint of wind or breeze. After a shower we would lay on our bunks which were soon soaked with sweat while being bitten and crawled over by every insect known to man and some that were not.
    We did the usual ports of Takoradi, Lagos, Warri, Barrito, Port Harcourt and Freetown then sailed for Boma and Mattadi in the Congo. (Some of my spelling may not be correct.) It was a huge relief to leave the coast and head for home, all the doors and portholes wide open and the wind flowing through.
    There was a great crew on this ship, every man a comedian, once we were back at sea all the bad times were forgotten and we laughed and joked about what we had been up to on the trip. It almost made me think of doing it all over again but sanity prevailed and I stored it away in my happy memory box.

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    Ah Louis that brought back so many memories, thankyou, whether you lived midships or aft you still had the same bloody insects and sailing from that last W A port for the open sea was a great day indeed and you did laugh at some of the things you had endured

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    Agree with you Lou, The only downer if there was one was you where back in the U.K.in no time, And what you didn't want was a diagnosis from the steward with a letter for Dr Ross and his crew in Paradise Street,
    {terry scouse}

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    Alongside in Port Harcourt, discharging bitumen, when we were visited by a local big shot with his 4 wives and numerous children, all dressed in fine robes.
    It was literally a crowd of people walking across the deck towards midships when they they all start dancing and leaping about. Guy next me says, they are a happy bunch, look at the antics.
    I said, you would be dancing about even harder if you tried walking on a deck at 160*c - without shoes on. You could not stand still even wearing wearing heavy boots, but they were used to barefoot, so managed to make a couple of yards before the heat got through their tough soles.
    Provided a little light relief though, its not one the nicer places to visit.

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    They must have been part of the hottentrot tribe

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    I was on Deck on the TARKWA, of Elder Dempsters in 1953 on a trip down the Werst Coast.Usual run was to load the KROO Boys in Freetown to work the cargo up and down the coast.calling in at Takoradi, Accra, Sapele Creek, Apapa side Lagos, and Port Harcourt. Usually around Ten weeks.
    In Sapele Creek I could hear the sounds of the Mamio in her canoe, "Comadasha Mamio,you dash me I dash you. flash for dash."
    She comes alongside by the accommodation. So it is usual to throw down into her canoe, a loaf, or some soap etc. and then she lifts up her top and gives a flash of her bare breasts. I was 18 years old and so I took a chance.
    All I could find in the Mess Room was a 7 pound tin of Greengage Jam.
    I shouted , "Flash for Dash," and dropped the 7 pound tin into the canoe.
    It went right through the bottom like a canon ball.
    Mamio was screaming as the canoe slowly sank.
    She screamed at me, in Nigerian and then shouted , jU-JU Man he go fixam good for you." as she swam across the creek.
    We sailed next day for Port Harcourt, we had a heavy lift cargo so we had to rig the Jumbo at No.2.I was up aloft on the mast table and hands all greasy , when I slipped and couldn't hang on with the grease on the hands.
    I fell about 40 feet and crashed into the winch beds, .
    I lay in a heap in a daze and in terrible pain. The Bosun ran up and said, "Dont lie there, leap aloft again or you will lose your nerve."
    I was covered in blood and arms and legs all facing different directions..
    So it would have been rather difficult to leap aloft again.
    I was eventually seen by the alcoholic Doctor and the Mate, and then the Kroo Boys carried me down the gangway and lay me on the the back of a flat bed lorry and taken to hospital.
    After Xrays I had two broken legs and a broken right arm, a gash on my head was stitched up, Plaster casts placed on the legs and arm and put to bed.
    It seems that the JU-JU Man had `Fixam good for me.`
    A week later I was carried back on board as the ship was ready for sailing.
    The Mate asked the Alcoholic Doctor if I was fit to work on deck.,he said there is nothing wrong with his left arm so he can use a chipping hammer.
    The deck crowd carried me out on deck and sat me down. A chipping hammer and a pot of re lead and a small hand brush.
    and so I had to sit there, unable to walk. chipping rust off the steel deck.
    When the Monsoon rain started all hands would run to the mess room and leave me in the rain. They were the worst crowd of Company men I have ever sailed with,
    We got to Liverpool a few weeks later and was so happy to pay off, I could hobble down the gangway into a taxi and get away. , Never ever wanted to see another Elder Dempster ship again.
    I saw the Union man and told him and he said No worries we will take EDs to court and get you some money for Damages.
    I waited nearly 12 months and then contacted the Union Man.

    He says, " Oh yes, we forgot to tell you, you lost the case, they said it was your own fault, you shouldn't have let go then you would not have fallen.
    Brian
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 15th September 2020 at 02:40 PM.

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    Hello Louis
    Nice post there and thanks for the short but good memory!
    I have not visited those Ports you mention, except for Freetown where we had to call in on an un- scheduled stop due to sickness.
    As you say that part of the World was and is always Hot and full of many nasty critters! LOL

    I was lucky (or unlucky) to be able to have sneaked a short trip ashore, as we were only Anchored out of the Port and would only be there for some 14 hours.
    Besides the fact that it was something different for me , being a novice at that time i did enjoy the short trip but was also attacked by Insects of whatever they were. Grrrr!
    However as it was not long i did not see very much, and i am sure didnt actually mis much either.
    Then back to the Ship and again on our merry way towards Cape Town etc.
    Cheers
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    it is always best to find out for yourself, it is hard to imagine what its like when someone tells u its crap. Conversely if someone says its a good run ashore then invariably its right.
    I recall on my first trip saying I would like to go up the Gulf, everyone turned and looked at me saying you must be mad. So eventually I did go in midsummer and the heat is something else, but on balance I thought down the bottom end of Lake Maracaibo was worse due to high humidity as well as high temps.

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    After two trips down the West African coast, I would sooner go up the Gulf. The steamy heat in some of those jungle ports would put a man around the bend quicker than you could say Jack Robinson, or in Red Leads case Dr Ross.
    One thing with the gulf was if you could get alongside quickly, you got out quickly, around twelve hours, then it was wind shoots in the ports and all systems go for the Med. or if you were lucky Aus.
    Des
    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: A trip down the West Coast

    Steamy ports with steamy females.
    Though for many the steam wore off rather quickly when they discovered they had been given a present by the ladies.
    One of the lads spent almost three months getting rid of what ever it was.
    The doc told him it was a strain he had never seen before.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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