At Sea

Week commencing 3.11.14

I prepared myself to start another peace journey, West or North whichever the universe was going to connect me to!? this time after staying in the little town of Sisimiut for over a month. At the weekend I found out that the Canadian fishing boats will start coming back from next week.

So as I knew that Canadian fishing vessels are starting to come back from the beginning of this week, then I was prepared just in case any of them might offer me help to connect me to my next destination.

I headed back to the harbour, which has become my routine for the last month or so, to enquire about the shipping schedule, and possibly speak to a captain of a boat or a trawler.

It was Monday 3.11.14 that the first Canadian fishing boat was back and it was my favourite one, the one that when I first spoke to him, I was told he’ll help me to get to St. John’s when he’s finished fishing. Unfortunately one of his crew, “an observer”, who was supposed to fly back now has to go back with them on the boat, so they would not have space to take me. But he told me that he would speak to the captain of other fishing boats and hopefully they can help me to connect with my destination, also he said they were not going back to Canada yet as they have to go back to the sea till they finish their quota, and they’ll be back some time next week, and so still there was a hope if the observer’s company agreed to fly him back, that I could go on the boat. I spoke to the observer himself and he told me fingers crossed his company might change their mind, and then I had to say goodbye to them.

Next I tried to get in touch with a manager of a company which unloads fishing boat and trawler cargo. I have spoken to him before to see if I can help them to unload and in return if they can get me a device for updating my circumstances of my peace journey, after I have lost the one that I was using across my peace journey since London because it went missing in front of the Icelandic parliament after a candlelit peace vigil. He told me to come and help next day and he’ll do his best to help me.

Next day I helped them with unloading a big fishing trawler for almost 24 hours, myself and another 15 to 20 more people to unload about more than 400 tons of prawns.

So after 2 days of intense unloading I managed to rest in my resting place and then I got in touch with some other wonderful people, and I went out to help some people from the same company polar enterprise, and one of them very kindly invited me to his home and he kindly cooked us some food, and then we headed back out again and near their workplace I met another wonderful person from West and he happened to be a mobile phone engineer as well as a carpenter, and he was working for the same company which I have helped them in the harbour. I didn’t mention anything to him when I met him, but in the weekend I sent him an email and explained my circumstances, and left the matter there.

This week I also went to see one of the very kind managers of the technical college where I was sheltering to update her and let them know about my most recent situation, but she was off sick and I was told by a member of the maintenance department to go and speak to the main manager to get an extension for my stay for another week, so I did so and I went to the main college and explained my circumstances to him and I have to say here, he was one of the best and most understanding person I have ever came across in the whole of Greenland for the duration I was there, and I’ll never forget the kindness in his face without even saying anything to me in detail, so it’s a matter of his heart, and I want to thank him here from bottom of my heart for keeping me alive in the cold harsh environment of the town of Sisimiut.

So despite getting an extension for another week, but still I had to be prepared again just in case any of the boats was going to offer me a lift to West or worse case scenario heading north, in either case I was ready for the journey. I also used the town and the college library to communicate with others to do a quick update and tried to read one of my favourite books since last year, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, and two others, which I never had a chance to finish, and the whole weekend I was busy reading, and I managed to finish one book and a few chapters from the second book as well, and I was helping in the harbour as well.

It was on Sunday when I was helping out in the harbour, with a company that I have already helped before, and this time it’s a Canadian fishing boat and I have spoken to the captain before and he already told me that he wouldn’t be able to help me, but I was still helping the people who were unloading and I had a bond with the crew already from earlier in the week when I was helping for about two days.

It was today that the wonderful person I told you about before who was a mobile phone repairer turned up and as I saw him I had a good feeling of good news, and as I tried to ask him if he has received my email about my phone story, he broke the news and he told me he is actually here to help me with a Samsung smartphone and even a Samsung tablet with an extra 8GB of micro SD memory, so I was over the moon, because after almost more than 2 months, finally I could connect and update myself anywhere with wifi access point! He even offered me some clothes as well. After thanking him for all his kindness and getting his web details, as I had given mine to him first time I met him few days before, and after some conversation, we said goodbye to one another. Then I carried on helping the group until they finished the boat, and even I stayed till they headed back and the next Canadian fishing boat turned up, and I even helped with their mooring as there wasn’t anyone in the harbour to help them with it, and I met the captain and some of the crew from their last trip, so I told the captain the situation, and he told me, “come back tomorrow and I will find out and let you know, if I can help you”, so I was very happy to head back to my resting place after a long, and busy day at the harbour, and the two good news.

Week commencing 10.11.14

So this week I started my week by packing everything again and took some of my stuff and about 6 am on Monday morning I headed back to the harbour and as I got to there, I was called by someone from board of the Canadian fishing boat to come on board, so I got in and I talked to the chief engineer, and two other crews and they were listening to some music, which I told them the music reminds me of Ireland, and they told me listen this is the music of our place “Newfoundland” and I liked it very much as it was a good memory and a reminder of my almost two months of good peace journey, despite its occasional difficulties, in Ireland and especially Southern Ireland.

Anyway I was there for about an hour, and before they go for rest and sleep they kindly offered me a bed to sleep till a bit later as the captain was asleep, so I could later speak to him, and I gladly accepted and later when I woke up the son of the captain was there, which later I was told by the cook who was another nice person on board.

So later on I managed to speak to the captain and he told me he will send my details to his company and if they said okay, he wouldn’t have any problem taking me with them, so I started helping out as I was waiting on a reply, and that reply later came but it’s not positive, but the captain offered me to stay on board till next day in case their company change their mind at the last minute, and I stayed overnight and even next day I helped out till about midday, as both the captain and the chief engineer were quite happy to take me, but with no luck this time I had to say goodbye to them and even to another fishing boat who I hoped the captain could help.

Within a period of two days I meet three small fishing vessels going back without any offer on board of any of them, and it was quite hard and a difficult time for me, at those moments, because it’s more than a month I was looking forward to seeing these boats come back for their last trip, but they couldn’t take me, despite the positive vibe that I got at the beginning, when I meet especially two of them.

So anyway I have to say here that I told both the captains, that despite I’m not coming with you, I feel as though you have taken me there, as I feel your kindness and your offer was from your heart, but due to circumstances you couldn’t help. I have to say I enjoyed been on board of both vessels, especially the one which the chief engineer very kindly offered me a good red visible winter jacket and he wanted on behalf of the boat to pay me some money and I said to them thank you for the offer, but I don’t accept any money and I didn’t help on board for money. Later the chief engineer told me he’d asked the manager of the “Blue Water”, a Danish agency for Canadian vessels, to get me a gift on their behalf and I told him the best gift would be if I get across the “Davis strait or Labrador sea”, which will be my best gift, and next day when I saw the manager of the Blue Water after they have all gone, then I told him don’t worry about any gift, just fingers crossed for the last Canadian trawler which will be here next day, that it will hopefully help to connect with my next destination.

So it’s Thursday, that when I came to the harbour, here we go the mighty fishing trawler was there, and with much respect and caution I approached the captain again by asking a kind Danish engineer, who’s going on board, and he connected me to the captain. I met this captain on their last visit to the harbour, and I had a good conversation with him, and I told him that I met his brother, a manager for “Nuuk Transport”, which acts like Polar Enterprise here in Sisimiut for unloading fishing vessels, back in September in Nuuk, and I told him about my peace journey across Faroe Islands and many other wonderful people throughout my peace journey, and I have to say here they were the most helpful nation ever throughout this episode of my peace pilgrimage.

So anyway to cut the long story short, after two days of intense conversation, the decision was all in his hands, and that of his first mate, who I met a few times and we spoke on a few occasions about why I am doing this peace journey, and I think his influence on the captain and reassurance from him to the captain, helped. Also my wonderful supporters on social media helped, and by this time the devices that I got a few days back were proven to be very important to send out my messages asking for support, so all these things were reassuring him I wouldn’t be causing any problems, and finally the most wonderful captain’s first mate broke the good news of – I can sail with them on Friday 14.11.14 at 4 pm, and it’s the most beautiful gift I could ever get after such a long waiting time, so I headed back to my resting place and thanked everyone over there, got my gear and walked straight back to the board of the mighty fishing vessel for the start of a long peace journey at sea.

It was about ten past midnight before I said goodbye to the wonderful little town of Sisimiut, and it took more than half an hour to get disappeared completely, and by now it’s Saturday morning and we were on full steaming towards Hudson Strait through Davis Strait and by next day on Sunday we were near a little island called “Resolution”, (an island which has been occupied and contaminated by the US military after second world war, and the devastation of it was known to people there after 1990s).

Week commencing 17.11.14

So I have to say last weekend I was introduced to the new cook by the captain, to say if I can be in any help, and I offered my help as an extra pair of hands to the cook, as he was a new cook on board, and first time to cook for more than 26 people, as he has done cooking for half of a crew like this on a smaller boat, so things were new to him as much as it’s with me, so I started a plan of action as the state of the freezer, fridge, and dry storage was very scary and he couldn’t find things as he wanted and in a way it was very frustrating to him to plan ahead his daily, let alone his weekly cooking, so I felt it was a good idea to organise things in those places especially the freezer which hasn’t been done for the last five years or more, so I started my plan of action as I did back in 2011 with Occupy LSX (www.occupylondon.org.uk) camp’s tents, and sheltering.

So in a way I was acting like a heatsink (a cooling device for a transistor under a lot of heat), and there was pressure in his case, so I could cool him down, and say to him calm down everything is going to be okay, and sometimes telling him some funny stuff, which sometimes he was laughing a few minutes after my jokes, so I managed finally to help him get used to things, and now almost after two weeks, he can be relaxed and things has become second nature to him. I can imagine that the amount of pressure and stress he was going to go through would have been more if I was taken out of the equation, but now things are going quite well and everyone is happy, certainly the cook with no doubt. Maybe not some of the crew, whom I think maybe were seeing me as a threat to their chaotic disorder, and it was a reminder to them of a strict cook which they had before, and in his time no one could get even into the kitchen, let alone the galley, and the freezer room definitely not… whereas right now they are all going all the way to the end of the freezer room, even sometimes with their work clothes from around the ship. I found this all out later on, and understood some of them were liking the chaos and disorder, and even later on when I tried to introduce a recycling station they rebelled hard as they were not prepared for it. The only difference I found between recycling on board of this boat, and the cargo boat from Turkey to Egypt, was a plastic teaspoon, which here we are using a stainless steel teaspoon to stir the tea or coffee, and aluminium cans which we save to sell. The idea is that we are supposed to collect all the rubbish, and take it back to the land, and hopefully there it will be recycled, but it’s far from that yet. I was also told don’t turn the lights off, as it would be better to leave them on, by the first engineer. I am used to saving resources so this was difficult.

So anyway, let me go into the details of some of my circumstances that I am in at the moment! so you would have a better picture in your mind about my peace pilgrimage life on the board of this mighty fishing trawler, which I have heard recently some of the Russian and German ones are even much more bigger and they are huge, but I have not seen them yet!

As you come on board there are two ways to get to the bridge (a place I call it the brain of her mighty) – one is from outside through two sets of stairs, and the second through the inside main crew resting place, again through two sets of stairs, to a place where the captain and his first mate spend most of their working hours. It’s one of my favourite places as well, but due their busyness I can’t spend much time over there, and all you can see are electrical things, electronics, and computer equipments, so you will never get bored of looking at things, as there will never be a moment similar to the last, and even they have a TV box with hundreds of channels to entertain those who are looking after the place. From here you can see and check the most important activities of the boat, so you don’t have to run up and down all the time, also I have to say in the bridge you have about 30 life-saving suits just in case of an emergency for every crew member, just in case you end up in the water it’ll extended your life to about 10 hours.

When I settled in the boat, I was given by a wonderful crew member a brief introduction to her majesty’s inside tour to understand where are all the fire extinguishers and other important equipment, and at the end I have to wear this special suit so I’ll be familiar with it in less than a minute or two.

As you come down through the first set of stairs from inside to the next floor you will come to the captain, his first mate, chief engineer, and second engineer’s resting place, they have an office, a lounge, and a clothes washing room as well, as far as I know I have never been in their lounge.

As you come down through the next set of stairs, it will bring you to the main crew resting place, and as far as I know 13 people are resting here, including the first engineer in the medic room, the factory manager, the cook, myself in the main lounge, and 10 more people who are helping in the main deck and the factory, we have a nice dining place to accommodate 16 people at the same time, the kitchen where the crew can serve themselves after the cook has called through a sound system (ALL call dial 84 then hold M) just close to the kitchen entrance, and three meals a day (breakfast 05:45, lunch 11:45, and dinner at 17:45, the crews will help themselves at 23:45 as well, with what’s left and theirs favourites from the dry store, fridge, and the freezer room with plenty of different cans and about 20 different types of biscuits, and remains of the day’s food with about 20 different types of sauces, and their favourite ice cream from the freezer, (which I have to say some just have once a week ice cream on Sundays, and some almost every day), so they have plenty to manoeuvre with in their spare time.

We have two showers and toilets on this floor including a nice dry sauna, which some are using it every now and then, but I have not been able to do so, as my activities are not as intense as some of the other crew’s.

As you step down to the third floor from top of the ship to the bottom you come to the main factory and it’s worker’s floor, which are about 8 of them at the moment, but the capacity of the rooms are 10 people, 2 person in each room, there are six young men, and two a bit older. All of them are from north of today’s Canada, and they all speak Inuit. The day after I came on board I was allocated a bed in a room with one of the Inuit, but finally I abandoned going back there as the person was too difficult for me to get on well with, and was smoking a lot, so I went back to the main crew lounge.

After an electrical short in the main satellite box, the satellite /TV and video room are quiet for me to rest also. I always get an interruption by someone almost everyday, and the cook kindly has offered his bed, when he is not there, but so far I have used it just once to rest for four hours of uninterrupted sleep. In the lounge I wouldn’t get that much, or hadn’t got it prior to the satellite box breaking down.

So to just finish mentioning where the rest of the crew on board are coming from, many different parts of the planet earth: as I already mentioned 8 Inuit, also 14 Canadian, 3 Russian, 1 Ukraine, 1 Danish, 1 Faroe Islands, and an Earthian. I hope they won’t be offended by these old labellings.

The factory area starts from the clothes changing rooms and hand washing place for the factory personnel, deck and netting area, and the factory area next floor then the last is the main engine room.

As the prawns and/or fishes are coming in, they will be processed and frozen immediately 15 to 20 minutes after their arrival through a net and into a tank storage, through a different conveyor belt, and they get boxed, or in a bag after frozen and finally will be sent down to the main cargo hall with a capacity of maximum of a megaton for storage till their destination.

For the last three weeks I have been helping the cook to sort things out in the main freezer, galley, and dry storage room, also helping out with washing dishes. In my spare time I have managed to help other crew, like in the factory area making boxes, and in the bridge trying to learn how things are functioning in a very quiet time of the night, also watching news and science on the satellite box before it got broke, and checking on the internet and trying to write about my experiences here on board of the mighty fishing boat.

Photos

Some of the photos before and after reorganisation of the allocated areas related to the kitchen.

So as some say “basically” that’s a brief description of my circumstances here on board, and I have to mention a few more things, which might help to reflect on your own circumstances wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Firstly, one day I was called to help out with washing a bird (a duck), by a crew from the deck of the ship (a place where four factory crew help to look after the net and connect and disconnect the two main doors at the back of the boat every time they send it to the bottom of the sea a distance varying from 300m to 1000m). I was in the kitchen with the cook, he was happy for me to go and help, so I went down and after almost an hour trying to wash the poor duck which somehow got covered with thick black oil, then I left it in a place on the crew’s recommendation until it got dry then we could release it next day, but the following day I was told off by the head of the factory, saying why have I done this and I have to get rid of it as soon as possible, so despite the duck wasn’t dry and wasn’t ready to be released, I have to take him to the deck and release him, but later I found out he has lost his life from cold, and that indeed saddened me, and this will bring me to the second incident.

Second thing. When I was helping with cleaning the bird, there’s a person who was working on the deck with others and he has never spoken to me, but during the duck cleaning he was keep talking to me about the bird, and the next day I found out he had mentioned to cook that he had a pain around his chest, and I have heard he was about 63 and he’s worked on the deck for about forty years. I have seen to be one of the deck crew you must have very good health and be fit and well, so when we went to near a village in North East of Quebec with only 309 people, to pick up a part for a cooking machine in the factory, we left him there. We couldn’t go to the village due to shallow water so some of the crew took him with a little boat that we have on the board of the mighty, and then I have heard he has been airlifted to Montreal for treatment, and I very recently when I asked about him I was told that he has got better and now he is at his home. It’s very sad to me to see this incident happened to him, so my heart and thoughts will be with him and his family and may he recover very well soon, and hopefully he wouldn’t come back here, but to enjoy the rest of his remaining life wherever he lives.

Thirdly, since I have arrived on board we have some crew especially three of the Inuit and a Canadian one who are not very happy with what I am doing or advocating and I have noticed they are doing everything to upset me or make me unhappy, or angry. Whether it is a deliberate act, or out of lack of knowledge, despite all the experience in my hand, I have found it quite difficult to deal with them. For those who are familiar with the OLSX camp, they are those type of people which we had there, people who – as I was sorting out tents and making them ready for people who needed them to rest – would just take a tent without any consensus, and after using it, would even trash it beyond being useful again. I can see those types of personality here, but I am just a guest and not part of any “working group” as in Occupy camp, and there is no General Assembly to discuss these matters, and I don’t want to involve the captain or the first mate, so I hope my patience will get me through, and I hope I will come up with a communication tool to ease the matter before I leave the mighty ship, and then hopefully that might even have a fundamental effect afterwards. I have to say one of them has the desire to be making a lot of money, almost wants to become a second Bill Gates. I have seen and come across many young people throughout my peace journey, but I have never seen or come across one quite like him, so for whatsoeverreason, I hope we come to an amicable solution!

The fourth thing. There is an observer on board, who checks the position of the boat when the boat sends the net to the bottom of the sea and when it’s pulled out, so he’ll check the sample of the catches, and notify his company. He is a heavy smoker (almost 45 cigarettes a day) but one of the most approachable and interesting people on board to talk to after the first mate (who I believe if it wasn’t for his support I would not be here at tall, so I have to thank him especially, and the captain as well, but the first mate definitely had an influence on the busy captain). With the observer I told him “as soon as I come to talk to you and you are about to smoke, I’ll come back later”, and now sometimes he’s not smoking and will talk to me instead, so we talk about what he’s doing, and the politics of today’s Canada, and the world as well.

photos

A few photo of a net we’re using and some catchs we are getting!?

Also I wanted to say the chief engineer (who is a wonderful and open minded person from Ukraine), and obviously the cook (who has done a computer course as well, and as soon as he mentioned it to the captain he was asked to see he can fix a printing problem and together we managed to fix it) are the people who I spend some of my spare time.

photos

Few photos of me and the kind chief engineer as he gave me a tour around the engine room and the factory 3.12.14

The crews are working very hard on a 6 hours rotation in 24 hours.

So that’ll bring me to say when I was still in Greenland, I sent out a Facebook message, to say I’m back on line after I got the devices, and can communicate with the www through them, and the message was I compared myself to Mr Ford Prefect from Betelgeuse planet got stranded on planet Earth for 15 years, and that was I believe 5 intergalactic minutes, so Greenland to me was like I was on another planet, and my two months stranded was like two years, or maybe two galactic minutes, but anyway the point was for me to ask those wonderful people who have more spare time and exploring the web more in depth, to find out and let me know, how I can get to download some books, so I could read them on a tablet or smartphone, as I didn’t want or I couldn’t carry books. I got some wonderful replies and downloaded some of those wonderful books, and I’m reading them in my spare time here. I haven’t yet had any reply to see how I can put the information on my blog into those types of files so people can download it and read it, without need for internet, in their leisure time, so if any one out there can help me with this little project I would much appreciate it.

I want the title for my memo, story, essay, or book – whatever you call it – to be “The story of a peace pilgrim across the planet Earth”, so more people can access it, and share my personal encounters throughout my peace journey, across half of the planet so far, and hope it’ll reach more people before I start my other remaining half. So if anyone is up for it please let me know through my email address (earthiankvn@gmail.com).

So as I’m writing for this part of my peace journey at sea, we are still fishing or catching prawns, for possibly another day or two, and then we will head on and be steaming towards a place further south about 1000 km near a town of St. John’s called Bay Roberts, so hopefully if everything goes well we’ll get there 8/9th December, and possibly I’ll spend my festive season in Newfoundland, Quebec or Ontario, so wait and see where the universe is going to connect me to!?

On this note I’ll leave you with much thought, and your dedication towards a better world far beyond politics, poverty and conflicts, and once more here I want to thank everyone on the board of the mighty fishing trawler, and thank them for taking me out of my stranded place, and praise their dedication towards bringing a fair amount of food to everyone’s home, with their harsh reality of life on board of the mighty.

So with much love and peace and living light still on board of the mighty fishing trawler in Davis Strait near Resolution Island.

Earthian

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I am travelling around the world, for peace, using zero carbon and zero money.

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