Friendly Friday: Favourite Photo Challenge

Linked to the Sandy Chronicles

Chef Eddie does his thing

This picture is one I love because it captures, for me, a moment of total relaxation during a cargo ship cruise we took about 30 years ago. The ship was ‘The Author’, one of what I learned to call “the big whites”, boats of the South African Safmarine line.

Sunday was a big day for the crew when they had the brai, or barbeque, a tradition that was almost a religion for the South African crew on board. It was dress-down day when even the captain sported shorts and tee shirt, hair-cutting took place in quiet corners on the decks, and the crew relaxed in their ‘civvies’.

I was surprised that a barbeque was allowed on the deck, but I was assured all was perfectly safe. Eddie, the chef, had everyone’s favourite food ready, from salads to heavy carbs, fruits to exotic vegetables, and a fine selection of meats, fish and shellfish. As passenger we numbered only 7 but we had become friends with the crew over the course of our trip from Tilbury via northern Europe to South America. In fact we were their ‘shoppers’ as well, as some of the countries we stopped at would not allow the S.A. crew to disembark (political not racist) so we were given shopping lists when we disembarked – usually tee shirts for themselves and a gift for a Mum or a son or daughter.

I know this isn’t a good photograph, it’s blurry and lacks definition but it’s one of my all-time favourites because that holiday was one of the best ever and that evening sums it up so well. I must add here that I don’t go on cruises as floating hotels are not my cup of tea but a trip on a cargo-ship is a world apart.

On “The Author” we mixed with the crew as they went about their work during the day, and in the evening we socialised with them over drinks and dinner, played games in either their lounge or ours and swapped books and DVDs. Some evenings we lay on our backs on the deck and were taken through the star system by one of the crew, seen to its best away from the lights on land.

Thirty years after and I’m still in contact with one of the captains and two of the crew. It was an unforgettable holiday and I remember every minute of my time aboard “The Author”, Eddie’s great food, and the treats left in our cabin daily, from warm biscuits to gooey cake, the ever-changing menus due to the fresh produce he picked up at the different ports, and the tears and the hugs when we all said good-bye to some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

22 thoughts on “Friendly Friday: Favourite Photo Challenge”

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I’ve just caught up with some of yours, too. My absence from WP caused the system to stop sending me links to the posts of those I follow, so I only managed to find some of them in The Reader and not all those Posts i read are picked up there. Anyway, I’m back for the rest of the year or more, and may even get around to writing something soon again.

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  1. Ooh, this is fascinating! I knew people do travel on cargo shops sometimes but I had no idea it could be such an enriching experience 😀 I’ll definitely look for an opportunity to do this one day!

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    1. Hope you manage it sometime, I think you’d love it. You don’t have a settled itinerary either, as the journey is dependent on the cargo dropped off and picked up. Sometimes, new cargo is added to the manifest and as that may mean the entire cargo being re-jigged it can add a day or two in whatever port you pick up in – we spent 3 days in Santa Marta, one of the smaller ports on the Atlantic coast of Columbia, because of this. Also, you don’t stop at cruise ship terminals but taxis can always be called for you.

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  2. Hello Mari, I read your post over coffee and loved it so much that I thought I’d responded already! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip. I didn’t even know that cargo ship cruises existed. I wonder if they still do?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that, Sandy. I’m so happy that you liked the piece. Yes, they still do trips and I think if you Google them you’ll get a list of who does what. I know one of the Italian lines (Grimaldi??) does quite a few and they are really geared to passengers – unlike the one I was one where we were second to the cargo! But most countries hae a contact point for cargo ship places.

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    1. Hi Anabel, hope you are keeping well. Yes, it was a wonderful trip. I’d love another but as they don’t have a doctor on board they have an age limit which means I can no longer enjoy these trips.


    1. Thanks, Helen. Yes, cargo-ships are fun. Nick loved being allowed to wander in the engine room (within reason) and chat to the lads who ran the ship (I think he would have loved a pair of orange overalls as well to blend in) and no dressing-up at night, just smart casual to complement the officers and crew who changed into their whites for the evening. And we all ate together so no jealousy over who sat at the captain’s table!

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