Jules – passenger on board HS Beethoven

I have always admired people who are travelling around the world in search of adventure and I have a great respect especially for those who are making a lot of sacrifices in order to fulfill their dreams. Money is not the most important issue in this equation, but there are other significant elements which must be taken into account when thinking about travelling as a way of living – courage, willingness to give up the security and comfort of your own home (and environment) and throw yourself into the unknown, an open mind to understand and embrace the differences between races and religions, the capability to adjust to new habits and requirements and a positive attitude towards the world and everything may come along the way.

Jules is one of these travelers. His ‘insatiable hunger for adventure’ made him leave his home in England almost two years ago and offered him great experiences and amazing discoveries. After visiting a great part of South East Asia, he continued his adventures ‘down under’, wandering around Australia and New Zealand for a few months before embarking himself on another extraordinary adventure, as part of his plan of returning back home without flying.

Jules joined our vessel in Tauranga – a small port in the North of New Zealand – and enjoyed his 2 week voyage to the maximum, taking every opportunity to learn new things about the work on board a container vessel, about cargo operations inside the ports, but also about the seafarers’ lives.

He spent a lot of time on the bridge and on deck, observing everyday activities, enjoying the wonderful weather and the amazing scenery and he always found the time to socialize with the members of the crew, regardless of their rank. He took part in some celebrations on board and he was more than happy to receive the blessing from the God of the Sea for crossing the Equator for the first time. Apart from asking lots of questions, Jules was also eager to answer to my many questions about his travelling in Asia giving me a lot of precious tips and ideas for future holidays. We really hope to follow his advice one day and visit all those wonderful countries he was telling us about.

Jules was kind enough to answer a few questions about his voyage on board HS Beethoven. Thank you, Jules, for sharing your story with us.

We wish you good luck with your plans regarding the last leg of your journey towards England!

Why did you choose travelling with a container vessel? (why not plane, cruiser? …)

“I challenged myself to try to travel from New Zealand to my home in England without flying, and this turned out to be the most straightforward method of travelling from New Zealand to the mainland. I have always had a love of the ocean and felt this was an ideal opportunity to experience life at sea as well as satisfying my insatiable hunger for adventure.”

When did your trip take place and which area did it cover?

“I boarded in Tauranga in New Zealand on the 10th May 2015 bound for Hong Kong to arrive on 24th May 2015. We sailed East of Papua New Guinea and through the Philippines before crossing the South China sea to Hong Kong.”

What can you say about the preparation of the trip – papers involved, visas, medical checks … ?

“I wouldn’t say the paperwork was overwhelming at all, it was only made slightly more difficult because it was arranged while I was travelling through Australia and New Zealand. There were no additional visas required for my trip. The only issue I did have was that the initial information I was given as to the schedule wasn’t entirely correct, but it was not a problem and is understandable given the nature of the ships work.”

How was the weather? What about the sea? Did you experience any rough time?

“Barring a few rain showers the weather was generally fine and sunny, the temperature gradually increased as we moved north from New Zealand. We had one night where the ship rolling was quite strong, which made sleep quite difficult unless you moved to the couch! But overall I have managed to top up my suntan which I lost in New Zealand.”

How would you describe accommodation/ food/ entertainment on board?

“My cabin was probably one of the most comfortable places to stay I have had in my time travelling – very large, with a TV and DVD player, stereo etc. pretty much everything you could need for a couple of weeks at sea. Access to the ships gym, pool and table tennis was also a good way of killing time! The food was fine, plenty of variety and the cook was very accommodating to my allergies, cooking a separate meal for me when I was unable to eat the regular dish.”

How was your relation/interaction with the crew?

“I found all of the crew very nice, and especially the captain and his wife who were very friendly and helpful throughout my voyage. But apart from them everyone I spoke to was more than happy to answer my tedious questions and help me with anything I needed.”

Did you take part in any celebration/party while on the vessel?

“There were several of the officers Birthdays while I was on board and these were celebrated with a cake made by the captain and his wife along with a few beers which was nice to be a part of.

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But the best party was the BBQ we had a couple of days before the end of my trip – a whole suckling pig, homemade éclairs, karaoke and plenty of beer went on late into the night.

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I even had a baptism ceremony for crossing the Equator.

One hour before the BBQ party, I was told to report to the bridge. When I arrived I was greeted by one of the crew dressed as a modern day pirate, complete with wooden gun and beer can ammunition. He escorted me down the stairs from the bridge to the lower deck where I was introduced to Neptune the God of the Sea (another crew member dressed in a blue sheet, a mop head and a Mexican sombrero and brandishing a wooden trident). I was told to kneel whereby he declared me baptized and presented me with a (laminated) scroll, certifying me as having crossed the equator by sea. I was then handed a small glass containing a strange liquid and told to drink. It was disgusting, I later found out it was a mixture of beer, tabasco and a small amount of seawater. I was then handed a beer to wash it down with and before I knew it I was drenched with a powerful hose… It was something I won’t forget for sure! I can now say I have crossed the equator as a proper seafarer.”

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Did you have time to visit any ports on your route?

Noumea in New Caledonia was the only stop between New Zealand and Hong Kong and I had around 10 hours ashore in the nice French colonial port town. I had heard that the town could become quite crowded when the tourist boats docked, but thankfully on this day there were none so it was nice to wonder the town with the locals. ”

Would you do this kind of trip again? Would you recommend it to somebody else?

“I sure would! Although I might need to save up again. It may not be everyone’s idea of an ideal way to travel, but for those with a love of the ocean and a taste for adventure and something a little different I would highly recommend.”

One Response to Jules – passenger on board HS Beethoven

  1. I motorbiked Vietnam with this awesome guy…he never ceases to amaze me! I’ve shared over my SM for you

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