Voyage HS Beethoven (February – July 2015)

My voyage on HS Beethoven started on the 16th of February in the port of Hong Kong where I joined the vessel together with my husband. The ship was chartered for CMA CGM and the trade took us from China and Taiwan to Australia and New Zealand with a bonus port in New Caledonia. As a complete round Hong KongHong Kong lasted 7 weeks, we stayed on board three rounds which extended our voyage to 4 months, 3 weeks and 4 days.

During this voyage, I had the chance of crossing not once, but six times the Equator and each time I enjoyed watching the GPS changing from North to South or from South to North.

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Crossing the Equator for the first time is a very important event in a seafarer’s life and, as some of the crew members were doing this for the first time, we had the chance of celebrating their crossing with a baptism ceremony and a nice outside barbecue party.

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The weather was beautiful for the first two long passages KaohsiungBrisbane and NouméeaHong Kong which allowed me to spend a lot of time outside on deck, but also in the swimming pool where the water temperature was as high as 30°. The sea was calm most of the time and perfectly mirror like for many days in a row. The sky was blue and dotted with lots of fluffy white clouds which brought short showers in the evening meant to cool down the air and make place for a wonderful night sky.

Beautiful sea and perfect weather (1)

Beautiful sea and perfect weather (2)

Beautiful sea and perfect weather (3)

For the third passage the weather was not as friendly as I would have liked it, the sky remained mostly overcast with long periods of rain and fog, although the temperatures were very high – reaching almost 40° in the Hong Kong area and 35° in the rest of China.

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In New Zealand, in March and May, the weather was very pleasant, even hot in Auckland, but a little windy in the South. As June and July made place for the Southern winter, we were quite happy to see a little snow, covering the hills of Otago Peninsula and the Southern Alps, close to Lyttleton.

Entering Lyttelton

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This voyage offered me the chance of visiting two Chinese cities (for the first time) and I was quite lucky to enjoy one of them – Shanghai – on one of the most important days in the Asian Calendar – the first day of the New Chinese Year.

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As I both signed on and off the vessel in the port of Hong Kong, I had the privilege of a very short holiday-like stay in this busy Asian city and I wandered around for a few hours like a regular tourist. I also enjoyed the beautiful approach to the port and I even had the rare luck of witnessing it on a shiny day.

Approaching Hong Kong

Approaching Stonecutters' Bridge Hong Kong

In the South, I visited new territories, but I enjoyed meeting ‘old’ acquaintances as well and even walked on the same streets as I did eight years ago, when I arrived in this area on board HS Scott. On both North and South New Zealand islands, we visited five ports – Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Port Chalmers and Lyttleton – and I was able to go out for a walk in each and every one of them, enjoying the sightseeing on perfectly beautiful weather, but on rainy and foggy days as well, going out alone, with one of the passengers, with some other crew members or together with my husband. The entering and departure maneuvers were very interesting in New Zealand because some of the ports are sheltered inside natural harbours with spectacular surrounding landscape – Port Chalmers and Lyttelton.

IF– Entering the Port of Lyttelton, NZ

The little port of Napier required a challenging, but nevertheless, interesting departure maneuver – due to its small size and very limited area for swinging.

Entering the Port of Napier (5)

The beautiful Port Chalmers offered me a wonderful and unexpected gift – the chance of meeting the little blue penguin – world’s smallest penguin.

The little blue Penguin (6)

Very beautiful and exciting days we spent in Nouméea – a small port on the island of New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean. As the vessel used to stay alongside all day long, we had a lot of time to explore the capital city – some popular and tourist areas, as well as the beaches.

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Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia (1)

During our contract, three passengers joined the vessels for different periods of time and I was very happy to spend time with them as well, on deck or in the Recreation Room, during port stays or outside barbecue parties.

In the Pacific Ocean with Alex, the passenger

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As two of them crossed the Equator for the first time, they accepted to take part in a baptism ceremony and they enjoyed every minute of it.

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Time passed very fast for me on board and I didn’t find at least one hour to get bored. I had a very busy schedule – with all the ports, but also during long crossings – I enjoyed many hours in the swimming pool, in the gym and in the sauna, I spent a lot of time on deck watching the sea …

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… but also in the galley – doing many cakes for on board anniversaries or for no reason at all …

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… I organized the baptism ceremonies and the Easter celebration

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… and I managed to put some private projects into practice ( a ‘knots and ropes frame’ and a world map puzzle).

My world map puzzle

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I am happy I had an interesting and safe voyage and I am very grateful for all the good people on board – passengers and members of the crew – who helped me feel ‘like home’ and with whom I shared beautiful memories.

 

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