Tuesday, 27 August 2013

So right now we are in international waters, having left Chiwan this
afternoon. The route through the harbour is long and torturous, involving
pilots from both Hong Kong and China. It takes ~4.5 hours each way so we
ended up spending more time in the harbour than berthed!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Have just left port of Hong Kong en route to Singapore by sea.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

 I cannot express what a disaster internet connectivity has been.
There's a guy onboard to fix the internet - we have taken to referring to
him as the Master of Disaster. 'Nuff said.
Plus a screwup with immigration means that there is and has not been
any shore leave at Chinese ports. :-( So I haven't been able to get ashore
to hit an internet cafe.

And needless to say, my plan to spend my birthday shopping and hitting the
spa in Yantian has had to be cancelled. Instead I will be baking
*something* with Cookie for all hands. What that will be I do not know
because as a result of the immigration snafu, we are short of supplies and
there is no flour. I'm guessing I'll end up doing a bread and butter
pudding or a kugel of some sort. Captain has promised to open a few
bottles of bubbly as well. I'll be sure to take some photos, particularly
of the baking, to add to my collection of cooking in odd places.

What else? Well, I have been learning an awful lot about ballast
operations and cargo planning. So much so that I have begun carrying my
notebook with me and have been jotting down ideas for improving the
software. Plus I taught J how to work with csv files so now he can
manipulate the output from the cargo program to generate his report for
Dangerous Goods at each port - a major time savings as he was having to
copy/paste each item from a PDF and this could take hours!

So, I go now to return to the evening watch. The sun has set and we are
surrounded by loads of fishing vessels. There is a steady background
murmur of chinese fishermen taunting each other on the distress band, but
the sea is calm and the humidity is down to 85%, so a lovely night.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

It's 05:00 and I'm on the bridge. The morning shift is from 04:00 - 08:00 so
the wakeup call comes in at 03:40. The bridge is kept dark so that the
lookouts aren't blinded, the only light a subdued glow from the radar,
sonar, etc. There are so many machines that I am reminded of the Monty
Python bit - The Machine That Goes Ping...

Anyway, we have just crossed from the South China Sea into the Taiwan
Strait. A Search & Rescue notification has come in of a man overboard from
another ship not too far away. Meanwhile we must constantly adjust course
due to the prevalence of fishing boats added to which we now keep watch for
the guy in the soup.

Monday, 19 August 2013

I'm onboard and we left Hong Kong about 2 hours ago...

Hong Kong is my kinda town. Much like NYC in that it's fast-paced, good
for walking and window shopping (hell, great for REAL shopping!), great
transportation, food, people-watching, etc. Plus, much like NYC, it's a 24
hour burg.

I got a new business wardrobe run up for me over the weekend - 3 skirt
suits and 3 suit dresses plus 10 business shirts for GBP1500. A bit
extravagant but as I'm launching myself back into the corporate side of
the business world, it's sadly necessary.

At 01:45 the port agent met me at the hotel and transferred me to the
ship. The captain now has my passport and yellow fever immunisation
booklet and has threatened to sell me into white slavery if I don't
behave. ;-)He obviously knows the cut of my jib.

So after much offloading of containers and ballast balancing we have left
port. I took plenty of pictures. There was some excitement on the bridge
as we passed an amusement park but I had to sadly inform the crew that
that was not Disney Hong Kong - which would be far more fabulous and have
a flipping castle. Plus I think that Disney HK is the other way from the

Thursday, 13 June 2013

New Gallery at TNMOC


New Software Gallery opens at The National Museum of Computing
Young people invited to participate in 'The Grand Digital', a new computing world record attempt

13 June 2013

A new Software Gallery was opened yesterday at The National Museum of Computing by Sir Charles Dunstone, Chairman of The Carphone Warehouse Group and TalkTalk Group. The new gallery, sponsored by Insightsoftware.com, traces the development of computing software from its beginnings on huge computers to its presence in everyday household items. The Software Gallery complements the unrivalled collection of seven decades of working hardware on display at the Museum.

Sir Charles Dunstone said: "This is my first visit to The National Museum of Computing and I have been astonished at the amazing displays of working vintage computers. The Museum dramatically demonstrates the pace of change in computing since Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, a British first which has been such a well-kept secret and which the Museum displays so well as a working rebuild. Since then hardware and software have combined to give consumers access to so much information in a way that could not have been conceived of even a few years ago. I was particularly impressed to see the enthusiasm and wonder of a party of school pupils learning about their computer heritage as I toured the new Gallery and the Museum."

To read the full release with pictures from the opening see http://www.tnmoc.org/news/news-releases/new-software-gallery-opens-tnmoc

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Quick update from the Himalayas

Brief email from Astrid this morning:

I'm ok. Have been going off-piste, following yak trails and such. Too
much to cover by email but having a lovely time.