was magnificent, the dress of well to do Indian women is very attractive, then you would return to the street to be challenged by a poor young woman with a new child!!
Whilst docked in Calcutta, we were next to a British ship of the Brocklebank Line, linked to the Cunard Line. Very pukka. We liased with them, and in conversation asked what’s the best place you have visited, I was amazed when one of the blokes said Napier NZ. He said there was a club there where they were made very welcome. Another ship that was very interesting in Calcutta, was the Flying Enterprise 2nd. There had been a saga in the Atlantic in 1951 with the Flying Enterprise One which eventually sank while under tow. My interest was because she had been a ship exactly of the same class as we were in Wairata. Our ship was formally the Cape Igvak the Flying Enterprise was Cape Kumukaki. I have always wondered what happened to the Flying Enterprise. I will quote what I have read about the disaster.
Flying Enterprise was about 400 miles west of Lands End, hove to in a gale force wind and rough sea. In the days that followed she suffered structural damage and a crack was discovered extending across the weather deck. Battered by giant waves the ship heeled over to port and failed to right herself -her cargo had shifted. The end after many days was inevitable. She slowly rolled further over and sank while under tow. On the computer I obtained lots of information and photos. It was interesting when we sailed and advised where we were bound etc. Flying Enterprise sent his and he stated that Captain Carlsen the hero of the first ship was still aboard
Ships of this era were designed with winches and derricks, so that they could load and discharge cargo using their own gear. Some even had very heavy lifting gear that could handle loads as big as locomotives etc. The winches were either steam powered or electric.. On our ships the Chief Officer was responsible for the actual loading, on the more modern ships he sometimes had an actual model of the ship, and would load it with weights and be able to know what the draft of the ship would be fore and aft. The trim of the ship had a great bearing on fuel consumption. Cargoes of liquor generally required hold watchmen when being discharged., but still the wharfies seemed to get their share..The age of the container had not yet begun
Food on Union Co ships especially good if they were carrying passengers was excellent, but on the tramp steamer I served on kippers and the like were the diet. Drinking alcohol at sea was a no no, but in port was another story.
The return journey to Auckland must have been fairly uneventful.
My next ship was the Wairuna, one the trans Pacific vessels, very similar to the Waitemata,I joined her in Auckland. Her itinery was a little different, where the Waitemata covered the New Zealand ports, the Wairuna went mainly to Australia, mostly Sydney. She carried cadets which reduced her passengers to six. On one occasion we were in Sydney for six weeks, the longest stay I ever expienced in port. I built a photo enlarger with the help of the ships engineers. We visited a sports goods ship several times I think it was run by Stan McCabe, one of Australia’s greatest batsmen. We became like locals, pretty interesting place to have to kill time.
On the first trip after time in Vancouver area we visited a port in northern California called Eureka, mainly to load redwood, inland from there are the giant sequoia trees. We had just arrived, I was reading my mail, when a person knocked and made himself known, he was from the local Amateur Radio Club, they had a practice if there was a foreign ship in port, to invite the ship radio man to their club meeting. I agreed to go and a car came early in the evening to pick me up. It was the usual amateur radio meeting, I was introduced and somebody in the hall suggested “how about a few words from our friend from Noo Zealand” I chatted with them and invited them to visit our ship and see the radar gear etc. The next day there was quite a few visitors. Out of that I made friends with Bill Branaman W5FYY and Kelvin Steel W6KTV, from then on I was treated like a tourist, whilst visiting Bill’s place we activated his radio gear, he gave me the mike I called and unbelievedly I talked to Jimmy Mills at Fernhill. Kelton Steel was a wealthy man,, I was treated to a Halloween dinner in his redwood lined dining room and taken to see an American football game, the crowd at the game only cheered when their side scored bit different from NZ. Kelton’s wife got me to show her how we made tea! That covered the first visit, we were to return again next trip which was