Siren Call of Wide Blue Ocean Lasts for a Lifetime

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), November 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Siren Call of Wide Blue Ocean Lasts for a Lifetime


I'M COMING to you this week from the South Pacific, more precisely on board Rhapsody of the Seas, a big, handsome ship carrying 2000 passengers.

I've always had a yen to sail away. It doesn't matter where to.

I just want to be on a ship leaving a port.

It's the allure, the pull, the romance of it.

Watching a ship sail into the distant horizon sparks a yearning in all of us, surely?

It doesn't matter that what waits over the horizon will quite likely be nothing as pleasant as where we stand, it is the thought of what mystery and magic might be there.

I am sure my hankering to sail away is stronger than yours. It comes from being a ten pound Pom when I was aged seven.

My parents who lived quite a nice life in London decided they might live an even nicer life over the horizon and so they took me on a train to Southampton to the port where my first sighting of a really big ship ready to sail planted in my impressionable mind a strong desire to go sailing over and over again.

My memories of that ship and the long six week sailing are misty but good: dress-up games, unlimited bread and jam at every meal, ports of call where swarthy men in turbans spat betel juice and left a trail of red blobs in their wake.

Blobs of betel juice - now there's romance for you.

My mother's memories consist mostly of cockroaches and weevils.

The ship was so old it was riddled with creepy crawlies and was sent to the scrap yard after that voyage.

But to a seven-year-old it was an enchanting wonderland. (I mean endless bread and jama[degrees] come on).

The hankering to get back on a ship stayed firmly with me in those confusing days of Australia in the 1950s until it was the '60s and I was 19 and able to climb on board once again and sail back to the UK on what we then called "a working holiday abroad". …

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