08-Dec-2004 -- 18 to go to the port of Mostaganem, and today at noon we passed Isla de Alborán in which vicinity there is the confluence 36N 3W. Last year in September I visited this confluence already, but this time I have a better camera available and so of course I tried again.
Isla de Alborán when approaching from West resembles very much to a huge ship. And indeed my Chief Engineer, not too involved in navigation and maritime geography came up the navigating bridge and asked me what a big ship this to be. I told him this to be the uninhabited island of Alborán.."Aaah, uninhabited, I see", he grumbled, "so there is no GSM antenna, isn't there? No way to phone home?" "No, Chief, definitely no GSM over there, you can keep your mobile phone switched off." "Then it is a bullshit island!" he said and off he went back to his engine..
Looking to the Northwest from the confluence we see the already snow capped mountain range of the Spanish Sierra Nevada. To the Southwest there is of course Alborán Island and the small rock Islote de la Nube on its East end.
Having a closer look to Alborán we see the prominent lighthouse on it. Alborán
Light has the distinction Fl.4(20)40m10M, which means: It gives 4 white
flashes every 20 seconds, its height is 40 metres above the sea level and
the brightness of its light guarantees a visibility at a distance of at
least 10 nautical miles (18.5 km).
On the radar we see the
typical triangular shape of the island.
Finally I am pleased to introduce a new visitor. It is 2nd Officer Sergey
from Donetsk in Southern Russia, just a few miles East of the border to the
Ukraine. He joined the ship together with me a two weeks ago in St.-Petersburg.
He has previously sailed only on container ships and it is the first time
for him on a refrigerated cargo ship, where we are more involved with the
The sailors on the container ships do generally not even know the
content of the boxes they are carrying, for them it is just thousands of
blue boxes, red boxes, green boxes and yellow boxes from port A to port B,
but on our ship we really see what we are carrying. At present potatoes in
bags, and as it is always perishable foodstuff, our cargo needs far more
attention, knowledge and care.
He is not yet aware of the ports we usually are calling, either. When I told him to track the courses to Harlingen and Mostaganem, he had no clue at all where those are located. "Yes, my boy", I told him "ours is not a container ship which just calls Rotterdam, Singapore, Tokyo, New York and a handful of hubs ... we avoid world ports, where labour is expensive and prefer small unknown hidden harbours!
That's the exclusivity you enjoy when sailing on a refrigerated cargo ship. Grand Tourism ... always Grand Tourism full of romanticism! And after a six months sailing with me you will know all the places on Earth worth to know ...
especially all these pearl harbours in Nigeria ... :-) "
Regarding container ships: An hour ago the "P&O Nedlloyd Stuyvesant" did pass us on her way from
Rotterdam to the Far East via the Suez Canal. She is at present one of the
largest container ships in the World, well 1,000 feet (300 metres) long and
a real monster. Her owners are the "Peninsular and Oriental Steamship
Company" from London and "Nedlloyd" from Rotterdam, which merged a few years
ago to form one of the biggest container operators worldwide.