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March 10, 2021 March 2021 No Comments

When the ship hits the fan

First completely ignore the bumph on the back cover. Its claim of; ‘a rip roaring tale’, ‘the seas were unregulated, full of madmen’, ‘not for the faint of heart and a treasure trove of hilarious incidents and sea faring shenanigans’ is completely misleading. A pity as it will put many off an interesting book about life at sea from the captain’s perspective. 

At the age of fifteen Australian Rob Anderson went to sea as a deck boy. With hard work and dedicated study he steadily rose up through the ranks until attaining his full sea going master’s certificate. Still in his late twenties he was one of the world’s youngest ship’s captains plying the international routes. 

                  The book, written in his retirement, is not a biography but rather a series of chapters each dealing with a special ship or memorable event.            Some chapters are very short others quite long with considerable        detail. Encountering a typhoon was his most frightening experience with being attacked by heavily armed pirates off the coast of Africa coming a close second. Fortunately the Royal Navy patrolling the shipping lane came quickly to the rescue. 

During his sea going career Captain Anderson at one time or another sailed in almost every type of boat only drawing the line at passenger ships or Cruise liners where the captain’s duties included socialising with the passengers which did not appeal at all. 

He ended his career with joining a company which supplied ocean going tugs. These boat’s strength and ability to manoeuvre fascinated him as did the variety places they were called to and tasks to be done. Every thing from moving drilling rigs to salvage jobs, including  working the breaking up of the sunken Wahine in Wellington harbour.

 I found this a quite short, a simply told but interesting book. Alert some earthy , or should I say seaee, language.

Mike Beckett

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