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September 25, 2006 10:39 PM

Getting to Asia Plan B: Cargo Ship

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - Everyday that I stay here, I'm just waiting for something to happen, there's nothing more for me to do. I've talked to as many people as I can, I've posted notices on every bulletin board in the city, I'm all over the online crew banks and I've tried in vain to talk to as many yachties as I can to no avail. To simply wait for something to happen is making me crazy.

It's time to be proactive. It's time to look at other options. It's a little too far to swim, I can't afford my own boat and I wouldn't dare fly - flying forward, of course, would break my only rule.

A lot of you have suggested working on a cargo ship. A little research quickly put to rest any notions I had of swabbing the deck in an orange jump suit on a giant freighter.

Despite the romantic image of sailors working their way around the world as a merchant seaman, it won't be possible for me as carrier of a 1st world passport. Never mind that Filipino and Panamanian deckhands are more reliable and better at their job than I'd be. It's nearly impossible for me to get a work visa since these ships usually fly under third world flags.

All is not lost though. I do see an out, albeit a comparatively expensive one. Freighter travel. A very few of these giant ships actually take a handful of paying passengers. As I wait for a yacht to materialize, I'll focus my energies on the freighter travel angle.


Andy McLean said:

Ryan, still reading the website regularly. Still very jealous. You're comming up on a year abroad and I was wondering how your outlook has changed about common things like, money, being Canadian, globalization etc...

September 26, 2006 01:03 PM
Marie said:

Yeah, yeah... everyone is quick to advise you to get a job doing shit-work on a cargo ship. But what they don't realize is that these ships have qualified crews who have attended technical schools that specialize in ship work! They don't need you to swab the decks--they've got professional deck-swabbers who can also haul anchors and do some light engineering and happen to have the equivalent of a B.A. from a maritime academy in Sri Lanka! Still, the freighter ship option does work, for a fee. A rather large fee, but the good news is that they feed you three times a day and clean your cabin. And sometimes there is a mini-gym or mini-pool on these freighters.

September 26, 2006 01:37 PM
Carolina said:

Hey little larrikin, can't you just stow away like normal people?!

Thanks for my postie, lots of luck xxx

September 27, 2006 10:23 AM
Pete said:

Dude. Just buy a crate, get in it, and ship it to your destination. Problem solved!

September 28, 2006 06:39 PM
tina said:

Hi Ryan sent you an email...but check my blog to see a few photos of a different passage-Jardine River National Park to Papua New Guinea...I have no idea if it's possible...maybe someone reading this can find out...I did try to email someone in the Jardine River National park..waiting to hear back...

September 30, 2006 01:30 PM
Ryan said:

Thanks for the ideas.

I'd stow away except for the fact that I'd miss the chance for a new stamp in my passport. I'm that vain.

The jump from Cape York, Australia to Papau New Giunea is a short one, though neither point is an official entry point; it'd be illegal. Besides it's dense, uninhabited jungle on both sides. It wouldn't get me any closer to landing on mainland Asia as I'd just be trading one island nation for another.

That said: Darwin is still very much a dead end. It's time to pursue the frieghter option.

September 30, 2006 09:45 PM
Gord said:


this is what I think of when I think of you...

cheers...see you soon.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=where the hell is matt&search=Search

October 3, 2006 01:33 AM
margie said:

I understand winter is summer down there. Have you considered an organization like Adelaide Nautical College - ANC? Mmmmm.....University grad with work & sailing exp. not to mention several years counselling with targeted group. - next intake is mid 2007 I believe. Perhaps they would welcome a Canadian volunteer in which to barter a tour to Asia with? Who knows this may evolve into a culturally synergistic pattern for any involved!.
Keep on the bright side Ryan. Our hearts are with you.


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