Kaiwo Maru：Day four 28, 2017
I woke up at the earlier time of five o’clock this morning, so that I could rescue my clothes from the the drying room where I had left them to dry the night before. There were about six washing machines in the laundry area and a huge walk-in drying room. I was told that it would take three hours for my clothes to dry, so I ventured into the hot room. There are more than 150 trainee crew members and it seemed as though everyone had decided to do there washing that evening. Walking into the room, it was dark because the sheer volume of clothes hanging from the ceiling blotted out the light. I almost got lost looking for the way out.
Speaking of amenities, to my surprise there were two large steel baths on board. I have seen a bath on board a ferry, but wouldn’t have expected to see one on a training sail ship. To boot, there were even electric bidet toilets. Having said that, water is strictly monitored and there are two taps: one for drinking water and the other for mixed water. Incidentally, refuse water etc. is sent down below deck to a special facility where it is treated biologically before being pumped out to sea. Bath nights are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
After morning exercises, the rest of the morning was used for getting the ship Ship Shape for docking. In the evening, the ship will be lit up with illuminations, so our job was to string up the lights and polish the brass fittings. Over the next couple of days or so the ship will be docked at Omaezaki, where members of the public will be allowed to board and look around.
Late morning, we docked at Omaezaki Port. Waiting for us was a series of tents with stalls and a crowd to welcome our arrival. There was also a taiko group playing as our ship gradually docked. We all left the ship and formed rows on the harbor edge in front of the ship. Dignitaries gave their welcoming speeches and our captain gave his.
After this, it was time to return to the ship to pack up all our belongings and get ready for disembarking. Just after packing, we had one more and final lunch. Lunch was Red Snapper! On that note, food deserves a mention here. The food was very good! Other days, we were treated to steak and fried chicken. But the amazing part was that the cost was just over one thousand yen for three meals a day!
Finally the time came for us to part. At the back of the ship, we (8 trainees) lined up in front of the college trainees before the captain. One of my colleagues kindly suggested that we made a donation, so some time was allocated for him to present it to the captain before hand. Then I was called to receive a completion certificate from the captain on behalf of my colleagues.
Everyone saw us off with salutes and good wishes as we made our way past them to the steps to disembark.
Kaiwo Maru has been a valuable experience for all of us and I will treasure this always.
My heart felt thanks go to Captain Osugi, who recommended me to partake in this invaluable experience, and Mr. Koyama (Chief Engineer), who sailed Kaiwo Maru, for his helpful and practical advice.
Geoff, on terra firma again : )