Rewritten August to September 2011 while onboard DE/T Randgrid
I took this picture when I signed off M/T Vestria in Hamburg 18th of January 1985
M/T Vestria was built 1965 in Sarpsborg, Norway.
Speed: 14 Knots
• Built for RED AB BIFRSOT, Göteborg. M/S BOHUS
• Sold to PR H LÖFVENBERG, Slite. Renamed to M/T GRYNGE
• Rebuilt to a chemical tanker with stainless steel tanks 1975 at the shipyard in Falkenbergs.
• 1983 she was sold to VERNIA SH AB (THORE SHIPPING and JOEL BACKMAN), Helsingborg. Renamed to M/T VESTRIA
• 1985 ad Thore Shipping went bankrupt and JOEL BACKMAN & SÖNER take over the ship
• 1986 sold to SUNSPUR SH LTD, Malta. M/T STAINLES DUKE
• 1988 sold to ALLIANCE RICHFIELD, Singapore. M/T CEMICAL VENUS.(Li)
• 1988 till sold to CARRIERS LTD.,Liberia. M/T CHEMICAL VENUS.
• 1990 sold to CGE (Far east), Singapore. M/T CENTAUR PROSPERITY (Li)
• 1993 scrapped in Alang, India.
Joel Backman Shipping on Donsö owned Vestria together with Thore shipping and she was chartered by Boliden. Thore Shipping was a real cowboy company and Vestria was detained several times. It was not easy for Joel Backman Shipping to run the ship together with Thore Shipping, every time Boliden called them and asked about the problems onboard or why Vestria was detained they didn't have a clue.
Thore Shipping had the management and every time they called from Joel Backman Shipping and asked about Vestria there was no problem.
- She works just fine! No problem!
But Thore Shipping went bankrupt and Joel Backman Shipping took over the responsibility for Vestria. But it was too late; Joel Backman Shipping went bankrupt soon after that. Well all this happened end of 1984 and during 1985. I was hired by Thore Shipping until they went bankrupt and I was transferred to Joel Backman Shipping and in the summer 1986 I called them to give in my notice.
I think Boliden was satisfied with her performance almost all the time. Vestria was lying for a long time in Helsingborg waiting for a buyer. Finally she was sold 1986 to Sunspur Shipping on Malta and renamed to M/T Stainless Duke. The last I heard of her was that she was hitting a ground in Kiel on the way from Helsingborg to Mediterranean. The only paper the Captain could show was a paper that he was a member in a yacht club in Greece. Shipping business never stops to surprise me.
Well, now we shouldn't get carried away. Let's start on the 30th of May 1984, a very nice spring in Sweden.
Wednesday 30th of May 1984 and we left Helsingborg in the morning. There were 3 of us from my school going to join M/T Vestria in Lisbon. It was me and one more guy from my class that was going to sign on as Deck Boys. There was another guy that was going to join as Engine Apprentice.
The Engine Apprentice father was going to drive us to Copenhagen airport and Scandinavian Airlines flight to Portugal. We were flying with a DC-10 so we understand that this was a long time ago. SAS has not have had any DC-10 in quite a few years now. SAS used DC-10 between 1974 and 1990.
We were on the Copenhagen to Rio De Janeiro flight with a stopover in Lisbon. We were sitting on the plane when I heard my name on the PA system
- ALADDIN! Is there any passenger with the name ALADDIN! Please contact the Stewardess!
Yes, a dream came true. What have I done now? But it turned out to be a Fitter joining M/T Vestria that was looking for us so we could go together to the hotel.
My first ever postcard sent from my adventure onboard M/T Vestria
We arrived to Lisbon in the late afternoon and we checked in to our hotel and we would be picked up early in the morning. I had time for a coke in the hotel bar before going to sleep.
Thursday 31st of May 1984 and our Agent came to pick us up in the morning. We were brought to River Tagus (Rio Tajo in Spanish) and we were going to join M/T Vestria with a speed boat. But first we had to sign on and the Agent sent our Seaman's book to the Swedish Consulate
Panoramic view of Lisbon from the top of Cristo-Rei, with 25 de Abril Bridge in the foreground. From wikipedia
M/T Vestria passed under the 25 de Abril Bridge and we joined her with speed boat. I never foget coming up on deck from the pilot ladder.
- What the is this?
She was rusty and she looked like crap. Not exactly what I had expected.
We meet the crew we should relieve in the day room. The new fitter asked:
- Is there any beautiful girls onboard?
The off signing Fitter was quick to answer.
- Well, we had a Miss Vestria competition, 2 contestants but no winner.
We were bound for a place on the East or South side of River Tagus (Rio Tajo in Spanish). And I think we were going to discharge. I don't remember and I really didn't have much of a clue of what was going on. My first ship, but I remember doing tank cleaning, or at least one of the ABs were doing something in the tank and I was looking down the tank.
I was on the 4 to 8 watch and that didn't helped very much. I'm very very tired 4 o'clock in the morning. But we stayed 1 or 2 nights in Lisbon and I had time to go ashore.
In my letter home I wrote that I had got right on to the 4 to 8 watch and that I had spent my watch carrying sacks and stuff. At 8 o'clock in the evening I went ashore with the other deck boy, my class mate. We went for dinner and we paid 2 US dollars for rice, French fries and 2 pork shops. As I wrote home: “ I only ate the rice, the rest of the food tasted like URK”
I still remember this meal, the French fries were green and the meat tasted like dog.
Friday 1st of June 1984 and I started to work 4 o'clock in the morning and they were busy doing tank cleaning when I came on deck. I worked until 8 o'clock when I got off my watch and I was free until 16:00 when it was time to go on watch again. Friday night and we went ashore to a pub, the only thing I remembered was the snack.
They had a special Portuguese snack on the bar counter and it was not a pleasant experience. I tried to eat the darn stuff when I realised that I tried to eat the skin of something. There were two bowls, one bowl for the snack and one bowl to put the skin in, and I was eating the skin. I remember one more thing from Lisbon, of course, how can I forget our visit to the police station?
Our Fitter and I passed through a park when we walked back to the ship. We spotted a park bench and we agreed that the bench would fit on our poop deck. And excellent place to sit and talk about the good ol' times while looking at the sun set over the ocean.
Of course, while we carried the bench a police came around the corner with screaming and smoking shoe soles.
We had to spend a few hours at the police station and we came back on board early morning without the bench.
Well, anyway, I don't know when we left Lisbon. I wrote home that we might leave on Monday or Monday and as this was my first letter home I never used any dates. So I don't know.
But I know that I saw a big turtle and a French war ship on the way to Morocco, all according to my letter. And I have a picture of the French war ship but I wish I had a picture of the turtle instead. I also wrote home that we were rolling when we came out on the Atlantic on our way to Morocco. I also wrote home that I had seen dolphins and flying fishes on our way to Safi. Pretty exciting for a Skåne påg that had never been south of Copenhagen.
My postcard from Safi, Morocco
Sunday 3rd of June 1984 and we must have left Lisbon early Saturday because according to my postcard home we arrived to Safi, Morocco on the Sunday. And as I sent the postcard the 5th we must have arrived on the 3rd. And I wrote that we arrived at midnight so I'm pretty sure I meant the anchorage because I remember me taking pictures at the arrival.
Or was it the departure? No, I'm pretty sure it was at arrival to Safi.
We were loading phosphorus acid for Ravenna in Italy. In Safi some of the AB's bought turtles. It was like a bazaar at our gangway and they sold everything and I remember buying a few stupid carpets for my last Portuguese Scooby Doo dollars I had left from Lisbon.
Well, carpet is a wee bit mush to call it. It was some cheap shit to have on the walls and coming back home I realised that this was some bullshit and I never used them. Would have been embarrassing to have people coming home to me with this shit hanging on the walls.
Bazaar on the jetty and when the people left in the evening the dogs took over the jetty. There were so much wild dogs running around and our AB threw all the old cold cuts to them during the night. A good way to get reed of all the old stuff that no one eats.
We went ashore to "do" Safi and let our hair down during the night. Hmm, Morocco, we returned to the ship after a few hours. There was not very much happening there. I went to bed and after 10 minutes our mess girl came in to my cabin. She locked the door and came down in my bed.
- What the
I threw her out and from that very day I always lock my door. I can't help thinking about what would happen if it should be the opposite. I was coming in to the mess girl's cabin. Well, the cops would have been there in a twinkle of an eye.
I read my letters that I sent back home while writing this and it looks like we were discharging in Safi and then we went out to drop the anchor while doing tank cleaning before loading the phosphorus acid to Ravenna in Italy. This would explain my postcard with the arrival at midnight and me remember taking pictures while arriving to Safi in the morning.
Flippers in Gibraltar Strait
Flippers in Gibraltar Strait
Flippers in Gibraltar Strait
We left Safi bound for Ravenna in Italy and we expected it to take 5 days from Safi to Ravenna and it was rolling when we left Safi. I wrote home that I saw whales and flippers outside Gibraltar when we passed through Gibraltar Strait.
I remember that I had a ticket to the Bob Dylan concert at Scandinavium in Gothenburg on the 9th of June 1984.
I was going to Go:teborg and the concert with a few friends, I don't remember if we were going by train or car. Of course, summer time and party and I missed it very much. I was a wee bit homesick the first 2 months onboard M/T Vestria and to miss this concert/ party didn't do much to alleviate my homesickness.
And the Bob Dylan concert in Gothenburg would have been a great party, never mind Bob Dylan, I would not go through the trouble going to Go:teborg just to watch Bob Dylan. But the party. The missed party was what I was thinking about when I was working on deck.
And I got a letter from my Grandfather about the Bob Dylan concert. Bob Dylan's driver had been arrested for the possession of heroine. And according to the newspaper article he sent me the “Anti Bob Dylan concert” people had tried to stop the concert one week before the concert took off. And the reason? Bob Dylan's lyrics were positive to narcotics.
And off course, my Grandfather thought it was better for me to work instead of wasting my time and money on Bob Dylan concerts in Göteborg.
Well, it would have been fun to be there but to spend several hours at Scandinavium to listen to the only good tune Bob Dylan has ever made would most likely have driven my up the walls. Unless of course if I had have my concrete hat on. But again, back then I was young and I could hold my liquor. Well anyway, most of the times.
From my Grandfather's letter about Bob Dylan's concert
And I was on the 4 to 8 watch, it was OK if I wanted to go ashore. I had the whole day off and if I wanted to go ashore for a drink or two I swap watch and I could sleep until 4 o'clock in the afternoon the day after.
But man! When they called me 3 thirty in the morning I was dead! And no, I was not drinking, I was just dead tired when they called me for my watch in the morning.
Sometimes they had to call me 4 times and I still didn't remember they being in my cabin to wake me up. It was terrible.
Up on the bridge at 4 o'clock in the morning and I was sleeping on the bridge wing until 5 o'clock when I went to do the dishes and when I had cleaned the dishes I dipped our cofferdams to check for any leaks from the cargo tanks.
We had to dip our cofferdam every day so we could see if there were any leaks from our cargo tanks. Before I came onboard there had been a leak from the cargo tank to the cofferdam. The acid had eaten into the tank top and the Sulphuric Acid had come in to the bunker tanks and in to the main engine. They had to spend long time and much money on a ship yard to repair the main engine.
I was really looking forward to my dish washing duty at 5 o'clock. There was a cassette played and I was on watch with the Chief Officer.
He only had 1 cassette, and it was country and western. He must have bought this cassette on a gas stop 100 years ago. I was about to commit suicide many times because of this cassette. Well, imagine coming up on the bridge 4 o'clock in the morning tired and drowsy. Then someone turn on some grisly horse jazz, enough to make me want to jump over board.
After my cleaning duty and when the cofferdam was checked it was time to wake up the rest of the crew at 0715 so they had time for breakfast before they started to work at 0800.
I liked to do the dishes and I was slowly waking up while doing the dishes. 1 morning the AB on the 2-4 watch came down soaked in blood and 1 of the 2nd Officers came a few minutes later. He was also soaked in blood. This 2 usually went down to 2nd Officers cabin after their watch at 4 o'clock in the morning for heavy duty drinking. After a while they had an argument about some stupid thing and they started to fight. But I only saw them soaked with blood 1 time. Unbelievable how it worked on the ships back in the days.
On the way to Ravenna in Italy we took the opportunity to throw a party. We made a table on deck and we fired up our grill. Captain supplied beer and wine. It's always nice with a party, but I was only drinking water. I had never been drinking on a ship (unless there is an opportunity to go ashore). To sit and drink on a ship seems very boring to me. When I think it is fun to sit and drink on a ship I'm ready for detox.
My postcard from Ravenna, Italy 17th of June 1984
I sent my first letter back home from Ravenna and I started my second letter in Ravenna. According to my second letter we were waiting at the anchorage outside Ravenna. We were also getting new crew and that means mail from back home.
Thursday 15th of June 1984 and I'm almost sure that we arrived to Ravenna on the 15th. According to my postcard home on the 17th we had been ashore the day before. We discharged in Ravenna at arrival and then we shifted berth in to the city. We stayed just 5 minutes walk from the city and we had a chance to go ashore and drink a few beers. I went ashore with one of the ABs. There wasn't much happening in the city so we returned to the ship early and I was in a good shape when I started to work 4 o'clock in the morning.
I remember that we had a big truck coming to deliver stores to us in Ravenna. They had been driving all the way from Sweden with Swedish food and supplies. We shifted jetty when we finished the discharging, I don't remember why. Maybe we had to repair a cargo pump or something. But we went ashore to have a look at the city. City centre was within walking distance but I remember it as we had one beer only. I was not impressed by the Italian night life.
We got new loading orders, load sulphuric acid for Iskenderun in Turkey. So we were busy cleaning our cargo tanks. The bottom of the tanks was covered in sand and mud from the phosphorus acid. So we were in the tanks with fire hoses trying to flush out the darn mud and sand.
It was like glue and when I walked around my rubber boots got stuck and I was almost putting my bare foot in the acid soaked sand and that would not have been a nice experience.
We had to stop at Sicily to take bunker on our way to Huelva in Spain. I remember that we approached Sicily on my morning watch. It was pretty exciting to see a new place and I managed to keep myself awake on the bridge wing.
It didn't take long for a barge to come alongside when we had dropped our anchor. A floating shop and the cargo hold was full of garbage they called quality clothes and souvenirs. I wrote home that I had bought for my remaining Italian Scooby Doo dollars. 6 t-shirts, 1 pullover, 3 shirts and 1 shirt with short sleeves. My purchase set me back with the equivalent of 250 Swedish Scooby dollars.
And I had mentioned in my letter that I had bought a suede jacket in Ravenna. And I qoute:
“I bought a nice suede jacket and I paid 250 kr. Cost at least 500 to 600 kr in Sweden” Well, I never used the darn thing and 500 to 600 kr in Sweden. Honestly, I think you would have been beaten up trying to sell something like that in Sweden. I still remember the suede jacket, it was green and I'm very doubtful about the suede.
My Grandparents saved all my letters in a binder and they punched the holes just over something that looks like 6 so I think we stayed in Augusta for 6 hours before continuing our voyage towards Huelva in Spain.
The rest of my second letter is filled with drivel about me going to save money. Yeah, after 8 months onboard I had 50 cent. Well, deck was full of sand from Sahara desert. We passed North Africa on our way to Spain and there was sand in the air blowing from Sahara.
We passed Gibraltar Strait on Midsummer and we were having our dinner on 2nd poop deck. They started with herring and then it was fillet of beef and we finished the dinner with cake.
Saturday 23rd of June 1984 and I think we arrived to Huelva on the 23rd, at least I was writing my postcard from Huelva on the 23rd. Huelva and I took double watch so one of our deck crew could go ashore having a good time.
And I remember that one of the guys got his money stolen ashore while I was onboard working.
My postcard from Huelva, Spain 23rd of June 1984
Spain and they knew f@ck all English. Our 2nd Officer asked me to go ashore to find out when they would be ready. I remember trying to draw in the gravel outside the watchman's house. I tried to draw our tanks filling up and I made a question mark when the level was on top of the tank.
I tried to explain again and this was way back in the days before I mastered my home made languages that impressed the Greenpeacers when I was onboard Rainbow Warrior back in 2005. The guy on the jetty refused to understand.
I returned onboard and I told the 2nd Officer that they understood f@ck all and I had no clue when we were going to be ready. I also remember our 2nd Officer as drunk. Well, he was always drunk and he was screaming at the Engineers.
- Jävla cyckel reparatörer!
We got our cargo and we left Huelva for Iskenderun in Turkey as far East is was possible to get in the Mediterranean. We had to stop to repair our engine on the way to Iskenderun and I took the opportunity to have a cooling swim. No AC onboard and we had to put empty cardboard boxes in the portholes trying to catch some wind.
250 meters deep and I was lucky not to be attacked by sharks. Later on I heard that they had launched whaling boats in Norway with course for the Mediterranean. So far they haven't found me.
But seriously, the Mediterranean is the place where most people are killed by sharks. I didn't believe it and if I knew back in 1984 I don't think that I would have jumped overboard.
We passed Crete on our way to Turkey and I wrote home that we passed a lot of islands with high mountains and steep slopes. Still today I remember when we passed all these islands. And we held a BBQ on the poop deck. Chicken salad and BBQ is quite healthy and I needed the health food, by now I had been on the ship for more than a month and I had not been at Helsingborg Boxing Club for a long time.
But as I wrote home: “I'm trying to do my sit ups and push ups every day” BLAH! I did f@ck all, no sit ups and no push ups and I grew bigger by the day. Not what I wished for but myself discipline left a whole lot to wish for.
Engine Apprentice, 2 or 1st Engineer, AB and Captain on poop deck
Growing bigger or not, it was nice to have a BBQ on the poop deck, good weather and nice food. But my V-shaped torso was not the only thing suffering onboard M/T Vestria. Not only did I write home about sit ups and push ups . I mentioned several times how I was saving money. Then in the letter I sent from Turkey I asked them to sell my bonds.
My postcard from Iskenderun, Turkey 2nd of July 1984
Monday 2nd of July 1984 and I think this was the day we arrived to Iskenderun. At least this was the date on my postcard I sent back home.
We discharged the Sulphuric Acid from Huelva and our cargo pumps didn't work as they should. We had 2 electric deep well pumps in each tank. 1 big and 1 small pump. No one of the small pumps was working and only a few of the big ones. We had to call a mobile crane that lifted the cargo pumps between the tanks. When one tank was empty we had to move the pump to the next tank by means of the mobile crane.
I went ashore and bought some souvenirs and I took a bus/taxi from the main road and I remember that I bought a water pipe. And according to my letter home I bought cotton buds. It was interesting to see Turkey and the people were friendly.
I also remember us seeing sharks around the jetty, only small sharks. But never the less sharks. So where were the big ones? It was hot, everyday between 30 to 40 °C but I didn't care for any more swims with all the sharks around.
Tuesday 3rd of July 1984 and according to my letter home we left Iskenderun on Tuesday afternoon and that must have been the 3rd of July.
Wednesday 4th of July 1984 and according to my letter home we arrived to Vailikos, on Cyprus on Wednesday morning and that must have been the 4th of July.
My postcard from Cyprus 4th of July 1984
And it looks like my postcard confirms the date 4th of July 1984. We were going to load Sulphuric Acid on Cyprus for Venice in Italy. When we arrived to Cyprus we started to scrape the outside of the hull. Well, the other ABs, I was off my watch at 8 o'clock. I was on the jetty taking a picture of the ABs when a car came down the jetty with people screaming Diggelo Diggelaj.
Sweden had won a song contest with a song called Diggelo Diggelaj so they were hanging out from the windows screaming when they saw the Swedish flag.
I was ashore during the afternoon for a beer. There was a hovel outside the port. They sold beer and I had a Keo. I think the beer was called Keo and it was a good beer.
At least the one I had coming off the ship. I don't know if I would have ordered a Keo beer if there was San Miguel Light. No, I'm 100% sure I would have ordered the San Miguel Light.
After my night watch we went ashore. We went in to the city, I'm pretty sure it was Limassol. Cyprus is a popular place for charter tourist so there is an inundation of Swedish people travelling to the island and we meet many Swedish people in the city.
We meet some people and they didn't believe me when I pointed out the Captain and told them that he was the Captain on our ship. One of the guys told me that I would get his hat if it was the Captain. So I woke up with a stupid hat. We managed to get drunk and the " concrete hat" came on. We returned to the ship just in time for me to go on watch 4 o'clock in the morning.
The AB that I had covered for in Huelva asked me if I wanted to sleep. He could take my watch. But loading was completed and I would manage to stay awake. I was looking forward to him taking my watch in Venice. He told me something about wild dogs running around and as I was, well, not sober I interpreted it as I had to sit in the mess room making sure that none of the wild dogs came onboard. My duty on the 4-8 watch was to clean up the dish in the galley around 5 o'clock in the morning.
I was sleeping ( yes, believe it or not) in the mess room when I heard the Chief Officer screaming:
- What the h..l!!! Why isn't the dish cleaned!!!??
I woke up by all the hullabaloo from the galley. In the nick of time, our Chief Officer stepped in to the mess room a few seconds later and asked me what I was doing.
- I'm making sure no dogs are coming onboard, I replied.
- What the
I did the dishes and I was off to bed after departure. When I woke up we were back at the jetty. After departure it started to leak Sulphuric Acid from 1 cargo tank to the cofferdam. So we filled up the cofferdam with water and caustic soda.
We had big bags of caustic flakes and we opened the bags and we poured the caustic down the cofferdam. No goggles or and protective clothing. I always say that I have been unlucky in my life, but when I'm thinking back I think I can consider myself lucky to be alive and healthy. Most of the caustic had turned to stone and it was like dropping a 25 kilo concrete block down the cofferdam.
Luckily enough it didn't felt right through the bottom of the ship. Yea, M/T Vestria was a real rust bucket. It was OK when I was young, but if I would have been sent to join a ship like this today I would have turned around before reaching the gangway.
I wrote home that I thought that we would arrive to Venice on the 10th of July. I also wrote home that we had a BBQ Saturday night on our way to Venice in Italy.
My postcard from Venice 11th of July 1984
Wednesday 11th of July 1984 and this was the day I wrote my postcard from Venice, or Venezia as they say in Italy. We discharged our Sulphuric Acid at a place 8km outside Venice. I remember us beeing in a good mood while steaming up the river to the port. I was going ashore to let my hair down.
Yes, back then I still had my hair
And as I wrote home, I expected to get mail, we were getting new Captain and Chief Officer onboard and we expected them to bring mail from Sweden and it was always nice to get mail. And I wrote postcard from every port. That is what I will have to finish when I sign off DE/T Randgrid in the middle of September 2011. I will scan some of the postcards I received onboard M/T Vestria to complete this page.
I remember us drinking a beer on the poop deck but one of the officers told us that we could not drink beer. “It didn't look good” if someone saw us. I could not believe my ears.
- What the ? Is there anyone sober onboard?
That's one of the things I had always found strange onboard the ship. Here we have a guy drinking a beer (Only one) and suddenly the world is about to go under. We had people onboard drinking so they almost died and not a word.
- He is a real sailor.
I'm drinking quite a few Diet MAX on the ships. And, hmm, when I'm home as well.
- Why you drink so much diet drinks?
- This is not healthy!
- You should give up the diet drinks!
But never a word to the people drinking two cases of beer every day while onboard. Try to explain that if you can, for sure, I cannot explain it.
Well, we had orders to discharge our cargo outside Venice and when we were ready we should shift in to a shipyard in Venice to repair our leaking cargo tank. I can't remember how we made it from Cyprus to Venice with the leaking cargo tank. But we made it to Venice and we could discharge our cargo. We went back to our jetty on Cyprus after departure, but I can't remember us discharging the cargo in the leaking tanks. And I have not mentioned it in my letters back home.
I went ashore with one of the ABs in the evening. But it was far away to Venice and no one understood us when we asked for directions to Venice. We returned onboard because we knew that we were going to the shipyard in Venice. So we would not miss it. Of course you want to see Venice when in Venice.
Yes, we took the opportunity to go ashore and have a good time. Well, we took all the opportunities we got. But Venice turned out to be a disappointment. We were running around drinking beer but it was hard to find any pubs. It was mostly restaurants and the Marco Plaza was a real drab. One disco and they threw me out of there when I was dancing on the table.
I sent this letter from Venice. And my writing leaves a lot to wish for. Impossible to understand the drivel.
I think I received the following letter from my friend in Venice and it was no good news. One friend was killed in a traffic accident.
My friend was on the way to pick up our friends but he meet my other friends coming down the road towards Mölle in 200. He saw them hitting a tree and the car was cut in to 2 pieces that were flying in different directions. They were drunk and now my friend tells me to think about this next time I'm driving drunk? What the ? I'm never driving when drunk!
From the newspaper my Grandparents sent me
Finding the ship and the ship yard wasn't easy when we returned to the ship early morning. As you understand there are no taxis in Venice and no one spoke English. We spent several hours running around the alleys. Many of them ending in a canal and we had to go back again. Finally we found the ship with the help of a map. And it was really nice when we found the ship and I could get in to my bed for a little bit of sleep before work started in the morning.
We spent 5 days in Italy and we steamed towards Gibraltar without any loading orders when we left Venice. When we passed Sicily we got orders to turn around and proceed to Augusta to load. We had rough sea and the ship was rolling heavily. We dropped anchor outside Augusta and there was an American aircraft carrier next to us. They kept me awake with their non-stop take off and landings.
Loading in Augusta was cancelled so we left in the evening bound for Gibraltar.
I can't stand the sun, I spend a few minutes in the sun and I'm burnt and after a few days I'm white again. Back on the 17th of January 1984 we had been in Denmark for a good time.
I don't blame our youth and inexperience with alcohol, I just want to mention it. And the tattoo guy, there were 3 or 4 young Swedish guys coming in to his shop 4 o'clock in the morning. Drunk, almost unconscious asking for some stupid tattoos. OK, they were Danish so they didn't liked the Swedish very much and I guess they have had many reasons for a good laugh at the tattoo shop.
I asked for “I love Blomski” with the date just to make it more exciting. don't ask me who Blomski is! Well, anyway, I don't blame him for the “I love Blomski” part. But the date, if there is a young guy coming in to the tattoo shop 4 o'clock in the morning asking for the date 01-17-84 there should be an alarm bell going off. 01-17-84, what a f@cking date! He should be in prison just for doing this date.
But we were happy when we left the tattoo shop, a little different waking up though. I called the hospital first thing and I booked a time to remove the tattoo.
I made the tattoo on the 17th of January, or well, early morning on the 18th
And I went to the hospital on the 18th to get a time to get it removed.
And of course, my Grandfather just had to comment on my tattoo in his letter that he sent in October when he got the mail from the hospital. They didn't knew about my tattoo, but as I was onboard M/T Vestria he opened my mail.
October 1984, and of course, my Grandparents found out about my tattoo when the letter from the hospital came and as I was on the ship they opened the letter. He made a remark about the tattoo and being drunk in his letter. He also added an article from the newspaper about tattoos and the problems they had with all the people wanting to remove their tattoos. Yes, back then it was not very common with tattoos, but today it is a different story.
Well, anyway, my friend told me that the scare would be less conspicuous if I got a sun tan.
- I never get any sun tan. Red and then back to white!
- No problem, I have a sun lamp
I borrowed a sun lamp from him hand I was sitting in front of this stupid sun lamp every day. At least for a few days, until I grew bored of the darn thing. He also got me to join him at a stupid solarium, the only time in my life I had been at a solarium. I hated every minute of it. A white man should be white. I tried to get a sun tan onboard M/T Vestria but I failed. And never mind, I was not in Sweden when I had my time to remove the tattoo.
I had a friend back then and he used his arse as a f@cking note board. He got a new tattoo on his arse every week. Kattollon 72 and stuff like that. And he removed them and his arse wasn't nice to watch. And he had jars where he had is old tattoos in alcohol.
And he never failed to show us his arse and his jars from the hospital, very nice to look at. Well, I guess I was lucky to be out of town when it was time to remove my tattoo.
Well, anyway, it was very foggy when we passed Gibraltar Strait and we only had orders to steam North when we were in the Atlantic. I remember when we passed Portugal and we could listen to Portuguese radio, the first good music since I joined the ship back in May. Our Chief Officer's country and western was about to drive me crazy. DARN! I remember deciding to pass the navigation school as quick as possible and there would never have to be any country and western music on the bridge. At least not when I was in charge.
In my letter home wrote that I got off my watch at 8 o'clock in the morning. The only good thing with the 4 to 8 watch was to go to bed after breakfast. I wrote home that I slept to between 12 and 13:00. Then I went to the bridge to talk with our 2nd officer and he thought me navigation and stuff.
Bay of Biscay and we got orders to load phosphorus acid in Safi, Morocco for Rotterdam or Immingham. So we turned around and we stopped in Lisbon for bunker.
Friday 27th of July 1984 and we arrived to Lisbon and we got stores and bunker and we left for Safi at lunch time.
We got a new Captain onboard. He was a real drunk. First port with him was Safi. I never saw the Captain but in Safi the authorities came onboard and took all the booze from him. They carried boxes over the gangway to a truck.
The Captain stayed in his cabin and drank all the time and he wasn't with us for very long.
My first letter back home since I started with the DAY BY DAY notes.
Thursday 2nd of August 1984 and I have started a new way to write my letters. I will make a daily note with the date. It was a lot easier for me to write, I have never been any good at writing. And this way made it possible to fill up a whole letter with just a few notes every day. And of course, today I'm happy over the change, makes it a lot easier to follow what I did back then.
And the 2nd Of August we arrived to the English Channel, for the first time in my life.
My postcard from Rotterdam 3rd of August 1984
Friday 3rd of August 1984 and we passed Dover early morning and we could see the lights from both France and England. We arrived to Rotterdam approach at 1 o'clock in the afternoon.
We got new crew and mail in Rotterdam and in the evening we went ashore with the Seaman's church. Friday night in Rotterdam so we wrote a quick postcard at the Seaman's church before moving to the nearest pub, only 2 minutes from the seaman's church. And we were soon very drunk, I had swapped my morning watch with one of the ABs so I didn't had to start work until 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
My postcard from Rotterdam 3rd of August 1984
Saturday 4th of August 1984 and we left Rotterdam in the morning and I was sleeping at departure. I read my mail that I had received yesterday and I started to work 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Nice after a long night on town.
Sunday 5th of August 1984 and our gyro compass broke down and we could not use our autopilot, so it was hand steering all watch long. It was raining and we're going to pass Skagen at midnight. I also wrote home that we could see Swedish TV with a perfect picture. Well, can't have been any interesting to watch on the telly.
Monday 6th of August 1984 and I saw a lightship when we passed Anholt and we expected to arrive to Helsingborg during the day. My Grandparents had obviously been in Helsingborg to pick me up at the ship. Or maybe it was my cousin, at least it was my cousin that drove me back to the ship.
Tuesday 7th of August 1984 and we left Helsingborg 7 o'clock in the morning. I had been up all night long so it was nice to go to bed at 8. I had covered for one of the ABs living in Helsingborg between 12 and 4 and he will cover for me when I want to go ashore for a good time.
Wednesday 8th of August 1984 and today we could see English TV
Thursday 9th of August 1984 and we arrived to Flushing and we took Pilot 7 o'clock in the morning
My postcard from Vlissingen/ Flushing 9th of August 1984
We discharged the phosphorus acid that we had loaded in Helsingborg in Vlissingen. And one of our cargo pums didn't work according to my letter back home so we were delayed by one day.
Friday 10th of August 1984 and we left Vlissingen at 9 thirty in the evening, delayed by 1 day. We're bound for Rotterdam where we will load phosphorus acid to Szczecinie in Poland. Poland meant problem, we had a AB from Poland onboard and I think he had escaped from Poland so he could not come with us to Poland. Yes, this was the East and West block area.
Saturday 11th of August 1984 and we arrived to Rotterdam at 04:30 in the morning. We changed some of our cargo pumps and we loaded 1500 ton phosphorus acid from a barge
My postcard from Rotterdam 11th of August 1984
Sunday 12th of August 1984 and we shifted to a jetty to load the rest of the cargo and we left Rotterdam 7 o'clock in the evening.
Monday 13th of August 1984 and we arrived to the lock in Brunsbüttel at 7 in the evening. I went ashore to the shop in the lock and I sent a post card and I bought ice cream.
My postcard from Brunsbüttel 13th of August 1984
There were Swedish newspapers in the shop as well. But I can't remember me buying any Swedish newspaper in the look. There were candy and souvenirs and some clothes. But I only bought ice cream and some Lübeck marzipan, a whole loaf of marzipan and I got sick of the darn marzipan.
The lock Brunsbüttel 13th of August 1984
Leaving the lock in Brunsbüttel 13th of August 1984
Tuesday 14th of August 1984 and we arrived to the lock in Holtenau at 4 thirty in the morning. We expect to drop our anchor outside Swinoujscie. I think the river is named Oder going from Swinoujscie to Szczecinie
Wednesday 15th of August 1984 and we left the anchorage in the afternoon and we steamed up the river to Szczecinie. As soon as we had passed Swinoujscie it was only wilds all the way to Szczecinie. And as I wrote in my letter: It is only wilderness and forest around us
We're passing Swinoujscie
On the way to Szczecinie
The ferry service between Szczecinie and Swinoujscie is overtaking us
My postcard from Szczecinie 15th of August 1984
Thursday 16th of August 1984 and we left Szczecinie in the morning and I had to work until 12 o'clock with tank cleaning. We're bound for Helsingborg and we will load for Antwerp. So our tanks need to be clean at arrival to Helsingborg.
Doing tank cleaning when we're leaving Szczecinie
My next entry is from the 21st of August when we arrived to Antwerp. Well, most likely because I never mentioned what we did in Helsingborg in my letter back home. We arrived to Helsingborg on Friday afternoon and my friend had been driving from Mölle to pick me up. We were going back to Mölle for some beer drinking and this was nothing I mentioned in my letters to my Grandparents.
we ended up on Captain's Corner at Grand Hotel on Mölle. By then it had been almost 3 months since I had meet my friends so it was very fun. I remember that one of my friends and I took a taxi to Helsingborg later on in the night.
My friend slept on the bench in my cabin and we were quite shocked when my door swung open at 07:15 and the Chief Officer stepped inside and started to blow an f@cking trumpet.
- What the
- Oh, sorry, wrong cabin.
We left for Helsingborg city centre for breakfast and I returned to the ship and my work. And we left for Antwerp on Saturday or Sunday.
Tuesday 21st of August 1984 and we had nice weather on our way to Antwerp. But our gyro compass had broken down again so we could not use the autopilot and we had to steer the ship by hand. Well, it is not fun with hand steering but the steering was good training.
We arrived to Antwerp in the evening and we started our discharging.
My postcard from Antwerp 22nd of August 1984
Wednesday 22nd of August 1984 and we got 2 people from the Swedish maritime authorities onboard for inspection. I didn't write anything about the findings in my letter home so I don't know if they were pleased with our ship. But I doubt it.
Saturday 25th of August 1984 and we had arrived to Hamburg yesterday evening just before midnight. We were staying at a repair jetty to repair our cargo pumps before shifting to the loading jetty.
I was ashore with our Radio Officer, my first time in Hamburg so I wanted to check it out. And what a good idea to go ashore with our Radio Officer. We ran out of money in the middle of the night so we just took a taxi back onboard. A quick visit to his office and we were loaded again and we could return to the city with the taxi.
Of course, it was not so fun the day after when he came with the cash advance list that I had to sign. But we had fun and that was the most important.
My postcard from Hamburg 25th of August 1984
Sunday 26th of August 1984 and we left Hamburg 07:30 and we expect to arrive to Nordenham in River Weser in about 10 hours.
Monday 27th of August 1984 and I wrote home that we walked to a kiosk and bought postcards. It was a gloomy and grey day but otherwise we were OK.
My postcard from Nordenham 27th of August 1984
Tuesday 28th of August 1984 and we left Nordenham bound for Odda in Norway. According to my pictures it was a gloomy day, but we had a crayfish party on 2nd poop deck on our way to Norway
At least it was no sunshine, but then again, my pictures has been in a photo album for almost 30 years so I would not make any bet about the weather by judging from my old pictures. But I can see that the sea looked nice so no rolling in heavy seas. Crayfish, not my favourite, but I can read in my mail that there were meatballs, sausages, spare ribs and herring. Herring, who the is eating herring?
And we were obviously very luck with the weather because when we came closer to Norway it started to roll. There are always heavy swell or seas West of Norway so nothing else was expected.
All this must have happened on the 29th of August. I didn't make any entry for the 29th of August 1984. We must have got our next voyage order via telex, after discharging the sulphuric acid in Rotterdam we would go to load sulphuric acid in Antwerp for England.
My postcard from Odda in Norway 30th of August 1984
Thursday 30th of August 1984 and we arrived to Odda 5 o'clock in the morning. When the sun came up I was impressed, I had never seen something like this before. We were surrounded by high mountains covered in snow. There were water falls down the mountains. It was a very beautiful scenery even though it was raining and blowing.
I hitchhiked in to Odda and I spent 600 Kr on shoes and a Bullworker. I have not seen any bullworker around for a very long time now. But back then they were very popular. People bought Bullworkers like there was no tomorrow and everyone had one Bullworker lying around. Yes, lying around! Never used, well, of course, a few minutes the first day after purchase to try the different exercises that followed with the Bullworker.
Bullworker was pretty much as the video cameras back in the 80's and a language course. How many unused language courses are lying around in the world. “Be fluent in Spanish with a few minutes per day” Of course, who wouldn't like to be fluent in Spanish or Chinese in just a few minutes per day. People gave up after the first day and you would soon look like Johnny Weissmuller or Ricky Bruch by using the Bullworker just a few minutes per day.
It was like with the video cameras, everyone bought a video camera back in the 80's. And after watching 2 minutes of their first move they realised that some kind of talent and editing to make the movie bearable to watch. The camera ended up in the same drawer as the Bullworker.
We left Odda 8 o'clock in the evening and it was dark and I would really have liked to watch the mountains around Hardanger when leaving Norway.
Sunday 2nd of September 1984 and we discharged our Sulphuric acid at Boliden. I think it was Boliden back then, today it is VOPAK. We had a walk to a small village close by our jetty.
My postcard from Rotterdam 2nd of September 1984
Monday 3rd of September 1984 and we arrived to Antwerp 11 o'clock in the morning and we were going to load sulphuric acid for England. As I wrote home: One of the ABs and I took the bus in to Antwerp where we walked around having a look at the city.
Well, I failed to mention that we almost missed the ship. Gangway was removed and we had to climb onboard. We had been “looking around” trying the different beers and we were more than a little tipsy when we returned.
My postcard from Antwerp 3rd of September 1984
Tuesday 4th of September 1984 and we left Antwerp 30 minutes after midnight so you understand that we almost missed the ship. It was raining and blowing so we it was rolling slightly on our way to England
Wednesday 5th of September 1984 and we were waiting outside Sealsand for them to be ready to receive our cargo. Bad weather and heavy rolling.
I remember being on deck working in the afternoon. I was going to change a valve on our manifold and I was draining our manifold. When there wasn't any more sulphuric acid coming out from the hose I closed the valve and I started to remove the valve.
Suddenly when the ship is rolling over I'm getting flushed with sulphuric acid. Luckily enough I didn't get any in my eyes, and I was covered in scabs around my eyes. I looked like I had been in a fight for months after the incident.
- Have you been in a fight?
I never bothered to explain. And today, 2011, 27 years later children still gets scared when they see the scars on my leg and arm. And I'm still unmarried, well, hmm, might be due to the fact that no one fancy getting married to a cubic ton of “Porky the human balloon”
We came alongside at 11 o'clock in the evening and we started to discharge our sulphuric acid.
Thursday 6th of September 1984 and we had sunshine and nice weather. We left Sealsand at 7 o'clock in the evening bound for Norway.
Saturday 8th of September 1984 and we arrived to Sarpsborg in Norway at 8 o'clock in the morning. And it was time for our Captain and Radio Officer to sign off. They had a hard time handling the liquor. Our Captain and Radio Officer didn't like each other and I think they were fighting when they were drunk. We found our Radio Officer on deck one morning with a broken arm.
They were about to throw each other's luggage overboard when they walked over the gangway. I could hear them screaming at each other all the way up to the bridge.
I was off to the hospital at 11. The acid and the burn I got on my leg and arm was very painful. I could not stay up or lay down and I had been hoping for some pain killers. They gave me some antibiotic and that helped f@ck all for the pain.
My postcard from Sarpsborg 8th of September 1984
We left Sarpsborg at 17 thirty bound for Fredrikstad 30 minutes or something down the river where we would load the rest of the cargo. We left Norway at 22 thirty bound for Belgium.
Monday 10th of September 1984 and we were on the North Sea with strong winds & heavy rolling.
Tuesday 11th of September 1984 and we got our Pilot during the night and we dropped our anchor in River Schelde just outside Antwerp. We have to wait for the high water before we can go up to Ruisbruck to discharge our sulphuric acid.
I had a terrible pain in my leg after the sulphuric acid incident and I was hoping that I didn't have to go on sick leave and sign off. This was my first time in Ruisbruck and I was impressed by the sight when we passed Antwerp on river Schelde.
It was a very beautiful town with all the old houses.
Wednesday 12th of September 1984 and we left Ruisbruck around 5 o'clock in the afternoon. It takes us 7 to 8 hours to go down river Schelde to the North Sea. I wrote home that I was writing a letter to my cousin, but there wasn't much to write about. Pretty clever, to write that I don't have much to write about and I filled 10% of my letter by that remark.
Friday 14th of September 1984 and we arrived to Hamburg around midnight and we expect to leave for Nordenham tonight. I was supposed to be at the Doctor to check my leg, but I skipped it.
We got mail and I got 3 letters and 1 postcard. Good, always nice with mail. We left Hamburg around 8 o'clock in the evening.
Saturday 15th of September 1984 and we arrived to Nordenham in the morning. We had to wait at the anchorage for about 5 hours for the high water before we could go alongside. I was supposed to go to the Doctor, but it was cancelled. And I really had some terrible pain in my leg.
My postcard from Nordenham 15th of September 1984
Sunday 16th of September 1984 and we left Nordenham 4 o'clock in the morning and we arrived to Hamburg 4 o'clock in the afternoon. And finally, I get to the hospital and I'm not allowed to work for 7 days. I didn't want to go home and the Captain told me that I could stay onboard during the sick leave.
My postcard from Hamburg 16th of September 1984
Monday 17th of September 1984 and we were back in Nordenham in the evening and we dropped our anchor just off the jetty. Now we have to wait for the high water. We came alongside around 15 thirty and I went ashore 1 hour later with 2 of the deck crew to have a look at Bremerhaven.
My postcard from Nordenham 18th of September 1984
We walked to the ferry station and we took the ferry across river Weser to Bremerhaven. We spent a few hours walking around looking at the city.
We took the bus to the city of Nordenham when we were back across the river Weser and we looked at the city for a while before returning to the old train station by bus and we walked back to the ship.
My postcard from Bremerhaven 18th of September 1984
Thursday 20th of September 1984 and we're loading phosphorus acid in Rotterdam for Eastham in River Mersey And according to my postcard it was gloomy and grey.
My postcard from Rotterdam 20th of September 1984
I'm really glad that I listened to my Grandparents advice about putting dates on my postcards and my letters back home
- Please, put the date on your postcard and letters.
Date in my letters was of course helping my Grandparents understanding what the f@ck I was writing home about. Just hit the “PAGE UP” button a few times to see one of my first letters back home. And the postcards:
- Put the date on all the postcards. You will be grateful when you read them in 30 years
- Who the cares about some old postcards. In 30 years, is it possible to get that old?
Unnecessary to say, today I'm grateful for listening to their advices. If I only would have listened to their other advices. Then I would have had a comfortable life as retired today. But back then it was more important to have fun. But that's the same with all youths, never listening to advice from the old generation.
- In 30 years, who the f@ck cares?
And now 30 years later, and believe me, 30 years are pretty quick I'm here thinking about all these advices. But I don't know, retired and I might have ended up as an alcoholic.
One of my “DAY BY DAY” dated letters from back in 1984
Friday 21st of September 1984 and we're passing the whithe cliffs of Dover on our way to Eastham in the Irish Sea. We saw hovercrafts going between France and England.
Sunday 23rd of September 1984 and we're anchored at BAR waiting for the high water so we can go up river Mersey to Eastham. Rough sea and rain.
Monday 24th of September 1984 and I started to work today after my week of sick leave. I still remember this day as it was yesterday. I was back on the 12 to 4 watch and I came to relieve the helmsman on the bridge at midnight.
I get really sick just a few minutes after midnight and I'm about to puke all over the bridge. But after 1 week of sickness getting sick was not an option so I never said anything and I managed to take M/T Vestria to Eastham lock. I also remember passing Liverpool water front, quite impressive.
My postcard from Liverpool 24th of September 1984
Lucky to have my letters as back up when they stamped my postcard right on the date
We passed the lock and we had all fast around 2 o'clock in the morning. The Seaman's church came and picked us up in the afternoon and we went to Liverpool for some sightseeing. We saw the sights and they drove us back to the ship and we left Eastham at midnight.
Wednesday 26th of September 1984 and we arrived to Avonmouth in the morning. I was promoted from Deck Boy to OS and I got a permanent position in the company.
I remember going ashore in Avonmouth, and United Kingdom, isn't this supposed to be a beacon of civilization? Jesus Christ, I remember being shocked. Liverpool and it was a big city so it looked pretty much like any big city. But Avonmouth, could as well have been a town somewhere in Africa.
We went in to a pub and there was a couple drinking beer and they had their kid running around with a toy truck begging for money. Talk about penury and this is Europe, I was shocked. And it had not turned any better with the years. I remember my first pint of lager in England. 60 or 80 Pence or something like that and I gave them 1£.
- Keep the change!
- WE'RE WORKING FOR OUR MONEY! KEEP YOUR CHANGE!
Now a day it is a different story, at the restaurants they have a “We don't pay our staff so GRATITUDE (A nicer word for tip) is appreciated” printed on the bill. Well, anyway, why not skip the beer drinking and buy milk for the kid instead of having him running around the pub begging for money.
The whole town or village was worn down and I was really glad that I didn't live around here. I also remember that they went ashore to buy a bar counter for our day room here in Avonmouth and it was delivered before we left in the evening.
I was on the poop deck at departure and we let go of our mooring lines and the boat man must have been 100 something.
He didn't have the power to lift the mooring lines of the bollards. I was screaming to the bridge all the way across the dock to the lock.
- He can't let go the last stern line!
Well, who knows, they might have been dead drunk on the bridge because no sign of stopping and we were almost at the lock when the boat man managed to release the last stern line.
Well, Ruisbroek in Belgium next to discharge our cargo, it was most likely Sulphuric Acid we loaded in Avonmouth because we used to load SUPER phosphorus acid in Ruisbroek.
Friday 28th of September 1984 and we arrived to Schelde Pilot station 6 o'clock in the evening. We had also had had a lifeboat muster during the day.
Saturday 29th of September 1984 and we dropped our anchor outside Antwerp at 01:30 in order to wait for the high water. We were alongside before lunch and I received 3 letters and 1 post card.
My postcard from Antwerp 29th of September 1984
We took a taxi to Antwerp in the evening and I wrote home that we visited the Danish Seaman's church in Antwerp. Of course, I never mentioned us drinking ourselves unconscious before returning to Ruisbroek with taxi.
Sunday 30th of September 1984 and we left Ruisbroek in the morning bound for Hamburg.
My postcard from Hamburg 1st of October 1984
Monday 1st of October 1984 and it was raining. I wrote home that they had played the Swedish national anthem and saluted us with the Swedish flag when we passed a restaurant on our way up river Elbe to Hamburg.
I think we had to do some work on the ship in Hamburg because I wrote home that it looked like we were going to stay for a few days in Hamburg.
We came alongside 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we went to the Seaman's church in the evening. And I bought cassette tapes for a few hundred Swedish Scooby Doo dollars according to my letter back home. And I quote “They are cheap in Germany”
Tuesday 2nd of October 1984 and I don't remember what they it was, but our fitter had his birthday and our Captain took the opportunity to throw a party in the ship's lounge. There were soda pops and cookies and he had even arranged a “Lucky Dip”
I had been ashore the day before for a few beer, well, back then there wasn't anything called a few beers. We had at least 25 of them. Well, anyway I returned to the ship just in time to start work at 0800. I wasn't in the best mood and I had planned to sleep when I had finished my work in the evening.
They told me that there was a party in the lounge when I finished work so I had to forget about the sleep.
I thought that I can have some cookies and a soda before my nap. When I came to the lounge there were plenty cookies and soda pops. Captain told us that there was vodka to mix in the soda if the soda was too strong for us. And we mixed the soda pop generously.
Captain arranged a few games for us to play. Lucky dip was popular and we had much fun. I was lucky and I got 50 Portuguese zloty. After the party we went ashore, my Portuguese zloty was burning in the pocket. Well, we were young so we could take another night on town. Back then I had some hair to let down and I took every opportunity.
Wednesday 3rd of October 1984 and we went ashore to have a good time.
Thursday 4th of October 1984 and we went ashore to have a good time.
Friday 5th of October 1984 and we left Hamburg in the evening bound for Helsingborg. I don't have any entries in my letter back home between the 5th of October and the 9th of October 1984 when we left Helsingborg. My guess is that we were ashore having a good time in Helsingborg.
And when we were in Helsingborg we were busy 24/7. Many of us lived there or had friends in Helsingborg. So we worked 24/7 covering for the crew being ashore.
Tuesday 9th of October 1984 and we left Helsingborg late in the evening and we arrived to Copenhagen around midnight. We stopped for taking bunker on the roads of Copenhagen on our way to Köping in Lake Mälaren.
Thursday 11th of October 1984 and WOW!! This was fun, I'm sitting in my cabin onboard DE/T Randgrid in Mongstad updating my adventure onboard M/T Vestria back in 1984. I brought all my letters from Bangkok and I work through my letters one by one while updating my adventure onboard M/T Vestria.
11th of October 1984 and my first desperate try to keep a diet
I discovered that I had made a bet with our Motorman, only fruit and vegetables until Sunday. My first ever bet on order to keep some form of diet going. I had not been boxing for 6 months and I was getting a wee bit flabby. So obviously I had not done my sit ups and push ups as I had wrote home about when I joined the ship.
I remember this bet, but I remember it as a case of beer and not 200kr.
Well, anyway, our Motorman got caught the very first day and the bet was down the drain. The bet was over before my first meal and I could just dig in. I won my first ever “DIET” bet. But this was followed by many many failures during the years and I have lost quite a lot. Not weight, but money!
We arrived to the waiting jetty 7 o'clock in the evening and we expect to be waiting here for an hour before shifting to the discharge jetty.
My postcard from Köping 11th of October 1984
Friday 12th of October 1984 and we left Köping in the afternoon and the sun was shining.
My postcard from the lock in Brunsbüttel 14th of October 1984
Sunday 14th of October 1984 and we arrived to the Kiel Canal in the morning and we expect to be in Hamburg in the evening. And it was pretty OK weather according to the postcard I sent home.
Monday 15th of October 1984 and we left Hamburg around 3 o'clock in the afternoon bound for Rotterdam with Sulphuric Acid. It was rolling a little when we left the Pilot at Elbe pilot station.
My postcard from Hamburg 15th of October 1984
Tuesday 16th of October 1984 and we arrived to Rotterdam in the afternoon.
My postcard from Rotterdam 16th of October 1984
I wrote the postcard in Rotterdam 16th of October 1984 but it was not sent until we were back in Hamburg
Wednesday 17th of October 1984 and we left Rotterdam in the evening bound for Hamburg to load sulphuric acid again. This time for Sealsand in England.
Thursday 18th of October 1984 and we had pretty bad weather. We got 2 new on signers and they brought mail. I wrote home that I got a post card from my friend Jonas.
Friday 19th of October 1984 and we left Hamburg and it was full storm.
Sunday 21st of October 1984 and we arrived to Sealsand and I still remember this day. It was very nice to arrive after the trip across the North Sea. It had been terrible weather and heavy rolling on the way from Hamburg to England.
My postcard from Middlesbrough 21st of October 1984
Sealsand is the port of Middlesbrough so the Swedish Seaman's church in Middlesbrough came to pick us up so we could see the town. Nice to leave the ship for a few hours.
And I also remember this evening. Sunday and the Seaman's Church picked us up at the ship and we went ashore for some beer drinking. Sunday and we arrived to the church in the middle of the service. We just wanted to change money and we would be off to Captain Cook and Robin Hood or whatever the places were called. But I remember Captain Cook and the “Scandal Beauties” Believe me, these girls were not fair. 200 kilos, tooth less and covered in tattoos and they finished a pint of lager in a wink of an eye. A pure abomination, a little like at the County Hotel in Immingham.
Robin Hood wasn't much better. I remember that a Norwegian Chief Officer and I were kicked out from Robin Hood in the early morning after dancing the Jenka. And I think there were a few glasses of beer that we kicked down from a few tables involved.
Monday 22nd of October 1984 and we left Middlesbrough 5 o'clock in the morning bound for Sarpsborg in Norway to load sulphuric acid again.
Tuesday 23rd of October 1984 and I'm obviously putting down a few words in my letter home on our way to Sarpsborg in Norway. “We arrive to Sarpsborg tonight. I wonder if there is any news for me on when I will do my military duty”
Wednesday 24th of October 1984 and we left for Fredrikstad down the river from Sarpsborg to load full cargo. According to my letter is about 1 hour from Sarpsborg to Fredrikstad. And the only thing I remember from Fredrikstad is that I was working with a Chief Officer from Fredrikstad, must have been in the middle of the 90's. Well, anyway, the police was looking for him and they knocked on his door and his mother opened.
- We're looking for whatever his name was
- He is not home
- But his shoes are here!
- He has another pair! The Chief Officer screamed from the 2nd floor.
Well, that's how “GANGSTA #8221; it can get in Fredrikstad in Norway. Well, anyway, we got mail in Sarpsborg and I wrote home that H had received postcards from a class mate that had got work in Broström. I also wrote home that I was saving money and that I was going to buy a motorcycle when I was back home.
My postcard from Sarpsborg 23rd of October 1984
- Hmm, I wonder what they thought back home.
All my saving, one letter and I were going to buy a Jaguar and the next mail is something else. And after 8 months onboard I had f@ck all. People join a ship for a few months and when they come home they buy a house, a car and they travel around the world. I'm coming home and I have ZIP!
Well, anyway, we left Fredrikstad for Rotterdam in the evening
My postcard from Nordenham, Germany 28th of October 1984
This was the old train station where we used to buy postcard just a few minutes' walk from the jetty. There was also a pub
Sunday 28th of October 1984 and we are loading in Nordenham. I didn't write anything between the 24the of October and the 28th of October, but we had been discharging the sulphuric acid from Sarpsborg in Norway in Rotterdam.
We were loading for Rotterdam in Nordenham. I write home that we have a new address changed from Thore Shipping in Helsingborg to Joel Backman & Söner Rederi AB on Donsö. Thore Shipping had been on the way to go bankruptcy for a long time and now it seemed like they had finally been given up.
Tuesday 30th of October 1984 and we arrived to Rotterdam in the morning. Swedish Seaman's church was onboard with newspapers and we left for Hamburg at midnight.
My postcard from Rotterdam 30th of October 1984
I must obviously have been ashore doing something stupid because I wrote home that I would not go ashore anymore.
Thursday 1st of November 1984 and we arrived to Hamburg around midnight and we got mail
Saturday 3rd of November 1984 and we arrived to Rotterdam around 4 o'clock in the morning. We got Swedish newspapers onboard and we left for Hamburg again.
Monday 5th of November 1984 and we left Hamburg in the evening bound for Sealsand in England.
My postcard from Hamburg 5th of November 1984
Wednesday 7th of November 1984 and we arrived to Sealsand 9 thirty in the morning. We held a life boat muster at arrival and we went in to Middlesbrough with the Seaman's church in the evening. According to my postcard we didn't knew where to go after Middlesbrough.
My postcard from Middlesbrough 7th of November 1984
Thursday 8th of November 1984 and we left Sealsand 3 o'clock in the morning and we dropped anchor outside Sealsand while waiting for loading orders.
From Helsingborgs Dagblad October 1984
We got orders to load in Safi, Morocco and we had to stop in Lisbon for bunker. I was also fired during the day. Joel Backman & Söner had taking over M/T Vestria and Thore Shipping went bankrupt and I was fired from Thore Shipping.
I wrote home that I would be home in the beginning of December
Saturday 10th of November 1984 and I wrote that we were in the Bay of Biscay and that the weather was nice. I also wrote that they had bought exercise equipment in England. But I never mention anything about using the equipment.
I can't remember me using any exercise equipment onboard M/T Vestria, I can't even remember us having any exercise equipment onboard. And I have a hard time imagine any of the crew using the stuff.
I also wrote home that I might stay over the Christmas, if I'm lucky. “During the Christmas there is a lot of money to earn”
Sunday 11th of November 1984 and I made Danish pastries during my afternoon watch. I remember that I didn't know how to make the yellow filling in the middle so I covered the Danish in some green stuff. And the crew finished all the pastries. The weather was nice according to my letter home.
Monday 12th of November 1984 and we arrived to Lisbon roads 9 o'clock in the morning. We only stayed for a few hours while taking bunker. I still remember this stay in Lisbon like it was yesterday. Yes, the Pilot was old and the Captain went on and on about old people.
- You know, when humans turn 60 they should just get shot in the head. They are good for nothing!
The Pilot was almost crying when the Captain went on and on about old people. And my guess is that the Captain was drunk. They drank pretty heavy on board M/T Vestria back in 1984. we left Lisbon and I think the Pilot was happy to get off the ship.
November and it was nice to move Southwards, I wrote home that we have had weather like during the summer in Sweden even though it was gloomy and grey.
And Thore shipping had sold their other ships, Vernia and Canadia and I wrote home that I might be home in the beginning of December. I wrote home that it would be nice to get back home. We left Lisbon at 16:30 in the afternoon.
Tuesday 13th of November 1984 and we arrived to the anchorage outside Safi in the evening and we had nice weather.
My postcard from Safi 14th of November 1984
Wednesday 14th of November 1984 and we come alongside 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Captain was most likely drunk and he asked our Agent to arrange for some prostitutes. But I don't think they were allowed to come onboard so our Captain left with the Agent.
Yes, some of the crew liked to have a drink and I remember one of our Cooks. He finished work 6 or 7 in the evening and he always said:
- Ut ur byssan, ner för lejdaren o in i dimman
I will try to translate that to English “Out from the kitchen down the stairs and in to the fog” Well, that's pretty much Get the f@ck out from the kitchen down the stairs and in to my cabin to drink myself retarded. Yeah, what a waste of the only life we got.
Thursday 15th of November 1984 and we completed the loading of our phosphorus acid and we left for Ruisbroek in the morning. We had nice weather but the vessel was rolling due to swell from the Atlantic. I saw plenty dolphins during the day.
Sunday 18th of November 1984 and we were in Bay of Biscay and I was back in the kitchen during my afternoon watch. I baked meringue and mandelkubbar. The meringue didn't turn out so good because the oven was too hot.
Wednesday 21st of November 1984 and we left Ruisbroek in the afternoon and we had to go down in the tanks with a fire hose to clean out the mud remaining after the phosphorus acid. Always 20 to 30 cm of mud remaining in the tanks after discharging the phosphorus acid. Sulphuric acid is much better, just to clean with water and mop the wells and it is ready.
Thursday 22nd of November 1984 and we arrived to Hamburg in the evening and we will load sulphuric acid for Nordenham in river Weser just a few hours from Hamburg. According to my letter home the weather was “NASTY”
Friday 23rd of November 1984 and we left Hamburg in the afternoon and it was raining.
Saturday 24th of November 1984 and we arrived to Nordenham at lunch and we left in the evening. Back to Hamburg to load sulphuric acid for Nordenham again.
Sunday 25th of November 1984 and we're back in Hamburg and the weather is OK. I write that we're going to Norway after Nordenham and then we will most likely go to Landskrona or Helsingborg where I will sign off. I wrote home that I expected to leave the ship around 30th of November 1984 in Landskrona or Helsingborg.
My postcard from Nordenham 24th of November 1984
I started a new letter on our way from Nordenham to Norway. I sent my previous letter from Hamburg. And I quote: “I wrote in my previous letter that I was going to sign off in Landskrona. But it looks like these plans were cancelled. One AB will leave us on sick leave and I will be promoted from OS to AB and I will stay onboard for a wee bit longer”
My postcard from Sarpsborg, Norway 28th of November 1984
Wednesday 28th of November 1984 and we took our Pilot at 4 o'clock in the morning. I wrote home that the ship was rolling heavily and it was hard to steer, so I was obviously at the helm when we took onboard the Pilot.
The Norwegian Custom came onboard and they searched our ship for cigarettes and booze. Yes, the British and Scandinavian custom officers were worse than STASI back then.
Our Captain talked with the company and they don't know for sure if I will be fired and I will stay until further notice. We left for Fredrikstad to load full cargo.
Sunday 2nd of December 1984 and I didn't made any entries in my letter home between the 28th of November and the 2nd of December so I don't know where we discharged our cargo from Norway. But we were most likely discharging in Landskrona.
But now we were on the way to Köping in Lake Mälaren with a cargo of phosphorus acid from Helsingborg. I wrote home that I had been in the engine room doing some hobby work. We took onboard our Pilot at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
I wrote home that we passed a lot of islets and islands on our way through the archipelago on our way to the lock in Södertälje. We passed the lock at 6 o'clock and we arrived to Köping at midnight. We would not start loading until the morning after.
My postcard from Köping 3rd of December 1984
Monday 3rd of December 1984 and we left Köping in the evening. We have had 4 guys on board from Helsingborg that had put steam pipes on deck and they left us in Köping.
Tuesday 4th of December 1984 and I remember that we passed Stockholm on my morning watch. I was on watch between midnight and 4 o'clock in the morning and I was on the helm when we passed Stockholm and the lock. Captain asked me to put hard to port.
- Hard to port?
- NO NO hard to starboard!!
Wednesday 5th of December 1984 and we're anchored outside Skeleftehamn and we expect to come alongside in the evening. And it was very cold and snow everywhere.
We will load sulphuric acid at Boliden's factory, Rönnskär in Skeleftehamn. We took the bus to Skelefteå in the evening and it took us about 30 minutes. We had a look around in the town before we returned to the ship. Nice to be back onboard again, darn, it was cold in the North of Sweden.
I still remember coming up to the bridge at the anchorage. When I went to bed 4 o'clock in the morning it was dark. Well, it was almost dark at lunch time as well. It was snow and ice everywhere and it was darn cold and I really wanted to leave this behind. But the winter of 1984/ 85 would turn out to be very cold.
This was just the beginning and of course, it was expected for the North of Sweden.
My postcard from Skelefteå 5th of December 1984
Sunday 9th of December 1984 and we were obviously discharging the sulphuric acid from Skeleftehamn in Landskrona. My next entry is from the 10th and we left Landskrona at 12 o'clock bound for Hamburg via the Kiel Canal. And I got mail in Landskrona.
AB, Motorman and Fitter in the day room
Monday 10th of December 1984 and we arrived to Holtenau lock 2 o'clock in the morning and we arrived to Hamburg 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Rain and bad weather.
Tuesday 11th of December 1984 and we left Hamburg around 11 thirty bound for Helsingborg.
Thursday 13th of December 1984 and we left Helsingborg 9 thirty in the morning. We were bound for Odda in Norway, yeah, a real dream destination in the winter.
we're going to load sulphuric acid for Rotterdam
Our auto pilot broke down in the afternoon so we had to steer by hand steering. No notes in my letter for how long we had to steer the ship by hand.
My postcard from Odda in Norway 14th of December 1984
Friday 14th of December 1984 and I wrote the last entry in my letter on our way in to the fjord and Odda. So my guess is that I sent the letter from Odda. We expected to arrive 8 o'clock in the evening and we're surrounded by snow covered mountains.
We're on our way to Rotterdam from Odda when I start my next letter. I also ask my Grandparents to arrange application for the navigation school in Go:teborg as I planned to start school after the summer of 1995. And it was of course terrible weather on the way to Rotterdam, strong winds with heavy sea and rolling.
Tuesday 18th of December 1984 we discharged the sulphuric acid in Rotterdam and when we were ready we were shifting berth to load phosphorus acid to Hamburg.
My postcard from Rotterdam 18th of December 1984
Wednesday 19th of December 1984 and we left Rotterdam at lunch time. The weather was a wee bit better now. I also wrote that I might wait one more year before applying to navigation school.
Thursday 20th of December 1984 and we arrived to Hamburg at lunch time. We spent the evening at the Seaman's church drinking tea and eating cookies. I also bought postcards and chocolate.
When we came back onboard we had finished discharging of the phosphorus acid and we shifted to another jetty were we will do tank cleaning and when we were ready with the tank cleaning we will load sulphuric acid.
My postcard from Hamburg 21st of December 1984
Saturday 22nd of December 1984 and we left Hamburg in the morning and we arrived to Nordenham 10 o'clock in the evening.
Sunday 23rd of December 1984 and we left Nordenham early in the morning. Bound for Hamburg again and this Hamburg to Nordenham trips was very boring.
Monday 24th of December 1984 and we left Hamburg 9 o'clock in the morning and we dropped our anchor in Nordenham in the evening waiting for the high water.
We had our Christmas dinner while waiting at the anchorage. We got Christmas gifts from the Seaman's church in Hamburg when we visited Hamburg last time.
This is an old tradition, the churches collect Christmas gifts from the congregation that they send it to the seaman's churches that hand them out to the ships and to the poor Sailors. So there was a lot of old ladies sitting around knitting socks and stuff for the crew on the Swedish ships. And we marked the gifts with numbers and our, I think he was the 3rd Engineer, had to pull their numbers out from a beer glass.
I remember going to the bridge in the evening to call home. Back then there was no mobile phones so I had to call via radio. SO our 2nd Officer called Gothenburg Radio and they connected me to my Grandparents and I could speak with them over the radio to their telephone in Sweden. And Gothenburg Radio charged me a fortune for the call. So yes, it is better today.
Christmas and there were many people calling so Gothenburg Radio put me on a waiting list and when they connected my call everyone listening to the frequency could listen. This was how it worked back in the 80's. Today everyone has a mobile phone in their pocket.
Tuesday 25th of December 1984 and we left Nordenham in the morning bound for Wilhelmshaven and we arrived around 8 o'clock in the evening. We will clean our tanks in Wilhelmshaven before loading caustic soda to Rotterdam.
Wednesday 26th of December 1984 and it was snowing and raining and I wrote home that we will leave for Rotterdam during the night
Thursday 27th of December 1984 and we never went to Rotterdam. We dropped anchor outside Vlissingen around 9 o'clock in the evening. Rotterdam was changed for Antwerp.
My postcard from Antwerp 28th of December 1984
Friday 28th of December 1984 and we heaved up our anchor at 9 thirty and we arrived to Antwerp in the afternoon. I wrote home that we were going to Sealsand, Wilhelmshaven and Helsingborg after Antwerp. But there could of course be changes and I posted my second last letter from M/T Vestria from Antwerp.
Antwerp, I really liked Antwerp and we went ashore as much as we could. We took taxi from Ruisbroek to Antwerp for a good night on town many times as well.
We were discharging Caustic Soda and then we were going to load sulphuric acid in Antwerp for Sealsand.
Discharging and loading and a tank cleaning between so there was time to go ashore to explore the city of Antwerp. I don't know when I took the pictures from Antwerp, but they are from Antwerp and it doesn't look like summer.
Most likely from earlier in the autumn, but I don't know for sure.
But this evening (when I took the pictures) I was ashore with 2 other ABs and one of the Motormen. I don't know who was back onboard working. But we were more than 20 people onboard so there was always someone on deck to take care of stuff.
And we swapped watches so there was always a possibility to go ashore for some fun.
And Antwerp was dirt cheap. 2 Dollars was 100 Belgium Franc and a beer was 8 Franc and at a fancy disco I paid 27 Frank for imported Danish beer so it was impossible to spent any money. Well, I guess we managed to spend a lot. But we got a lot, today they have Euro and it is totally different. Now it is possible to spend money quicker than you want.
Well, anyway, today I'm too old for running around Antwerp drinking beer.
Well, the winter 84/85 must have been one of the coldest winters in a very long time. There was ice in the port of Antwerp and I was starting to getting tired of the winter and the ship. I had planned to stay onboard for 12 month bit now, after 7 months I was reconsider.
Friday 31st of December 1984 and we arrived to Sealsand, the port of Middlesbrough in the morning. I don't remember why, but I went to the Doctor and I got some ointment for my knee. I don't remember what I had done to my knee. But I remember being at the doctor in Middlesbrough. The strange thing is that I remember it as it was another ship. Not so long ago, but it was obviously onboard M/T Vestria, at least according to my letter home.
New Year's Eve and we had Christmas dinner according to Swedish traditions, and yes, I'm happy to have left Sweden and the Christmas dinner traditions behind. You're feed up with the Christmas food already on Christmas Eve and it just goes on and on.
Well, anyway, it was full storm outside, I wrote hurricane forces in my letter back home, so we could not leave Sealsand. Well, we took the opportunity to make tank cleaning alongside.
Tuesday 1st of January 1985 and we left sealsand at 11. It was still blowing full storm and it was very rough sea when we left Sealsand behind.
Wednesday 2nd of January 1985 and we arrived to Wilhelmshaven in the evening and the Caustic Soda was most likely not ready for us and the Inspector turned down our tanks. So we had to take some spots in the tanks with rags.
Thursday 3rd of January 1985 and our tanks passed without inspection and we started to load in the middle of the night. We left Wilhelmshaven around 1 o'clock in the afternoon bound for Helsingborg. It was 10 to 15°C below zero and snow when we stopped to take bunker in Brunsbüttel in the evening. Now I really wanted to go home.
Saturday 5th of January 1985 and we arrived to Helsingborg at midnight. The deck is covered in ice and we have had to remove ice with sledgehammers and steam. We left Helsingborg 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we saw ice in Öresund when we passed Copenhagen.
Sunday 6th of January 1985 and it was snowing and very cold when we passed through the Kiel Canal. We arrived to Hamburg 9 o'clock in the evening and the port of Hamburg was full of ice.
Monday 7th of January 1985 and we left Hamburg around 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Wednesday 9th of January 1985 and we dropped anchor in River Schelde to wait for the high water. My guess is that we were bound for Ruisbroek with sulphuric acid from Hamburg. But I'm not sure, there is nothing about the port in my letter home.
We dropped our anchor at midnight and we heaved up our anchor at 4 in the morning. It was cold, snowing and blowing. I gave up, I told Captain that I wanted to go home so I wrote home that I expect to be home in about 1 week.
I wrote home that I would be home until March when it was a little warmer. I also needed to rest my back, I had a little pain in my back.
Thursday 10th of January 1985 and we shifted jetty when the other ship we were waiting for had left. We started to discharge at 7 thirty in the morning and we left at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
Friday 11th of January 1985 and we're in the English Channel and the weather is nice.
Saturday 12th of January 1985 and we dropped our anchor in the Bristol Channel and the weather was pretty nice here. At least comparing with 15°C below zero in Germany and Belgium.
My postcard from Bristol 12th of January 1985
My last postcard before I signed off in Hamburg 18th of January 1985
We came alongside in Avonmouth around 10 o'clock in the evening and we took a taxi to Bristol. If I remember it right this was the very same day one of the striking miners had dropped a rock on a taxi. They were on the bridge and they thought the taxi was taking a blackleg to work.
Well, surprise, they killed a school girl and I don't remember what happened to the taxi driver. Yeah, imagine someone killing you daughter like that.
What a horror to receive the phone call from the Police.
We went to some club and it was darn good music. We got drunk, but I still remember putting out my snus on the floor. Someone found it and thought it was hashish. Well, they were in for a surprise.
I liked Bristol, it was very fun and we returned to the ship in the wee hours. My last netry in my letter home was in Avonmouth and next port was Ruisbroek to discharge the sulphuric acid. I only remember that it was ice and very cold in Ruisbroek. Next port Hamburg and i will go home.
I took this picture when I signed off M/T Vestria in Hamburg 18th of January 1985
Friday 18th of January 1985 and I signed off M/T Vestria in Hamburg. I was signing off with our Chief Engineer. But M/T Vestria looks empty on the picture I took when we left the ship.
So I think that we had discharged our cargo of sulphuric acid and then we shifted to another place before we signed off. Well, anyway, we left the ship in the morning by a launch service and I think my train to Helsingør in Denmark was leaving early afternoon.
Port of Hamburg was full of ice and this is nothing we see very often
Yes, it was very nice to leave M/T Vestria behind after almost 8 months onboard.
Well, as they said about Vestria:
- The only thing missing was that everyone should carry a gun holster and then it would have been a real cowboy crew.
Well, I agree, we had a good time on the ship. Hard work but it was fun.
I took the train from Hamburg to Helsingøborgr in Denmark. We had to take the ferry between Puttgarden, Germany and Rødby, Denmark and I had to change train in Copenhagen. When I came to Helsingør I didn't recognize the SFL ferries. When I left Helsingborg May 84 the ferries was blue and now they had rebuilt the ships and painted them white.
When I came to Helsingborg I took a taxi to my friend's apartment. The driver told me about a place called Rockpiren. I had never heard of the place, obviously they had opened the place during my time onboard M/T Vestria.
I meet my friends that I had not meet in a very long time and they told me that Rockpiren was the place to be seen and heard at. We got drunk and we went to Rockpiren and the only thing I remember is that I took a taxi to Båstad when I got tired. I lived in Båstad back then and when I came home I had no key to the house so I had to kick in the door in the basement.
And I had 25 cents in my pocket when I woke up the day after. This winter was very cold and we had plenty snow and I had to get right on to the job to remove snow.
Removing snow and party, that was what I had time for during my time home.
22nd of January and I drove to the South of Skåne to visit relatives and I stayed for 2 days before driving back up North again.
I had not seen them for many years and I was about to write that I had not meet them after that. But we meet one more time before I started navigation school on Kvarnberget in Göteborg in August 1985.
Yes, time is for sure running fast. I wasn't taking very much pictures back then so I don't remember what I did during the holiday from M/T Vestria.
But I remember driving between Helsingborg and Båstad every time it was time to drink beer. And we drank beer quite often back then.
Wednesday 30th of January 1985 and my friends called from Helsingborg.
- Yo! What's happening?
- I'm in Båstad bored to death!
- We're drinking beer, come over!
- I'll be there in a jiff!
It took me 30 minutes to drive to Helsingborg, highway almost from door to door so it was no problem to keep 160 all the way. My friend bought a new instrument every time he was drunk. He never gave up the idea to become a famous pop star even though he could not play any instrument.
- What's the big deal? I can drink and trash hotel rooms. Never mind the playing and singing part.
Well, we knew how to play SMOKE ON THE WATER on the guitar using one string and that was pretty much it.
I found my way home to my friend even though I had not been there before. Or at least it had been a very long time. I don't remember, maybe he had moved while I was onboard M/T Vestria.
We had a few drinks, and I had to drink 3 for every drink they had in order to get to their level before leaving for town. I had never been to Queens Corner before and now this place turned in to our AFTERNOON favourite hangout.
When everything closed in the morning we went to my other friend's apartment. I had nver been there so obviously people had moved around a lot during my 8 months onboard M/T Vestria.
And as he had booze at home we didn't had any thoughts about sleeping. A few drinks before sleeping, and for sure, sleeping in a sofa is nothing you do when sober so I needed to get all the alcohol I could get in order to be able to sleep.
Thursday 31st of January 1985 and we woke up in my friend's apartment. He had 2 sofas so we had one each and our friend slept in his bed. And as my friend used to say:
Cannot get off a train in 180
So we just continued when we woke up. I always drove the car to Helsingborg so in case we lost each others on town I used to sleep in the car. Always good to have a back up sleeping place.
It was OK to fall asleep, but as it was in the middle of the coldest winter in a very long time it was an freezing experience to wake up in the car. But by then my friends were home and it was just to go kick on their door intil they woke up. And yes, sometimes it could take some time to wake them up 7 in the morning.
Friday 8th of February 1985 and I left Båstad quite early. I had planned to drive to Helsingborg by car. I don't remember why I didn't drove, but it was something with the snow. It was a gorgeous day with blue sky and that means cold.
But there was problem with the roads so I took the train and I remember arriving to the South station instead of the North station and this was due to problem with snow. At least this is how I remember it. Well, anyway, no BACK UP sleeping place, but there is always the possibility to take a taxi back to Båstad.
I don't remember much of this day, but I remember that I went to my friend's place ant they were having a few drinks and it didn't took long for the spirit to become high.
And we had obviously been at Rockpiren, at least according to my pictures. And I meet a guy I had been in school with 2 years before.
Back then I always meet people I knew when I was out for a beer in Helsingborg. But as people grew older and older they got married and now I never meet any people I know in Helsingborg. So I guess that there is something wrong with me.
And the tattoos, my friends had something about a tattoo on the arse every time they had had a few beers. Well, I'm lucky that I never got on that train.
Saturday 9th of February 1985 and we had our breakfast at Queens Corner, of course, we never ate anything. But they had beer and that is as good as drinking bread.
And I remember that we meet two guys screaming “GOTTI GOTTI 100 ZLOTY” all the time. We spent the whole afternoon at Queen's Corner and we did most likely end up at Rockpiren later on in the evening.
Sunday 10th of February 1985 and yes, my friend was right. Cannot get off a train in 180 so we continued with a few beers on the Sunday morning. We knew a guy working as bartender at Teaterkatten in Helsingborg. And seriously, I don't think he was very happy when we arrived. And this was the place to be seen and heard at Sunday nights in Helsingborg. At least this is how I remember it.
Well, I don't know, I think I'm lucky that we didn't had digital cameras back then or we would have to see more pictures than we care for. I didn't take so many pictures back then and I think we should be grateful for that.
Well, anyway, they called from the company and they asked if I could join M/T Corona. And t was actually nice to leave the parties behind. I signed on M/T Corona in Malmö 1st of March 1985.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
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E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.