40) Strait of Mallaca

The Bellini got underway from Singapore on Tuesday, October 24 at 4pm. After the harbor pilot guided the 279 meter ship out of the harbor, he handed the helm over to the captain and departed the ship. The Belinni headed north-northeast through the Strait of Malacca, the shipping lane running between Indonesia and Malaysia that has seen shipping traffic since ancient times.  This is the passage way that the western explorers used 500 years ago to reach China and East Asia.

The jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia that border the narrow strait have historically been a pirate’s haven for attacking ships passing through the strait.  This is still a significant problem, and we have received a briefing on what to do if we are attacked by pirates.  My specified job in case of pirate attack: HIDE!

Its now Thursday morning as I write this.  We made port in Klang, Malaysia yesterday morning.

The container unloading begins immediately upon arrival at port, and is followed by the loading of new containers.  This operation contunues around the clock, and you can hear the containers banging around as they are being loaded by the huge overhead cranes at all hours.  These containers come in several sizes: the heights vary, there are two standardized lengths- half and full length, and there is one internationally standardized width.  This is so that they can be efficiently stacked in modular rows and columns.  The largest containers (that I have seen) weigh up to 77,000 pounds fully loaded, and have a holding volume capacity of 2,700 cubic feet.

So far there are 4 passengers on the Bellini, there may be 2 more joining us here in Klang, but I haven’t seen them yet.  There is a young attourney named Anatole from Paris, who has just completed a contract in Berlin, and is traveling in Singapore and Australia before returning to Europe to start a new assignment in Brussels.  There is also a retired British couple, Yvonne and Richard, who live in Cyprus. They do lots of international traveling and have some very interesting travel stories, including having just traveled to Singapore from Italy via the Suez Canal on another CMA CGM container ship.  Next year they are going to Africa, so I’m offering destination ideas based on Sandy’s and my travels.

We should depart the port here in Malaysia in about 3 hours. Next destination- Fremantle, Australia.  That should be in 6 or 7 days, until then I’ll have no connection.

So I’ll see you all next week in OZ!


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