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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 76: 9 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe company will have the last laugh though. The captain admits that in future a ship of this size will only need five officers to man it, and Noel, the Indian radio operator, knows he will be one of the first to go. Plans are to do away with radio operators entirely within the next two or three years. Supervision of a largely automated radio-room will be added to the duties of one of the other officers. Noel is dubious about how they will cope without an independent operator, especially at times of emergency when the others may all be occupied elsewhere.

Even as we're talking to Noel, as if to underline the volatility and unpredictability which can upset the most rational man-made system, the news comes through of a massive earthquake in Armenia, with rumours of 100,000 killed.

Running on deck today for the last time, squeezing along the heavy-metal tunnels, with wind buffeting me gently and tugging at the tops of the waves, I realise I shall be very sad to leave the sea. I stop in the bows and look around me. Through 360 degrees nothing is to be seen. As far as the horizon, 15 to 20 miles away, there is only sea and sky. No noise except for the throb of the engines, the soft swish of the bow-wave and the flapping of the wind.

At supper Roger announces that he thinks his whisky bottle may be being replenished by a less than supernatural force.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 76
  • Date: 9 December
  • Country/sea: Atlantic Ocean
  • Place: Atlantic Ocean
  • Book page no: 243

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