Around the World in 80 Days
Day 79: 12 December
The pilot is already on the bridge, supervising our approach. On this journey pilots have been like heralds, embodying the first sight and sounds of new places.
So I know exactly where I am as I hear, 'We're going to swing her in, we'll need two tugs,' spoken in the dry matter-of-fact English professional monotone. I'm back in police stations and Crown courts and customs sheds and airline cockpits and doctors' waiting rooms. 'Dead Slow,' he orders, and jokes to Captain Rodebaek about a friend who's just come back from a holiday in Spain. 'He got a whole year's rain in three days!'
The captain smiles but only out of habit. Maybe there is always this feeling of strain between captains and pilots.
With the tug Brightwell at our stern and Victoria of Liverpool at the bow, we wend our way between the marker buoys into the mouth of the Orwell. A seaman (and I realise that, unlike the Garnet, I know hardly any of the names of this crew) selects a Union Jack from the wooden pigeon holes full of national flags and goes outside to run it up the mast. The pilot talks to one of the tugs:
Choose another day from Around the World in 80 Days
- Series: Around the World in 80 Days
- Day: 79
- Date: 12 December
- Country/sea: England
- Place: Felixstowe
- Book page no: 249
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