Day 33 – Leaving Duisburg

I finished off the blog in the early hours, dressed then drove to the open all hours garage where the Banana and stocked up on a few days’ supply of food for the overnight journey with the Jura.  I returned to the quay and left the motorhome where it could be picked up and walked along to the Jura.

They were already up and about; the engine was running and I nimbly hopped up onto the ship, dropping a bottle of wine I had bought for the captain and his wife.

I ran back to the motorhome and got another bottle.  The captain nodded a goodmoring and waved his hand at the bottle telling me he did not smoke or drink.

Day 32


I spent the night in a car park next to the hotel. After breakfast I went back to the hotel to check emails and post bought a coffee and went back to the city.  I had arranged a meeting with Peter the photographer a 2pm.  He phoned me during the morning to make sure I was still available.

Right on time Peter was there and the photoshoot began.  He took me across the lagoon like inlet in his boat and I clambered onto to the pontoon, where I was only the day before.  I collected the oars and motor I had hidden and went to the office to talk about leaving the Banana for one more night. No, nicht, nine , niet, etc.  it is forbidden.

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The first of May

Sunday 1st of May: One month gone since setting off on the Banana voyage starting at the Marine Training Center, the STC, in Rotterdam.  I could say there has been a lot of water gone under several bridges since then.

During my driving around I noticed a tiny inlet from a dock, about one km from the marina.  I worked out where it was with the aid of a harbour map.  It turns out it is an ancient quay almost disused today.  There one pontoon floating near its entrance with an old small shipyard above on some very steep banks.  It is a sort of appendix to the next dock which is just around the headland from the marina.  I had the idea earlier to move the Banana from the marina to a ship museum in the same dock, so that I could stay in the dock and move the Banana quickly to any available ship.

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Day 29

I paid for a shower and had my breakfast as the rain attempted to get through the windscreen of the motorhome.  I used the machines in the laundry and after spending all my euro coins, finally dried clothes and, having emptied the motorhome toilet I went off to find a boat to take the Banana away; and me with it.

The port is huge.  The various docks branch off from the Rhine into five main areas.  This makes ten principle dock sides, many inaccessible because they are behind various industrial activities.  Access by road is not easy and going from one side of an inlet to the other takes about 20 minutes in the motorhome.  There seems to be a preoccupation with security.

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Day 28 from Emmerich to Duisburg

The night at the bistro went very well and ended with long goodbyes and hugs from the owners.

The ship was actually starting to load at 5 am, so I set up my travel bag with cameras and personal stuff.  The ship was not in the same marina as the Banana.  So I went back to the RhienWall Terminal building to ask where the ship was.  It was being loaded with containers on the other side of the container terminal in the larger dock.  I realised I had to get around from the marina to the dock by passing a headland, enter the Rhine and go into the dock area.  The Rhine here was moving at about 7km/hr: the motor I use with the banana pushes along around 1km/hr, which means that if I attempted to sail around the headland I would go backwards at 6km/hr; and with the wind blowing towards the bank the Banana would be sent spinning and bouncing all the way back to Rotterdam.

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Day 27 – Emmerich

Last night the bistro owners and some of their customers asked me to return tonight, so I agreed not to look for a boat today.  This morning after a breakfast of voIkornbrot and cheese, I left the municipal motorhome park; a patch of gritty tarmac next to the main carpark, right next to the food oil refinery factory on one side and the set of massive church bells on the other and set off to the bistro to set up my PA system.  I also put the Go Banana on Tour flag on the square outside so that the combination of equipment and flag will let people know there is something going on tonight.  Good for the bistro and good for me as the more people I meet the more chance of a lucky break with getting a boat at some point.

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Day 25 of the Journey

Day 25

Today has to start during last night with a text received whilst in a kebab snack bar in the suburbs of Arnhem.  I had spent most of the day sorting out small problems and visiting ships, boats and small marinas along the port inlet and quay where the larger cruise ships take on board their visitors.

Kings day, the King of Holland’s birthday is on the 27th of April and is an event celebrated with great enthusiasm.  Arnhem was setting up its carnival like stands and scaffolding for discos under the John Frost bridge, famous for the Operation Market Garden battle for the bridge and town of Arnhem itself.  The message was from Eelco; telling me that the freighter next to his house boat was illuminated and people were going on board.

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Day 24 of the Journey

Eelco and Nicole live on the house boat about 1km along the quay from where the main dock is for the luxury cruisers tie up.  I have been stopping each night in a convenient parking place near where other ships and house boats leave their cars, bikes and motorhomes, so mine is nothing unusual.

Eelco works in the studio where I was ‘invited’ to record the one off, first take of the new Banana theme tune I composed whilst mucking about with my guitar.  Set to a new arrangement of the old Latin America la bamba, adding the lyrics ‘banana’ or rather the word banana fitted into the rhythm wherever I can.

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Day 21 of the Journey

A bright and sunny morning with a cold breeze started the day with an optimistic spring like feeling. Last night I found a place for the motorhome along the quay in Arnhem near the commercial docks, away from the town center. The past three days have been completely filled with a whirl of unexpected and amazing chance meetings of people and events.

The photos will be put on the page shortly when I find a place with an internet service with a strong signal and no time limit on usage where I have lost the photos. I have tried to load because the service shuts off.

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Busy and thank you!

In the last two days I have been attacked by a 15c knight, joined a football club on their yearly boating trip, Played and sang with a sixties revival band on stage, interviewed the vice president of a rowing club actually on the iBanana, filmed the banana research centre in Wageningen University, sailed down the Lower Rhine on 135m 1 hr old cruise ship and given a five course luxury meal; then filmed the Captain and many of the crew, then sang last night with another football club, spent the afternoon trying to sort out the mess of files from photographs and videos from three cameras…

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