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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March 18th, only 12 days to go!

Twelve days to go before setting off to Holland, to begin the voyage in Rotterdam.  I feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car; I need to move quickly, but not sure which way to go…

The preparations are going well; well, going, going, gone.  This last week I have been in contact with people all over the world; Australia, British Caledonia and the UK to name just a few, and I have had the website visited by people in Italy, Singapore, Portugal and Guatemala; all countries I am not going to visit on this voyage.

I have spoken to tourist offices, radio, television and press people; I have made communications via skype, text, Facebook and emails which are seemingly continuous and I have actually had one letter too, from the tax office, naturally.

The biggest expenditure of time has been reading badly written instruction manuals for the new equipment bought for the trip.  The time is wasted when they just don’t mention an important stage in setting up something.  A bit like a driving instructor not mentioning you have to turn the key and start the engine first…

I did have some success with the sound equipment which actually connected via blue tooth to my computer and actually played the music correctly…I mention that success as everything else just does not do what you think it should.

There are exciting things happening too, and these involve the reactions and kindness of complete strangers.  I must say since starting this project I have not laughed so much: ever.  The second prise goes to a lady in Texas who laughed to nearly two minutes but number 1 has to be the owner of the costume shop in Rotterdam who equalled the Texan but then continued to be unable to talk and had to hand me over to talk to his wife, saying ‘I give my wife to you’.

Once the laughing slows down, I have had some delightful conversations with people who have completely taken on board the complexity of the trip and all that is going on around it.  Stc-BV Marine Training College have given me the perfect start to the voyage by opening their college for me to film but also will be dropping me in their helicopter into a huge swimming pool sized tank simulating an aircraft crash; and this on the 1st of April.

I now have sponsors for the product placement of clothing, so I will look good on camera and for the first time in my life be coordinated clothing wise.  As I write, I await replies from several large companies who may become principle sponsors.  Other people are waiting to see what the outcome of the voyage is going to be before committing themselves financially which is understandable in these days when everyone is feeling the economy tightening.

On the few moments I have been able to go outside I have noticed that Spring seems to be well advanced with blossom on the trees and spring flowers everywhere.  Although I only have a few days to go, the days are getting longer, which helps.

The Banana Voyage – 1st March

I have spent the day doing follow ups to enquiries, typing up contact lists and working on ideas for the new web site and drinking coffee. The excellent news is there is now a new website. Naturally you know this because you are reading this on the new website; but it felt good typing that.

I can now see all the countries that use the website and loads of interesting statistics which is additive reading. Already loads of countries in Europe have had a look, I include the UK in this because as I write they are still in Europe. Monaco (also in Europe) is there and today’s surprise is someone from Costa Rica also is interested. Actually thinking about it the unfortunate person was probably looking for a real banana company, still it cheered me some.

All this magic and technological wizardry is due to one person…without whom the old site would still be up and running; and getting the project a bad name. People have on occasion asked why I am doing this project. Esther is a major part of the answer. The Banana voyage is about meeting people whilst going on an extraordinary voyage.

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