The Voyage – Day 5

Rotterdam.  After the mess caused by the let down by FNAC of the delivery of the camera everything was off to a dis-organised start.  I had watched YouTube videos about the use of the camera but the reality of what can be done with it and even how to switch it on turned the filming process into a farce.  My GPS, programmed correctly took me to an abandoned quay and not the marine training college (STC) which was nowhere to be seen.  I went back to a bar I had seen on the way through the docks where amazingly one of the college workers was having more than several drinks.  He explained with a two-page diagram where the college was.

Early on the Friday; day 1, April Fools day, I was warmly welcomed by David Anink and shown around the vast complex of mock up ships and training tanks for simulation ship wrecks and storms.  I saw immediately there was no chance of me filming anything but simple interviews as I had no idea how to set the camera up for the complex internal shots.  The 160 kg banana was found and transported to the dock side, inflated and unceremoniously thrown into the sea by a class of trainees as they passed on their way to their next seminar.  Fortunately, I have tied a rope around the banana.  When it hit the sea it immediately diffed under the dock piles and went out of site.  I pulled it back and tied it up; having filmed only a few seconds.

Fortunately, the press were there and the Rotterdam Newspaper sent me a video clip of the launch.  The day was spent getting things ready and filming the activities of the STC.  In the evening I set out to find a tow for the boat so hit the dock bars.  I ran into the father of the worker at STC who was astounded to find a complete stranger who knew his sons name and where he worked.  I had a great evening but no chance of tow.  A young man sitting close overheard our conversation and told me he was just reading about me on the internet, on a site I have not heard of.

Above is just a short example of only a few hours in Rotterdam; the chance meetings and open doors turned into a whorl of encounters.  The way I ended up being towed from the STC to the harbour to meet Max Nollert, the sponsor of the banana build who came across Germany to spend 24 hours with the project; was almost unbelievable.  I told him of the problems with the banana design which causes the banana to dive into the water at speed.  The first voyage from STC to the harbour was by one of the boats run by a company that has teams of experts that tie up the big ships to moorings in the harbour.  They have the fastest boats on the river and really put the banana to the test: which it failed.  The crew tied the banana right up next to the boat and whizzed along at 55km/h to the City Marina.

Max and I have made some improvised hasty repairs and added a hydrofoil to the front of the banana which, when towed out of the harbour by Max, worked very well.  Now the banana lifts up at the front and glides on top of the waves.  I found a small marina looking by looking at google maps which seemed to be a good destination for the escape from Rotterdam.  There was no one around when Max sailed away.  I tied up the banana picked the marina lock, set off to find the Motorhome which had found some roadworks.  I hitched a lift to the town, found the camper and spent the night on the town square in front of the church, whose chiming clock is one hour fast…day five begins.

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