The Shilla Harvester
When I arrived in Nadi I grabbed a sim card and a data load for my phone and then went to the domestic terminal. There was a flight boarding in 6 minutes for Suva that I could get onto. Which beat sitting in the Nadi airport for 3 hours waiting for my booked flight. I threw my bags onto the belt and went into the boarding terminal.
I shot a quick email to the company letting them know I was taking an early plane to Suva. When I got there I flagged a taxi to Suva because I hadn’t heard from the company yet, so I doubted the agent had been told to pick me up early. I took the taxi straight into the port and to my boat. It was easy to spot, a bright yellow helicopter sat on top. The entire crew except for the second officer was out in town for dinner. I stacked my bags next to the door to my room and decided to go do the same.
The Harvester is a bigger, modern ship. Only two years old it can hold almost 400 more tons than the Caribe, but seems to be able to do that extra volume in the same amount of time as the Caribe could. When I finally made it into my room after dinner I was surprised and excited to find a state room, with two bunks, a desk, a bench seat, lockers, a fridge, and a bathroom. A huge improvement over the last boat. I liked the Caribe and I was comfortable there, but this was going to be a very nice upgrade.
The helicopter on top was a more modern, more powerful, variant of the 500. Built by MD this 500 “D” model has 5 blades instead of four, a bigger engine, and a T tail instead of the V tail on the “C” predesecor. The morning of the 3rd I did a ground run on the helicopter with my mechanic, to check some new instruments he had installed.
It starts cooler, it runs up smoother. I’m excited. Sadly I’m not meant to be on this boat for long. I’ll be transferring to the Shilla Jupiter at sea at some point when we rendezvous with them. The captain and the pilot on the Jupiter know each other from Korea and he wants to have him onboard so they’re working out an exchange. I’m a bit bummed – I like it here, and I love the helicopter.
The Jupiter isn’t the same class/style of boat so the accommodations might not be the same. But it has a C model 500 on it, and I’m already spoiled by the D-model even though I haven’t flown it yet. Soon.
Tonight at dinner I was thrown for a moment, on the Caribe only the officer ate at the Captain’s table. The pilot ate with the crew and so when I got here I just assumed that was how it was supposed to be here too. The crew looked at me in almost disbelief when I tried to sit with them, and they started pointing over to the Captain’s table. Which I looked at in disbelief but moved over to – the cook, a nice guy, came over and told me where to sit. There is a seating order on these boats.
My space was at the end of the outside bench at the Captain’s table. The engineer to my left and across from me the Chief officer. Of course when I sat with the crew I could speak English with the Filipino’s or my mechanic, at the Captain’s table they talk to each other fast and in Korean, so I just sit silently and eat my food, listening. Perhaps I’ll speak Korean when I’m done here.