Up at the crack of dawn, Mr Li arrived at 9am. Sad farewells were had with the brilliant Yana before heading off to the hospital to pick up the medical papers for the Captain en route to board 'Arthur Maersk'. Customs proved to be rather tricky... they needed convincing that I wasn't just an ordinary passenger. The Thumb was scrutinised to the hilt, It took a full performance from the Laptop and Moi with a round of e-mails between I, Maersk, agents and customs before they even looked up at me. It was touch and go for a while...Mr Li looked concerned. The argument being that "you not special Mr grady"...well no i'm not! define special please! The Thumb and Maersk have a mutual understanding, a very kind gesture by Maersk allows me on board to write and film about life aboard a cargo vessel. All papers are in order, I failed to see the grey area. With gracious relief the 2 custom guys eventually came round, all was sorted...they payed homage to the Thumb and wished the project well.
Twas a feast for the eye from here on in, whizzing past 12 enormous Cargo Ships lined up in the dock, bobbing and weaving amongst gargantuan cranes, machinery and pulleys. The scale and sheer enormity of machinery like this I have never seen. Enormous human feats of engineering were on display. I was keeping an eye out for that familiar 'blue' driving up to 'Arthur Maersk'...and there she sat. The Thumb's majestic ticket across the pacific. Arthur is massive and was busy getting stacked high with containers as I was lead up the gangway to step aboard. Captain Henrik Jenson gave me a very warm welcome, some papers were signed forms exchanged and he then showed me to my quarters. It was all go aboard the vessel and everyone was busy. I was left to make myself comfortable with the very spacious digs provided. At 5pm dinner was had with the Captain, 1st mate and chief Engineer. I had so many questions as we all got acquainted, all were very accommodating in helping the Thumb get to grips with life aboard a cargo vessel. Cast off was 11pm...I was invited up to the bridge to experience the process. On climbing the 8 floors of stairs up to the nerve centre of Arthur I imagined a busy, hustling environment...opening the heavy steel door I was greeted by total darkness, "down here Grady" the Bridge sits perched high above the whole vessel, a large T-shaped perspex extension sitting above the main building of the ship . In the darkness radars bleeped, computer screens shone, and down at one end of the 'T' stood the Captain, Pilot and Chief Engineer. I could barely see them...it was very peaceful up there.'Arthur' pushed off into the Sea of Japan and the Thumb went to sleep a Happy man.
The Thumb with Captain Henrik Jenson, up on the Bridge for a midnight cast off.