...and yet I feel like I'm at home. I've just boarded my first ship in my first sea phase, all the way over in Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia. After a frustratingly long journey, in which my flight was delayed 12 hours, I spent a while in a Heathrow hotel room trying to phone Asian numbers to let everybody know about the delay, I thought I'd lost my yellow fever certificate, and the eventual flight couldn't serve a second meal as their catering facilities broke...after all that, I finally got here. I was met off my flight and taken to a swanky hotel, in which I had some great food - including curry for breakfast, Malay Kuih (little sweet things that look like neon jelly but taste of coconut rice pudding) and fish porridge (a Malaysian version of cullen skink. Ian, the other cadet, refused to have it. It was delicious). Got some sleep and watched a bit of Asian TV, then this morning we were taken to the Maersk Kendal!
The ship is enormous. At 299 metres long and 40 metres across, it's by no means the biggest Maersk have to offer, but it certainly looks and feels huge. The approach in the taxi was terrifying as our new home loomed over the port. We were taken to meet the captain and do all the paperwork, then had a bit of lunch under a photo of the Queen (it's a UK-flagged vessel), and then were taken on a tour and to meet various officers. Quick summary of the tour: Engine room - sweltering. Bridge - air conditioned and has a coffee machine. I knew I picked the right job...
We then watched a rescue boat drill, had a quick search for the swimming pool (just an empty cube in an open deck, at least at the moment) and are now relaxing until we start work tomorrow. Ian has the 8-12 watch and I'm on 12-4, then we both do a few hours of work on deck. So more or less an 8 hour day, with Sundays off (aside from tomorrow). I get the feeling three or four months will pass in the blink of an eye, and I only hope that I will remember at least some of what I learn.
I'm not allowed to upload photos while onboard due to our limited data allowance, but hopefully in port I might get some time off and can find somewhere to show you all the sights. For now, I need sleep - but I'll report back later on the next bit of my adventure!