Returning to Singapore on MV Rabaul Chief – passenger no. 1
Day 3,480 since October 10th 2013: 201 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!
(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).
The next chapter of the Saga
Welcome to the fourth and final entry from onboard Swire Shipping’s good ship Rabaul Chief. A twenty-four-day long voyage has come to an end and the Saga has returned to Singapore
Last week’s entry: The heart of MV Rabaul Chief – passenger no. 1
I originally wanted to write “the last chapter of the Saga” but it isn’t – is it? Returning to Singapore is definitely a new chapter. It is a farewell and heartfelt thanks to Swire Shipping who more than lived up to their motto: “Esse quam videri” (To be, rather than to seem). Swire has been, and been, and been, and been etc. throughout the Saga. Such remarkable support in the Pacific in truly trying times. One could venture a guess were the Saga would be today without Swire? Fortunately there is no need for such guesswork. This is however the end of the line in regards to Once Upon A Saga’s collaboration with Swire Shipping as we will be heading further west. Another of my favorite shipping lines will be stepping in from now on and until my feet return on European soil later this year.
At anchorage in Singapore.
Life onboard the good ship Rabaul Chief continued from last week as you might expect. The 1st and 2nd cook kept providing three delicious meals per day, the engineers kept the engine running, the deck officers kept on navigating, and the ratings kept the good ship in good order. After seventeen test runs on the gyms Chinese made treadmill, I felt I was as ready as I would get: it was time to attack the 2023 Goggins Challenge head on. Being physical helps me stay on top of what I regard as an utmost demanding project. It doesn’t hurt to remind you all that I have been wanting to go home since late 2015 but kept fighting in the hope that things would get easier (which they didn’t). As the years progressed so did the challenge of not breaking. While I can’t be sure if ever broke or not we can hopefully all acknowledge that I never quit – not so far at least. And as time has moved on, so have the physical challenges. The Goggins Challenge is very interesting to me. It challenges a number of things: lack of sleep, energy intake, endurance, and there isn’t enough time for your muscles to recover. I’d recommend anyone to try it as it is a good way to test your own limits and get to know yourself better. Besides, I burned off around 5,000 calories.
The plan!! Stick to the plan Cam!!!
The basis of the challenge is that you activate yourself physically every 4 hours for 48 hours. Walk or workout for at least 45min if you’re not running. The challenge in its pure form is to run 4mi (6.4km) every 4 hours for the duration which adds up to 48mi (76.8km). In comparison a full marathon is about 26mi (42.2km). I’ve done it twice before so I had a good idea about what I was getting myself into. I began training in Tuvalu and continued in Fiji. It wasn’t optimal but it was something. The 17 runs I did in Rabaul Chiefs gym made a huge difference and got me back in runner’s shape. I aimed at starting the challenge on April 15th because it was as late as possible while still onboard – but still leaving a couple of days before having to disembark (April 19th). April 15th would also be while the ship was in, or near, the ports of Singapore and Port Klang. As such the crew would be busy (not using the gym much) and I assumed the sea would be calm. We actually went at anchorage at Singapore on April 14th and reached Port Klang (Malaysia) on April 17th. I set the speed of the treadmill at around 7.2mph (11.5kph) and started last Saturday at 09:00am. Meals are served onboard at 07:00am, midday, and 6:00pm. It was my intention to fit my schedule to the mealtimes as much as possible.
Click HERE on the photo above to see the video.
I’m happy to say I made it though. It would have been more “fun” if I had trained for another two weeks. Perhaps some long-distance training. And I should have prioritized more “snacks” between the evening/night runs to keep energy up. But I kept the speed on the treadmill throughout all twelve runs which means each run was about 33 minutes and 30 seconds. During the first 3-4 runs I was able to listen to podcasts but beyond that I couldn’t focus and leaned into some energetic music instead. The final run was the hardest. The one before that was pretty good and had me thinking I was reaching a point where I might be able to keep going beyond the 48 hours. I didn’t have anything to eat between the penultimate run (01:00am) and the final run at 05:00am. It wasn’t so rough while I was still on the treadmill but as soon as I was done my body felt heavy and my pulse kept racing. I cleaned up after me and shut the lights off for the last time while my pulse kept racing. With heavy steps I made it back up the stairs to my cabin where I crashed on my bed after laying out a towel to soak the sweat. My pulse stayed above 100 for another ten minutes before it finally came down. I’m glad it is done. I’ll need to train a bit more for the 2024 Goggins Challenge.
Wiped out!! Minutes after the final run. 48 hours of running, stretching, showering, laundry, eat, sleep, get dressed, repeat!
I felt like I deserved this :) By coincedence the cooks served pasta and meatsauce the night ahead of my last three runs. Pasta party!! Gold!!
Port Klang, Malaysia.
We finished cargo operations in Port Klang. It had been really foggy outside ever since we left the Java Sea and entered the South China Sea. Port Klang is some distance up the Malacca Strait which separates Indonesia and Malaysia at that part of the country which is attached by land to Thailand and Singapore, and then the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Why was it so foggy? Weather? Pollution? Perhaps a bit of both. I was foggy too. The Goggins Challenge had taken its toll on me and I needed to recalibrate. I however also needed to get some work done. I secured a local simcard while at Port Klang and suddenly I had 4G internet at my fingertips (felt like lightspeed). With the help of Parth Nilawar (project member) we have updated the sponsor/partner banner at the bottom of this entry. Salomon and Ross Energy have new logos and they have now been updated. The new Red Cross collection is also up and running now. This one is not specific to any one humanitarian crisis like the recent one for Ukraine. This one is in place to raise funds for a variety of crises. Yes – it is tragic that we are dealing with crisis in plural. But that is how it is. It is a big world. It is up to people like us to make a difference and help when we can. Most people in the world are however fine and a stranger is a friend you’ve never met before. The Danish Red Cross is active in more than thirty countries. By following the link to the collection, you can read much more. The highspeed internet also made it easy to download a few podcast episodes in record time (seconds, not hours), download and reply to emails, and upload the “Goggins Challenge at Sea” video to various social media platforms. Is internet a bless or a curse? Probably both.
Captain Weerasinghe and his crew were FOCUSED as we approached Singapore!! There were small fishing boats everywhere and it was foggy and dark. Busy waters indeed! But the crew of Rabaul Chief were professionals so I could sleep tight while they maneuvered us back to anchorage.
While my body was still trying to recover from what the mind had put it through, I said my farewells to Swire Shipping’s good ship Rabaul Chief and her brave crew. Under the command of Captain Weerasinghe I had been treated royally for a full twenty-four days. A long but fruitful journey from the South Pacific Ocean to South East Asia. Thanks to Swire management, customs, immigration and everyone who made it possible. “If you want to go fast, go alone – if you want to go far, go together” – I believe that is a proverb from my favorite continent.
Click HERE or on the photo above to see the video.
We’re now back in Singapore for the first time since 2019. Back then I stayed for two weeks and wrote two entries. I recently reread them and it was quite interesting and eye-opening as Singapore back then sort of became the gateway to the Pacific. I had some thoughts about that back in 2019 and some of the stuff I wrote was almost ominous. Some of it just made me smile. I was obviously stressed back then and looking forward seeing the Saga completed. So now what? Back in Singapore with two countries left. It could all be over in just three months now. Anyway, the beard did not come off for no reason. For now I’m just looking forward to enjoying Singapore together with the woman I love.
June 13th 2019:
I entered Singapore with a BIG SMILE!! And clocked 100 SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS! ;)
June 20th 2019:
We are READY for the Pacific challenge!! Exit Singapore.
Back in Singapore baby!!!
I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross Energy / Geoop
If you enjoyed this blog or find that I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga welcomes funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - thanks for all your support people!
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga