Long time no update…

So I guess I’d better try and get back into the swing of things.

Well, it finally happened. Doulos is officially ending. In just under 3 weeks time.

Surprised? Well, I wasn’t. We’d known that many issues were coming to light during the drydock, and it turned out the issues were more than were worth trying to sort out, for an increasingly short possible length of time.

You can read more about it on http://www.doulos.org/ if you hadn’t already heard…

It’s been public for about a month now, I guess… and so my girlfriend and I will be leaving Doulos in exactly 2 weeks.

We’ll be going to work with OMNIvision for a few months, hoping to get a clearer notion as to whether we should go back there for a few years longer, later next year.

Right now, I’m pretty tired. I’m officially not AV any more, but working in training department, but still with many AV commitments, and jobs. I’ve not been able to hand over some of the last bits to my friend and replacement, as too many bits were caught up in the whole drydock thing, which didn’t really end solidly, so stuff just dragged out.

I’m getting bits of my new jobs kind of messed up to – down to forgetting to organize someone to lead music this morning at the “Tuesday Morning Devotions”.

I’m horribly behind with email, blog, newletters, packing and preparing to leave here soon, I’m behind on days-off, I have large projects I don’t even know where to start on, and so on.

I’m writing this at 5am, after having stayed up all night working with the videographer on finishing an “End of Doulos” presentation video which is needed later today. I was mainly doing audio engineering / cleaning up work. We still need one shot, and so a couple of guys are heading out at in half an hour to go shoot it – us sailing Doulos into Vivo City in Singapore for the final time. Then it’ll be rendering all day until getting shown this evening.

I also need to rig up an amplifier for some speakers in the bookshop this morning, and then I’m going out off the ship with the other Training Department people for the day.

It’s busy.

Life carries on…

So. Short post.

We’re in KK, Malaysia. Beautiful place.

A whole bunch of people left, and a whole bunch of new ‘uns joined.

The crazy Swedish dude left my AV team and headed home, after two years on board, and now I’ve got a new American the team. It’s fun training him, although kind of strange. I’ve taught AV stuff to so many people now. It’s hard to remember what I’ve taught to whom. I’ve got a basic Doulos AV curriculum, finally, but it’s difficult to get it all together. Theres so many little bits of randomness.

So now the team is one Korean, one Brit, one American, and one confused-not-quite-sure-ean(me).

Amongst the new recruits is one of my friends from the UK, which is very cool. She seems to be enjoying the ship so far, and is working in the “Accomedation” team, cleaning the inside of the ship, doing the laundry, running the bookshop cafe, etc.

Anyway. So. This was intended to be a short post, and mostly informational…


It’s my girlfriend’s birthday tomorrow. The whole present-buying-birthday-celebration-rituals-cultures-thing terrifies me. Like, I dunno. Something about my INFP/TCK nature, I guess. I want everything I do to be meaningful, and genuine. Especially with those who are really dear to me. That’s the INFP side… But also, I feel like so many things (such as buying presents on birthdays, putting up signs, cards, etc) are very superficial, and just a crass part of some culture.

I want to buy presents that are really real – not just bought “because” of the birthday. Yet I don’t know if buying presents *for* the birthday, like, “doing the birthday thing” is also a way of being real, within a culture?

I don’t totally relate personally to any culture, really, and find almost all cultures have things which offend me, and which I don’t fit into.

Also, on the other hand, more practically, I know that there is an element I also probably ought to have of simply “Daniel, just grow up, accept the fact that you’re not all that great at buying presents, so get over it, stop making all these stupid theoretical excuses and work harder than everyone else to actually do it well, and on time. Stop being so lazy.”

Welcome back, me.


It is I, author of this blog, and spokesperson of the incredibly inconsideratly inactive bloggers foundation of Doulos, and I have returned! Yea, verily, verily, etc.

So. It’s been 5 weeks since I last posted, roughly. And it has been quite a busy, time, yes, of course, that’s the way it is around here. And is that an excuse for not blogging? Well, probably not. But I’ll use it as an excuse anyway.

We’re currently sailing between Kuching, Malaysia, where we spent Christmas and New Year, to Cebu, Philippines, where we were 2 years ago.

Every 6 months or so we get a new batch of recruits, who go for 2 weeks of safety training, and that group of people is usually fairly “clannish”, and are known as the “Preship” group of whichever port they did their training. So I’m from the “Sharjah Preship”. Other famous past examples would be the Manila Preship, Banjul Preship, Istanbul Preship, etc, etc.

Anyway, 2 years ago we had the Cebu Preship join us, and they’ll mostly be leaving in the next month or so, and the next group of recruits will also be doing their training in Cebu… This is NOT normal. It’s the first time we’ve had this, ever, to popular knowledge. Normally it’s at least 7 or 8 years between being back in the same place at the same rough time to be able to do this, so every Preship is a different city.

This might seem like a very minor thing, and from a completely outside viewpoint, it is. However, Doulos isn’t just a ship full of people from different places, we also have a very strong Doulos Culture, which has devleopped over the decades as result of our rules, regulations, work habits, and the bizarre lifestyle which we have on board.

“Preship” groups are almost like your family, or clan. Whenever someone gets up to say something in a community meeting, for instance at the end of a port when we get together to share stories of what we (and God) have been up to, most people will introduce themselves with something like “Hi, My name is Daniel, and I’m from Cyprus, and the Sharjah Preship!” or whatever. At this point, everyone else from Sharjah will shout and scream or chant, or whatever.

OK, so the people from Sharjah probably won’t, since there’s only about 5 of us left, and we never managed to get a chant to work properly, but everyone from all the other active preships on board will for their people. So, to have two groups of people from different Preships, with the same name, is a bit weird. It’s like having two football teams with the same name. If they played each other, who would you cheer for?

So. There’s a random piece of Doulos culture for you. Now for some thoughts about it.

We are incredibly clannish, and seem, as humans, as christians, and as Douloi, to have an innate capacity to draw lines between each other, and to divide on the slightest pretext. And partly I object to the amount that the training department push Preship identity during the training. I can also see the side whereby this “Preship ” concept can be used positively to establish a home base and place for people to live and identify themselves in the community.

And identity is such a weird thing. Who are we? The good evangelical in me says something like “My identity is in Christ alone! All other things are slag!” And yeah, yeah. OK, so that is true, of course. But we do all seem to use boxes, either rigid or flexible, to put people and everything into. We constantly talk about getting “out of the box” and “not putting people in boxes”, but is that really practical? People’s individuality MUST trump any box we put them into, and anyone MUST be able to climb out of that box, and we must not dump people into boxes and judge them there and leave them forever, but is it possible to truly not create comparisons and labels?

Some days I get really fed up of the boxes and labels, and try to rebel.

“Hey! Are you the AV guy?”


“Oh. Who is working tonight then?”

“I am. I work here, but I’m not the AV guy. I’m Daniel.”

I don’t know. Enough rambling. It’s time for sleep.


OK. So, due to popular demand, this service will resume shortly.

It’s now then.

I’m back on Doulos, I took the train down to Manchester, from where I flew to Dubai, from Dubai to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Sydney, from Sydney to Auckland, and from Auckland to Wellington where I joined up with Doulos again.

That was an epic adventure, in itself. There was a bombthreat in Dubai, with some English nutcase got himself drunk, and just as we landed got into a fight with a steward, and declared he had a “device” that he would use to blow up the plane. Of course, the crew had to take it seriously, and so we were sitting out on the tarmac for about an hour or so surrounded by police and firetrucks and SWAT teams and so on, before they managed to sort him out and let us off the plane.

Oh well, another day in the life of the brummie-not-yet-at-sea. Well, the trouble then came when about half of us from that flight were now late for our connecting flights, and so had to stay 24 hours in Dubai airport for the next plane.

If you’re going to get stuck in an airport for 24 hours, it might as well be Dubai. I know it quite well, of course, and they did very nicely give me a hotel room overnight, and 3 meal vouchers. It was a bit complex trying to figure out sensible times to eat them, as I needed to leave the next morning at 6am, and was about to fly to Australia, so was trying to get my bodyclock as sorted as I could. So anyway, I slept the whole day, worked the night, and ate my mealtickets-worth at random times when I was awake.

So, right. I eventually got to Wellington, where some of my great friends were there with a ginormous paper origami crane bird thingy they’d made, attached onto a crown of old toilet-roll-cardboard, with dangly bits and all which I had to wear. It was so good to see them again. (In case you wondered). I’ll see if I can find a photo of the amazing crown. It wasn’t really my style, as such, but one does try to fit in, after all.

so. That was like a month ago now, and I’m settling in quite well. AV has been undergoing a few changes, some good, some… well, I have a differing opinion about them to the people who instigated them.

We’re now in Brisbane, Australia. It’s cool. I like it here. It’s good to be back on the ship again. Many people are about to leave, and there are 60 odd new people… But, new in that they joined 6 months ago, just as I left, so they’re already “old hands”, yet I don’t know them!

Anyway. It’s traditional for me to start new paragraphs with “Anyway” for no apparent reason. Here I am, I’ve started writing again, and so new posts will be forthcoming, fear not. I have a few more stories from Carlisle which I’ll be posting soon, but I figured it’s best to get the blog going again up to date, before launching into the past.

Oh! Right, yeah. I moved cabin, so I’m now in a smaller but very nice 2-man cabin, with this funny Brazilian guy. I managed to bring my coffee-maker with me from the UK, and it looks a bit strange of course, so he was wondering what it was. I explained and he nodded and said “oh, that’s nice.”. Then, a few days later, when I started making coffee (using the steamer to steam some ex-vanilla-icecream that had melted, to make vanilla-lattes), he just sat and stared, and said “Dude!” occasionally. He is now, in his own words, very happy to have me as a cabinmate, and has forsworn local cafes in lieu of his own cabin. I still like the local cafes. I still have so much to learn.

So, that’s the basic overview of the last 2 months or so, I’ll fill in the details as and when I get time. Thanks for listening! (Or reading, or whatever)

More photos, and not much time left

Dear readers,

I’ve found that blogger has kindly been putting my photos I upload here to the blog into a “Picasa Web Album.”. Wasn’t that kind of them? So, it’s possible to look at all the pics in one place. Very spiffy.
The link is right here:
It also can do flash slideshows and all sorts. So I’ll be playing with that. I need to update this blog design a bit anyway.  I also will try and write a perl script to make the picasa album appear as the old fliker one does in the sidebar ->.
I don’t have much time left in Cyprus.  We’re going as a family to Egypt this evening, for 4 days, and then after that I leave about 5 days later.  Kind of scary how fast time has flown.
Then it’s off the UK for 2 months, then to Doulos.
Here’s another couple of boat/sailing sketches. The one on the left could be a Wayfarer, but the one on the right is way bigger.
I’ve been trying to make a video about Doulos to show later this week (once I’m back from Egypt) to people, and will probably post some of that later on.
I’m not very happy with Apple right now..  I had to reinstall the computer *again*. That’s like 7 times since I got back from Doulos. Why? Well, many of the times is not Apple’s fault, it’s true.  I did replace the hard-drive, with a bigger one. That was moderately monstrous. They really hide those hard-drives well inside the poor laptops. Virtually impossible to get out.  Anyway, the reason I had to this time was because I upgraded to Leopard, but alas, half my software doesn’t work properly with it.  It’s a much nicer OS than tiger (looks-wise, but also technology like Quick-View, Spaces, and so on.
The version of Garageband that came with my laptop (only 3 years ago) doesn’t work with Leopard. I’m supposed to pay for the upgrade, which I’ve read may not work on this old a mac. This old?! Good grief.
Then Final Cut Express 4 doesn’t capture video properly on Leopard.  It does about 3 mins, and then freezes.
Also Protools doesn’t work (even though I don’t have a copy, we were using it at the office for the show of Esther audio last month, and had to keep a Tiger machine around to use it…).
However, Apple Keynote is a very nice programme. I’ve used it to make some presentations, about Doulos, and now I’m actually working on an animation about the ship.  It’s so basic, for animation. Almost too basic, I think I’m kind of pushing it’s limits, but it works.  Once I’m done, I’ll post the video here.
I really have so little time left, and so many ideas and projects I wish that I’d spent more time in.  Part of me feels really worried that I’ve wasted this time, and not used it as I could.  On the other hand, I have this other either lazy, or else wiser, part of me saying 
There’s *always* good projects about mate, and if you try to do all of them, all the time, you’ll never get any of them done, and, you’ll burn out.  This is the only time you’ll get for just reading and reading and hanging out with your family and cats, so enjoy it.”
Oh well. I need to start cleaning up my desk…

I saw 2 ships come sailing in …

I’d like to spend a few minutes waxing lyrical about ArtRage2.
This is one of the coolest programmes I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a computer art / painting package, is relatively cheap ($25 USD), and very easy to use. Here are a few of my latest works:

Which is my dad and I sailing, on his boat. (Wayfarer, MK2). And…

I feel kinda homesick for the big ol’ rust bucket named Doulos. Both from memory, (well, I did check the number on the sail for the wayfarer, and I did have to check where the name was painted on in relation to the Anchor (sad!), but other than that, no ref. photos or anything.)