Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kobe to Shanghai

The voyage from Kobe to Shanghai lasted two days. The MV Explorer is a fast ship, but it goes slow enough to allow for two teaching days (so the A day and B day classes can each meet once) between ports. There were lots of fishing boats in the waters between Japan and China. 

Tuesday morning February 3rd I woke up at 5:00--a half hour before my alarm. I wanted to watch as much as I could of our approach into Shanghai. By 5:30 am I was showered and up on the top fore deck in the cold dark. I got there just in time to see the ship turn left/port/southward from the mighty mouth of the Yangtze (Chang Jiang) River into the good sized Huang Po tributary. From there it was exciting for this geographer to see the lamp lit container docks alive with unloading and loading. The river was full of boats of all sizes. I heard two on-shore trumpeters—one practicing scales and another that seemed to be blowing a Chinese revelry from a military base. Joel joined me on deck at about 6:00 to enjoy the procession of boats. Leading our way was a pilot ship whose lead always leaned left so that downstream sailing ships would move further to our left to allow us room to pass. It was quite an obstacle course (the captain said this is the most dangerous port approach of the whole voyage). Many ships and barges were anchored to large buoys in mid channel. At one point we came to a complete halt while waiting for stalled ship to get out of our way. The pilot ship approached them to get them to move, but apparently learned that their engine was broken so we waited until there was a traffic opening for us to slide by. By 8:00 we were docked at the international cruise dock just to the north of the Bund and directly across for the amazing skyline of Pudong with its forest of skyscrapers all built within the past 25 years.

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