17th May 2007, 15:04
I was just watching BBC News and there was an item about the lifeboatmen who man the lifeboat at Spurn Point being "annoyed" by the caterpillars of some moth, or other. Apparently the hairs on the caterpillar "cause extreme irritation to the skin". My instant reaction was, "If you want to know what REAL irritation is then get yourself up to Chalna during jute-moth season, do four hours in the engine-room on the night-time watches, then, just before your eyes swell shut and you scratch yourself red-raw from the dust that comes off the wings of these f*****g pests marvel at the millions of dead jute moths that get blown down the vents and deposited on the plates!" Mind you, you also got to see Minah Birds at close quarters too!!!! E-e-e-e-e! shipsnostalgia! Am I glad I found you! Why? Well the item on BBC News, about hairy caterpillars at Spurn Point, triggered-off a line of thought which would have gone nowhere but, because of shipsnostalgia I, hopefully, will raise a few 'orrible memories for several billion ex-engineers!!!
17th May 2007, 16:24
Oh, the memories of Chalna. What a dump, it wasn't only the engineers that didn't like it Phil. That would have to be amongst anyone's worst ten ports in the World competition I would wager although there were a couple in Nigeria that would provide some stiff competition.
17th May 2007, 21:55
Not to be outdone I would like to make a plea for the Mates' who had to suffer those moths during the loading each evening.Of course they were only part of the 'hell' which included ceasless attacks from hords of mosquito.
Do you remember a Mr. Junaid who was the Agent in Chalna. He used to visit us in a very fast boat (20 knots) and on one occasion he arrived via helicopter. It was at the time when they were extremely rare and the Pakistan Air Force had recently taken delivery of one.
Stan Deveraux and I were given a ride in it up to Dacca and back. Quite an experience considering that this would have been in the late 1950's.Apologies for the digression but the memories come back at random I am afraid.
18th May 2007, 09:41
Ammendment to the above. We went to Kulna not Dacca.
18th May 2007, 12:37
I went on exactly the same trip to Kulna (Khulna?) Tony although I would never have remembered the name of the agent. I went up with joint Purser/Chief Stewards Bob Webb and Doug Cullen. If I remember rightly Doug had broken his arm or something similar and he was going to hospital for a check up. Bob and I went along for the ride and had an excellent lunch at some pukka sahibs club. That would be the same helicopter I presume but if I remember correctly it was in PIA colours.
18th May 2007, 13:02
You are absolutely right Tony. It was PIA . I think they got the chopper from the military but couldn't swear to it. Your spelling of KHULNA is also correct!
I do remember Stan Deveraux being very concerned when we got airbourne and he could see the mudguards shaking, he was convinced it was all coming apart.
In view of what we now know about helicopters I think we were very lucky to be able to tell the tale.