The Cargo Trip

Stopovers

They never last long, again it’s all about work. And as the say time is money. If the ship stays more in the harbor, the company pays more.

During stopovers all the crew is very busy. They load, unload containers. It has to be quick, night or day.

Passengers may usually disembark if they follow a strict procedure, provided that the captain and the harbor agent allow so. You have to wait for their approval, and then depending on how much time you have and what time it is you can enjoy a short visit of the city where the ship docked.

Because I embarked in Rotterdam, the first stopover was in Le Havre in France, I had time enough to visit the Oscar Niemeyer Cultural Centre; he is a famous Brazilian architect and the place is worth the visit.

The second stopover was Phillipsburg in Saint Martin, the Dutch part of the island.

At night, I went with some Filipino crew members in a very lively local disco club. They were sympathetic enough to take me there, the place is well known by seafarers.

And as these guys sometimes spend months on board they have several opportunities to go there during the same work period. It means the ship loops and sometimes they do 2 or 3 loops in a row.

Last stopover in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. I disembarked twice, late in the evening at the arrival and early in the morning before departure. I didn’t really went too far, but the good thing is that the harbor is into the city, and you can simply walk to find some place around.

I chose Church’s Chicken, they had all I needed: Wifi and fresh smoothies.

Like I said don’t expect to have much time. Just to be safe, I didn’t stray too far from the port and didn’t try to do too much.

If you like vehicles I made a few pictures.

Finally, below are some combo-videos to get a hint of how it looks like to get in those places.

Le Havre

Saint Martin

Trinidad & Tobago

Kiff the ocean

I guess we all feel special sometimes facing the Ocean.

I had my moments during the journey, for sure.

No need to talk too much then. You can see below a selection of pictures (some filtered) and a video.

Arrival

I got used to enjoy the navigation technical part during stopovers, how the crew was busy maneuvering, how slow the ship would get into the harbor – quite intense moments.

Observing Guiana and Cayenne approaching was far from disappointing, it was great, full of promise and I knew this was a whole new continent offered to me.

That Journey into the journey had come to an end.

Guiana first lesson:

“Really you thought you would find a bus, or even a taxi? LOL”

As we arrived late, I was offered to stay on board one more night but I absolutely wanted to disembark, to arrive

… Because I was already thinking about what was coming next, about my project on this continent.

I asked the local pilot if he could help and he offered to drive me to my AirBnB.

Night ride from Degrad des Cannes to Remire Montjoly.

That was it!

When I tell this story

When people understand I arrived in Guiana on a cargo ship, they are often astonished.

Which I expect more or less, as this is really quite uncommon.

They are sometimes curious and ask details, like how much it costed me, how long it took and Why The F*** I chose to travel that way.

Well, depending on the situation, there is more or less time to respond.

When it comes to the price, I tell them it costed a bit more than 2200€ (2600$) and some are shocked.

They tend to compare with a basic flight ticket (let’s say between 500€/$ and 700€/$ for a one-way ticket) and then I calculate with them:

  • Transportation
  • 17 nights and 18 days on board with:
    • Food
    • Accommodation
    • Service on board
    • Stopovers
  • And most of all: the life experience, on my opinion that’s invaluable

Then they often change their mind 😉

One more thing we are interested about sometimes too, is the carbon cost of that type of journey. I will probably write about this later as it’s a bit difficult to evaluate.

CMA-CGM website

If you want to get information from the source on the company’s website.

Last word

To live is to dream too.


Yes. Seriously.

During a conversation with an old friend, which we had not so long ago, I explained to him that I had acquired the conviction over time that you should allow yourself to dream, to not limit our wishes, desires… to what would be reasonable or conceivable.

But he didn’t see it that way, and even he was quite closed to the idea..

So much that it surprised me, but also reminded me that very often the least shared ideas are the least shareable, in the sense that it will not be agreed in advance.

If I had been told 3/4 years ago that I was going to live this adventure; I would have thought “yeah that can, why not, must see” because I was already engaged at the time on another path.

I would have been said so 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible at all.

Long may it last! 

I will keep wonderful memories of this crossing. And I will never regret not having traveled on a cruise ship.

With fewer distractions, we have time to breathe, to take a little break.

I feel that I have been a very privileged traveler on this freighter and I hope this post has given you a nice overview.