Tokyo to Long Beach on the Punjab Senator
Crossing the Pacific
by Freighter

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Top, loading the ship in Tokyo bay during my first night on board.  Above, the captain and first mate, both Germans, take a look at the weather.  No uniforms except in port.  Below, the scene from my stateroom, day after day!

Above, the Long Beach port pilot (with cap) guides us into the harbor, Captain behind him.   Below all 3 passengers pose for a picture.

Below left:  Kay and Tim brought me down to the ship in Tokyo bay.  They sit in a corner of my huge, two-room-plus-bath suite.

Below right:  For the 7 officers and 14 men, maintenance was an ongoing activity.  These guys were painting anywhere they could find some unoccupied space.

In 2000 Kay returned to Tokyo to work at our former school, the American School in Japan.  They needed her, but not me, to fill a one year vacancy.  I was back and forth between Arkansas and Tokyo several times, and we met in Fayetteville for Christmas and Hawaii for Spring break.

I had done the research and found regular freighters between Japan and California, and realized that this would be a great way to bring Kay’s stuff back home, as there is really no luggage limit on a freighter!

Maritime law allows up to 12 passengers without a physician on board, but we had only three:  me and a couple from Seattle who were making the entire 84 day round trip to Europe!  My segment was only ten days long.

About the Punjab Senator

A fleet of nine sisterships, all built in 1997-98, carried (at least in 2000A.D,) 5,000 containers each on a 84 day itinerary that  connected the U.S. West Coast to Europe through calls in the Far East, the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, and Mediterranean  Sea. 

From the web site:  “All  cabins are carpeted, air-conditioned 2-room suites that are outside-facing and have  private facilities. The large living room in each cabin has a sofa, love seat, chair, large  writing desk and chair, mini-refrigerator and bar, and electronics that include a  VCR, tape deck, radio, and CD player.”

The dining room is shared with the officers, as is the lounge, indoor pool, sauna, and  a small gym/recreation room,  The lead officers are German, the junior officers are Russian, and the crew members are mostly from the Marshall Islands.

My most often asked question before I embarked:  "Why do you want to take ten days to cross the Pacific when a plane takes only 10 hours?"  Answer:  "Because I couldn't find a ship that would take longer."  It's been a long time dream, and now, after this successful trial run, I want to find a longer journey, perhaps around South America, and one that Kay would like. 

I was never bored.  I spent time on the bridge day or night, in the engine room, walking the 900 feet to the bow for exercise, visiting with the officers and crew, watching videos, reading, and joining anyone I could find for pre-dinner wine & cheese.