At Cobh Port a final clutch. A wild-eyed terrified cheerio over the canvas tensa-barrier. SECO. Ordinarily a terse gruff man. Little truck with humanity and only a bark for his battalion of Gherkins. I signed off earlier that day with the crew box-office. Relinquished my Bit Of Plastic. My badgengun. Twelve Years. Like Starskey & Hutch, that episode where they throw their badges into the sea. Seco was the sort of man who was disinterested in everything, disinclined towards anything. Ex-copper. Missed nothing. He produced my laminex from his crisp pressed top pocket. With a look gravely gave me it. He knew it was the last time. He had guessed it would be just me and him on that black Queenstown jetty at midnight. He had put it in his crisp pressed pocket for me. As Artemis started her engines and I turned myself towards a bleak hotel room I relied upon that strange and lovely kindness to propell me up the quay.
He went to Gamblers Anonymous for a while. A man stood up and described the colour of his addiction. In the bar one night he emptied the machine of it's jackpot on his first go. He was devastated and his night was ruined. He gambled to gamble, not to win.
Panama. We raced to a small landing for a quick opportunity of Arcadia before she entered the locks at Gatún. The girls screeched with delight in the back seat, we had spotted her through the trees. The jeep hurtled down a filthy track and I leapt down from the front seat. I laugh now when I remember Arti Shulka banging on the rear window brandishing the video camera as she was locked in. Hardly life or death of course, but it always tickles me that I gave the door handle a vigorous shake then just left her in there and raced to the shoreline for my shot instead. I got a single photograph; the vessel was awash with morning light - and in an instant it was gone. A 4am start and fourteen hours shooting ahead of us. Deflated I knew that frame 1 of sixty rolls of film would be the best shot of the ship that day. In 2005 it was still on neg but I knew.
The last laugh was with Arti. Later, she shot the best seller of the entire transit. We couldn't print enough shots of that stupid pelican.