At the age of 17, the author embarks on his first voyage as junior radio officer aboard an 18-year-old cargo liner on the Australian run. His first voyage is not exactly a pleasurable experience and in many ways, he regrets his decision to go to sea.
Experiences on his second ship, a Houlder Brothers’ iron-ore carrier go a long way towards banishing any doubts. Subsequent voyages in two small British colliers provide interesting, if uncomfortable experiences, before he is once again appointed to a deep-sea vessel.
After a change of employer in 1965, he quickly finds himself adjusting to the culture shock of moving from a 21-year-old cargo ship into an almost new passenger liner.
Starting at the bottom again as a junior, he gradually works his way up the promotion ladder to become senior radio officer in the magnificent Cape Mail liner RMS Good Hope Castle.
Here he witnesses first-hand, the rapid and inevitable decline and extinction of the long-established, and highly respected, Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.