The Copra Run


It doesn’t seem so long ago,
Joining sometimes in the snow,
But what a life on the Copra run,
Cruising round the Pacific sun!

First, a visit to Gulf Ports,
The hectic loading of all sorts,
Sailing down to the Antipodes
Then island hopping in Southern Seas.

There were those times, – a precious thing,
When island folk began to sing,
The natural lazy way of life,
Free from worry, free from strife.

It was a gift, we never thought,
Just a job that we had sought,
But looking back it was something special
Joining on that Copra vessel.

7 thoughts on “The Copra Run

  1. I was an apprentice on the “Westbank” in 1954 when it was on this service. Master was Peter Stewart, with the Mate Bruce Carney, the duo that was on the “Westbank” when it had its problems with Juan de Nova in the Madagastar Channel.


    1. WESTBANK : the McTaggart wheel plus the WESTBANK marked bell are still
      “alive”. both are well used . As a memory to my own time at sea they are still
      with me since the seventies last century. Took both from the Westbank directly.
      when, at that time , she was named St. Helena


        1. In springtime 1972 our vessel had a short stay alongside the Lady WESTBANK., then named SANTA HELENA.The watchman (Pakistani ?) offered me a guided tour all over the vessel . From maindeck up to the wheelhouse (bridge) he started offering items. We played a little bit Oriental bazaar. Both, bell and wheel signed
          off that day. On the way up we passed a few places with wonderful darkened wooden panneling (patina, heavy smoking ? ).. You will remember a young and attractive
          Lady WESTBANK; I met an elderly Lady named SANTA HELENA and according
          to the watchman suffering from serious problems : Survey overdue, class suspended, repairs required and her days numbered already. Complete crew had
          left her, he the only one remaining on duty as watchman.
          In 1957 joined an old steamship built at Burntisland in 1937.I very much enjoyed
          the hours at the mahogany wheel especially at rough sea .You see, there is a kind
          of link to the Lady’s wheel.
          Etched to the “rear” of the bell : M / V SIMBA , no SANTA HELENA markings are
          present.The many showers and washings when at sea did a nice job to the clapper.( rusted heavily ).
          According to Allen Collection, Basic Data on Westbank , yard number was 761.
          The upper part of the bell shows C 761 twice.
          sorry for the delay.
          attaching photos to the box failed, have two ready for you
          what can be done ??


          1. Kurt,

            Thanks for the pictures – much appreciated. Together with quite a few people looking in on this site I sailed on the Westbank. You may not know but she was very nearly lost when she grounded in the night on the island of Juan De Nova back in 1952.


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