An extract from the book – ” Any Budding Sailors”?
The author and fellow apprentice at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon.
The ‘ Inchanga ‘ had broad wood sheathed alleyways dominated by very wide cowl ventilators serving the cargo decks below. It was possible to lean into the cowl, like boys do, and even without doing that, the whole area often had a wonderful spicy aroma which I can still conjure up writing this 66 years later! The reason was that we carried bags of spices like cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and assorted herbs which gave out a lovely rich perfume. It gave those ships a distinctive smell, and those wide alleyways were somehow more like those on a really big passenger liner. At sea between Africa and India or Ceylon it was the practice to erect a wooden framed make shift swimming pool for both passengers and officers to use, and it just about served its purpose, but with some unique features brought about by the weather. This type of pool facility would give the modern cruise ship owner a nightmare, or maybe a fit of the giggles. Situated just in front of the bridge structure, and close to the ships side, any rolling motion would tend to slosh the water straight over the side! At 16 years of age this constituted fun, but I don’t believe anyone was ever washed out with the water despite the danger. Being watched by the bridge personnel above was a bit off putting, but they were just ogling the ladies in bikinis.