Going through the Suez has changed a lot over the years compared to when I first went through back in 1999. Back then we were on the Forecastle of the ship in shorts and deck shoes working, now we have guys fully manning the guns in body armour etc and no one else is allowed on the upper deck. We were at an enhanced posture all the way down the canal.
After a fair trek, we eventually popped out. The canal is approximately 120 miles long, and all the way down I was thinking, I'd love to run it and try to beat the ship through (Well just get there and the ship pick me up at the end will do). Not do it on a treadmill and do the distance but actually run the length of the canal. Alas I don't think that will ever happen whilst I work within the RN.
So we are in the Red Sea, and my training continues either on the treadmill or around the upper deck. We were slowly sailing down as we were waiting for an American task group and French ship to come through with us. There has recently been attacks in the area on vessels so were were all going though the Bam el Mandeb known as the BAM the choke point of the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden.
This time our posture would be further enhanced and we'd be closing up into Defence Watches firstly (a 1 in 2 routine) prior to the 12 hour BAM transit where we would then go to Action Stations which is our highest state of readiness, should we be unlucky and be attacked. Luckily we weren't and all was well. It was a long ass day though because some were unlucky to have to say on watch for another 6 hours or more after falling back into Defence Watches.
|Bam el Mandeb choke point (pic taken off google)
With thousands of mile to go across the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, it was going to be a long transit. Training sessions in the gym in the early hours when it was cooler although still very warm or on the upper deck when it was a little cooler either first thing or last thing before sunset. Sessions are now on running, cross trainer, bike and stepper. The stepper is in mind of the Arc of Attrition I have early on in the year next year.
It was also confirmed to us when we were looking at getting back and yes it is now pretty much 10 months away from home. I'm sad that I won't be seeing my family for pretty the whole of the year, but I have to find silver linings and going to the Far East, where I have been luckily with work a few times in the past, I get to go again to. Then the thought of running in some of these places makes me smile. We are just awaiting confirmation of the ship's programme so we can plan things, and for me to be able to see if there is any races I could enter.
|Training in the gym
Then we got told where we were going and finally we had a programme, the Government want us to left. So after Singapore left is where we were heading.
I can't tell you off all the places we are going yet, but as I visit them I will continue to update you on my adventure runs.
We made it down the Malacca Strait and finally have about 3 and half weeks we came alongside in Sembewang, Singapore. I've visited here 6 times in total, the first time in 1999 and the last time in 2000 pretty much 18 years ago. The wife had booked me into a hotel for a couple of nights so I could get some time off the ship, abuse their wifi to update my phone etc and so I could be close to one of the parkruns here in Singapore. They have two, 1 in West Coast Park and the other in East Coast Park. The hotel is near the East Coast one. It's an earlier start out here compared to back home, most likely due to the temperatures, they have.
|Sunset somewhere along our transit in the Indian Ocean
|At the start of the parkrun in Singapore
We soon hit the turnaround point, I high 5'd the marshal thanked her and made my way back to the finish. I crossed the line and scanned my barcodes. Thanking the team I soon left, I had a busy day sort of planned ahead so I didn't hang around to grab a coffee and cake at the nearby Starbucks with the other park runners. Shocking I know, but I had to make my way back to the hotel and get myself sorted. I'm so glad I go out of my air conditioned hotel room and ran it. It was nice to have a little organised event to go to as well. If you're ever out here you can't go wrong with a parkrun.
|The view along the way of route of the parkrun
So we leave soon from here and continue our journey, so until next time when I update you all on my adventures away with work.
|Out on the streets of Singapore
Thanks for reading