Editor’s Note: In July 2012, Wilder Denholm ’14 had the unique experience of being invited aboard the Saga Andorinha, a container ship that is part of the J. & J. Denholm shipping fleet, for a three-week journey along the Pacific Coast.
During the voyage, Denholm wrote daily accounts about his experience at sea. Over the next 14 days, we’ll be publishing an entry from Denholm’s journal on In Their Own Words, following along as he recounts his trip. As Capt. Anil Samyal of the Saga Andorinha later noted, “I do hope that Wilder will cherish these memories for the rest of his life, and so will I.”
Dad’s Wakeup call
As I woke up to the sound of my grandmother telling me that my father was on the phone, the first thought that came to mind was wondering what I had done wrong! It was 0630hrs San Diego time, I was spending the summer in California with my grandparents. I answered the phone dreading what he might say, as I am known for being the troublemaker.
He, however, surprised my by asking me if I was ready to join a ship in Los Angeles later that day. Dad had previously shown me extracts from his log at sea on board the MV Glenpark when he was 16, and I had expressed an interest to experience life at sea as well. However, I did not expect the early morning wake-up call with this news. Next thing I knew, I was on my way to Los Angeles, all I could think about was what I would be doing on board the ship.
The ship’s agent met me and assisted me on board the Saga Andorinha which was berthed alongside in Long Beach. The ship had just completed discharging part of her steel products cargo and was preparing to sail.
The Chief Mate met me at the top of the gangway and showed me to my cabin which turned out to be the owner’s cabin. The crew made me feel welcome—showering me with biscuits and sodas. Captain Samyal later welcomed me on board.
The ship set sail later that afternoon for San Francisco. I remained in my cabin until the Captain was clear from his maneuvers out of Long Beach. Once clear of Long Beach, I was then allowed on the bridge, where I spent the better part of the night taking everything in. They also issued me the standard SAGA boiler suit which gave me a hint of what was to come.