I don’t remember if I told you or not, but for the past 4 weeks I’ve been sleeping on a cruise boat in the Port of Darwin. I was lucky enough to have a friend with a job there, eager to give me a cheaper mean to stay in a definitely picturesque setting. The only downside, and not a little one, was that since I was not supposed to be there, I would have had to leave the boat every morning before 7.45 am, and returning after 10 pm when all the crew had already left. It was not very relaxing, definitely, but it was the only real option I had. And it was fun, in the first place.
Everything was fine: I had my place to sleep on some comfy mats, I’d take shower with a hose, the toilet was nice and it was just great to wake up in the early morning gently rocked by the waves, and see some cormorants peeking at me from the jetty outside, while the dawn colored the sky in bright shades of red and pink. I used to wake up, get ready and then walk down to the kitchen area to make me some tea pouring some water in a bowl and putting it in the microwave. That was such a fast and daily habit by late July that one morning when I heard a metallic sound from upstairs, I really started panicking. What was happening? Someone was definitely getting on board. The metal gate had been lifted and that was not my friend. Damn.
I didn’t know what to do so I thought for a few seconds that seemed minutes, and realized the only thing to do was to get out of there as fast as I could. I walked upstairs and, don’t ask me why, I could get back into the sleeping area where I left my bag without stumbling into anyone. Lucky me. I grabbed my two things and I ran the whole length of the deck, lifted a door and entered my friend’s room. He was still asleep, and when I told him someone was there and I didn’t know what to do, he woke up immediately.
“Stay here” was the order, while he disappeared upstairs and I tried to make myself smaller into the small room. If they caught me, he would probably have been in trouble for he wasn’t allow to let people on the boat overnight.
He came back after a couple minutes telling me the owner came earlier than usual to make sure some work could have been done to the deck, and that I had two options: try to snick out whenever I felt it was safe and nobody was around, or just stay there and wait for the boat to clear up. But the second one would have meant maybe to stay in that small, cramped room for a few hours. Not the perfect plan. My friend disappeared upstairs and I was left behind, thinking of what to do, while the walls were becoming smaller and smaller. I knew something annoying might have come, any day. I decided I wanted to leave anyways, and therefore I set foot on the small wooden stairs, trying to peek outside of the hole, making sure nobody was around.
It was hard to have a clear, distinct idea of the situation, since the visibility was partly blocked by the opened door, and I was underground, looking outside on the deck from some sort of cellar. It seemed like nobody was around, and I suddenly remembered that my friend suggested me to leave when they would have gotten on the dingy to go check out another boat, a few metres away. I looked at the side of the deck, and since I couldn’t see any smaller dingy, I just decided to make the move. A couple seconds passed, as I grabbed my bag and made sure everything I left behind was safe, and then before overlooking for a last time, I was out on the greyish deck. The harbour was all around, staring at me with thousands vibrating eyes made of sunbeams. I just turned around and started running towards the little exit on the right side, nobody was in sight. I felt like my plan was perfect and jumped out barefoot going up the stairs connecting the raft to the jetty.
As I got almost to the top, I glanced sideways and I saw one worker bent down on the deck, giving me his shoulders. He didn’t see me. The plan was perfect, I made it out safe, for myself and my friend!! A few victory thoughts got into my mind while I walked the last portion of the jetty, approaching the park where I sat down to rest and get the adrenaline rush off my system. I had made it.
It was just a few hours later when I was sitting at the library trying to use some wifi connection that my friend came in and even before sitting down, he stared me in the eye and said: “He saw you”
He saw me. Damn. He saw somebody running for a second at the top of the jetty stairs. It was my bloody back who committed treason, and I got caught. No dramas actually. Not for my friend, he got away very simply with it, saying I was a friend with a problem who stayed for a couple nights. But for me, now I had to find another place to stay. Damn. There hasn’t been any time in Australia where i could just sit back and relax and let things go with the flow, because every time something major or minor like this would happen. What have I done to this country to deserve all of this?? I don’t have a clue. That’s how I had to leave the boat that rocked my nights for a month, and man although some days I felt like puking each time I was walking, still feeling the sea inside of me, I reckon it was good. One of the funniest accommodations I ever had in this trip. Filed under “travel memories” now, sadly, but will be always there in the back of my mind.