July Feature :: 40 memorable voyages on OM's ships
This month we feature a number of voyages that stand out in people's memories from the past 40 years of sailing OM's ships through the oceans and seas of the world. Thank you to each one who contributed and we hope you will enjoy these stories.
1. Logos Maiden Voyage, 1970-71
I remember the team spirit and unity and friendship that built up on that long maiden voyage around Africa. Many of those friendships are still alive today and I am in contact with many who were on the ship at that time. For our whole family, including our three children, to be on that voyage was very special and they often refer back to it – a milestone in their childhood.
I especially remember the large numbers of people that came on board in Lagos and Cape Town. These were the pioneer days for the book exhibit and other events and we were learning fast. It was what I saw on that trip that started to sow the seed in my mind of getting a second and larger ship.
Bjorn Kristiansen (Norway) was Captain and John Yarr (Scotland/Australia) was the Chief Engineer. I remember the tension between the two (both now in glory) and I saw the Lord work it out to bring them into friendship in Christ. We had a great (and a bit foolish) celebration as we crossed the equator having a waterfight with the fire hoses - some were relieved to see the human side of me.
The emphasis on prayer during the whole voyage was also something I will never forget and of course arriving in Cochin was one of the greatest highlights of all. I had been out of India for four years and so seeing the OM leaders come to the ship in a small boat brought a flood of emotion including many tears of joy.To be director of the ship Logos and at the same time director of OM took me to a new level of stress and I learned more about taking some time off, even a few hours, for a break. Very few know how historic ‘70 and ‘71 were in the entire history of OM and especially the answers to prayer in the area of finance. We trust HIM for even greater things in the years to come.
2. Bombay, India to Bari, Italy, 1975
3. Portsmouth, England to Vigo, Spain, 1976
In 1976 we left England with Logos to sail to Bilbao, Spain. As we left the port dark clouds could already be seen on the horizon. The weather got worse and worse and when we were in the Bay of Biscay the waves grew to a size I had never seen before. I remember going to the bridge on all fours to see Captain Paget. He laughed at my expressed concern. We altered course to the west to avoid the ship moving too much from one side to the other. The galley could not be used any more and only crackers and water was served. Many tried to sleep in the dining room as this was in the middle of the ship. The winds grew to force 11. After a few days we sailed into Vigo as the port of Bilbao was closed. The bookshelves in the holds were smashed and books were all over the place. Many thought there must be a better way to share the Gospel than with a ship!
4. Genoa, Italy to Bremen, Germany, 1978
5. Ponta Delgada, Azores to Portsmouth, USA, 1978
6. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to Bridgetown, Barbados, 1979
7. Bridgetown, Barbados to Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1979
“It is a miracle that the ship is here.” These were the welcoming words of a local Christian who had seen how impossible this visit of the Doulos seemed. When we look back over this four week visit to the eight million [people] city of Buenos Aires our hearts are filled with praise to God for answering many prayers.
Before we left for our two week trip from Barbados to Argentina, there was no permission yet for a berth, selling of books, etc., and “impossible” was the word our faithful line-up team, headed by Bob Clement, heard many times. Local Christians were hesitant to commit themselves in the beginning as many of them did not believe that the ship’s visit would become a reality. At the last minute, we obtained the best possible berth in the port from the navy within walking distance from downtown Buenos Aires, and verbal permission from the head of customs for the book selling. It took one week then to get all the paperwork done before we could start with the bookselling but yet this was no hindrance to the start of the programme.
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina to Rosario, Argentina, 1979
9. Wewak, PNG to Madang, PNG, 1979
10. Hong Kong, China to Songklah, Thailand, 1980
My first voyage in 1980 was on Logos from Hong Kong to Songklah, Thailand. While on watch we spotted what appeared to be a floating palm tree. As we got closer the palm tree turned into a boatload of Vietnamese refugees! There were 51 if I remember correctly, out at sea for 11 days with no food, water or fuel. The following day while I was on watch we spotted another boat, this time with 42 refugees. When Captain Collins arrived on the bridge he turned to me and asked, “Is this going to happen every time you are on watch?” Needless to say we took them on board and were then able to take them to accepting countries.
Captain Tom Dyer
11. Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1986
12. Walvis Bay, Namibia to Cape Town, 1986
13. Ushuaia, Argentina towards Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 1988
We had settled back into our cabin next to the engineer's mess, I got all the baby’s clothes washed and put away and felt that after having had a rough pregnancy and having to lay in my bed for four months, I was ready to welcome 1988 in with gusto! Little did I know, 1988 would not be welcomed in with the gusto I had in mind. Joshua was just getting over a severe case of bronchitis so I wasn't really looking forward to the voyage with a sick newborn.
I used to say to Tom that if something ever happened at sea, with one child I could just jump in if I had to but with two now, I would need help. With his responsibilities as Chief Officer he would need to be on deck, so he needed to help me find someone. He arranged for family helpers and asked Mark Knight to be mine. How thankful we were to both him and Kathy for saying yes to that request. We didn't actually think we would need it but 'safety first'.
Tom had the 12-4 watch at sea. As the time got closer for Tom to go up to the bridge, I just did not want him to leave but knew he needed to. As he was getting ready, there was a big jolt. I said ‘Oh no – we've hit something!’ Tom said, ‘Honey, don't be ridiculous,’, but then I thought ‘Great, we've lost an engine and are going to sit at anchor for a replacement and that could take days or weeks.’ Tom was on the bridge in seconds. I continued to get the boys ready and tried to stay calm and have faith. Apparently the general muster bell rang but I didn't even hear it. Next I knew Mark Knight was at my door grabbing Tommy and calmly but quickly helping me get to the dining room where we knew to congregate in an emergency.
It was quite a scary night for me. Tommy was nicely occupied with others in the room so I just needed to take care of Joshua while we waited for our next orders from Captain Stewart. I placed him on his baby blanket on the floor; it slid back and forth as the Officers were ballasting the ship in hopes to get off the rock we had run aground on. I just kept trying to pray that God would give the captain wisdom to get us off this ship before we sank. I saw my husband once in those five hours. He came into give me and the boys a hug and kiss and I knew he had to be at his post.
Daylight arrived and the call was made to go to our lifeboat stations to abandon ship. I was not going to let anyone else take my newborn but as the angle of list got bigger, I couldn't hold Joshua and get up the steps. So Mark took him and asked Ricardo Morales to carry Tommy. Next thing I knew we were sitting in the lifeboat and being lowered to the water while I observed Tom and the captain climbing down the ladder to join us. Tommy went into shock at the sound of the engine while we were being lowered and all six lifeboats were taken to a rescue boat which we boarded safely.
I couldn't even discuss a thing with Tom as he helped me leave the lifeboat and as we arrived at the Red Cross station, I wondered why Tom wasn't coming to help me get the boys off the boat. I was told he stayed back with Dave Thomas and Elon Alva to guard the ship. How? Why? When would I see him? Was he safe? This just couldn't be possible. This is not the end of the story, but it was the end of voyage, and the end of Logos. Click here to see the location - requires Google Earth.
14. Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Taichung, Taiwan, 1989
15. Taichung, Taiwan to Hong Kong, 1989
Sitting at anchor in Manila Bay with engines turning and bow into the waves I was thankful for God’s sovereign hand and later, during dry dock, Johannes Thomsen showed me that the anchor connecting shackle was cracked and ready to part; God is merciful. Maggie remembers most of the staff hanging out in the main lounge while I and other crew were on the bridge taking care of business out there in the Typhoon Safety Zone away from the pier of the Manila Harbour. She clearly remembers Rhonda Adams explaining how Manila's Typhoon Safety Zone was the safest place to ride out the storm and how that compares to being in the centre of God's will: our safety zone.
However Maggie was not so happy after surviving the Logos ship wreck to again be sitting in a cabin with water running down inside the bulkheads. She and the boys slept that first voyage with their life jackets on once the water came in. While we had been pleased to see on our arrival that Doulos had purchased a crib for our second son, then about 10 months old. Unfortunately the carpenters forgot to remove the casters from the bottom of the crib! Maggie had left the cabin with Joshua asleep in the crib. One roll too many and the crib rolled right up against the door and jammed the handle, preventing any opening of the door! Mom outside, baby inside! Fortunately there was a second door into the cabin and the carpenters were able to take down the door to get in. However it was not a good place to be in if it is the HUSBAND’s fault for sticking the family back on the ship in the middle of a typhoon!
16. Gibraltar to Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1988
There was a lot of concern about sailing through the Bay of Biscay in December and after pulling into Vigo, Spain to fix a fuel oil leak, we were away again with the sea like glass and a full moon shining down. What a great crossing. Coming around Ushant and up the English Channel heading toward Amsterdam, the weather started to deteriorate behind us. It was the afternoon of December 24 when we reached the pilot station with strong winds blowing and seas moving. Ed Verbeek (a former Logos captain) joined us as pilot. It was not so easy to get him on board and we had to jury rig an embarkation ladder. Ed took a leap of faith and was on board! Amsterdam closed the port because of the weather right after we had passed the breakwater.
Going through the locks, there was my wife Maggie with the two boys along with Mark Dimond and the team that had come up from Germany. My expecting wife climbed up the ladder with help from the boys. Ed brought us into Oranjewharf to a safe berth – he always makes it look so easy! The shipyard welcomed us with Christmas parcels and we celebrated Christmas Day together on Logos II.
17. South East Asia, 1989
18. Helsinki, Finland to Leningrad, Russia, 1990
Leaving Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) we had some time in hand before we were due to arrive at our next port. We had had no opportunity to do any lifeboat drills so I slowed the ship and swung out of the channel. Down went all the lifeboats. Not long after a Russian patrol boat was rapidly approaching. Oops. So much for deviating from the course! The officer came on board and reported we were in an area we were not permitted to be! Fortunately he had visited the ship in Leningrad and we were allowed to depart. Later I came to learn some of the crewmembers were in a near panic as several had obtained military uniforms and hats and they seemed to be wearing them while in the lifeboats!
Captain Tom Dyer
19. Montevideo, Uruguay to Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 1991
20. Rosario, Argentina to Santa Fe, Argentina, 1993
21. Colombo, Sri Lanka to Port Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles, 1993
Not long after I joined Doulos we crossed the Indian Ocean, sailing from Sri Lanka to the Seychelles. It was my first ocean crossing, my first time crossing the equator by ship and a wonderful experience. There was only a light swell for most of the way, and at night, with no light around to interfere with the view, I was overwhelmed by the number of stars visible in the sky. I had never seen so many stars before and it brought new depth of meaning to Psalm 8. Looking out from the stern, I could see green lights in the water behind the ship. On asking what caused this strange, but very beautiful effect I was told it was the propeller churning up phosphorous in the water - amazing!
22. Mombasa, Kenya to East London, South Africa, 1993
This was the first voyage where I experienced really rough seas and I was very happy that I wasn't bothered by seasickness. Doulos was pitching wildly, but not rolling, and the bow was coming right out of the water before crashing back down, sending huge plumes of water up on both sides and up through the pipes for the anchor chains. Many of us in the deck department were standing at the bow enjoying the roller-coaster ride until the captain called us back. Sleeping at nights was also a challenge, since I was in a Section 1 cabin - about as far forward as it gets. There was so much movement it felt like you were being lifted off the bunk as the bow reached the top of a wave and started to go back down again.
23. Santos, Brazil to Vitoria, Brazil, 1994
24. Aqaba, Jordan to Suez Canal, Egpyt, 1994
The ship turned around and on arrival at the scene about six hours later, the stricken ship could still be seen engulfed in smoke on the horizon, but about two hours later capsized and sank. Medical personnel, supplies and Arabic-speakers were transferred from Doulos to another US warship where over 250 survivors had been brought. They treated many people with fractures, hypothermia, burns and also a boy with a serious head injury who was taken by helicopter with a Doulos nurse to a hospital onshore. A US Navy officer said: “Your ship and medical team have been an absolute Godsend!” The medical team’s professionalism and “unsurpassed dedication” was also recognised in a letter of thanks from US Navy Deputy Rear Admiral P. W. Parcells.
25. Scarborough, Tobago to Gibraltar, 1994
26. Sailing out of Toulon, France, 1994
To celebrate the 25th year of OM’s Ship Ministry, it was decided that Doulos and Logos II should come together in the same port. These ‘On Course’ celebrations took place in Toulon in the South of France. It was an exciting time, with prayer partners, friends and former crewmembers coming to visit the two ships together from many countries. At the end of the time, both ships were to sail out of the port together, one behind the other, and then sail side by side for photographs to be taken. My wife (now – then colleague!) and I were lining up the visit, and there was quite some discussion beforehand about the logistics of it all. Then the morning of departure turned out to be very foggy. Nevertheless, we boarded the pilot boat together with photographer Susie Burton and a video crew and got under way. As we sailed out of the port, the fog cleared and conditions were perfect. Seeing the two ships sailing together before parting to head for their next ports of call was very special.
27. Vigo, Spain to Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1995
28. Balboa, Panama to Los Angeles, USA, 1997
On February 13th, 1997, Logos II was sailing between Balboa, Panama and Los Angeles, USA when John and I decided to have lunch up on deck. It was a special day for us but only the two of us knew it at that point. As we sat down on the starboard bridge wing the ship was suddenly surrounded by dolphins who seemed to perform a show just for us – we guessed about 200 of them! They arched out of the water in groups of ten – stunningly beautiful. Just as the officer on watch made an announcement to tell others about this amazing sight we were already leaving their territory and as others arrived on deck the show was over – a special gift to us it seemed. That evening we announced that we had got engaged that day!
From my first stint on board Logos II, one voyage that comes to mind was the voyage from Panama to Los Angeles in 1997 which began the tour of the west coast of the US and Canada. This voyage was remarkable for the glassy smooth ocean that we enjoyed over the ten-day voyage. Being able to lean over the bow and watch dolphins playing and racing ahead of the ship was wonderful. I remember we ate well on the voyage as we had to use up all the fresh fruit and vegetables as well as the meat on board due to the US Customs regulations.
29. Port of Spain, Trinidad to Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1999
30. Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia, 1999
I come from a very rural and small farming community in North East Kansas. We were very poor – we ate what we caught and grew on our little farm! I remember at around the age of seven or eight years old watching a kid’s programme on TV about Australia and other places in the world, and marvelling at the fact that there are people and places ‘on the other side of the world’. I remember feeling sad as I watched the programme thinking, “I will never travel the world to see these amazing peoples and places God has made.” As we were sailing into Sydney Harbour on Doulos, I worshipped God as I recalled that childhood memory.
Laura Luce Rogers
31. Nanjing, China to Bintulu, Malaysia, 2000
32. Birkenhead, England to Cardiff, Wales, 2001
33. Copenhagen, Denmark to Trogir, Croatia, 2005
Ten months after purchase, with a crew brought together from around the world, the ship was fueled, stocked with water and provisions and ready for her maiden voyage to the shipyard. The engines all started, the bow thruster worked, the crew was at mooring stations and a strong wind was blowing the ship back onto the berth so Captain Jensen called for a tug to help pull her into the outer harbour. From there we had all four engines running, smoke billowing out of funnel and the ship speeding along between 14 and 18 knots (no other OM ship has gone this fast before!). Engineers were checking and rechecking for oil leaks, tears in eyes with the joy and praise to the Lord that after 10 months of hard work Logos Hope was finally at sea!
Great weather for the first day around Denmark but on the second day out into the North Sea with a force 6 wind, NW swell, ship starting to roll up to 22 degrees either way! After some struggles to get the stabilisers working the roll is reduced to 5 degrees! Wind dies down for Southern North Sea / English Channel and Bay of Biscay and all the way to Gibraltar.
The lights of Gibraltar, and coast of Morocco great us as we enter the Med. Engine fuel consumption trials every day and lube oil being used up quickly. Off the coast of Algeria heading towards Tunisia a storm blows up, high winds and big swell gives Logos Hope a pounding and she shakes it all off. Weather dies down just before we come close to Malta. About 30 miles of Malta and close to Sicily a phone call to ship tells us to divert to Valletta, Malta, as the contract with a shipyard has fallen through! If the Lord hadn't sent that bad weather to slow us down, we would have arrived already. He is Sovereign, He is Lord, His timing is perfect.
34. Rotterdam, Netherlands to Hamilton, Bermuda, 2008
35. Freeport, Bahamas to Nassau, Bahamas, 2008
36. Port of Spain, Trinidad to the Mediterranean, 2008
As we left the lights of Port of Spain behind us we started off first slowly because growth on the hull tempered her speed but steadily she gained and after a week we were up to full speed. The weather was good and 10 days later we passed the cliffs of Madeira and all on board ran upstairs to get a wireless signal and get their phone or computer to work, several succeeded making the necessary calls to inform the home front of our progress.
Shortly after we closely crossed the co-ordinates where one of my ancestors was let to his sea grave some 65+ years earlier and a few moments of silence commemorated that event. A few days later the three week voyage was interrupted by a three-hour scheduled stop in Gibraltar to exchange some crew, take final bunkers and some last supplies. Some even ran to the top of the mountain and back just in time before departure. Only minutes after leaving with full speed out of the harbour a phone call from HQ requested us to stay because our final destination was still not known. Never mind we were gone, pumping away and ‘ploughing’ the increasingly warmer Mediterranean waters towards the east.
Passing the Greek Islands was sheer pleasure with their quaint small towns, white painted houses and orthodox churches clearly visible. Passing the island of Patmos not too far off to starboard reminded me of God’s faithfulness throughout generations, how once Paul and others had cross the same waters to proclaim the Gospel. Here we were on our way to dispose one of the most beautiful tools the Lord had ever provided to further his Kingdom but we were promised that better was to come. Finally we arrived. We left the ship with one generator running to keep fridges going. No celebrations, no party, no cheering crowds awaited us. Only a last memorable ‘international night’ together before flying home.
37. Koege, Denmark to Gothenburg, Sweden, 2009
38. Cork, Ireland to Kingstown, St. Vincent, 2010
39. Hamilton, Bermuda to St. Johns, Antigua, 2010
40. Many more memorable voyages have happened and if you've sailed with one of OM's ships we invite you to share your sailing story through the comments function below! Please note all comments are moderated before they are published so it may not appear immediately.