For some years my home was on the MV Logos, the world’s first floating book exhibition ship. I started my time there as an AB (‘able bodied’) seaman. Able-bodied sounds as if all that was needed was brawn. Possibly true. There were many days chipping rust and painting, handling of ropes thicker than arms, hauling tarpaulins and other chores the lot of seamen the world over.
When I first joined the ship in Oct. 1977 in Marseille, France the captain was a much loved and respected George Paget. He had come to serve on this most unusual of vessels where all, including he as captain, were unpaid volunteers. During my first year on board incredibly we celebrated his 50th year at sea*. Much of his life he had been on vessels ploughing back and forth from the UK to India.
Captain Paget had a great love of India but he was also very English. We were not married at the time but Elisabeth as part of the crew worked in the pantry. She recalls how if there was afternoon tea requested to the captain’s cabin it was served in china cups.
He was known extensively around the ports of India and had the nickname ‘holy’ Paget for his Christian convictions. I think this was said with affection and respect. It was rumoured he knew every rock between England and India. This legendary claim was made clear to me as a deckhand steering the ship at night through the Red Sea, en route to India. The duty officer on the bridge told me to make no deviation from course as the captain would wake sensing something was not right.
When the vessel came to India I was still working as deckhand and training for a certificate in steering. So it was that I was on the bridge when we were entering a certain Indian port. As is normal we would take on a pilot to bring us alongside our berth. Captain Paget told me not to obey the pilot but to listen to his orders. This seemed rather odd as we were engaging a pilot for his expertise in local navigation or so I thought. However Paget knew this pilot was partial to a drink, or two. His judgement could not be relied upon. I soon began to see what he meant. Every order the pilot gave was extreme…
‘Full ahead…full astern… hard a port…hard a starboard’.
Each command was immediately countermanded by Paget giving gentler orders …
‘Half ahead… 10 degrees port’ etc.
Needless to say I obeyed the captain.
LOGOS in Greek means Word and is one of the ‘words’ used in the New Testament for Jesus (for example John 1 verses 1-3). Towards the end of his life Capt. Paget often said “I want to go to the real LOGOS so that the young ones can go to this LOGOS**”
* This was his last year. He left LOGOS in June 1978 and died later that year.
** Extract from a tribute by Philip and Rosemary Morris, 10th Nov 1978