Signed on articles at the Royal Docks on 09-10-1967. Before we sailed the ship underwent engine trials and an engine explosion ensued resulting in some engine room staff being taken to hospital by ambulance. I had popped ashore after the trials were complete to buy an evening newspaper and when I returned on board there were engineers laying on top of the hatch waiting to be taken away.
We were bound for Melbourne but on the way stopped in Cape Town for spare parts with no shore leave. Stayed for a few days in Melbourne where there was a heat wave then on to Sydney for Christmas.
Looking forwards to visiting the famous seaman’s bar, Montgomery’s Hotel and as we were berthed in Pyrmont it was no trouble getting there. A good time had by all.
On to Brisbane for New Year and last port of discharge was Townsville. Here the crew were employed on shore side rates of pay preparing the holds for loading in New Zealand.
On arrival in Nelson I had money to burn in my pocket but got a call from my friend Chris Watkins to ask if I could be his best man at forth coming wedding in Lyttelton. So borrowing a suit and some shoes I made my way to Lyttelton and after the wedding I caught up with the ship in New Plymouth. I enjoyed myself there but after ten days we sailed to Lyttelton for four days more loading before sailing for London via Panama.
Arrived in Hull then on to London after completing a circumnavigation of the world and paid off on 20-03-1968.
When I was on the Otaki I am sure that she still had the NZSC yellow funnel but around that time she was transferred internally to Federal Steam and changed to their funnel as in the above photo. I have included another photo of her in the NZSC livery.
On pay off day (20-03-1968) the Number One record in the UK charts was: Xanadu by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.
Ports Visited: London, Newport, Las Palmas, Cape Town, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Nelson, New Plymouth, Lyttelton, Panama Canal, Hull, London.