The end of the line

Photo above by Ray Phillips

In 1978 the AUSTRALIS was approaching her fortieth birthday. She had enjoyed a long and productive existence going well beyond her twenty year life expectancy. However the aging liner had worked hard and the wear and tear was very evident. The ravages of time, the ocean and the skimping on maintenance in her final years, manifested themselves in the form of leaking pipes, weather-beaten decks, frayed electrical wiring and more frequent mechanical failures. She also emitted an unpleasant odor ingrained over the years from a combination of kitchen smells, smoke, fuel oil, lubricants, and backed up toilets. The old Queen was due for a major overhaul and it would take a lot of money to restore the luster and mechanical vitality of her younger days. While she was still eminently sea worthy her operating cost were rather high when compared to some of the newer ships. Chandris was unwilling to make the investment and the AUSTRALIS was for sale.

 

Venture Cruises summer 1978
Italis 1978 - 1980
The last voyage

AMERICAN STAR
Carole Barley.

Strange majesty
In the red, white and blue.
You tower,
Broken backed but unbowed
As the tide retreats.

Held forever.
Dream of your realm
Of flat horizons,
As the trade winds turn
The tracks of your tears
To rust.

Echoes of laughter
At the Captain’s table
Now the squabble and flit
Of gulls.
Eyeless portholes stare
As the sun picks peeling paint.

The strong straight line
Of your absurd
Anchor chain
Moves me…

Keep your secrets.
There is beauty
In your dereliction.