On weekends I like to pick up sailors, and I’ve been ever so popular with all seamen I’ve met so far.
Plus, my time as a volunteer bus driver for the Mission to Seafarers has been something of an education.
For starters, I was surprised to learn that approximately 35,000 sailors land at Gladstone’s wharves each year, and this number is expected to reach 50,000 soon.
Whenever the mission bus pulls up, hordes of sailors come steaming down the gangways to enjoy a few precious hours of leave in our city. Except for the poor mariners trapped on the gas ships over at Curtis Island; for the want of one lousy bridge…
…hordes of sailors come steaming down the gangways to enjoy a few precious hours of leave in our city.
I’ve also discovered that foreign seafarers only want three things: fresh food, mobile phone cards and to see a kangaroo. Gladstone’s shops can cover the first two (if they’re open) but our local kangaroo population have been a tad reluctant to show their furry faces.
On the one occasion Skippy did poke his nose out of the shrubbery near Fishermans’ Landing, the bus nearly capsized as twenty delighted sailors rushed to get a photo of it.
If you’re looking for a business opportunity, then set up a food stall near the Mission to Seafarers at the marina, lash a kangaroo to a nearby post, and watch the money roll in.
But if you’re looking for something to do with your spare time, then pop in and sign on as a volunteer; I personally guarantee you’ll be very popular!