We were sailing somewhere between the Bay of Islands and our next stop, Norfolk Island. Guests were enjoying the lecture series on Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands during a relaxing day at sea.
They are also getting to know their way around National Geographic Orion. I was heading to lunch when I bumped into Captain Mike Taylor.
Operating the ship since 2008, Captain Taylor says he was born for the ocean. He started working on ships at the age of 16, through the manager of a stevedoring company in Ireland, Benny Forde.
“He was fairly blunt where I first told him I wanted to get on a ship, he told me I was very young,” the Captain told me.
“But a month into my school holidays, the phone rang and he said there was a Danish ship going to Israel, the messboy had just had his appendix out and I could get on the ship if I could get down to the North Wall with all my gear and passport within an hour.
“So I did.”
It was that six-week trip to Ashdod and Haifa that Captain Taylor says changed his life because since he hasn’t been able to stay away from the sea.
A gypsy at heart, Captain Taylor says the best part of his job is the travel. He says being on board a ship, particularly an adventure vessel like the National Geographic Orion takes him to exciting destinations imbued with unique culture, scenic landscapes and wildlife.
It’s those unique shore visits that also allow him to live out his other passion, photography.
During the inaugural sailing, Captain Taylor says he’s keen to see Vanuatu, a destination he hasn’t visited in over 27 years.
“I’m a keen photographer, and want to take the hike to the crater-rim of Mt Yasur, on Tanna Island, and photograph the volcanic activity at sunset,” he explained.
“I’ve heard the stories – Volkswagen sized boulders being erupted high above your head, and then falling back majestically into the cauldron of the crater.
“Of course if I get too close, it will make the Chief Officer very happy.”
Throughout 2014, Captain Taylor will take the National Geographic Orion through the South Pacific, the Kimberley, Borneo, the Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Pitcairn, Easter Island, Argentina, Falklands and South Georgia.
Missed out on Day One and Day Two of the ship’s inaugural journey?
Check Cruise Passenger tomorrow for Day Four of the National Geographic Orion’s first voyage as takes guests to Norfolk Island.