Karl travelled to Christiania ( later called Oslo) and then by boat to Bremen Germany where the Lloyd Shipping line was based and where many Norwegians had come before but they were emigrating to the U.S.-he made his way to the wharf where his ship was docked and embarked,where he was shown to his cabin; his luggage was already there so he unpacked and settled in-it was November and this journey would take six weeks. The ship SS “Pruessen” was a new beautifully set up ship and this was her maiden voyage – Karl travelled as a first class passenger.
The journey started calmly enough but stormy waters were ahead.
The ship went firstly to Antwerp Belgium where over 400 English passengers boarded. Karl wondered why as they would call at Southampton; he didn’t know that the ship’s owners had a hidden agenda, taking on board more passengers than the ship could reasonably cater for and also bypassing English strict laws on passenger numbers and the sanitation would not be checked either. They were travelling with pigs on board, too many passengers close to them was not ideal, and as far as sanitation goes, a disaster.
Sailing to Port Said an Egyptian city at the northern end of the Suez Canal where people left the ship to see the sights. Karl did not go because he had been warned that these places were rife with diseases including smallpox . Even though he had the necessary vaccinations, he didn’t think it worth the risk.
So he stood leaning on the rail of the deck outside his cabin and watched the hurly-burly of the scene unfolding below and marvelled at this spectacle, it certainly was a new experience. He wasn’t to know his nightmare was about to begin; an Irishman brought the virus aboard.
They sailed on to Aden (now Yemen) and the ship stopped again but this time he noticed that people were not going ashore. Karl was starting to feel uneasy there seemed to be a dark cloud hovering over them , also he could hear muffled screams coming from below. They sailed on through the Suez canal and headed across the open sea to Albany Western Australia. But smallpox had raised its ugly head and although the ship’s doctor tried to keep matters under control, he wasn’t strict enough and adding to his problem was the lack of room to isolate the patients and those showing signs of the illness.
The doctor started to vaccinate but didn’t have enough serum, a man died and the virus was spreading through the passengers of the lower decks, like wildfire. Karl was getting very worried, he knew it would take a fortnight before reaching landfall. On reaching Albany the ship was given a bad report calling it ‘the dirtiest ship they had ever seen’ and some passengers were taken ashore and put in isolation. The same story in Adelaide, Melbourne, and finally Sydney where they arrived on the 30th December 1886
Those left on the ship were sent into quarantine where they languished for two months, the ship had to go through extensive cleaning and fumigation and the ship’s owners wanted to quickly relegate this disaster to the past but this was not to be and it went down in history for all to see and easily found even today on the internet.
Karl had thoughts of returning home but he wasn’t a quitter and then he wouldn’t ever know if he could have succeeded in this country so far from home -so negative thoughts aside he decided to move forward with his dream.
All in all it was a setback,a less than an auspicious end to his journey and he wondered what other challenges lay ahead