Tuesday 16th of January 2007 and I left my home at 1845.My flight was at 2355, but I wanted to be there in good time. I had called KLM earlier to see if there was a seat in biz
- Everything is full.
If there was a cancellation I wanted to be there early to get the seat. But no luck and I can as well get used to flying in monkey class. For sure saving me a lot of money. On the way to the airport we passed all the by now familiar sights that I passed every time picking up a friends at the airport, or when we left for Philippines and Phuket.
I like to pick up people at the airport, all the people coming and going and you know you don't have to leave. It's a totally different thing when you are leaving for a ship your self and this time it was the real thing and I didn't enjoy myself at all.
I'm looking forward to a 36 hour ++ journey, leaving Funky Town 0000 L/T 17th of January and arriving 2400 L/T 17th of January.
I had checked in and I was through the immigration at 2000 and I killed a few hours writing on my web page in a restaurant. I spent 1 hour walking around watching the airport. I need a new mobile, but I could not find a shop selling phones so I have to wait until Amsterdam.
Well, anyway, once again I praised myself for my decision to by two Samsonite wheeled unit. It was a dream arriving to the airport and after check in I had my computer bag on top of my wheeled cabin luggage and I just rolled in at a coffee shop ordering tea and a snack.
The plane should leave at 2355, but as no surprise we were delayed.
Wednesday 17th of January 2007 and we arrived to Amsterdam just after 6 o'clock in the morning. I had been on the airplane for 12 and a half hour when I got out of the airplane at 0630.
I searched for a restaurant with a power socket for my computer. I ran in to a lot of McDonald style restaurants with paper cups and plastic cutlery. Yeah, I use to go to Cafe Amsterdam at Pier F. They have proper service at the tables, but unfortunate they we not open yet.
I walked down to Lounge 2 and I found the restaurant “ The Brasserie ”. I found a table with
a power socket and I ordered breakfast.
About 2 hours to boarding for my New York flight and I have time to send some e-mail and to update my web page, no end to the excitement.
Well, after sending my e-mails and uploading my web page it was time to move to the gate for my New York leg, another 8 hours on a airplane and I'm about to kill my self and you can read all about it. Especially my Life Coach, he was crying when I left FUNKY TOWN.
- No one to pester when my only friend is leaving me!
Well, I boarded North West Airlines flight NW 0063 at 9 o'clock and I stepped out in Newark at 1145 L/T, almost 9 hours later and I had spent nearly 22 hours onboard a plane since I left Funky Town.
I had to wait here for almost 6 hours, my flight to Panama City was leaving 1720. But I had it with flying for a long time, I don't like it. When we took of from Amsterdam I thought I heard all kind off strange noises, but the crew didn't looked alarmed so I guess it was all normal. I didn't manage to get any sleep, I had been sleeping almost non stop from Funky Town to Amsterdam and I was thoroughly rested.
Day before leaving I went to the hospital to see a Doctor.
- I can't sleep!
I asked if he could write out a prescription for some sleeping pills. He checked my heart and he said:
- This is an emergency room and I can only give you 10 pills.
Well, sleeping all the way from FUNKY TOWN to Amsterdam and I didn't drop any sleeping pills and I was not able to sleep on the Amsterdam - Newark leg. Well, anyway, I was happy when we approached New York, this long flights are real killers and I don't know, but maybe I had grown afraid of flying the last few years. On the approach to the airport the plane was shaking and jumping and I was not feeling well. Suddenly the plane turned and the ground covered the view through the windows.
- Is this normal? I thought while expecting the Air Marshall coming running down the aisle with his gun.
No reaction from the crew and maybe this is normal. Just to make it better I could see the Steward sitting at the door on the port side. I was sitting facing the wall to the galley so I could not see the Steward on Starboard side. But I could see and hear the Steward on the port side while talking to the Steward on the Starboard side.
- Shouldn't you latch the food cart? He asked.
I could not hear or see him on the Starboard side, but after a second I heard port side Steward say:
- I just catch it when it come flying over here.
15 seconds later:
- It his first time!
I could not hear the answer, but after 2 seconds I could see Port side Steward nodding forward.
- Don't bite your sandwich wile touch down.
I was for sure feeling good overhearing this conversation. Suddenly we hit ground and I could feel that we were bouncing off and I was just waiting for us to touch ground again.
- Awful long time, I thought while feeling how we lifted and suddenly we hit ground again and the airplane did a crash brake. For sure I didn't like this and when I left the plane I was very happy to have survived.
Newark Airport with Manhattan in the back
Immigration and custom was pretty much hassle free. Except that I had to claim my luggage and to recheck it. They told me it was checked all the way to Panama City, but I guess it's the war against terror. I took the train to terminal C for Continental Airline to Panama City.
The people working for Immigration and, well, they call it Homeland Security now a days and that makes me think of another country on a totally different continent some years ago. Well, this people are maybe a little grumpy after a full days work, but they are really not fun to come across and you swear over everything American.
So you are surprised when you meet the average American, well, even a little annoyed. They are so polite so it's embarrassing sometimes. I was almost running in to a lady. Well she must have thought it was near, it was 1 meter between us.
- Excuse me! I'm so sorry, she said.
- Never mind, I said.
Later on a man coming out from security came across me and it was the same story:
- Sorry sorry, he said.
- I'm sorry, I said.
- Oh no, it was all my fault, he said.
Very polite, or maybe they are afraid it's some psycho going to kill them.
I had a few hours to kill and I walked around, and it's a very big airport and this is only terminal C. I landed at terminal A and it was a few minutes ride with the sky train between the terminals.
Well, I'm off looking for a WiFi connection and if I can find it you will read this very soon. Then I can't wait to arrive to Panama City and a bed. And I would have given everything with in reason for a shower, 22 hours on a plane and on the way for 32 hours by now.
I will see if I get any opportunity to upload my web page in Panama, anyway
, Cykeln på köpet på er!
I didn't manage to connect to the internet and I left the Sport Bar after 2 Diet Drinks and I walked towards the gate, we were leaving from gate 80 and when I passed the gate I saw a guy with an TANKER Maritime bag. I knew that there would be a 1st Engineer on the plane as well, so I asked if it was him, and it was.
We had some 2 hours to kill before the flight so I went to buy two big Strawberry shakes and we were sitting there blah-blah until a few minutes before 5 o'clock. Our flight was 1720 and the plane at the gate should have left for San Francisco at 1650.
- They will never be able to get a new plane here and get her ready to leave at 1720, I said.
We went to check out the screens and our flight was changed to gate 72 and it was delayed. It said 1800, but they said 1745. Now they have a new system in USA when leaving the country. You have to get a departure receipt from a small machine.
• Insert your passport or VISA.
• Screen left index finger
• Screen right index finger
• A picture is taken
• Receipt is printed
When we waited at the gate I asked the 1st Engineer if he had his Departure receipt.
- What is that?
We went to one of the machines and we went through the process, it took us 1 minute. I like the system, if it works. You leave your finger prints when you arrive and when you depart so they know when Scooby Doo is arriving and if he is leaving. They would need it in Holland, always a hassle walking the streets with all the pushers and prostitutes annoying you all the time.
Well, we boarded the airplane when it was 1720 and we had to sit on the plane for almost 2 hours before take off.
- Ladies and Gentlemen! This is a message from flight deck. We are airplane no 20 in line and we expect another 30 minutes before take off.
- For fåcks sake!
We were sitting in a Boeing 755 with I don't know how many extra rows of seats in it. There was not ample of space, to say at least. Finally we left for the runway, and I never thought I would say this, but I have got afraid of flying.
WE WERE BOUNCING ALONG THE RUNWAY UNTIL TAKE OFF! I tell you, I have bounced down along the runway with a Jumbo jet, but never at take off and I was scared shitless. When we finally took off we turned sharp to Starboard and I could hear the girl behind me. This girl had been talking all the way to the runway about frequent flyer this and that. But now she screamed:
- OH MY GOD!
And I shat my pants. Oh yeah, was this a bumpy ride or what? After yet another few sharp turns we lost speed and it became all quiet and I shat myself for the second time. There was plenty turbulence and air pockets all the way to Panama and I was afraid all the time.
There was a beautiful girl, well, more like a lady, 28 ++ something. She was eyeballing me all the time. I was sitting at 11 C and she was in 11 F. Did I looked scared or was it because I'm so darn handsome? Jaja, vi vet ju vad Uffe tror d beror på! When we boarded she came and took a seat next to my seat. I like to sit alone, but this time it was never mind.
- Nice, I thought.
But after 10 minutes there was a guy coming with her seat number on the boarding pass. She looked at her boarding pass and it said 11 F and she moved.
- Nice try, I said.
Well, I helped her with her bags when we were in Panama City, but that's another story. But you all know by now that I'm a real Gentleman.
Approaching Panama City was another dread, the plane was shaking like my blender when I do a Banana Shake Hangover Surprise and when I was in the terminal just before midnight I was very happy. I had been spending almost 30 hours on airplanes since I left Funky Town.
Thursday 18th of January 2007 and we had passed the Immigration just after midnight. They didn't have our VISAs and we had to wait for a while. Passing the custom and when we came out there was a guy from Barwil asking if we were from Sweden.
- All hotels are full due to a soccer game tomorrow, he said.
So we were driving around asking at all hotels for available rooms. Full everywhere and by now we were really impressed by Barwil- Willhelmsen. This can take all night running around looking for a hotel.
- Why didn't you book in advance? You know we were coming, I said.
- We booked but now the changed it, he said.
Neither of us understood what he meant, but several hotels later we finally found a guesthouse styled hotel. Yeah, you know the kind, you don't dear to have anything worth more than 2 Scooby Doo Dollars on the room. And if they had safety boxes in the reception you wouldn't trust them with even 50 cents.
But HEY! It was very nice with a hot shower. I had not had a shower since I left my apartment 47 hours earlier. At 0130 I went to bed and I woke up 0630 thirsty and hungry.
I had a pack of fags on my bed side table. I gave up smoking New Year, but this last flight made me chew NICO chew like there was no tomorrow. At arrival I searched the airport for a shop to buy fags, but everything was closed. I bought a pack at the first hotel were we asked for rooms.
I took a hot shower and I left for breakfast and I found a hotel across the street were they had buffet style breakfast. I ordered two Diet drinks and I returned to my hotel and my web page. I will wake up our 1st Engineer at 9 and then we see what happens.
The guy from Barwil said that he would get us a hotel today. When the soccer game is over there should be plenty rooms he told us.
- Tomorrow!!?? Aren't we going to the ship?
Well, as I said, we see what happens today.
I went to 1st Engineers room at 9 o'clock and we should meeting the reception in 10 minutes. He will have breakfast and then we see what happens. Well, I showed him the hotel where I had my breakfast and he had a sturdy breakfast while I was drinking tea.
When we were ready we walked down to the beach road, a 2 minutes walk and we walked towards the city center. Or at least we thought it would be with all the sky risers. There were many high risers under construction as well.
We walked for about 45 minutes along the sea front, I was about to write beach, but there was really no beach. Well, when we arrived we found out that there only was a few shops and when we started to walk back towards the hotel parallel to the beach a few street up we discovered a few more shops and people. We had to walk for more than 1 hour before we saw the first beautiful girl waiting for the bus.
On our journey back we passed a guy with a sledge hammer working on a concrete house. I could not help but thinking about the guy with the hammer and chisel working on the concrete jetty in the Suez Canal.
When we came back to our hotel our driver was waiting with the van and three Indian crew members signing on a ship as well.
- We are going to a hotel in Cristobal, he said.
We got our bags from our rooms, nothing stolen as far as we could see and we left. There was a nice highway from Panama City and it said 54 km to Col�n on a sign. We will be there in no time I thought. The driver had told me it was a 90 minutes ride. Hmm, after 30 minutes the highway turned in to something a little better than a dirt track.
When we came out from the tollbooth the highway was empty, we saw a few cars only. But the dirt track was jammed with cars and trucks so the average speed was not exactly breath taking. Well, it was not too bad and we arrived to Cristobal after about 2 hours. I spent the time interviewing our Indian friends. 1 of them came from Goa and I told him about the Rave parties I went on in Goa when I was young.
- They still going on, he said.
First our driver turned of at the wrong way and we turned around and I could see I sign
“ Hotel Meliá Panama Canal 5 km ” and it didn't take to much effort to figure out that this was our hotel. Then we saw a sign saying 3,9 km and not long after a sign saying 3,5 km.
- I don't know if I can handle the excitement!
Next sign said 1,5 km and we were soon there. We arrived to a gate a few minutes later and a guard asked for our reservation. There was a little blah-blah before he opened the gate and he let us pass the gate to the hotel area.
I went off together with the 1st Engineer and the Indian 2nd Officer from India. The other two Indians had to go to their ships. There was a Porter coming with a cart and I told him that my units were wheeled and that I didn't needed his service.
He didn't listen to me and while I was off to take a few pictures of the hotel he loaded my bags on the cart and took them in to the reception. Well, coming from the guesthouse in Panama City this was a very beautiful hotel. This is the kind of hotel I like, you can leave the room without being scared they steal everything you have.
Well, we had to wait for our rooms to be ready before we could move in. We moved in to the restaurant and the buffet styled lunch. Our Indian 2nd Officer joined us. He will leave for his ship tonight and he will need a power nap before they come to pick him up.
When we finished eating we went to see if our rooms where ready and I was soon in the shower. After the shower I tried to connect to the WiFi so I could upload the latest excitement. I managed to get connected but I could not connect to the internet. I called the girl selling the access codes but she could not solve the problem
Well, I will see if I can load it to my USB memory stick and I can upload it on an internet cafe or something. They have a business center and I hope I can upload my web page there.
This is how I'm living
When we were ready with all the running around with the Laptop trying to get connected we gave up and the 1st Engineer and I took a taxi to Cristobal. It was exactly how I remember it from 20 years ago. It was almost like a shanty town.
We went to some bars and after three beers we had to make a decision. To have another one or not, after 3 beers it's easy to go home sleep or write something on your web page. But after 4 or 5 it's for sure going to end up coming back to bed 4 o'clock in the morning. Well, we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel, I had called the Agent before we left for Cristobal and he said we would join the ship tomorrow and I want to be in a good shape.
We walked along the street looking for a taxi when we were stopped by the military.
is a major ship canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. The Panama Canal is 77km long.
The Canal is very important for the shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, obviating the long and dangerous route via Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 kilometres, well under half the distance of the previous 22,500 kilometre route around Cape Horn.
The first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. After this attempt collapsed, the work was finally completed by the United States, and the canal opened in 1914. About 27,500 workers died during the construction of the canal.
Every year there are more than 14,000 ships (about 40 per day) passing through the canal and at 2002 about 800,000 ships had passed through the canal. IT takes about 9 hours to pas the Canal.
The maximum size of vessel which can use the canal is known as Panamax.
The most expensive toll for canal passage to date was charged on May 30, 2006 to the container ship Maersk Delly, which paid US$249,165.00 for passage. The cheapest toll was 36 cents to American adventurer Richard Halliburton who swam the canal in 1928. The average toll is around US$54,000.
The canal consists of seventeen artificial lakes, several improved and artificial channels, and two sets of locks. An additional artificial lake, Alajuela Lake, acts as a reservoir for the canal.
- Don't go further up the road. It is a dangerous area.
We turned back and we took a taxi to the hotel and we had dinner before we went to our rooms for a beauty nap.
I kind of hope for the ship to come in from the anchorage so we can join the ship tomorrow and then we can pass the Panama Canal on our way to Mexico.
And again, I hope I have time to find a place to upload my web page before joining the ship, but we see what happens. Now it's 2230 and I will go to bed, I'm very tired and I hope the Jet lag is gone by tomorrow and I really hope they don't call too early tomorrow for boarding the ship.
Friday 19th of January 2007 and I woke up 0645 and I had got almost 8 hours of good sleep. Now I'm ready to take on the world.
After my shower I went down to the restaurant for breakfast. I should call our 1st Engineer but he was having breakfast with the Indian 2nd Officer. His boat was delayed so he could sleep at the hotel over night.
When we were ready with our breakfast I went to the business center with my USB memory and I managed to upload my web page. Our 1st Engineer called our Agent for the latest updates when I was at the business center. When I came back to the reception our 1st Engineer and the Indian 2nd Officer was buying souvenirs.
Our 1st engineer told me that the Agent had said “ Maybe today, maybe tomorrow ”
- OK, let's take a city tour, I said.
We left the hotel with a taxi, leaving the Indian 2nd Officer behind. His ship was in and he was leaving for the ship with in hours. We asked the driver to take us to downtown Colón.
When we arrived to the street we had been on yesterday the driver told us that this was the commercial area, with all the shops and stuff.
- But this is Cristobal? We asked.
- No, this is Colón, he said.
Well, it turned out that Cristobal is the port of Colón. Never mind, to see the town in daylight made an even worse impression than yesterday. It is a very shabby town. And when you return to other towns after 20 year you don't recognise them because of all the new buildings and stuff. But 20 years had not treated Colón very good and it looked very bad. Many houses looked like they were just about to fall apart.
I bought NICO chew and on the way back up the road we stopped and I bought a pair of shoes and the 1st Engineer bought a shirt. They told us about a shopping mall outside the town. We decided to go there, but first we wanted to explore the town a little. We turned left and crossed a street when a guy on a pushbike came and told us it was dangerous up this road.
- What the BIP?
Where are all these people coming from? Telling you its dangerous trying to get you a taxi? “ It's not safe to ride with some of the taxis ” and be careful. They just want you to tip them. We had talked with the guy for 12 seconds when the Police came by asking if there were any problem.
There are plenty Polices on motorbikes and machine guns patrolling the town. Well, we thanked they guy with the very nice ID card he carried around his neck and the name tag on his pocket and we left. We walked around with out being harassed and finally we took a taxi to the mall.
We were full of expectations when we were riding the taxi to the mall. We were thinking: MILKSHAKES, BURGERS and PLENTY BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.
Our expectations grew when we saw the mall from quite a distance, it was something of the biggest I had ever seen. What a disappointment! There were 6 shops and it was all an empty concrete shell. Most was empty and no one had ever moved in to the empty mall.
We were looking for big tea mugs for me and sandals for the 1st Engineer. I found a small mug and our 1st Engineer found a pair of flip flops. We meet a guy and he told us about the FREE ZONE or Zona Libre where they had all the shops with the famous brands.
- Maybe you can find something there, he said.
We decided to take the 2 Dollar taxi ride to Zona Libre and we stopped the first taxi coming by. The taxi was just about to fall in to pieces and every time I take a taxi in a Scooby Doo country I grow to appreciate the annual vehicle test all cars have to do in Sweden and other civilised countries. Some of the taxis I had been in have been in a very poor condition.
Well, anyway, we managed to get to the Zona Libre and it was a different world. Anyway, different from the rest of the Colón.
We had to pass through a gate before coming in to the area, but most of the shops were only selling wholesale. But we found a shop and a managed to buy two 0.6 litres travel mugs. By now we were tired and we returned to the hotel and the lunch.
We found a taxi outside the Zona Libre, and this car was the worst so far. The owner hold the car together with ropes and duct tape. I was afraid to fall out of the car, through the floor!
When we arrived to the hotel area the driver explained that this was the old American military base. Old bowling hall, theatres and sport halls. Many of the old barracks were still there, but many had been thorn down and new beautiful apartments had been built. Our hotel was the old American high school.
Old military barracks
The driver thought it was better when the Americans were in Panama. Everyone got the money and business was good, now all the money end up in the Presidents pockets.
Well, we had our lunch. I asked for the ala carte restaurant, but they told me they opened at 1830. Gosh! I'm tired of the buffet by now.
I spent an hour with my web page while listening to CNN. BBC World in my favourite choice, but man! They have been babbling on and on about a TV show were its claimed that someone have been shouting racist abuse to an Indian girl. Now the Indian government is involved and has complained to the English government. People are protesting on the Indian roads. WHAT HAVE THIS WORLD TURNED IN TO? Have you been to India? Well, this country is not known for the people caring for other people. Is there any different to abuse someone because they are poor or because a different skin colour?
They use slave labour bathing in acid and they have no regret for the safety of other people. If they are poor treat them like shit.
When I was there last time I could read about girls being killed by some a-hole husband because the a-hole måtherfåcker hasn't been satisfied with the dowry. Go ahead, out on the streets protesting about this.
Well, after writing a little something on my web page we went to the pool for a swim. Before returning to our rooms we asked the staff what was going on at a Friday night in this part of the world. Obviously nothing exciting happening in Cristobal.
- We have a disco here at the hotel.
When I was back on my room I put the hair dryer in the pocket of my trousers that I had been using in the pool. It worked like a dream, for about 2 seconds and then something very bad happened to the dryer and it stopped working. Well, anyway, our 1st Engineer will call the Agent for the latest updates. If he can't get any useful information we will visit the disco, trying to look as good as we can. Maybe a six pack of beer will help, or a bag over the head.
But the bag trick is no good. You need at least two, one for myself and one for the girls your talking to if my fall off. And we can imagine all the embarrassment trying to persuade a girl to pull a bag over the head.
Well, when I meet the 1st Engineer for dinner he told me that the ship was going to take bunker and maybe we would join tomorrow lunch. Well, after dinner we walked around the hotel area for a while and we found the disco, it was empty. But according to some Americans we had a few beers with later on the place was rocking, but it started at midnight.
We had a few beers with the Americans and one of them borrowed a guitar of the band playing and joined in for a few tunes every now and then. Well, I never made it to the disco, I was a sleep at midnight.
Saturday 20th of January 2007 and I woke up at 0740 and the 1st Engineer called me 5 minutes later. We will meet for breakfast at 0815 and then we have to see what the day has to offer us.
Still no news for us when we were finished with the breakfast and I'm off to upload my web page and to send some e-mails. Then it looks like the swimming pool to enjoy the nice day.
Well, I had just uploaded my page to my USB memory and I was ready to leave to upload the darn thing when they called from the Agent.
- We will pick you up at 1300 in the reception.
OK, finally we are on the way.
Well, I went down to the business centre and I uploaded the latest for my web page and I sent a few e-mails. I spent 30 minutes there and while I did my internet BUSINESS I interviewed the girl working in the business center. She was very beautiful, even though she was around 30, she was sitting at the computer next to me doing what ever she did on the internet (Watching me)
When I came back to my room I spent time watching a movie and the news on the TV and it was soon 12 o'clock. We wanted to have lunch before we left and I went down to the lobby with our 1st Engineer so we could check out before we had our lunch. The restaurant didn't open until some 20 minutes before 1 o'clock.
We managed to finish the by now boring buffet (Buffet most be a real hit in Panama) at 1 o'clock and when we came to the reception our driver was waiting for us. We took off with screaming and smoking tyres towards the Immigration.
- Can you please stop so I can buy a pair of Flip Flops? I asked.
We agreed that he would stop at the giant mall if I gave him a little something for tip. I found my Flip Flops and we were on the way after 3 minutes.
Our Agent was waiting at the Immigration and he called the driver three times within 4 minutes to ask were we where. When we reached 40 km/h with the taxi it was shaking and wobbling, and we had to stop every time there was a speed bump on the road (every 100m). This car was not going to make it through the annual vehicle test in Sweden.
We arrived to the Immigration and we got our stamp in our passports and we left for the speed boat that was going to take us out to Barcarolle. They loaded her full of provision and we were ready to leave. I was not sorry to leave Cristobal behind, I'm in no hurry back.
Colón, and Cristobal on the right hand side
It was a 20 minutes something ride to Barcarolle and we climbed onboard via the pilot ladder and I was standing on a deck on yet another tanker.
The 1st Engineer onboard was leaving today, but I had to have a one day handover so the Chief Officer will not leave until we have passed the Panama Canal.
As soon as my bags were onboard I changed cloths and put on my new safety shoes that I got from our Chief Officer. I was soon on deck kicking arse with the Chief Officer. One day handover and we had no time to spoil, plenty things to learn.
But as they say, have you been on one tanker you have been on them all.
But here they have a kind of cargo pumps I never seen before and, well, push a few buttons and pull a few levers and it can't go wrong. Everything is operated from computer screens and it will take some times to get used to the new layout.
I went through the paper exercise with the Chief Officer and we took a tour on deck checking out the equipment. The just come from the shipyard in Poland and the hull was freshly painted. But I will have the first discharge after the shipyard and I hope all the pipes will be tight.
Well, at 2200 I was off to bed, it will be a long day tomorrow. Latest news is that we will start our transfer tomorrow morning.
Sunday 21st of January 2007 and I woke up by a knock on my door at 6 o'clock. I was soon in the galley making the in my new 0.6 litres Aladdin Travel Mug. Yeah, that's right, the mug was named Aladdin.
I did some paper work with the off signing Chief Officer before breakfast. We ordered stuff and we did a whole lot of other things I have forgot all about now. I think the Pilot came onboard around 7 o'clock and we entered the Panama Canal not long after. We reached the first lock around 0745 according to my camera.
We had got a whole lot of people onboard before reaching the lock. This mooring gang took care of the moorings and when they weren't busy with the mooring they kept them self busy trying to sell us souvenirs.
The connected us to 6 train engines, 3 on each side, 2 forward and 1 aft. The train pulled us through the lock and there wasn't much to do for the crew, except enjoying the sunshine.
The first lift was done in three locks (Called the Gatun Locks or Gato Gatun) and then we were on Lake Gatun. We passed a few ships at Lake Gatun that was waiting to leave through the lock bound for the Atlantic.
After passing Lake Gatun we entered the last narrow part of the Panama Canal and I could hardly bear all the excitement.
I was busy running around trying to get to know as much as I could about the ship before the Chief Officer would leave us in Panama City and I wished I had time for running around taking pictures enjoying the views.
Well, we soon passed the Centennial Bridge and from there it was not long to the Pedro Miguel Locks.
We got a new mooring gang onboard, maybe 10 - 15 people, half of them trying to sell stuff to you and when that failed they started to ask me for Coca Cola every time they saw me.
- Of course I have! I always carry a few six pack of ice cold coke with me on deck.
Then they were just laughing realizing how stupid the question was.
We kept the gang onboard for the Miraflores locks, it didn't take long to pass the Miraflores Lake. But I had time to visit our very helpful engine department. I had printed coming weeks work orders from our maintenance program.
It was time to compare SAABs IG pressure with a reference manometer. I could not find a reference manometer, but I found a Scooby manometer. I needed some couplings for it to fit on our dipping pipe so I could compare the pressure.
Well, the manometer was ready in a jiff and I could go on deck checking the IG pressure sensors before reaching the Miraflores locks. By now you should have discovered that it's very easy to follow our trip on the map above. All points of interests are very pedagogical marked on the map. This is the way we operate on www.aladdin.st.
Well, we soon left the last lock behind and it was time for the Panamanian mooring crew to leave the ship. Our Chief Officer and the wife and daughter of our Chief Engineer would also leave. They had been onboard for a month and now they would leave the ship. But they would not leave with the same boat as the Panamanian mooring gang.
When the mooring gang had left we had to wait for a while for the boat to pick up the Chief engineer and Chief Engineers family, we were 30 minutes earlier than expected, so a little waiting was required.
Passing Balboa container terminal with Panama City in the back
Bridge of the Americas
Well, the boat came before we passed the Bridge of the Americas and we were soon alone again on our way towards Mexico. It will take us 8 and a half day to reach Mexico. We will discharge at a buoy and they say that they throw us of the buoy if it's blowing more than 2-3 knots. Well, it can take long time in Mexico.
At 1740 our Chief Engineer was knocking on my door. I was fresh out of the shower.
- We will start sea passage at 1745 and then we will meet for a Diet Drink in my cabin before dinner.
We were talking about the good old times while drinking our Diet Drinks and Captain asked if I had done the same as my friend Jonas.
- Jonas??!! Who's that?
- He is the Chief Officer on Bolero and he wanted to come her to relieve you.
- I don't know any Jonas, I said.
- Well, he has worked with you and he said that you were a nice guy to work with.
We had a nice dinner and our 1st Engineer and I told the horror epic about out New York - Panama City flight. I told them that while waiting in the airplane I was thinking about taking a pushbike to Panama City. We were sitting the in the smallest plane I had ever been on. Watching all the air hostess chit chatting.
There was one lady coming from behind with her carry on luggage and she just left the airplane with out anyone taking any notice at all. It was like the most natural thing for them. I was wondering if she had left a bomb behind. They came onboard to pick up one gay and two guys were leading him off the plane. Suddenly one of the Pilots came running out of the cockpit leaving the aircraft.
I was wondering WHAT THE FÅCK IS GOING ON??!! between my seat and the back of seat 10 C. They had to use a cannon to shoot me in to my seat, and that's even though I had have a very success full diet.
When I entered the aircraft I thought it was a very big plane, I could not see the end row of seats. But it turned out that they had just added some 20 rows of sets on the plane.
Later on one of the Stewards came forward to me and the 1st Engineer when we were standing up talking, he told us that we were very lucky.
- Yeah, why's that?
- Today we are using a big aircraft, normally we operate the route to Panama City with a Scooby 5000.
- You are shitting me!
Well, while waiting for take off, watching people coming and going, I mean, it was a pandemonium. One time there was an airhostess coming from behind with her arms full of these in flight food boxes. When she reached the galley forward she just turned around returning back with all the food never to be seen again. I was just waiting for them to start bringing onboard livestock, chickens and goats.
- What the heel is happening? Are we waiting for the passengers that bought standing ticket?
When we left the gate we had to wait in line for take off and I could hear the “ OH! MY GOD! ” girl taking with the guy next to her. It was frequent flyer this and that. She had been flying backwards over the North Pole, crossing the Atlantic sideways and she had been flying all over the world with a colourful hat. Short, she had done it all. So I got very scared when she screamed OH! MY GOD! At the first hard turn straight after take off.
Our 1st Engineer told us about the girl next to him on the plane. She had been clinching him at the first hard turn.
- She turned white in fear, he told us in the mess room.
I told them about the pilot flirting with the Stewardesses and one of the pilots went back and I never saw him returning to the cockpit. Well, later on I saw him sleeping in the back row. Never flying Continental again!
But in the mess room it was all laughs.
Monday 22nd of January 2007 and I woke up when the AB on 12-4 watch knocked on my door at 0340. Time for my watch. Oh yeah, my favourite time of the day.
I was on the bridge at 0400 ready for my tea. I was tired and it didn't helped very much with 15 minutes in a very hot shower.
But after my first bucket of tea with the music blasting high on the Richter scale I was OK. I had one of my 0.6 litres Aladdin mug on the bridge as well.
I have placed one Aladdin mug strategically a little here and there on the ship so I can always have a quick cuppa.
Well, I was drinking tea like there was no tomorrow while we made a true course 270°. We meet three ships and we had two ships going with us. It started to get lighter outside around 6 o'clock and at 7 o'clock our Captain and 1st Engineer came to the bridge for coffee and we cracked a few jokes.
I remember on Stolt Excellence, our Captain came to the bridge everyday for coffee. I didn't like this guy and he was looking down an empty coffee machine every day. He can drink his coffee elsewhere, for sure no jokes were cracked with this guy.
Our bridge has brand new Furuno radars, the best I have seen so far. 2 ECDIS and all the other stuff. When I came onboard I went to the bridge to check it out, our 2nd Officer was on watch and I said hello. Then I asked for the entertainment center, tea machine and refrigerator for the milk. When I was satisfied I left and he looked at me like I was from outer space, but this is the most important equipment on the bridge. I don't care what kind of radars we have, as long as they don't have the screen touch system. The older and simpler they are the better.
But I was impressed by these new Furuno, brand new and still have the buttons instead of a stupid mouse track ball and menus. AIS connected to the radar and the ships name came up on the radar, and the radar and AIS was connected to the ECDIS. Very good and simple, no ECDIS that could make your bed and toast your bread and other stupid stuff. No, this is the top off the line equipment, high end stuff that we are used to in Sweden.
Tuesday 23rd of January 2007 and I woke up when the AB on 12-4 watch knocked on my door at 0340. Time for my watch. Oh yeah, my favourite time of the day.
I was on the bridge for my tea just before 0400 and it was time for tea and music on the bridge. Yesterday my watch man had asked if I had any HIP HOP and I asked if he had any Hip Hop from the Philippines.
I told me that he would check with the crew, but he came up with zip and I turned on my music. Today we didn't had any day light until 7 and tonight we are retarding ships time by 1 hour.
I spent the time between 8 and lunch to check our IG pressure sensors by comparing SAAB and a manometer and I had some paper work. I like paper work, I copied 30GB of the best music available to mankind to my computer in the office and now the music is blasting high on my office.
I'm especially happy for all the hours of P3 Hip Hop I have recorded from Swedish radio on the internet and now I have all the shows on the computer.
I also planned for the maintenance work for deck and I made a list to put on the wall in the office. Now our Bosun just has to go and check what we need to do and they can start to kick arse right on in the morning. No longer necessary to bother me on the bridge in the morning when I enjoy my tea. (Hopefully we can get 10 cases of Diet Drinks in Mexico, Captain is working on it)
At lunch Captain told me that it was possible that we would discharge at another port, I don't remember the name,
is a typical Swedish cuisine, popularly eaten with potatoes, sauce made with cream and lingonberry jam. Considered as one of the most Swedish meals.
Dolma means stuffed or filling. Dolma is a dish of stuffed vegetables. The young leaves of the grapevine, zucchini, green peppers, cabbage, and onions are stuffed with a mixture of rice, onion and ground meat. Dolmas are usually eaten cold as an appetizer, but the Greek dolmades with lamb are served hot like the Swedish Kåldolme.
It came to Sweden in the beginning of the 18th century when our King Karl the XII returned from Turkey. There were many Swedish soldiers in Bender, Turkey when they returned to Sweden they brought back the recipe. But in Sweden they used cabbage (kål) instead of the grapevine leaves.
When Karl XII was kicked out from Turkey he returned to Sweden together with many of the creditors. He had borrowed much money while in Turkey. The creditors stayed in Sweden between 1716 and 1732 and they ate Dolmas.
but it should be on the tip of Baja California Sur
For lunch our Pilipino Cock had made Kåldolmar, and no one visiting www.aladdin.st could have avoided notice that Kåldolme is one of my favourites.
Well, after lunch I took a tour of the ship with our 3rd Officer and I checked how the work proceeded on deck. It seems to be a good crew on deck and they are kickin arse like there is no tomorrow. We can soon take down the Panama flag and hoist the Swedish flag.
I had decided trying to stay up all day long and go to bed at 9 o'clock so I could be thoroughly rested for 0400. But I had been up since 4 o'clock and I didn't manage to feel asleep until late yesterday so I took 1 hour in bed in the afternoon. when I woke up I wrote a little on my web page and then I was of to my office for yet more paper work. I will also kick a few behinds on the deck before dinner.
Yesterday I started with my language course and I will continue today and I will squeeze in two hours of walking on deck every evening as well.
- Hmm, I wonder what have happened with my good 'ol spelling detector J.
a temporary state of mind or feeling
If I missed a punctuation or if I did a slightest spelling
1 a way or manner in which
something occurs or is
experienced, expressed, or
2 a fashion or style in
clothes, art, literature, etc.
3 Statistics the value that
occurs most frequently in a
given set of data.
4 Music a set of musical
notes forming a scale and from
which melodies and harmonies
error there would be an e-mail before very soon about his English teacher's ileus. I'm very surprised that he, with his divine knowledge and education, hadn't discovered that I have mixed up the mood and mode.
Well, if he had noticed it would have saved me a lot of work. But I'm happy to have a program and it just to do a “ Find and replace ” operation. But it took quite some times, www.aladdin.st is getting big now and there were many pages to correct.
Well, anyway, I found out when I was study my language course yesterday evening and next time I have access to internet the corrected pages will be uploaded and no one will ever notice.
Ok, I surprised my self during the dinner. It was pork tenderloin and I started with a big plate of salad and at my second plate I topped of with some of the tenderloin. I got my tea and then it was time for bread with cheese and I just knew that my diet was down the drain. When they came with a big dish full of cheese and biscuits I just said
“ For fåcks sake ” and I left the mess room.
I went to the galley and I asked if our Cook could have a bowl of salad for me at 1700 so I could be ready before the dinner at 1730.
- No worries, he said.
I left for a 90 minutes constitutional on deck before returning to my cabin and my language course. While walking on deck I made up a schedule for my new life:
♦ 0400 - 1200 Hard work
♦ 1200 - 1230 Skip lunch, study my language course in my cabin with an apple.
♦ 1230 - 1600 Skip my sleep and do hard work.
♦ 1600 - 1700 Study in my cabin
♦ 1700 - 1710 Eating salad
♦ 1710 - 1930 (Or until darkness) Walking on deck.
♦ 1930 - 2100 Study and write on my web page after my shower.
It's a lot of skipping, but only the bad things, like eating and sleeping.
My Life Coach will be surprised when I'm back home.
- Oh, he will read this and thus he will not be surprised at all!
Even though he claims, at least 100 times per day, that he never read my web page his wife told me that he is busy 24-7 reading.
- Hmm, shouldn't he be busy kiss kiss with his wife? What's the point of being married if you spend all your time on internet, no time for kiss kiss
I hope I can keep this schedule so I don't skip everything except the sleeping and lolling around in bed. Well, I'm out of here, I will attend my school books and my shower.
- Psst, I have four bananas in my cabin that I will bring to the bridge tomorrow morning. Not necessary to eat any unhealthy stuff on the bridge tomorrow. You see! I'm going serious with my new life.
Wednesday 24th of January 2007 and I woke up when the AB on 12-4 watch knocked on my door at 0340. Time for my watch. Oh yeah, my favourite time of the day.
Well, the extra hour of sleep (We retarded our clocks 1 hour during the night) didn't do me any good, I was very tired when I came to the bridge with my 4 bananas and my iPod.
24th of January 2007 will forever be remembered as a dark chapter in the history of Aladdin's diet. My new schedule was all for nothing, I started at 8 o'clock with a few caviar toasts and I'm too embarrassed to tell you how many.
After the early morning set back in the mess room I went on deck to do some serious arse kicking. Our Electrician changed the IG pressure sensor in cargo tank 1 Center and I helped him a little. I checked our equipment on deck and I gave some commission of trust to our Bosun. well, so far it seems to be a very good crew on deck. It usually is with Pilipino, I have not yet met a drunken Pilipino on work
After our coffee pause our 1st Engineer tested our IG system and I checked some IG valves on deck.
My 30 minutes of study at 1200 turned in to fåck all. Our Pilipino Cock had made Raggmunkar for lunch, and no one visiting www.aladdin.st could have avoided notice that Raggmunkar is one of my favourites.
- It's a new tube of Caviar for every lunch! Yesterday it was half full and no one is eating Caviar, our 1st Engineer said.
He asked Captain to push the calling bell for the Mess man and he came in to the mess.
- Who's eating the Caviar? No one here is eating the Swedish Caviar.
He came back with a Caviar container that looked like someone really had squeezed the last roe out of it.
- It's Chief Officer eating the Caviar, he said.
- He is only eating fruit and vegetables, Captain said.
- Pull me backwards! I said.
Everyone laughed and I decided to get real. My schedule? So far I had skipped zip, except the hard work and study language in my cabin. But it was Raggmunk for lunch so I more or less could see this little mishap coming. But next mishap came as a total surprise, totally unexpected.
After lunch I came up with the master plan. I just change everything on my schedule 30 minutes and I can have my 30 minutes of study between 1230 and 1300. When I came to my cabin I felt asleep on my bed. I was sleeping while the boys were working hard on deck, but at least I managed to wake up in time for the coffee pause.
When I came in to the day room Captain told me that we had received discharging orders. We got three discharge ports:
After loading EUROGRADE GASOLINE at
Brofjorden, Sw., M/T Barcarolle shall
proceed as follows:
1- Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, México
--- Discharge 60,000 BBLS (MIN/MAX)
2- Matzalán, Sinaola, México
--- Discharge 70,000 BBLS (MIN/MAX)
3- Rosarito, Baja California, México
--- Balance of cargo.
Well, I went to the CCR for some cargo calculations. This is the first time I calculate in Bbls. But I just converted it to m³ @ 15°C to Bbls @ 60°F.
At 5 o'clock I went to our Cook and I got a bowl of salad and I was soon on deck again checking our oil spill equipment. I walked around deck and I planned a little of tomorrow work with our Bosun. I can't recall being on a rustier ship, there is plenty all over th deck. They are talking about a voyage to Buenos Aires and that's a three week trip around Cap Horn. Believe me, we need it so we can get our sand and hydro blasters up and running.
I was soon back in the day room were they were eating cake. They celebrated Captains birthday, well, his birthday was in December. But they always come up with stuff like this so they can eat cake and stuff.
- Hmm, I'm better off on deck.
Thursday 25th of January 2007 and I woke up when the AB on 12-4 watch knocked on my door at 0340. Time for my watch. Oh yeah, my favourite time of the day.
It was dark until just after 6 when the sun started to come up in the East. Between 4 o'clock and sun rise it's the worst time. You are tired and you just drink your tea in the dark looking for ships.
Every hour I write down the Thai alphabet just to refresh my self. Some 8-9 years ago I knew it like running water, but now I have forgot it. But already now after 2 watches I remember most of it again.
At 7 Captain came for coffee and I had my second Diet Drink for the morning. At 5 I asked my watch to get us some Diet Drinks in my refrigerator. When he came back to the bridge he put his drink in the bridge refrigerator and now I took it.
Yesterday evening the weather went a wee bit rough and we had water spraying deck, but now the sea was like a mirror and we enjoyed our drinks.
- Well, I don't know if Captain enjoyed his coffee, is it possible to enjoy coffee?
Well, anyway, I enjoyed my Diet drink while we talked about the good old times.
when I came down from the bridge I checked my e-mail and there was a nice program from my brother on M/T Saraband. So now it will be like a dream to convert API and Bbls to SpGr and Vol@15°C, very good.
Before lunch we tested all the cargo pumps and it was good to get a little feeling on how to operate these pumps. I have never seen this kind before, but they seem OK.
Well, I don't know what happened after lunch, but I woke up at 1430 in my bed. When I came down in the mess room Captain told me that it was Alco test on the bridge at 1515. We had received e-mail from the company:
From: Sam Ball
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 20:23 +0000 Msg: AMOS-73573765
Subject: Alco Test
In accordance with the TANKER Maritime drug and alcohol police, please
carry out an unannounced alcohol test at your earliest convenience and
submit result to me.
Well, I had planned for a little more important things, but I was ready in a jiff and I could attend to our deck again. But before going on deck I went to get my camera in my cabin.
when I was ready I went on deck to test our oil spill pump and it worked satisfactory and I went to my office for some cargo planning. I need to calculate trim, bending moment, GM and all kind of stuff hour by hour during our discharge. So I have to simulate the discharging in the computer and take out cargo and fill ballast for every hour for the whole discharging.
At 5 o'clock it was time for salad and then a brisk walk on deck. while walking Captain came and he told me that he received order to purge our tanks.
Purging full cargo tanks with IG. well, I thought we worked for an environmental friendly oil company. IG, well, it will be like venting the gasoline straight out in the atmosphere together with the IG and it takes a lot of gas oil to make IG.
Well, ETA to the pilot station at 0300 and when the IG was up and running I went for my cabin for a shower before my power nap. I'm looking forward to my first discharging, pretty exciting and I could not help thinking about J.
I was right, he went green of envy when I sent the e-mail to him about my 30GB of good music in my office. He replied:
Here is no Hip Hop, well, actually here is nothing fun at all.
Seems like its boring on his ship, or maybe he is home sick. We remember the drama when he was in Funky Town. Party was planned and he only stayed in bed listening to his MiniDisc player I had given to him.
The party was up and rolling and he wanted to check the internet.
- Äppelknyckarbyxans IF was playing against Frölunda Indians yesterday , a very important game in the little league!
Well, it was slightly different when I had the Chief Officer in my guest room. When I picked him up at the airport he said:
- I want to dive, see a temple, make a suit, and see Thai Boxing.
We did it all in one pop and then it was party for the rest of the time.
Well, it's getting late and I will do a little study before going to bed. I hope I can fall a sleep quickly today so I can get a few hours before the pilot tomorrow morning. Well, coming up early when there is something happening is not too bad. But just sitting stare out in the blue is a wee bit boring.
But I need a quick cuppa before any Good Morning action, otherwise I can get a little bit grumpy. And this is nothing we want to experience. Good night and Cykeln på köpet!
Friday 26th of January 2007 and I was called for at 0220 to assist Captain taking the ship alongside. I took a shower and I was on the bridge at 0240, just in time to hear the pilot telling us that APL Peru was arriving and we had to wait for her. After 1 hour waiting with two cups of tea I went to my cabin for a Diet drink. While there I took the opportunity to write a little something on my web page.
I brought a Diet Drink when I returned to the bridge and I had plenty time to finish my Diet Drink. The pilot didn't come until 0505 and it was Captain discovering him coming. I was looking forward to the port entrance for the pilot boat when Captain said:
- Here he comes!
- !!?? Where?
It was dark and the pilot arrived in a small boat with an outboard motor. I thought it was a fisherman going out to fish and I would never have expected it to be the pilot.
At 0610 we had all fast and now we had to wait for the Surveyor. I had time to talk with the loading master while waiting and he has his office on the jetty 2 minutes walk away. He told me that I could use his internet to upload my web page, very good.
Calculation, they don't trust tank radar in this part of the world and then we discharged a 159m³ line displacement. Then it was more calculations and finally at 1225 we could start discharging and at 1 o'clock I was in my cabin. I need sleep, but first I need to update my web page so it will be ready if I go ashore to upload it.
If I'm lucky I can upload all the pages were I have changed the mode to mood and no one will ever notice. This is how I operate!
Well, I had been up for almost 12 hours, most of the time I had been waiting, but with 2 hours of sleep the they before I was a wee bit tired. was a sleep in a jiff and I woke up after a litle nmore than three hours. I had a little broccoli for dinner, well, anyway, after the Broccoli I went ashore with our Engine Cadet. Our Cadet wanted to check his e-mail as well so he followed me to the Loading Masters office.
Before we left I told the Cadet to dress a little nice, I told him that panta longas is required. Dresscode, beleive it or not, they had a dress code at the Loading Masters office.
When I asked him if we could use his internet he caught sight of my summer shorts and he told me that I had to dress nice. I had a white shirt on, OK, it had seen better days but I asked if I could go like this.
- You need panta longas, he said staring at my summer shorts.
OK, I can admit that my summer shorts wasn't exactly new, well, maybe time to throw them away.
When we walked through the terminal our Cadet said that it was a very nice terminal. And yes it was, actually it was the nicest I had been on. everything beautifully painted and nice trees every where
We took the three minutes walk to the office and the Loading Master were happy to see us. He had soon fired up 2 computers and I had uploaded my web page before I had finished the bottle of water that the loading Master brought me.
I was soon finished with my internet business and I left the Cadet behind returning to the ship. Chief Officer can't leave the ship for many minutes and we were soon to be ready with the discharging. We should discharge 60000 Bbls but they only had space for 56000 in the shore tanks.
At 2035 they stopped us and we had discharged 56333 Bbls. We did the calculations and endless of paperwork. But it was very nice people from shore so we were busy cracking jokes while doing the paper work.
Pilot was ordered for 2230 and we completed the cargo documentation at 2240 and at 2315 we had all lines cleared and we left. My first discharging completed, and I had also managed to inform the 2nd Officer that he could call me when ever he was running in to trouble in the CCR.
- I'm very grumpy when they call me in the middle of the night, but just tell me to shut up! Then I dash off for a cup of tea and after my tea I'm the cutest cuddle toy around, I said.
On the way back to my cabin I ran in to our 1st Engineer coming up from the engine room. I could see that he didn't intend to go to his cabin and I asked:
- Where are you going?
- To the mess room.
- What business do you have in the mess room in the middle of the night? I asked.
- I'm going for a snack.
- That's good, I can have one as well and I can blame it on you, I said.
I told him that we got 10 cases of diet Drinks onboard.
- Diet Drinks??!! I thought it looked like ordinary drinks, he said.
- What??!! I sure hope not, I said.
But it happened before that the ship chandler had delivered ordinary soft drinks and not the diet kinds that I like. well, I will find out tomorrow.
Our 1st engineer told me that we didn't have any juice onboard. We had ordered beer and they were not allowed to take it in to the terminal when it was dark. All our juice was under the beers and could not be delivered either. Strange rules, who comes up with all this crap?
Well, I don't care about the beer and juice as long as we have Diet Drinks onboard
Saturday 27th of January 2007 and the first thing I checked after my morning shower was the Diet Drinks. Well, it was ordinary drinks and I got a little pissed off. What's wrong with these ship chandlers? After this major set back I went to the CCR to do a discharge plan for Matzalán. ETA 0530 tomorrow morning and we are retarding ship time by one hour tonight.
I had just finished the discharge plan and I had ordered pint with our Bosun when it was lunch time. After lunch we were sitting in the day room when our Agent called and our Captain had to leave for the bridge. When he came back he wanted to know our arrival and departure draft. Well, now they informed us that max draft in the port was 35 feet. And they tell us this now!
I made an quick calculation and we had to discharge all ballast and transfer about 4400m³ cargo from 8CT to 1 CT to be able to make it. Now we only needed permission to shift the cargo and it took almost 2 hours before I could start. Most of the days work had been all for nothing. By now I wasn't the happiest guy around.
Most of the crew
I started the transfer just after 3 o'clock and a fire drill was planned for 1515. Muster in the CCR, but I and the deck watch could not participate, we were busy transferring the cargo. But I managed to get a picture of the crew, most of them any way.
Transferring the cargo was a tedious task and the only fun thing happened was when our Electrician came by for a visit. Our Cook came by as well to ask if I wanted some dinner.
-I'm on diet!
I had the music blasting high while watching the computer screens with a steady flow of tea coming to the CCR. I finished the operation at 1945 and I did a new discharge plan.
Before going to bed I went to the day room for a chat with the Engineers and the Engine Cadet. Well, actually I was on the way to the refrigerator when I heard the Chief Engineer:
- Are you going for a snack?
- No, I came to socializing a bit, I lied.
Sunday 28th of January 2007 and I was called for at 0630 and when I came to the bridge 10 minutes later when I came to the bridge we just passed the breakwaters. Pilot had just arrived to the bridge, without a chart. We didn't have any chart for this port so we are on uncharted territory. We had to go up the river for a bit and we could turn around with the help of two tug boats and we went back to the oil jetty.
I assisted Captain taking her alongside. When approaching the jetty our pilot told me:
- Eee, slow ahead.
- It's already dead slow ahead, I said.
- No, Slow ahead.
Captain told me that he put an eee before everything Spanish style.
- What the fåck! It sounds like Dead Slow ahead. Well, after that the Pilot stopped the bad habit of adding an eee in front of everything he said.
Well, lo and behold, I saw a new box of cookies at the tea machine when I sneaked away to do what I had to do.
It was the biggest box of cookies I ever seen, and it was marked with: 11 vitamins and 16 minerals.
- Who believes this crap?
We had first line ashore at 0725 and we had all fast at 0800 and our gangway was down 7 minutes later. I went to the day room for a chat with our 1st Engineer and Electrician.
- OK, I can as well confess! No more hiding in the closet.
I gave up smoking and I had not been using any tobacco for a long time when I got on the horror flight from New York to Panama. At arrival I was chasing for people smoking so I could borrow a fag.
- I need a fag!
I was thinking of Panama as a country were the macho culture was flourish with men aggressively proud of their masculinity would stand smoking everywhere. But no, and the only shop was closed. I bought a pack at the first hotel were we asked for available rooms.
So I was in the day room smoking and when the Surveyor and Loading Master came onboard we did all the paper work. They wanted us to start with a 994m³ line displacement.
- Then it will be stop for about 2 hours, they told me.
- OK, we will use our nitrogen to inert the tank and when we are starting again we use our IG.
Our 2nd Engineer started the nitrogen and the discharging was up and running at 1045. At 1205 had discharged our line displacement and we stopped. Our Surveyor took the ullage and we did some calculations. I went for lunch expecting a 2 hour stop in the cargo handling, but I had just started my lunch when they came and told me that they wanted to start again.
- What happened with the 2 hours? I asked.
Well, when we were up and running I went for a shower. I watched a little on “Plötsligt i Vinslöv”. I got it on DVD in my computer. This is a real classic and I will watch it when ever I wake up with a hangover, just to make me feel better.
- Life in FUNKY TOWN isn't that bad! Pretty good actually!
Bingolotto - Saturday night excitements in Vinslöv
Our 1st Engineer told me he was a member in the “Plötsligt i Vinslöv” club.
- !!?? What the BIP is that? I asked.
This is a club that I must join. Our 1st Engineer told me the member fee was 3 dollars per annum to be a member in Plötsligt en förening. Their goal was to get the Swedish Broadcast Corporation to start selling the movie on
a light motor cycle,
especially one with an engine
capacity of not more than 50
ORIGIN 1950s: from Swedish,
from (trampcykel med) mo(tor
och) ped(aler) 'pedal cycle with
motor and pedals'.
DVD and they managed to do it. They collected money one of the guys in the film when his moped broke down.
So they do some deserving jobs. They have a meeting 2 times a year, 27th of December at Vinslövs Motorhotel and one time in the summer.
Well, we are pumping our cargo through a 7,5 km long pipeline and we have a high back pressure and we expect to be ready in the middle of the night.
During the evening we had to stop and disconnect the cargo arm because there was a cruise ship leaving port, but I'm not in a hurry. But I'm out of Diet Drinks, our 2nd Engineer told me he had a Diet Drink in his cabin and he got it for me.
During the mooring this morning told me that he ordered 10 cases here, but so far the ship chandler hasn't showed up.
Well, I was called for at 2200 due to a problem with a cargo pump. We could not get more than 80 bars on the pump from the computer screen so I told them to control the pump locally from deck. Then it was time for my power nap, I expect us to be ready just after 2 o'clock and I'm soon to be called again.
Monday 29th of January 2007 and I had slept for a little more than 2 hours when they called me 20 past 1 in the morning. I calculated the volume to remain onboard after we had discharged the 70000 Bbls and we stopped 5 CT when there remained 3258m³ of gasoline and we had discharged the 70000 Bbls at 0215. Our Surveyor finished the tank inspection and ullaging at 0255 and calculation was ready at 0325.
Now it was just to wait again and at 0515 the people from the terminal came to disconnect the cargo arm, Pilot ordered for 0630 so there were more waiting. While waiting I drank tea and I also tried to entertain our Surveyor.
Captain woke up around 5 o'clock and I asked about the wrist watch. I asked if he could buy a wrist watch for me when he went ashore. My wrist watch that I got from my Deckhand on Rainbow Warrior had served me good ever since I got it in my possession.
It's a nice wrist watch, a CASIO ILLUMINATOR. On night watches its just to push a button and the darn thing turns blue and I can see the time, well, it's not much STREET over the watch as J would have put it. But it comes in handy on a dark bridge.
Well, anyway, it was not without drama that I could get the watch. I asked my deckhand if he would like to sell the watch to me.
But when he got the news that he was going to leave us for Esparansa or what ever the ship is called he told me that he would give it to me.
- OK, nice!
When he handed the watch to me our French Deckhand came by. When she saw that I got the watch she said:
- I also need a wrist watch!
- You can my old one with out the light, I said.
- Oh! Very nice! Thank you so VERY much!
So I was standing with my new watch in my right hand (already in my possession) and I could see on the look on my deckhands face that this was not the development he had wished for. When I handed my wrist watch to the French deckhand he looked like he had won the lottery and had lost the ticket. This was not good, but I found my self quickly and I told her that the watch was from my Deckhand.
He was smiling but I could see that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the whole thing.
Well, where were we? Yes, just when Captain had left for shore I found out how to adjust the time. How could I have forgotten? I did it just a few days ago. So I was happy when I told me that he had not found a wrist watch. But I was soon to get even happier. He asked if I got my Diet Drinks.
- No, the Ship chandler has not been onboard.
- No, I and the Chief Engineer emptied a whole Department store on their Diet Drinks, he said.
- Good, but I have not seen the Diet Drinks, I said.
- Strange, I told the Mess man to put them outside your cabin, he said.
We went looking for my drinks but we could not find them.
- We find them tomorrow, he said.
It had been quite a dram to buy the Diet Drinks. They had to return to the ship in 2 taxis just to find out that they were not allowed to bring them onboard. They returned to the Agent's Office and he came down with them to the gate and a bri.., hhm, excuse me. A gift changed hands and they could bring it onboard.
Well, when I got the news I went to my cabin and I had my last Diet Drink, the one I got from the 2nd Engineer. I was enjoying live for half an hour in my cabin until the Loading Master came onboard at 0600 for the last paper work.
0630 and the Pilot came onboard and we left yet another beautiful Mexican oil terminal behind, but man! The regulations.
When we arrived I was on the bridge wing with Captain looking down on the jetty and the terminal.
- They are really nice terminals here. Nicely painted and tree and flowers, I said.
- Yeah, It's the same all over Mexico. They try to get rid of the
“ Scooby Doo country ” label.
- You see how they all dress nicely. But at some terminals it's a little ridiculous. You need boiler suit, helmet and safety shoes when you go ashore.
I can imagine feeling more than a little stupid walking around town in helmet and boiler suit.
At arrival they came to my office with the rules of the terminal and now I understood the Loading Master in Lázaro Cárdenas when he told me about the dress code.
By the way, what is a bathroom suit? I don't think this is something I want to wear when I go ashore for a good night on town.
I was off to bed when we left the pilot and I slept until 1 o'clock when it was time to kick behinds again. But first I went to get myself a Diet Drink. I noticed that the bottles had got from 500ml to 600ml, more enjoyment in the bottle.
When I saw it I got so excited so I spilled a bottle all over my external hard drive. Once again it proofs good to pay the little extra for good quality. I could have bought a Scooby hard drive for a third of the price. But of course it would have been busted by now, no matter how much SIN AZÚCAR and SIN CALORÍAS there are in my drinks.
Well, I got my bottles and cans delivered to my cabin together with oats, so now it will be "Oatmeal surprise " on the bridge every morning from now on. My Good Morning visits to the mess room it's but a memory.
Well, I will attend to my language course and I'm out of here, nothing more to write about. Well, I got an e-mail from Mr. Sullen and he said that he didn't write anymore because everything ended up on my web page. It's strange though, he's never on my web page but he is always updated on what's going on.
Tuesday 30th of January 2007 and it was very cold when they called me at 0340. we are coming North and as I saw on the news at my hotel before leaving, the oranges are freezing in California. I had my first cup of the when I asked my watchman if he could be kind to get me pullover in my cabin. I was glad that I brought my pullover, I was almost leaving it at home. But you never know where you end up so I brought it with me.
At 8 o'clock it was only 19°C and I were freezing when I was on deck with our Bosun looking for our grit blaster. When we are leaving Rosarito the crew will water blaster the deck and then grit blast after the water blast, saving time.
I'm getting used to my 5 o'clock routine by now. I'm picking up my salad in the galley and when the rest of the crew is having dinner I'm out walking on deck. Every time I meet the Cook he is trying to do the Aladdin whistle and snapping his fingers. Well, the original is the best.
- Please show me how to do!
Well, this is something he has to find out by himself I finished my salad and I went for my walk on deck. It's a wee bit cold, but with my pullover it was nice. A little work with my language and I'm off to bed, soon time to wake up again.
Wednesday 31st of January 2007 and YOO! MAN! Was I tired when they called me at 0340 or what?. This 4-8 watch is the worst and I almost wished I was back on a Swedish flagged vessel. On Swedish vessels they are not slaves of old tradition and the Chief Officer stands the 8-12 watch.
But this is Liberia flag and the Chief Officer stands the morning watch and then he is free to work how it suits him. when I came onboard Captain told me that I could take any watch I wanted, but our 2nd Officer liked the watch he had in the morning so I didn't bother changing. Well, anyway, I made it to the bridge and my morning tea.
Usually the Chief Officer is watch free, but during the long passage from the Ship yard in Poland to Mexico there had only been three Officers onboard, but we expect the fourth to come onboard any time by now, then I have plenty time to write stupid things on my web page.
My watchman asked if I could recommend him to be promoted to an AB and I said yes. He started on this ship as a Mess Man and then he became a deck boy and the last three months on his contract he was an OS. On this contract he have been onboard for ten months and he is about to sign off. So I hope he come back as an AB next time.
It was raining during the morning so I asked Bosun to set up our hydro blaster to see that it works. Well, it didn't work so our engineer had to fix it and now everything is set for blasting the deck at departure from Rosarito, but first we have to do tank cleaning.
We got e-mail to day, we shall proceed to the Panama Canal and then we will go back in for PMI or to bring Caustic from US to South America. PMI have up to 3 weeks waiting in there Mexican ports so they want us to do something else during the time.
Well, we have ETA around 2200 (2100 local time, we don't bother to retard the ship time for the last hour) to the buoy. We will discharge at a single point mooring buoy so no chance going ashore to upload my web page.
We had all fast at the buoy at 2300 ST and while mooring the Surveyor took samples. He came onboard together with the pilots.
January is over and we swing right on to February!
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
links to the next page. So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!