Saturday 1st of March 2008 and finally the start of a new month again.February disappeared very quick and let's hope March will be a quickie to.
We start the March the same way February ended, discharging Diesel in Pajaritos. Our trip to Brazil is confirmed so I guess there will be some heavy duty tank cleaning at departure.
Well, we never know when you're ready at PEMEX, unexpected stoppages and stuff. But I hope that we can leave in a good time so I can clean the tanks with hot water and ventilate them during the night. Then tomorrow we have to circulate caustic and cleaning chemicals to get rid of the dirt from the IG in the tanks.
Well, yesterday I had time to go ashore together with our Chief Engineer. We left the ship around 5 in the afternoon and it was nice to get off the ship for a while.
Welding on deck, several people dead and now we need to beef up safety a bit
Well, we all remember the PEMEX ship that was blow up not long ago in Pajaritos. The ship is still lying at the jetty. Welding on deck, explosion and a boost on the safety issues was required. When we go ashore we must have a boiler suit, helmet and safety shoes.
- WOW! Now we are really kickin' ass in the safety department!
We can leave the boiler suit and helmet at the gate and if they don't like how you're dressed they send you back to the ship to change. I went ashore with my sneakers and Chief Engineer told me that it was most likely that I had to go back to the ship and change shoes.
- I need my sneakers to get over the steeplechase course we have for gangway!
It's the same on almost all the terminals. No place to put the gangway. Then the oil companies send Vetting Inspectors checking so the gangway is correctly rigged.
- When I was the best Chief Officer in the world we rigged the gangways this and that way!
- ZIP IT! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD!
Well, during inspections you're doing more than one mental eye rolls, that's for sure.
Well, anyway, when we got to the gate they started to complain about my sneakers. But I gave them a few lines of my charming homemade Spanish and they let it go.
- Do I have charisma or what?
Chief Engineer comes out from the gate at PEMEX
TAXI, we were waiting for several minutes and we had a few Taxis passing. But all had passengers. We will have to stay here for years before there is a free TAXI passing. We had been waiting for 10 minutes when a PEMEX car stopped and offered us a ride to the town.
He dropped us in the town after we had passed the toll bridge and there was a TAXI at the curb. The TAXI driver took us to Flores or whatever the restaurant was named.
I ordered a diet drink, just to try it out. I want to place an order for diet drinks with our Ship Chandler and I have to try them before making any decision about the order. Better be sure, I remember when I ordered 20 cases and we got diet drinks from South Africa. Impossible to drink the shit and I had to threw it away. I'm out of diet drinks and Captain has a few left in his fridge. In case why you wonder why I'm spending so much time being nice to the Captain.
The other day when we had the Coast Guard Inspection I was sitting in Captain's conference room pestering him and the Coast Guard. I grabbed one of his diet drinks.
- What kind of horse piss is this!!??
The taste left more than a little to wish for and I started to check the can, I think it turned out that the diet drinks were from somewhere in South America.
Well, the diet drink was good and it didn't take long before I had my second diet drink in front of me. We ordered some TACOS or whatever they call it. Now I know all about Mexico and I will never have to waste any money going on a holiday here. Avocado and a Filet Migion that I could not eat, but the mashed potato was excellent.
A meal in a relaxing atmosphere
After the meal I went for an internet place around the corner. I uploaded my web page and I checked some information about a new Dell computer with a 20" screen.
Well, it was an exciting day yesterday but let's returns to 1st of March and the upcoming excitements. I woke up to a rainy day and the crew could prepare deck for the tank cleaning.
I had planned for an afternoon nap so we could start the cleaning after departure tonight. But at 11 o'clock PEMEX stopped discharging.
- It will be stop for 5 hours!
Well, 5 hours means noting and now I hope they delay it so we can have departure at 8 o'clock in the morning, a full night of sleep is never wrong.
A rainy morning turned in to a sunny afternoon and the crew was painting on deck. 1 watch at the gangway and the rest painting while waiting for them to start discharging again.
Well, at 4 o'clock we had not resumed discharging and 5 minutes before 5 o'clock 3rd Officer called me in my cabin.
- Now they say midnight for resuming discharging.
- Good news, I said and I was instantly in a good mood.
I went to see Captain and the Chief Engineer. I was in such a good mood after the MIDNIGHT NEWS and I wanted the world to know.
- It's a shame I can't trust you, I said to Captain.
- Yeah, I'm in such a good mood and I should sneak in and take a diet drink from you. But then I have to hear that for 3 weeks, at least.
I was just about to jump overboard when our Ship chandler arrived and saved my life with 2 cases of diet drinks. Enough to last me 'til USA, but you never know and I ordered 2 more cases and she will bring them tomorrow.
Sunday 2nd of March 2008 and I was in my office kickin' A's when our Ship chandler arrived with my diet drinks. We had just completed discharging and I was finishing the paper work at my desk. Our Surveyor left just after 10 and we were waiting for the pilot. Pilot was ordered for 12 and he was onboard at 1155!!??!!??
We were moored at Jetty 4W and this is the jetty next to where the exploded PEMEX ship is laying and I got a few picture of the ghastliness.
Every time there is a ship leaving or arriving to the terminal there is a tug stand by at the wreck so someone makes good money out of the disaster. Well, I think this ship will stay there for a long time and I don't think it is very easy to move her when deck is missing. Maybe she will fall apart half way to Alang.
Well, dangerous on tankers and I hope it never happens on a ship that I'm working on. I hope it never happens on any ship again, ever!
Well, when tank deck looks like this it's time to sign off
NO SMOKING in two different languages doesn't help when you weld on deck. Well, enough of that, we see how long this ship will be around. When we passed the entrance to the terminal Captain asked where the supply boat was. There had been a half sunken supply boat on the bottom for years and now it was gone. I had not even noticed.
A few minutes later we passed the supply boat and they were busy scraping it, not a day too late.
Pajaritos is the name of the port where we are and MAXIMUM draft is 39 feet. The town is Coatzacoalcos at the mouth of Rio Coatzacoalcos. Here it's MAXIMUM 36 feet and we passing through the port of Coatzacoalcos with 39 feet. No problem, we're coming from Pajaritos. I don't know why they have rules like this and no one can explain it for me. Arriving to Pajaritos, max 36 feet. Departure, max 39 feet.
We passed the restaurant where I had the dinner with our Chief Engineer and I must say that the city looks nice from the river. A totally different story when you walk around the city.
We left the pilot just outside the break water and we steered north towards Freeport and it was soon time to start with the tank cleaning.
I kept my self busy until almost midnight and the crew will prepare deck for caustic recirculation during the night. So it will be a full day tomorrow again and I'm looking forward to it.
Monday 3rd of March 2008 and I discovered nice weather when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. The crew were busy preparing deck for the caustic soda re-circulation.
AT 1130 we started the re-circulation and we did 4 hours in each tank and 19 minutes in SLOP tanks. They usually calculate with 2 days for the cleaning to caustic soda. Now we will load in 6 tanks. 2 more than the usual 4 tanks.
Now they expect the tanks to be ready in 1 and the half day. ETA to Freeport is 0700 tomorrow morning and we're in a hurry to be ready. Never mind resting hours or any other regulations. We stay on watch until the cleaning is ready.
I heard on the news about a report on how the crew changed their time log over worked hours so the broken rules and regulations would pass un discovered. In a recent investigation they had compared the ship's log and the working hours and they had discovered wangling time logs.
The conclusion was that ships with only 2 Officers had problem to get the 10 hours of rest per day. At least one rest period should be 6 hours.
Well, as an always said, no scrutiny needed to understand that the regulations are broken on a regular basis. We arrive to Beaumont at 2100, all hands on deck. At midnight they go on watch and they go off the watch at 0600. Immigration onboard at 0900 and all crew up again. This was a very simple example.
I was on a ship with 3 Officers onboard and one of the 2nd Officer told me after a 48 hours tank cleaning.
- We should have been 1 more Officer onboard. Relieving you from some of the work load!
- Never mind if we have 1000 2nd Officers. Chief Officer still has the responsibility and needs to be present.
Psst, working hours and rest periods. PLEASE! I would appreciate it if you could keep what I'm about to tell you to yourself.
Sensitive material so think before you open your mouth, you never know who's listening.
I was on a ship a few years back, no names mentioned. We had an Inspector from the Swedish Maritime Administration onboard. He was onboard for a week or something like that. He would inspect everything onboard and among things to be checked were the rest hours. We used to sit in my office talking about the good old days. But Chief Officer needs to keep appearance and I need to produce a paper or two. So when I wanted to be alone I just stretched after the time logs.
- You want to check the time logs?
- We know about the problem, he said and I was alone.
Sometimes Chief Officer wants to be alone in his office exploring the nostrils enjoying the day. When I saw the Inspector approaching my office I just stretched after the time log binder and he turned around and went in the other direction. Don't miss understand me, it's nice to talk about the good old times but sometimes it's nice to be alone.
Tuesday 4th of March 2008 and we had just finished the caustic re-circulation at midnight. The crew was busy on deck turning pipes so we could start washing with water. A beautiful day had turned to a terrible night. Full hurricane and we were almost stopped in the head wind. I need to do at least 7 knots to be allowed to pump the cleaning water in to the sea.
Hurricane and head wind. Mother nature, I was not scared, but a big ship rolling around like an empty diet drink can. Huge waves and we were down to 6 knots at times. The weather was so bad
our main engine stopped when the propeller came above the water line. Yes, our propeller was above the water line and main engine tripped. So you understand what kind of weather we are talking about. I called Captain around midnight 30 and I was concerned about the speed.
- We cannot do tank cleaning if we do less than 7 knots!
Our Engine department managed to keep us going and we did more than 7 knots and we could continue with the cleaning. If you're looking for the A-team you know where to find them.
- In our engine room!
Not like on one ship I was on. I will not mention any names, we're sick 'n tired of this ship by now. But the Chief Engineer walked around with the hands in his pocket and a coffin nail in the corner of the mouth. Groaning and telling us how much he was working.
Well, bad weather or not, the tank cleaning has to be ready. ETA to the pilot 0700 but the weather delayed us and now we had an ETA around 1600.
- Good, I can sleep when we are finished with the cleaning!
But the weather was so bad I didn't want the crew on deck so I told them to be in the CCR with me.
- I don't want you on deck! Come to Papa Daddy and help me finish my diet drinks!
SAFETY FIRST! I told them that we would continue with the work to prepare the ship for loading in day light. No work on deck during the night in this weather. I was on deck to check the cleaning water coming out in the drip try. I kid you not! I was almost blowing off deck, when I came around the corner and the wind hit me I lifted from deck. 82 kg Chief Officer flying by the bridge and I can imagine the duty Officer getting a chock.
- WHAT THE (four letter word) WAS THAT!!??
No, I wanted the crew to be inside as much as possible and we can blind pipes and stuff during day light. We will be delayed, but we're a few hours late to pilot so no problem.
The crew and diet drinks and other “NO” diet items
I was in bed just before 6 and I was happy that we were late for pilot. Imagine taking pilot at 7, I would have been dead tired after 24 hours tank cleaning.
- But what about the regulated rest hours? You broke the rules after 14 hours in the CCR!
- Seriously??!! Is there anyone out there thinking that anyone cares about those regulations?
It looks good in the SMS and on papers the companies sending out. I call it a shit load of crap!
I woke up at 11 and I called the bridge.
- 2 hours to pilot!
It was beautiful weather and the speed had picked up. We went down the SLOP tank and 4 and 6CT, the tanks we are loading in Freeport. Looks good and I took a shower and I was on the bridge with a diet drink in my hand just after the pilot.
It was a beautiful day and the port entrance to Freeport was full of Flippers and porpoises. I had time to crack a few jokes with the Pilot and the Captain before arrival to the jetty.
All fast at DOW Dock A-8 at 1410 and at 1700 our tank passed the inspection. Of course, our “Golden Silver Brush” awarded crew had been kicked behinds on deck.
I had my best guys on deck turning the last blinds before start loading. Hoses connected at 1835 and we started to load at 1900 and I was off to bed. This best guy stuff I use to say. Our Captain on holiday is fascinated about it and he sent an e-mail with a comic strip he found.
Wednesday 5th of March 2008 and I went down to the CCR at 1 o'clock. We are loading in our SLOP tanks and I wanted to check out if everything was OK. Well, of course, I had my best man on the job so no worries.
When I opened my cabin door I felt over bags of diet drinks. I didn't spot them when I opened the door and I stepped right in to the boxes with diet drinks. The crew had been ashore and I asked our 3rd Engineer to bring back a case of diet drinks.
OK, now I have enough to last me until Corpus Christi and we expect stores and provision (Diet Drinks) at arrival. I spent 4 bottles on our Loading Masters and Surveyors at arrival yesterday. Our Surveyors drank their soft drinks but the Loading Masters brought their bottles ashore. What the (four letter word) ! I could as well have given them a dollar.
I woke up at 9 and I started right off with my computer order. Dell needs 4 weeks to deliver so I think I will go for an ACER with a 20" screen. They thought that they could have the computer at our Chief Engineer before he leaves for Brazil to sign on. We see, I don't like ACER, but what can I do. I can order a Dell and Captain can bring it when he sign on in May.
We will load 2+8 and SLOP STB in Corpus Christi and I was down checking these thanks with Bosun before lunch. They look good. Our Inspector was onboard for a visit and after lunch we took a tour on deck to check it out. I brought the camera, our Inspector told me that he had been on my web page. I told him that I would put his picture on www.aladdin.st and he looked happy. But he was a little scared.
- Don't write anything bad about me!
- I will write that you ate all our food.
We expect to be ready around 2000 with the loading. Departure at 2200 and 7 hours to Corpus Christi. Berthing at arrival so this was nothing I was looking forward to. But we had finished the tanks so no need to do this during the night.
I expected 7 hours pilot to pilot, but I got the good news when we came back in from deck after the inspection. It's almost 10 hours pilot to pilot and I expect a full night's sleep. So as you understand, I was in a great mood during the afternoon even though I was tired from lack of sleep.
We completed loading at 1945 and we left Freeport at 2210 and I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep.
Thursday 6th of March 2008 and I started my day by calling Dell. It took me 5 minutes to order my computer. I ordered the ACER but we heard nothing so I decided to go for the Dell. Our Chief Engineer can't bring it to Brazil, Dell expect 4 weeks to deliver so our Captain on holiday will bring it when he sign on in the beginning of May.
I was in a good mood, well, the computer set me back by 4000 US but it was worth it. Imagine staying at your local pub swinging amber and a beautiful girl come up and asks you what kind of a computer you have.
- I have an ACER.
ACER, I guess that's not the first brand that pops in to mind when thinking about quality. Well, as I said. I had had a bad feeling about the ACER since my first inquiry even though I would have saved 2000 US. So I guess I was happy over the slow service at the computer store selling ACER.
We took pilot at 9 and it's about 3 hours to Corpus Christi.
We started loading at 1420 and it was raining cats and dogs. A beautiful morning had turned in to a windy and rainy afternoon.
When loading was up and running I called the terminal and I asked if they could get me a taxi. First there was an old lady picking me up at the dock and she brought me to the gate and the waiting taxi. It was an old lady picking me up at the gate and the first thing I saw was a guide book over Norway. She was going to Norway for her holiday in the summer 2010.
- I'm a retired school teacher and I work extra to save for the trip, she informed me.
- Yeah, good luck! You need all the money you can get, Norway is very expensive.
The taxi charged me 60 US for bringing me to Corpus Christi.
- I will take you to a big mall, the driver said and off we took.
We ended up in a mall with a few shops. It was raining in and I was more than a little disappointed. I found a small book shop and a candy store where I bought lollipops for the deck crew. I was looking for sandals for our Captain, but they only had plastic ones or sandals with the tong between the toes.
But at least I understand the American dilemma with kids hangin' in the malls. The parents are worried about their kids hangin' around the malls all day and I understand it. You must be retarded to enjoy hangin' in the mall and who wants to have retarded kids?
At least I'm happy not to live in TEXAS, so far I haven't been at any nice place. It will be very nice to leave and I'm n no hurry back. OK, on the way to the mall we passed an Italian restaurant and I was looking forward to an Italian meal. But one more plastic glass or paper plate and I will go crazy.
But it looked promising. When I approached the restaurant I could see the wine glass through the window. And at least it didn't look like plastic. I stepped inside and it looked OK, American style but who cares.
I ordered Mozzarella and spinach for starter. Looked nice o the picture in the menu. Well, in came 500 g of melted Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and sliced bread. I didn't finish the cheese. Mozzarella is nice, but half a kilo melted in a bowl is a wee bit too much. I left it behind.
- Do you want a doggy bag?
- No, I don't have a dog.
Half of the guests left the restaurant with a doggy bag and well, it's not my style. America, excuse me, but the restaurant was one of those looking the same all over TEXAS with the same name. Yeah, it was a hamburger joint with real china and glass but still a, yeah, I don't know what to call it. But still there was reservation and a. What do they call the guy at the entrance checking reservations and call a waiter for you. I don't know, but there was one of those guys at the restaurant and I could not help thinking:
- Who the hell is making a reservation to come to a restaurant like this? I mean, get real!
But the called a taxi and I could leave for the ship. The driver complained about the weather and it was very cold. A sunny morning at turned in to a rainy and cold afternoon with strong winds. I told him that it should be nice to leave TEXAS for Brazil tomorrow.
- Is it cold in Brazil? The driver asked.
- Is it cold in Brazil?
He didn't have a clue and he didn't know where Brazil was. Well, it will not be cold.
Our new AB, Cook and 2nd Engineer had arrived onboard when I came back and the off signers will leave tomorrow morning. I knew the Cook from Marimba and he is very good so I have to be careful.
I handed out some of the lollipops before going to Captain's office with his sandals. I had stopped at Wal-Mart on the way back and I found him a pair of sandals. I found nuts for our Chief Engineer so now he will be happy.
Well, now I hope everything is ok with me computer order. I got the confirmation from Dell so now it should be ok. Not like when I ordered the computer from HP. 2 e-mail with:
Dear Chief Engineer, we have not been able to confirm the payment details.
2 times and that's even though I spent 100 US on the phone with them. IT'S NOT THE CHIEF ENGINEER THAT HAS ORDERED THE COMPUTER! IT'S THE CHIEF OFFICER! MOTHERF@CKERS!
Well, HP lost me as a customer and now I will try Dell and I'm looking forward to it.
It will be nice to leave TEXAS and I'm very very happy that I don't live here!
Friday 7th of March 2008 and I woke up at 0740. I called CCR first thing.
- Can you please check the water density?
When I came down I knew the density was 1,022. It's strong wind and the water is blowing out in the Mexican Gulf. Original plan was to load to a draft of 40 feet but now it's only 36 feet 5 inch at the jetty.
We were busy pumping ballast and changing between 2CT and 8CT to end up on a draft 11.71m (28f 5i) even keel. Well, I was not that busy, I had time to give our off signing Cook a hug before they left the ship. We completed loading at 1010 and we left at 1145 something. Nice to leave this place behind.
11 days to Brazil and on Monday the crew will start chipping on poop deck. Tomorrow they will wash down the ship and on Sunday pretty much noting will happening. I told them to relax on Sunday. When it's hurricane the warn people to go outside and here we are on a ship doing tank cleaning. It was not a hurricane, but according to the pilot in Freeport the wind reached hurricane force during the night we did the cleaning.
Well, anyway, on Sunday it's relaxing time and no more chipping on Saturdays and Sundays. Deck is ready and from now on it will be cleaning on Saturdays and Sundays.
We received provision (diet drinks and Earl grey tea) during the night. It was meant for the barge to arrive at 2000 yesterday, then it was 2145 due to the strong winds. At midnight I went to bed. I discovered our new paint and tank cleaning chemicals on deck when we finished loading. At 0200 the barge had arrived and I got a big box of Earl Grey tea at lunch. I will bring it to the bridge when I go on watch tonight at 8 o'clock.
I really look forward to being on watch again. I will kill 8 hours a day starting between 8 and 12 in the morning and the same during the night. I will bring my Hip Hop generator and my box of Earl Grey tea. Believe me, the music will be blasting high on the Richter scale.
And I'm sorry, but I can't help myself thinking about Rainbow Warrior. The crew spent all the time on bridge listening to my music.
One of our 3rd Officers signed of today and I will be on watch after 7 months of doing not very much.
- Which watch will you take, morning or evening? 3rd Officer asked me.
- I will take both morning and evening watch, I said.
I told him that I had been walking around onboard for 7 months like a Captain.
- Doing f@ck all and it's getting boring, I said.
We remembered when I was in Astoria and Captain was on bridge all day complaining how much he had to do. He spent 8 hours with me on the bridge, I enjoyed it, a chat relieves the tedium. Well, I was supposed to relieve him and I should practice the paper work.
- It's a lot of paper work, several hours every day, he told me.
I was back in 15 minutes asking what to do.
- I'm ready! Where is the rest of the PAPERWORK?
- Did you finish all the paper work already!!??
It will be nice to enjoy the evening on the bridge with tea and music. (If it's nice weather) I have prepared 3rd and 2nd Officer.
NO FOOD, COOKIES, OR CANDY ON THE BRIDGE!
IF YOU BRING COOKIES ETC MAKE SURE YOU BRING IT DOWN AFTER THE WATCH!
- I don't want to stumble in to any temptations!!
Saturday 8th of March 2008 and I woke up to a beautiful morning and strangely enough I wasn't tired when I got out of bed. I had 4 of my tea cups with tea on my watch yesterday and I din't felt asleep until early morning.
Yeah, how stupid can you get. We remember those big mugs our 1st Engineer bought for me at Wal-Mart. Acid Jazz on full blast and I was in a good mood during my night watch. I guess I got carried away and I had 4 of those buckets with tea. So it doesn't take much to figure out why I didn't manage to fall asleep.
After my morning tea I made a heating log and the OS on watch took the temperatures in the tanks with our MMC so I could compare it with the SAAB. At 9 o'clock I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge.
- I think it's enough you take one watch per day, he said to me.
- I want to take 2 watches per day, I said.
- But I want to take the evening watch, he said.
- OK, I will have to find something to kill my evenings with, I said.
I spent the afternoon with Bosun and the engine crew checking deck. We will be gas free tomorrow and now we are going to weld. We did the tour in 5 minutes, not very much left to weld now. We found a few things and we remember one year ago when we spent hours checking deck marking broken stuff.
Well, when we were finished on deck I went to my cabin. We received new bookcases in Corpus Christi and I spent a few minutes putting together my book case. I was just about to be ready when 1st Engineer called me. The Caustic from Freeport should be between 30 and 40°C. The caustic from Corpus Christi was only 23,7°C so we need to put some heat on the Caustic Soda in SLOP Port.
- Do you want to start the heating in SLOP Port?
- OK, I will be down in a sec!
Sunday 9th of March 2008 and it was a gorgeous morning even though the wind had picked up a bit. After my morning tea, well, I brought my tea to the office and I calibrated the new gas meter and I went on deck to measure the tanks. No more gas and tomorrow we can start with the hot work on deck.
OS on watch took the temperatures in the loaded tanks and I filled up the heating log. Tomorrow we have to start heating 6CT and circulate the cargo through the heater. In SLOP Port we have heating coils so no need to do anything there, just open for the steam.
I was on the bridge at 9 to relieve our 3rd Officer. Our Captain and Chief Engineer take their coffee at the bridge since I started to take watches.
We remember our former 1st Engineer coming to the CCR to eat his ice-cream. It was not to pester me when I was on my diet. As he said “It's so boring in the dayroom when you're in the CCR” Hear warming, but sometimes you're busy.
Well, Captain and Chief Engineer having coffee on the bridge relieve the tedium. Talks about the good old times make the time turn quick.
It's not like I need the time to turn quick when on the bridge, I like the watches on the bridge, relaxing atmosphere and there is time to meditate and become you with yourself. I have my quality time helping me to release some of the pressure to keep the “preformance on a top notch” as Chief Officer.
Or as I like to put it. I take the ass scratching from my office to the bridge.
Bro Promotion in the horizon
Captain and Chief Engineer had just left the bridge when I spotted Bro Promotion in the horizon. I called them on the VHF CH 16. Lo and behold, I found myself speaking to a Skåning. I haven't meet a Skåning in years and suddenly 12 hours NW of Cuba I'm speaking with a real Skånepåg. I was lucky to be alone on the bridge, I could swear that my eyes were all damp. Yeah, it was a very touching moment.
I asked for 2 ABs that I knew, but they were not onboard. But one of the ABs would sign on when they arrived to Brownsville. Some 15 minutes later when Bro Promotion was way behind I heard “YOO! ALADDIN!” on the radio.
OK, sorry, hold on. I just have to put the Broström logo on internet.
OK, I answered the radio and I recognized the voice. It was a Captain I had been working with on 2 different ships in Broström.
I turned out that there was one more AB that I knew onboard and I told Captain to say hello from me. After my chat I made another bucket of tea and it didn't take long before 2nd Officer came to relieve me on the bridge.
After lunch I pretty much felt asleep and I woke up just in time for our drill at 1515. Our Chief Engineer started the drill by telling the crew that the US Coast Guard had been impressed by their performance during the inspection in Mississippi. We went through our emergency system, steering, generator and shut downs and we finished the drill with a video.
Sunday evening and not very much to do. I went to the bridge to relieve our 3rd Officer at 2000 and we passed Habana when I went down at midnight.
Monday 10th of March 2008 and I started my day with gas measuring. We were gas free except for 5CT. 10% LEL in 5CTand I started the ventilation. When we finished the coffee at the bridge I went down to check the tank and at 1030 we were gas free and the crew could start welding and cutting.
After my watch I had a quick lunch and then I spent the afternoon with paper work. I found out that we need to do 2 ballast water exchanges before entering Rio Para in Brazil.
Today the crew started chipping on poop deck, the weather don't allow for any painting or grit blasting on deck. I really hope we get nice weather so we can spray paint the tank deck and then we can put that behind us and concentrate on the poop deck and superstructure.
I'm a wee bit tired due to lack of sleep. Yeah, I did the same mistake on my night watch yesterday. Drinking tea like there is no tomorrow. But I haven't been drinking any diet drinks since I started my watch going. Well, almost none anyway, just a little.
I read a little before dinner and after dinner I went to my cabin for a little relaxing before the watch. A diet drink (Yeah, here we go again) and few words on my web page was what I had time for. Then a quick shower and I grabbed my Hip Hop Generator® and I was off for my evening watch.
I had a nice watch with the OS, drinking tea and listening to good music. I don't drink diet drinks on the bridge, but today I decided to try a diet drink. (Just to see if it improves my sleep) But I'm pretty tired after less than 4 hours sleep last night and I'm hopeful.
OS on watch went to my cabin and he returned with 2 cold diet drinks and we enjoyed the night steaming south north of Cuba. A little traffic and a few fishing vessels so time turned quick and it were soon midnight.
We were relieved by 2nd Officer and our former Deck boy. I suppose I have got our former Deck boy for my sins. Well, no peace for the wicked! He comes to the bridge with rustling pockets, full of chocolate.
- Aladdin, do you want some chocolate?
- I'M ON DIET! YOU BETTER OFF BEING CAREFUL OR I WILL PUT YOU CHIPPING IN A BALLAST TANK!
He was just laughing, somehow I don't think they take my diet very serious. Every time they have been ashore they come dragging with bags of chocolate.
- Well, maybe I can try one. NO! I don't want any!
But it's hard. They look very disappointed every time I reject their chocolate.
Tuesday 11th of March 2008 and I started the day with gas measuring and when I was ready we started the heating of the cargo tanks 4 and 6 CT.
After dinner I watched a little video and it was soon time to take off to the bridge. We will advance 1 hour during the night so it will not be very much sleep after my watch.
I and the OS on watch were relieved at 2340 due to the advance of the ships time during the night. We Passed the Dominican Republic with a force 6 head wind and we had spray on deck. I really hope the weather improves until tomorrow or I'm going to be in a bad mood again. I really want to finish the painting of tank deck, only 2 months until sign off.
Wednesday 12th of March 2008 and I started my day with Oatmeal Surprise® and grapefruit before going on deck. Gas measuring so they could start welding on deck.
I was in a good mood coming on deck. I discovered a beautiful morning when I had my GOOD MORNING look out my window and I expected the grit blasting on the fo'c's'le to be ready today. But my good mood turned sour before soon. I was screaming and cursing on deck, it had started to rain.
Luckily enough it only lasted for 10 minutes and I don't know if I can call it rain. It was more like a drizzle, anyway, when I'm in my cabin reviewing the day writing on my web page. Drinking diet drinks and in a good mood after stating the facts that the crew had been kicking behinds on deck today I'm ready to call the morning rain a drizzle and a slight disturbance.
It had been a beautiful day with sun shine and no wind and I really hope we will have this kind of weather for the rest of the trip.
I also got confirmation from Manila. I'm booked on a DP course 9th of June and between the 16th of June and 27th of June I will attend a gas tanker course. I asked about dwelling and as I wrote to them:
I don't mind living close to the school as long as there is a little bit of a night life close by.
I will have to spend 2 weekends in Manila, but it's very close to Taiwan or Tokyo so most likely I will take a weekend trip to one or both of those places. Tokyo and Taiwan is fun so I'm not worried about being bored.
Well, soon time for my evening watch and I will have a quick shower. I have been busy pretty much since 8 o'clock this morning and I'm looking forward to midnight and my bed. But first I will have to spend 4 exciting hours on the bridge with good music and tea. But the time on the bridge turns quick and I really enjoy myself. Way better than spending the time in my cabin doing (four letter word) all.
We passed San Juan, Puerto Rico during my watch and it was almost exactly 9 years ago I spent time in San Juan. I arrived in a small aircraft. The flight was a horror.
It was a small American Airline Scooby 340 aircraft. Like it wasn't crammed enough. They had to drop a 500 kg lady next to me. Yeah, they must have dropped her in to her seat because otherwise it would have been impossible for her to get down between the armrests.
- What the!!?? I thought while I asked her:
- The aircraft is almost empty and you have to come sit next to me!!??
- This is my seat!
Yeah-yeah, Blah-blah, I moved to my own row and I cranked up my Walkman. Walkman, today no one knows what a Walkman is and I feel really old. Well, I had my Walkman on full blast and a beer in my hand.
- Hmm, this tasted more, I thought while trying to get the Stewards attention while he was running around charging people 5 US for a small beer.
- We are only allowed to sell one beer per passenger, he told me.
San Juan back in 1999 when I was young and handsome
I remember a whole lot of trouble with immigration and Police and stuff at arrival. But nothing like when I arrived to Miami a few years back, I had a group of Police Officers waiting for me. They escorted me to a shop so I could buy new batteries for my entertainment center.
What a difference from arriving to USA today.
Well, anyway, I found myself a hotel at the beach and, well, party. What else?
We passed San Juan and dead ahead I could see another island I had been visiting,
St Thomas. 3 o'clock in the morning throwing shoes and sticks on a window in Charlotte Amalie. Yeah, young and stupid and maybe a wee bit more self-confidence than what was good for you.
We will reach St Thomas just after 1 o'clock and turn Starboard and pass the Virgin Passage and then we will change course to East and go straight for Sint Eustatius. ETA around lunch tomorrow and we will take bunker before continuing our journey to Brazil.
Thursday 13th of March 2008 and we passed SABA when I came on the bridge at 0930. No gas measuring this morning, we're taking bunker at Sint Eustatius so no hot work today. But I was late for the bridge, I didn't wake up until 0830. But the Chief Officer comes when he can.
SABA with the peak, a volcanic cone enveloped in clouds
The small island on the left hand side is Sint Eustatius
We changed course at 0955 heading straight for the anchorage “B” at Sint Eustatius. After the course change it is about 1 hour to go. Captain and Chief Engineer were on the bridge drinking coffee enjoying the views.
Our fo'c's'le is ready concerning the grit blasting and they had blasted around 5 center tank when we changed course at SABA. There is a few spots on port side to blast, but after the course change we had spray over the port side. So it was painting on the fo'c's'le instead.
All crew on the fo'c's'le and I hope this is ready before Brazil, but with our luck with the weather I don't think so.
At 1135 we dropped anchor at Sint Eustatius anchorage “B” and I was back on the bridge just in time to be relieved by 2nd Officer. When 2nd Officer came to relieve me my diet drink bottle was almost full. Tell you just so you know how busy I had been during the morning.
Dropping the anchor at Sint Eustatius
We were still anchored when I came on my evening watch. Bunkering in full swing and at 2115 bunkering was ready. We left Sint Eustatius a little after 2200 and it's about four and a half day to Vila Do Conde in Brazil.
Friday 14th of March 2008 and it was a beautiful morning when I looked out my window. The Atlantic Ocean was calm like a windmill pond and I expected this very day to be the day when the fo'c's'le should be ready.
I was in a good mood coming out on deck for the gas measuring. In a flick of the switch my good mood turned very bad, the rain started to pour down and I was soon soaking wet.
- BIP BIP BIPPING BIP! MOTHERF@CKER!! BIPPING BIP BIP!!
I was so angry when I did the gas measuring. No painting, no blasting and all planned work turned to SH*T. I had the crew start to wash down deck and our Bosun changed the wire in our hose crane. Yeah, we remember the drama in TUXPAN and all the trouble we had to go through during that night and early morning.
I was on the bridge to relieve our 3rd Officer at 10 and by then the rain was gone and the sun was shining. But now the water spray started over deck, I could not believe my eye.
- BIP BIP BIPPING BIP! MOTHERF@CKER!!
Well, no spray over the fo'c's'le and the crew started to paint after lunch when I was down in 5 center tank to inspect the paint. All our cargo tanks look very good. Some small rust spots but nothing to write home about. Well, slop tank port is another story. This tank needs a new coat of paint.
I spent a few minutes calculating cargo in the afternoon. Vegetable oil from Argentina, but my guess is that we will end up in Beaumont again. That's one of the things to be sure of, we will always return to Beaumont. And it's good for me reliever, first time Chief Officer and if we can do 2 trips Beaumont-TUXPAN together and he will be a full fledged Chief Officer. Especially after all the training he had done onboard.
I received e-mail from him yesterday and he is ready to join in the beginning of May.
Well well, time to go relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge. I bring my Hip Hop Generator® and my good mood. The crew had managed to get a whole lot of work done during the day. The wire in the deck crane is changed and the fo'c's'le looks nice. Now it's white and it looks very good in comparison with the red paint.
Saturday 15th of March 2008 and I woke up to a beautiful day, spray on deck but the fo'c's'le was dry so all crew painting. Hopefully the darn thing will be ready at arrival to Brazil.
I was in for a pleasant surprise. We are arriving on Tuesday the 18th and I had thought it was the 18th on Monday. So one day extra before arrival. Very good!
If the weather is like this tomorrow the chances are good that we will see the fo'c's'le ready tomorrow and the last layer of anti skid coarse will be painted on Monday.
Pizza for lunch. Ok it was good!
- Ups, I'm not supposed to eat pizza!
But it was good even though I always say that Pizza should be eaten at a restaurant. Cake should be bought and not be home made and hamburgers should be eaten at a Hamburger bar.
But the pizza was good. I had just got my pizza when Captain went to get one.
- What about your diet? I asked.
- You set the standard, he replied.
Our OS painting forward mast
After lunch I did some paper work, filled up a ballast exchange report to the Brazilian authorities. I read a few pages in a book and soon it was late afternoon. Saturday and it was time for BBQ in the evening.
We started the evening with a contest, ÖLSLÄPPET. We had a clear winner at 39 seconds. Well, by the way, I will not explain the rules for you. People of delicate nature can find it offensive. But luckily enough we don't have any people of delicate nature onboard. I mean, onboard Barcarolle it's almost too much. No one never finds anything offensive, You have a web page, who gives a (four letter word)?
Well, one of the ABs had 39 seconds and that was way better than the second best. He was running around beaming with joy.
- I'm the winner!
2nd Officer came down from the bridge when he was relieved and the AB was so disappointed when 2nd Officer won the contest with 51 seconds. Yeah, that's life.
Let's get started with the food already! I had some sausages and chicken before going for my watch at 8 o'clock.
I had a nice watch steaming SE on a calm Atlantic Ocean. I had helped our 3rd Engineer to install a program on his computer and our Fitter came to the bridge with his lap top. He had the same problem and he was very happy when he left the bridge with a working computer.
- If you going to kick ass you call the ass kicker! I said to him when he left.
Sunday 16th of March 2008 and it was a gorgeous morning. yeah, a wee bit of spraying over port side of the tank deck. But the fo'c's'le was dry and I expect it to be ready today. All my best men forward painting.
I hope the fo'c's'le will be ready today, well, the anti skid coarse will be tomorrow. But the rest of the fo'c's'le. I haven't had any before and after pictures for quite some time now.
It was a beautiful morning and afternoon. Only one shower passing us. I was on the fo'c's'le checking up on the painting when a shower passed over us. I wasn't very happy about it, but what to do?
- BIP BIP BIPPING BIP! MOTHERF@CKER!!
Yeah, I was screaming and cursing on the fo'c's'le and 5 minutes later it was dry again.
Tomorrow is our last full day at sea, on Tuesday we will enter Para
River and it's about 8 hours up river to Vila Do Conde and the Aluminium factory.
Portuguese Rio Par�, channel of the Amazon delta that passes to the south and east of Maraj� Island, northern Brazil. It carries a small part of the discharge of the Amazon River eastward and northward to the Atlantic Ocean, off Cape Maguarinho. Its width varies from 8 to 65 km, and its entire 320-kilometre length is navigable. The Par� is often called an estuary of Tocantins River because it receives Tocantins River from the south. Bel�m, the capital of Par� state, lies on the Par� River's south bank, near the mouths of the Guam� and Guajar� rivers.
But tomorrow is another full day and I hope we can start the grit blaster and the crew will start washing deck.
- Yeah, I still hope for nice weather so we can spray paint tank deck!
I spent the afternoon reading and pestering the crew on the fo'c's'le. I borrowed 2 good books of our Chief Engineer a few days ago and the second on is what we call a page turner.
- Hmm, maybe that's the reason for me to be so tired in the morning.
After my watch at midnight I'm reading for a few hours and let me tell you, I'm not very happy when my alarm goes off at 0730.
Before going on my night watch I went to the bridge to get a “AFTER” picture to put on my web page and I must say that she looks nice.
Ups! SORRY! That was not the “BEFORE” & “AFTER” picture we were looking for! Here they come!
Well, imagine how she will look when we finally get weather so we can paint the rest of the deck. And just for you to have something to look forward to, tomorrow I will go on the fo'c's'le and take some UP CLOSE pictures for you to see. OK, now I'm off to the bridge for some music and tea.
Imagine the same picture, but with a freshly painted deck!
OK, one last picture for you to watch while I'm preparing myself for the night watch. OK, before leaving, I can't help thinking about last year. The picture above, this is what Captain and I was dreaming about 6 months ago, unreachable we thought back then. Well, the crew never gave up and now it's reality. But with a “Golden Silver Brush” awarded crew nothing is impossible.
STAY TUNED and Cykeln på köpet på er!
Monday 17th of March 2008 and I woke up to a gorgeous day and I discovered the crew grit blasting on deck when I looked out my window. I was in a jolly good mood when I came on deck to do the gas measuring.
2 crew on the grit blasting, 1 OS painting everything that the Fitter is welding and the rest of them putting the last hand on the fo'c's'le. I was watching them from the bridge and I could see them painting the last stencils and putting the last paint on the deck.
In the afternoon our Bosun will paint the anti skid coarse and the fo'c's'le will pretty much be ready. Just a few small things to do, but that will be quickly done tomorrow.
We will have time to make the last missing stencils tomorrow. LATEST NEWS! Anchoring at arrival to the pilot station until afternoon when the pilot will board us and take us to Vila Do Conde where we will anchor again. Expecting to go alongside 19th in the morning. Good, we have time to (maybe) finish the grit blasting tomorrow.
Well, I will throw in a few more “BEFORE” & “AFTER” pictures and this is the last we will see of the fo'c's'le, I swear to God. Even I am about to jump overboard by now and one more of those pictures can be the thing pushing me over the limit.
Well, the crew had put in a lot of hard work on the fo'c's'le and now we don't have to be embarrassed coming to port anymore.
Well, time for a last diet drink in my cabin before going to the bridge to relieve 3rd Officer. A few buckets of tea and some good music. I went for an afternoon nap and I felt asleep at 2 o'clock and I didn't wake up until 1630, even though my alarm went off at 1530. So I will find it hard to fall asleep after my watch anyway, so I can over do the tea bit a little.
We passed the mouth of Amazonas during my watch and there must have been millions of fishing boats. Well, a few degrees course change to port and I was going clear from the whole fishing fleet. I could enjoy my tea and the club music together with the OS on watch.
When I returned to my cabin at midnight I was very hungry and I had two tubes of Pringles in my cabin. I threw myself in to my bathroom first thing and I brushed my teeth. I can imagine how good the potato chips would have tasted with freshly brushed teeth's and I was very happy that I had managed to dodge that temptation.
Well, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully we don't have to see any more of the stupid “BEFORE” & “AFTER” pictures. But STAY TUNED! As soon as deck is painted I will throw in a few of the POPULAR “BEFORE” & “AFTER” pictures.
Tuesday 18th of March 2008 and we dropped anchor just after 9 o'clock. We were anchored just in the mouth of Para River and the flow from the river was very strong. We were dragging the anchor, about 2 cables per hour. Nothing to worry about.
I got a call on the satellite phone. It was the pilot station.
- Our VHF radio has broken down, the girl said.
No VHF at the pilot station and they had to call the ships on the satellite phone.
- We will be onboard at 1530, she said.
The Pilot was onboard in time and we expect to drop anchor at Vila Do Conde around 2300. That mean that I have to spend 3 hours on the bridge with the Pilot, but I can always make trouble with the Captain. The fridge on the bridge is full of diet drinks and I hope the time will turn quick.
Time turned quick and I had to go to my office straight when I came on watch
- How much Gasoil can we load, draft 9,75m SW? Captain asked.
An interrogation of the pilot about internet places in Vila Do Conde about internet places, a bucket of tea and a diet drink later we arrived to our Jetty.
Wednesday 19th of March 2008 and we had all fast 5 minutes after midnight. Our Surveyor was already onboard, we had the gangway down at 2355 so we were busy with our papers when they had all fast.
Well, not exactly. first it was the obligatory few minutes of playing and admiring my calculator before we could get down to business.
Well, I'm used to it by now. it's the same all the time, first the immigration.
- How many ear rings do you have?
- HEY! Try something new!
Or if I really want them to shut up:
- One for every boyfriend!
After that they don't say a word about the ear rings and I can go down to my Office and the Surveyor. The first thing they spot when they come in to my office is the calculator. They threw themselves over the calculator. Stopping midair just for a second.
- Darn good music!
And then they are all over the calculator playing for a few minutes.
- OK, I go for a fag and a diet drink while you're playing!
I asked our Agent about an internet place, just to confirm the information I got from our Pilot. According to rumours there are 2 internet places at the village square.
- It's only a very small village, our Agent said.
I told them that I only need an internet place to upload my web page. They turned bananas and suddenly all of them wanted to be on the internet. I handed him my web address.
- I will check it out first thing tomorrow. (Well, that is actually today)
We started discharging at 2 o'clock and I was off to bed at 3 and tomorrow I will go ashore so I hope there will be something new for you to read on the internet. And I guess you can read all about my Brazilian adventure on my next upload. Now I'm off to bed!
I woke up at 0930 and one of the first things I discovered at my GOOD MORNING look out the window was a bridge stretching all the way to the horizon. At arrival it was pitch dark but now I could see the bridge.
- DARN! It will take hour walking down that bridge! I thought.
But Taxis are allowed to pick us up at the gangway so no worries. One of the first persons I ran in to was our Agent. We talked about internet, TAXI and going ashore.
- I can take you to town, he said.
Our Agent will be back to pick me up at 1230 and suddenly our 3rd Officer and one of the AB wanted to join. The more the merrier, or what they use to say. Maybe it feels a little safe going ashore with the ship's Chief Officer and He-man.
OK, honestly, they had already planned to go ashore and I asked our Agent if they could join us in the ride. But you must admit that you were a little impressed by the He-man stuff.
Our agent was onboard at 1225. I must say that so far I have only meet nice and pleasant people in Vila Do Conde. Our Pilot was very nice and the Agent, yeah, Surveyor and pretty much everyone I have meet so far.
Our Agent came onboard with his Laptop.
- I brought my WI-FI card if you need to borrow my computer.
He really wants to be on internet, I thought. But I said:
- Thanks! But I go ashore to the internet place and I take the opportunity to see the views.
When we went to his car one OS showed up and as I said: The more the merrier. We, well, I took the front seat and our 3rd Officer, AB and OS pressed themselves into the back seat.
- It's good to be the Chief Officer!
It took us a few minutes to cross the bridge to shore and at the end there was a guard checking our names.
Our Agent told the Agent that I was number 2 on the crew list and the guard put a mark next to my name. he never checked any ID so I guess I could have told him that I was number 22 or anyone else for that matter.
After a few minutes the guard had got all the numbers right and we could leave.
- OK, step on it so we can be in the village in a jiff, I thought when we left the guard behind.
But after a few minutes on a road full of pot holes we came to the main gate. Everyone out of the car and now they issued shore pass for us.
I was soon behind the desk taking pictures of the crew and our Agent, I have decided to document our trip to Vila Do Cabano. That's the name of the village with a population of 15000.
- A very small village, our Agent said.
- In Sweden they call it a small town.
Well, actually, a place like that they had called a spot with condemned houses.
It was a 10-15 minutes ride from the main gate to the village. Our Agent dropped me at the CYBER PLACE and he continued to the supermarket with the rest of the crew. I spent 30 minutes at the CYBER PLACE and then I took the 10 minutes' walk to the supermarket.
Nothing exciting in that direction, let's turn around . . . .
. . . NO! Nothing exciting in that direction either
Vila Do Cabanos
At the Supermarket I ran in to our 3rd Officer, AB and OS. We walked around looked at the stuff and I found a 1GB card for my camera. I still have my old Canon camera but I took that card and stuffed it in to my new camera in France. So I need a new card for my old camera. But I could not pay with US dollars.
The crew had Scooby dollars and when they were ready shopping I got 46 of their Scooby dollars and I could buy the card. Well, I returned to the ship and our 3rd Officer and the rest of our guys went to look for a barber shop.
When we arrived to Alunorte I had to change TAXI. The driver from the supermarket was not allowed inside. So I changed car and I was onboard some 10 minutes later. Well, the crew had been busy painting while I had been ashore and now it starts to look like something on deck.
We will leave tomorrow morning at 0730. Dead line is 2215 tonight and we will not make it in time. We will be ready around 2200, but disconnecting and paper work takes time.
We will stay overnight and the watches can hose down deck during the night and tomorrow it will be grit blasting and painting again. (Weather permitted)
I spent the evening watching DVD and at 10 o'clock I went down to the CCR. We completed discharging at 2315 and now we only had to wait for Surveyor and the people to disconnect the hose.
Waiting and waiting and at midnight there was still no sign of any people coming. I was slowly losing my good mood. Pilot at 0730 so I'm soon to wake up again and I don't mind a few hours of sleep before taking on a new day filled with hard work.
Thursday 20th of March 2008 and the clock was almost 0130 when the hose guy had the courtesy to show up. Well, hose was off at 0145 and I was off to my cabin.
I had just felt asleep when the fire alarm went off at 0700, false alarm. Just when I was to return to my cabin the Agent stepped in to the accommodation.
- I didn't count your ear rings, he said first thing.
So I understood that he had been on my web page.
Pilot onboard at 0725 (The very same Pilot we had when we arrived) and at 0800 we left Vila Do Conde behind. Well, what is it Aladdin use to say?
- I'm in no hurry back!
And that's even though it was nice people here.
Well, next voyage seems to be ready, but not what and how much we will load. But it looks like we will load at Pointe á Pierre, Trinidad for Kingston, Jamaica . Well, one thing is for sure, coming to Trinidad and it will be worth going through the trouble turning on the radio. OK, I haven't been there for 8 years, but it was the only place west of the Atlantic Ocean with good radio stations. And I mean good.
Jamaica, 20 years since I was in Kingston, but I passed Jamaica some 10 years ago and I could listen to a GOOD MORNING show on the Jamaican radio. It was a laugh!
It was one of those GOOD MORNING shows were the host was reading the morning paper. You know, picking out a few interesting newspaper article and analyze and you know, to give his reflection and opinion about the matter. Some well formulated criticism is also expected. But this was a wee bit different.
- This morning I read in the paper blah-blah-blah. Yah man! I don't understand what they mean!
Next article, the same thing.
- This morning I read in the paper blah-blah-blah. Yah man! I don't understand what they mean!
It went on and on. But I guess that's the Jamaican way of well formulated criticism.
Yeah, we see what happens. But I found out that the Easter coming up this weekend and I didn't had a clue. Well, Easter, who cares? Sometimes it's in May/ June and then suddenly next year it's in March.
I won't be surprised if Easter comes up suddenly in November in a close future.
No worries, I'm prepared for Easter whenever it is. Like we used to say: (When we were young) “Easter, just to throw eggs and drink plenty of alcoholic beverages”
And I can't help thinking about an Easter party a few years ago. the eggs flew across the house. OK, it was mostly me throwing the eggs (Well, I guess it takes more to surprise you) but what can you expect when you ask:
- YOO! Aladdin! Do you want to come to an Easter party? Just to throw a few eggs and to drink plenty! It will be plenty fun
Ok, it was a little more solemn than that. You had to paint at least 1 egg before you could join the party. painting egg, well, I don't know but it's an old tradition. And I don't even think I thought it was fun when I was a kid. But never mind, when you had done the compulsory painting it was all GO for the fun.
OK, enough of the memory lane. We left Pilot around 1500 and we expect to be at Sao Luis pilot station tomorrow afternoon.
I spent the afternoon calculating 4 parcels from Trinidad to Jamaica and it was in the nick of time I made it to the shower before my night watch. Tea and good music, and I'm looking forward to my watch.
After a quick shower I had a few minutes to read before going to the bridge. Instead of taking the extra minutes in my hot shower I'm in a hurry out of the shower so I can read a few pages before going to the bridge. I borrowed the books from our Chief Engineer. I started with one and I really liked it and now I borrowed 3 more and I can't stop reading.
The author has grown to be a real favourite. Well, he had been a role model for many years, but it's the first time I read his books. Leif GW Persson, Fat Buster of the year 98, 99, 00, 02, 03, 05, 06, 07
Those years he wasn't elected the Fat Buster of the year was when he surrendered himself to indulging in good food. Well, tasty food can be a real strain on yourself discipline and willpower. Anyway, those years I could slide in on the first place as the Fat Buster of the year.
Well, anyway, I'm off to read a few more pages in his book.
Aladdin can recommend reading Leif GW Persson's books, at least try one book.
Good Friday 21st of March 2008 and we were approaching Sao Luis when I came on the bridge at
10 o'clock. The bridge was full of people.
noun the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Crucifixion of Christ is commemorated in the Christian Church. It is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.
- What the....? Is this Bridge Watch 200? I asked.
Chief Engineer, Electrician, Captain and 3rd Officer, well, I opened a diet drink and we started to crack jokes.
2 hours turned quick in the buoyed fairlead to Sao Luis. We arrive to the anchorage at 1400 and the Pilot will be onboard at 1750. After lunch I returned to Leif GW Persson in my cabin for a few hours of reading before arrival.
Reading a nice book instead of running around on deck, yeah, it's Easter for Christ sake!
Well, arriving to #4 anchorage and I could see that Sao Luis was a big city and obviously it was a big port. There was many giant bulk carriers anchored at the anchorage. Bulk carriers in ballast so this must be a big export port of something in bulk.
- Yeah, I'm a regular Sherlock!
I could hear our engine running from my bed. It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon and I had slept for a wee bit longer than I had planned to.
But it's Easter for Christ sake!
- Well, I better get out of bed!
I read a few pages before the shower and I was really appreciating the fact that I was Chief Officer and not 2nd Officer. Easter holiday and relaxing in the afternoon while 2nd and 3rd Officer running around busy all day long.
- It's good to be the Chief Officer!
Our Pilot came onboard at 1755 and I was on the bridge some 30 minutes later. Well, our Pilot was a chatty guy and I asked the standard questions:
- Maximum water depth, current, water density and weather and blah-blah-blah.
Yeah, dream on. No I was more interested in stuff like: How far is it to town, internet places, nice bars and discos and stuff like that.
- There is a nice restaurant called PAVAN with Brazilian BBQ. Well, Brazilian BBQ is to be found all over Brazil. Yeah, surprised? And we remember my adventure in Santos and the lesson we learnt about the price tag and quality.
We paid twice the price in Santos for the BBQ comparing to Itajai, but it was 10 times better. Brazilian BBQ, you pay and you eat as much as you want and they serve you fresh meat from the BBQ at your table.
You pay a little extra and you avoid the riff raff, otherwise it's like eating a cheap buffet in Sweden. After 20 minutes it looks like someone had been up stepping in the buffet.
I got all the information a needed, but our Pilot also had a word of caution for me.
- Be careful! There are 17 girls for every man in the city and they attack!
I did a quick estimation in my head and in a city of about 1 million it should be about, give and take, 950 000 girls in the city.
- Your full of it! I said.
- No, it's true and they are very dangerous and they attack you in broad daylight and before you know it you're married!
- What about internet? I asked while thinking “Maybe Super Swede is better off staying onboard”
We started discharging at 2240 and I will see if I dare to go ashore tomorrow. I don't mind going the extra mile to upload my web page so you have something exciting to do during Easter. But getting married!!??
Easter Eve 22nd of March 2008 and I woke up just before 10 and I discovered a gloomy and grey
day. Well, not gloomy enough, the crew was busy painting on deck.
noun the day immediately preceding Easter Day. Also called HOLY SATURDAY.
We tried to call ALUMAR Terminal on the VHF, the agreed CH but no answer. We make long check list before commencing cargo operation, but obviously no one cares. We got a long list with terminal regulations. When going ashore we need to wear full protective clothing, goggles, rubber boats and you name it. I asked the Cargo Agent (Loading Master) if I needed to wear all this going ashore.
- NO NO! This is just a formality, no one cares how you dressed when you go ashore.
OK, so now we just try to get in touch with the terminal and if I'm lucky I will go ashore to find an internet place and some nice views.
If I manage to get a taxi I wish to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Easter.
ALUMAR Terminal. Not allowed to take pictures. But I guess that's a formality as well.
Just before lunch I went on deck and I asked one of the jetty men for a taxi. I really don't know if there is a taxi coming. Fingers were pointed and I interpreted it as:
- There will be a taxi in 5 minutes.
I hope so, it will be interesting to see the Sao Luis with 950,000 girls and 50,000 boys only. But I guess that if this was true all the losers less fortunate than me ( In the good looks department) would have moved in to the city. And I guess the girl would have moved out pari passu with the ugly men moving in to town. Well, where is my taxi?
Getting the taxi was a little more difficult than you thought it was. And what's the story with the shore gangway. The move it around all the time and I think it's because of the concrete trucks passing on the jetty all the time.
Well, anyway, when going ashore they have to call a mobile crane to lift onboard the gangway and at 1 o'clock they had the gangway onboard and that's more than one hour since my first time ordering the taxi. Gangway onboard, but no sign of any taxi.
There was a guy on the jetty , he was the only one speaking English and he offered to take me to town for 30 US. I gladly accepted his offer and we left the ship 20 minutes after 1 o'clock.
It took about 30 minutes to get to the city. There was a shopping mall with a Cyber Cafe and I decided to start with the Cyber Cafe.
Approaching Sao Luis
I asked my driver about Pavan and he knew the restaurant. Well, in a city with 1 million everyone knows Pavan so it's a good sign. Must be something very special I thought.
I asked if it was far between the mall, Pavan and the beach. 15 minutes from the mall to Pavan with taxi and from Pavan it was just 5 minutes to the beach.
He dropped me at a shopping mall and I bought a milk shake first thing and
then I looked for a Cyber Cafe and I found it after asking for the directions the third time.
I'm Wilson Sons Agent (ship's agent) in Vila do Conde. Your idea to create this home page is very interesting. I already showed to some people and everybody liked. I will continue checking your adventures. Now, your home page is a little better, because my photography is here. So, if you can, send the photo that you have with both of us going ashore, close of vessel's gangway.
I uploaded my web page and I checked my e-mail and there was an e-mail from the Agent in Vila Do Conde and he was happy to be on the internet. There was also an e-mail from someone wanting to know stuff about Stolt Excellence, especially about the engine. Well, I know nothing about Stolt Excellences engine.
I don't know if it was the signs everywhere remind you that you were not allowed to be ugly at the shopping mall. But never the less there were plenty beautiful girls. Finally some of the famous Brazilian girls. So far, where ever I had been they all looked like truck drivers, except for the 2 I meet in Itajai.
I have been onboard Barcarolle for almost 10 months and it's normal that all girls look beautiful after 2 weeks onboard. But I have only seen 1 beautiful girl in Beaumont. Exactly 0 beautiful girls in Mexico and, well, Ok in 10 minutes at the shopping mall in France we saw more beautiful girls than we have seen in 100 hours in Beaumont. But that's it during my soon 10 months on the ship.
I had been afraid that I had turned gay, but I can't say that I had seen any handsome guys either, so I guess that's not it. But here in Sao Luis the mall was full of beautiful girls.
OK, now I have to find Pistachio nuts. Our new Chief Engineer asked if I could buy Pistachio nuts for him while in town. He came onboard just after 3 o'clock this morning and I ran in to him at 0330 when I was on the way down to the CCR. Well, Pistachio it is and I bought a bag before going to Pavan, the famous restaurant.
I arrived 15 minutes later and with 18 Scooby Doo dollars less in my valet. The place looked good, at least from the outside. When I came in there were some families eating there and I could not help but wondering if the bus from Ullared was going to drop off a load of weekend shoppers. Well, I really don't hope so.
It was not the atmosphere I had hoped for and it's not what you hope for when people are jumping in the buffet all around you. I just had the BBQ and it was good to start with and when I was full the taste turned for worse. I asked for my bill and a taxi and I was on my way to the beach 6 minutes later.
OK, it's not fair to compare Pavan with Santos. When we went ashore in Santos we were working on a ship with a crew crying in hunger and here I'm coming from a ship with a 5 star Cook.
The beach turned out to be pretty much empty so I asked the driver to take me back to Alumar. It was a 20-30 minutes ride and I had time to think about our Pilot and the 17 girls per man in Sao Luis. OK, maybe you understand it better if I tell you that he didn't had a clue where we were going at arrival yesterday so I guess the “almost only girls in the town” could mean just about anything.
I was onboard just before 5 after waiting almost 1 hour in the gate for my ride and when I came to the jetty they had to rig the gangway again. Yeah, it was nice to be back onboard and now I know how Sao Luis looks and I don't have to spend any money coming here on holiday.
I spent the evening/ night reading and watching movie. Yeah, it's Easter for Christ sake! But I did a tank cleaning plan (5 minutes) and I also made an IG log (5 minutes) to use when we purge our tanks with IG. Well, what do you know, I had killed 10 minutes just like that. OK, 7 minutes of the 10 I spent pestering 3rd Officer in the CCR.
We expect to finish discharging around 0100 tomorrow morning and Pilot is ordered for 0615. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to leave Brazil behind.
Easter Day 23rd of March 2008 and we completed discharging at 0045. Paper work and the
ordinary stuff. Our Agents came onboard around 1 o'clock and they were impressed by my music treasure, at least to say. He could not stay away from my computer.
also Easter Sunday
noun the day on which the festival of Easter is celebrated.
- OH! You have this one! YOO! BLACK SABBATH! PLAY THIS ONE! DIO IS SINGING IN THIS TUNE!
- WOW! Dio! That's the best vocalist in the world!
- Yeah, I have a little bit of everything, I said.
- Ted Nugent! He screamed while making a brilliant guitar riff.
- Hey! You're standing on the cord to my air guitar, I said.
One of them had been a DJ and the other one played in a rock band. So the club music and hard rock was blasting high in my office.
The rock guy even knew a Swedish band, “November” from the 70's and he turned bananas when I played November for him. It was air guitar, air drums and head banging.
They were just about to start stage diving from my desk when I managed to get things back to order.
- HEY! Sit down relax have a diet drink!
Well, Chief Officer's office, always a little something going on there and I can't help thinking about our 1st Engineer again when he brought his ice cream. Well, we finished the paper work around 3 and I was off to my cabin. I left 2nd Officer to take care of the last paperwork. Soon time to wake up again.
I woke up by the fire alarm at 0545 and I had just managed to fall asleep, false alarm. And just after 6 they called on the phone.
- Pilot is onboard!
We left the jetty just before 7 and not long after departure our Mess man called to see if the Pilot wanted breakfast.
I could hear Captain asking the Pilot if he wanted breakfast and he didn't want any. Judge of my surprise when Mess man stepped in on the bridge 2 minutes later with a breakfast tray.
- But we didn't want any breakfast, Captain said.
- Oh, a misunderstanding, Mess man said.
- Yeah, one of the real big ones. Don't bring any food here again! But one time is no time, I said.
He turned around to leave when I stopped him.
- Hey! Slow down! Leave the tray here, maybe someone will reconsider the offer, I said.
What a surprise! I had to eat the bacon and egg all by myself.
Well, I spent the whole day in front of the computer in the CCR doing tank cleaning and every now and then I was at the manifold with a piece of litmus paper to see if it was clean water. When we have a pH value of 7 the caustic is gone and we can stop washing the tanks. We were ready just in time for my night watch. OK, I had time for a quick shower before my watch so I was in a good mood coming to the bridge.
Monday 24th of March 2008 and I woke up to another shitty day. No painting and (four letter word) all happening on deck. Well, this is a job that should have been done at a shipyard together with the hydraulic line. The crew spent the whole day repairing the hydraulic line that should have been changed at the shipyard December 2006.
Tuesday 25th of March 2008 and the weather was a wee bit better than yesterday and my mood had improved with the weather.
Engine department had fixed the hydraulic line and I could move the SLOP from 1CT to slop tanks. Washing of 1Ct and we were ready just in time for dinner.
Deck is ready for spray painting. Deck is brushed 2 times and we only need to fresh off deck with our hydro blaster, but first nice weather. I really hope the weather improves until tomorrow so we can start spray paint deck. Well, anyway, they will prepare the hydro blaster tonight so they can get right to it tomorrow morning if the weather is nice.
After dinner I was off to my cabin and soon I had UK SUBS blasting high on the Richter scale. Soon time for my night watch and yesterday it was club music on full blast. I didn't hear Captain coming on the bridge.
- Is it a disco? He asked.
- F@CKING A! I screamed while doing some of my best moves with my hips.
I don't know, maybe I continue the club theme tonight. At least I know that the OS on my watch likes it!
Before going on my watch I finished the last of the 3 Leif GW Persson books I borrowed from our Chief Engineer.
Wednesday 26th of March 2008 and I woke up to yet another day without spray painting. The day started with rain and the whole crew was on deck washing so now Barcarolle is nice and clean on deck. I real brush down once a week will be our new routines from now on. The ship will be brushed down every Saturday and Sunday and hopefully she will look better in the future.
ETA Pointe a Pierre pilot station around 2200 tonight and it looks like the pilot will be onboard at 0100 tomorrow morning. So I'm looking forward to a full night.
At 2105 I changed course to South while the radio was on full blast. Passing North of Trinidad and at Boca Grande between Trinidad and Venezuela changing to South and after a few minutes we were in Gulf of Paria. After passing through Boca Grande we changed to SE and it was 149° (T) towards Pointe a Pierre.
ETA Pilot station 2330 and we decided to drift just off the pilot boarding area until 1 o'clock. But Pointe a Pierre Shipping called on the VHF.
- What's your last port?
- Sao Luis, Brazil!
- OK, you have to drop anchor so the Immigration and custom can come onboard before the pilot.
At 2345 we had dropped the anchor and we were waiting for the Immigration and custom
Thursday 27th of March 2008 and I woke at 1220 dead tired. I went to bed just before 8 when we had started the 3rd of our 4 parcels. The plan was to start all 4 parcels, but the Mogas 87 was delayed.
Our Pilot was onboard at 0110 this morning and we had first line ashore at 0155. We started first parcel at 0600 and we expected to be ready in the late afternoon. But when I woke up I discovered that the Mogas was delayed until “Maybe” 2100 and that's means tomorrow morning. I'm in no hurry!
We had an alco test at 1 o'clock and I was off to bed again and I woke up just in time for dinner. Talk about bad luck!
We had 3 of the 4 parcels ready just before 200 and now we only wait for the Mogas 87. It's almost 10 years since last time I was here in Pointe a Pierre, but I remember more and more. In order to go ashore you have to use a launch service and after loading we have to drop anchor and wait for the paper work. About 2 days to Jamaica from Trinidad and it's almost April when we arrive to Montego Bay.
Friday 28th of March 2008 and I woke up just after 8. I was surprised that I managed to fall a sleep yesterday after my sleep until 1730. But hard work.......
We finished the MOGAS 87 parcel at 0845 and the Surveyor and AB on watch started to measure the tanks while I was in my office filling up the ullage and temp in the computer. We have SAAB radar but in this part of the world they want to do the ullageing with an MMC. We send down a probe in the tank and it starts beeping in contact with oil and we know the ullage and the temperature.
Our Pilot was onboard at 1010 when I was in the middle of the paper work with the Surveyor.
- I'm off to the bridge for departure, but I will soon be back, I said and left for the bridge with a diet drink in my hand.
From the bridge we could see how they drained the cargo hoses straight in to the sea. What the (four letter word) !! Oil was coming from the jetty and I was pissed off. The Surveyor and Pilot said that this was standard procedure here at Petrotrin.
A bunch of savages working at Petrotrin
Our Pilot told us that that the pipeline between the island and terminal was leaking and it was to expensive to repair it.
- So the oil is just leaking out in the sea.
Yeah, and vetting Inspectors are running on the ships checking our garbage. If you throw an apple in to the sea you're in jail in a jiff. No one really cares, if they did this ghastliness would have stopped years ago. If all major oil companies refused to buy oil from terminals like this you can be sure that the pollution would stop in a jiff.
But instead of doing something they put signs everywhere and adds in the papers on how ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY and GREEN they are. On Petrotrin's tug boat there was a big sign saying REPORT POLLUTION. What a joke it is!
- When it's raining the river from the terminal is full of tar like oil, the Pilot told me.
We finished paper work with the Agent at 1540 but we have to wait 3 to 4 hours for the cargo release so I guess it will be me taking Barcarolle through Boca Grande tonight in to the Caribbean Sea. Passing Port of Spain with the radio on full blast. No need to bring my Hip Hop Generator® tonight.
Our Captain on leave sent me an e-mail today. My new Dell computer has arrived and he will bring the computer when he sign on beginning of May.
He said that the parcel was 14kg so I guess most of it is packing's.
Well, I will spend the time reading until my night watch and I hope we're on our way when I get on my watch.
At 2005 the cargo was released and at 2020 our 3rd Officer had the anchor up. All this action while I was on the bridge drinking tea, screaming in the walkie talkie and looking for a good radio station on the entertainment center. At 2230 we had passed through Boca Grande and I changed to an NW'ly course towards Jamaica.
Saturday 29th of March 2008 and I woke up a wee bit late for my GOOD MORNING meeting with the crew. But at my GOOD MORNING look out the window I could see them preparing for washing of tank deck. Good, the “Golden Silver Brush” award winning crew know what to do and I can relax.
I don't know if I'm over engaged and too committed. I was spending my watch hanging from the bridge wing screaming and giving pointers to the crew on deck. I want everything to go smooth and quick and I try to plan the work to avoid every wasted second. It's not good for my health, but I'm not able to relax as long as there is something to do.
On this ship I appreciate everything that can make the time turn. I have 5 minutes of paper work.
- Good, I have a little something to do tomorrow, I'm thinking happy to have something to fill my day with.
After 5 minutes in my cabin the paperwork becomes a knot in my stomach and I can't relax. So I have to go down my office finish the darn paper work even though I know I will have a living hell finding something to do the day after. But luckily enough I can spend hours pestering Captain.
After lunch it was time for drills. Smoke diving training in the engine room with face masks blurred with a plastic bag to make it hard to see anything.
Our 4 smoke divers entered the engine room peering through the plastic bags covering the mask. Smoke diving in real fire and you can see (four letter word) all so practice is needed.
When we were ready with all the drills we had a safety meeting and the crew could return to washing tank deck. After the safety meeting I returned to my cabin and my book. I'm back to read my Stephanie Plum novels. I bought 10 if them in Beaumont and I bought 3 more last time in Corpus Christi. So when I finished all the Leif GW Persson books I had 3 more Stephanie Plum books to read. Well, they are as good as Leif GW Persson's books and the only problem is that you can't stop reading and you finish the books in a jiff.
Well, it was a beautiful day and I hope we get the same weather tomorrow so we can start spray paint the deck tomorrow. It will be so nice when we can put this behind us and we can start all over again. Keeping the rust away is an everlasting job.
- OK guys! It's Saturday and we have done enough for today!
I was on deck telling the guys to stop work in the afternoon.
- We need all our power tomorrow! I said.
I returned to my book and my bed, but it's important to show up on deck every now and then to show the crew that you're on top of things.
Well, I spent a few minutes reading my book and it was soon time for dinner. And this must have been an all time low and as you will understand later on I will blame it on the Captain. But first, let's go back to our story and you will understand what kind of mug's game I'm up against.
I was first to dinner and I started with my bowl of salad. They always have a bowl of salad for me at lunch and dinner and the plan is that I should finish the salad and leave the table. Well, that's the plan, the MASTER PLAN.
Next to the salad bowl there was a shrimp toast as an entry, and that's even though I have clearly instructed the kitchen crew not to make anything extra for me. It's enough with the salad for me, I'M ON DIET!
- Hmm, they went through the trouble making it for me so I can as well eat it!
- BUT DON'T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!
After the shrimp toast it was steak, black and white I think they call it.
- How do you like your steak?
I could not believe myself when I answered “MEDIUM” while thinking:
“I should get the BIP out of here instead of eating anymore”
After the shrimp toast I was full of guilt and I felt very bad while waiting for my steak. I just had to have a few slices of black bread with honey. I don't know if it was the sugar, but I felt worse and after the steak it was time for deep fried Camembert cheese with cloudberry preserves.
Camembert cheese was too much for me and I spotted a cake when I came in to the mess room. And for sure, the sight of the cake didn't make me any happier.
- OK, see ya tomorrow, I said and left the table.
- NO! You must stay and socialize for a while!
- NO, it's Saturday!
- OK, I said pointing at Captain. It's your decision. Should I stay for the Camembert and cake or should I go to my cabin.
- We start our new life's on Monday, he said. Have some cake!
- Well, where have I heard that before. This is what we have been saying the latest 14 month, I said.
OK, it's Saturday and after the Camembert we moved in to the day room for some coffee (tea), Cognac (tea) and cake. Needless to say, I wasn't in my best mood when I left for the bridge. I'm going from failure to failure.
So I was full of agony and pain when coming on watch. We are retarding ship's time by one hour tonight and the OS on my watch told me that the crew had kicked off a “Retarding ship's time festivities” in the day room. I told him to take my camera and go down to immortalize the moment.
I have Astoria fresh in mind, and I'm not thinking of the festivities ending with us lifting ashore Captain. No, I remember when the AB came to the bridge telling me that we had a leaking pipe in the pipe tunnel.
- Take my digital camera and go down take a picture, I suggested.
When he came back I analyzed the picture and I asked him to take a 32mm socket and ask the Engineer if he could weld the socket to a 150cm steel rod with a T handle. It was impossible to reach the leaking pipe without cutting a hole in the deck above. But with the rod the AB reached the flange and no more leak. All thanks to a digital camera.
Well, I sent down the OS on my watch with my camera to get some HOT stuff with my camera. He left and 2 minutes later I was in a good mood. No, actually, I was in a very very good mood. Not long after my watch left the bridge I had came up with the PLAN of the century.
I will ask the Cook to stop making salad for me and I will just have Oatmeal Surprise® from now on. The trick is to avoid ...... Hey hold on! My watch man just came back with my camera disturbing me in my philosophizing.
- Hey! Go back to the day room and don't come back until you have some nice pictures! Not this half naked stuff!
- YEAH! MARCH PANNKAKA!
OK, the trick is to avoid seeing the food and if I'm blindfolded when entering the mess room I can't caught sight of the food and thus I'm avoiding any temptations. I was in such a good mood after coming up with this idea and I can't wait until tomorrow when I can try the “Blindfold diet”. OK, it might look strange to the rest of the crew eating when I'm coming blindfolded, but it's soon time to sign off and I just have to look good. Failure is no option here.
The only downside I can see with this diet is if it turns out to be the success I expect it to be. Then I will regret not starting with this wonder diet long ago so I would have signed off looking VERY good instead of just good looking.
Well well, what do you know? This was easy and I had done 200 mental sign offs in a V-shaped torso when 2nd Officer came to relieve me at 2320.
Sunday 30th of March 2008 and I woke up full of expectations. Today is the day I will try my latest weapon against obesity, the blind fold. This diet might as well turn out to be the next thing catching on in diet circles when people getting tired of all the other diets.
Well, I ripped a T-shirt to pieces (soon too big anyway) and I made a blindfold out of it, now I'm ready to take on the mess room.
Well, after breakfast (Oatmeal and grapefruit) I tried to discharge slop. We managed to discharge ZIP and I don't even bother losing my good mood any more. If they don't want to discharge it in port. Well, what do I care if they want to have a ship full of slop. OK, the environment is the big winner, no oil in the sea so I'm pretty pleased to keep the gasoline onboard. Laurin is still looking for a port with the right price to discharge the slop.
I was o n the bridge relieving 3rd Officer at 10 and I was in a very good mood. The crew started to spray paint deck and I was full of expectations. I can sense that my new KICK ASS diet will be a great success!
I went to the CCR to done my blind fold and I hardly found the mess room, but after bumping in to stuff a few times and some last meter guidance from the Captain I found my chair.
Well, at least the crew understood that I meant business with my latest effort when they saw me blindfolded. I hardly found my Oatmeal Surprise® and Captain had to mix it for me.
Our Mess Man has to lead me out of the mess room.
Well. it was hard to eat the strawberries, but I'm sure that I will get the hang of it soon. When I finished my strawberries I tottered over to the fruit bowl and I got 2 bananas. This is at the same time our Mess man is coming to lead me out of the mess room. I'm off to my office to enjoy the bananas while doing some paper work.
When I was finish with my paper work I was hungry again, but this time the diet is for real so I returned to my cabin and my Stephanie Plum novel.
They were spraying all afternoon and they almost finished starboard side up to the manifold and it looks great! I don't have to see all the blue, green and all the other colours we used as first layer of top coat. Hopefully we can continue tomorrow while discharging in Kingston.
Dinner, I could only hear people laughing around me and Captain brought his camera. OK, I lifted the blindfold and I peered at his plate with my right eye.
- HOLY COW! THAT'S A GIANT HELPING, I said looking at his plate.
- Hey, you're not supposed to see anything! He said.
Monday 31st of March 2008 and I gasped at the magnificence of the day when I had my GOOD MORNING look out my window. I could see Jamaica on our starboard side and the crew were fresh of deck with the hydro blaster.
- Good, we can spray paint after arrival, I thought whistling on my way to the shower
After my Oatmeal Surprise® I went on deck to see how it went with the hydro blaster. It was sunny and nice and I was really looking forward to getting some paint on deck. It looked a little cloudy over Jamaica, but I was hoping for the best.
-PLEASE! NO RAIN!
A few minutes after 9 o'clock I stepped in on the bridge wearing a white shirt. I had a cold diet drink in my hand.
- What the...!!?? We are on Jamaica and it's Gilbert O'Sulivan on the radio, I yelped.
It took me a few seconds and I had tuned in a nice radio station with some traditional Jamaican music. Jah Man!
I was soon settled on the bridge, good music, a cold diet drink so it was just to start pestering Captain and 3rd Officer while waiting for the Pilot to come onboard. The pilot came onboard at 0945, 1 Pilot and a Trainee. The pilot was sitting on Starboard side but when he heard what I had going on the radio he moved over to Port side.
- Hey, funky music! He said.
I was shaking my leg and hips, you know, a few of my famous moves. Our helmsman was almost wetting himself laughing. Well, we talked about the good old times on the way in to our jetty.
He told us that we were 2 days late, last weekend Kingston had turned in to a big nightclub. Some carnival over the weekend with thousands of drunk people.
- I'm too old, I said.
-NO! The streets were full of 70 years old jumping up and down all night long, the pilot said.
We arrived to our first jetty at 1050 and 7 minutes after ALL FAST the rain started and the painting was down the drain.
Well, rain and my plan to leave Kingston down the drain. We will discharge 24000bbls at this jetty and they expect us to discharge 3000 Bbls/h so we will be ready in the middle of the night. Then shifting to SHELL and it means all night again. No sleep!
My mood didn't improve when we had to sit and wait for the Loading Master and I could see minute by minute of my night sleep vanish while waiting for the Loading Master. But finally at 1450 we could start discharging and I was soon off to my cabin.
When I was in my office at 4 the 2nd Officer was reporting the times in the walkie talkie.
- What on earth are you doing?
- The Agent wants the time.
Then I heard the AB on watch asking for the hose connection times. I took the walkie talkie and asked him what he needed the times for. It was for the Agent.
- Where is the Agent? I asked.
- At the gangway!
I lost it and I told the AB to tell the motherf@nker to get his ass in to my office.
- HEY! You're not home at the farm! We pay you plenty money for your service and don't you bother my busy crew with this crap. If you want times you bring your sorry behind in to my office!
F@cking hell what I was angry. Farmer John standing at the gangway too lazy to get in to the office for the times and they charge us big time for the service. And if you want to them to do something for their fee, like giving you information you need, you can just forget about it.
Well, finally, it's time to swing by to April 2008!