Thursday 1st of May 2008 and the month of May is not a month I will see the end of onboard Barcarolle.It's soon time to sign off, my releiver will sign on in a few days and I will stay one trip with him before leaving.
It will be nice to leave after almost 10 months onboard.Laurin keept me for 10 months even though my preformance had been substandard. Inadequate workmanship, but of course, in Laurin they are really used to high standards and to live up to the expectations is next to impossible. Well, I will hopefully not be the worst employe in my next company.
But it's a little embarrassing for Laurin to keep me for 10 months when I have delivered such an amateurish and unsatisfactory performance. Well, if I'm second worst in my next company it will be a giant leap forward.
Well, I woke up at midnight and I went straight to the shower. A hot shower and I could locate myself in time and space again. It always takes a few minutes before you know where you are and why, and that's even though I appreciated being able to fall asleep yesterday from the very first second I woke up.
Fresh out of the shower and I called the CCR on the radio to get the latest update.
- We're ready at 4 o'clock!
- Don't forget to wake up PEMEX representative before completion, I reminded 2nd Officer on watch.
I was standing in the CCR with my bucket of tea when PEMEX representative came down from his cabin and we finished the loading at 0400. Gauging and paper work, but where is the Surveyor?
I explained the procedure and showed the PEMEX representative around in the CCR and explained some of the paper work we have to do. He was asking about pumping cargo, IG and stripping. Well, as you know I have the white board in my office and I was drawing pictures while explaining everything.
And while explaining the difference between double bottom tankers with wells in the cargo tanks and old styled tankers without double bottom we naturally got in to the subject of tank cleaning. A quick drawing and as I'm using the latest teaching technique I was using a few pedagogic fishes, a sad fish and a happy fish.
As you understand the happy fish is swimming under a Swedish flagged vessel and the sad fish is swimming under a ship flying a dubious flag.
Well, the Surveyor came and PEMEX representative participated in the gauging and sampling and I must say that he shows interest in the daily operation of the ship and its fun to show around. Not like when you get a Cadet onboard just asking for video and chocolate.
I had been asleep for two and a half hour when they called me at 1230. Pilot 1300 and it was time to go to the bridge again. When we left I let PEMEX representative do the engine manoeuvres and he appreciated it. Now it's only the hand steering left or as I said to him.
- You are going to get a hands on experience from Barcarolle. Tomorrow it's chipping in the double bottom! You will be busy 24/7 until we arrive to TUXPAN.
Friday 2nd of May 2008 and it was still strong wind when I woke up. Water spraying over deck and, well, all crew on poop deck shipping.
Just before lunch I changed my mind about the chipping and I asked the crew to stop chipping and to prepare for washing deck. The engine department is working on the poop deck welding hydraulic pipes and when I came on poop deck this morning all deck crew was sitting around the fitters chipping. A terrible noise and I asked them to go chip someplace else.
- We don't need to sit in their lap chipping, a terrible noise.
It was time to put back the hydraulic pipe in the afternoon and then they had to fill up the hydraulic system again and maybe I can try to discharge some slop in the evening.
OK, we're loaded so we might have a chance. But my experience tells me that it will be hard with this weather. The ship is shaking and rolling so the water and gasoline mix in the slop tanks and it might be difficult to discharge any slop. Remember the 999ppm limit? If the water and gasoline mix we will reach 999 in a jiff.
Back in USA we will go 4 days off hire to repair the auxiliary engine and we need to be gas free. That means that we can't have any slop onboard and I will try to get rid of as much as possible and the rest we have to discharge ashore.
Well, I hope my reliever comes here in Mexico so I can WHISTLE on out of here when we comes back to the USA. 4 days waiting along side in Beaumont is enough to turn anyone in to a full blown alcoholic or a drug addict. You must be drunk just to be able to stand the place more than a few hours.
-Beaumont, it's one of my favourite places!
When I first heard of the 4 days repairing I was planning to stay at a hotel having a good time. But now it looks like we will stay in Beaumont or Port Arthur. Good luck finding a hotel and a good time in that area.
Well, we started to discharge slop after dinner even though it was a NO HOPER. The ship is rolling too much, but we have the PEMEX representative to think of. Well, my teaching techniques goes beyond the white board and our PEMEX representative is by now very impressed by my pedagogical skills. We were on deck and on deck you really can see how the ship is rolling. I explained how the slop tank was working, with the oil on top of the water and that we wanted to discharge the water.
- Lets go to the kitchen! I said.
-We just had dinner!!??
I borrowed a glass of water in the kitchen and I poured some olive oil in it. I hold it to the PEMEX representative.
- You see the olive oil on top. That's the gasoline and we want to discharge the water.
I started to make rolling movements with the glass in front of him.
- Now you see. When the oil and water mix we will reach 999 ppm from the start.
As you understand 999 ppm is 999 litres per 1000cubic meters or 0.99 litres per cubic so it's not very much.
Well, we failed to discharge the slop and we were surrounded by HAPPY fishes, way better than the SAD fishes. Well, I'm sure you noticed that I used the pronoun [first person plural] WE. It's not more than right that we use the PEMEX representative as the fall guy when he's onboard. Well, even if we failed with the slop the class had to go on. We transferred slop from port to starboard and the PEMEX representative had to fill up the Oil Record Book.
When we were ready he was exhausted but pleased.
- It's not over yet! At 2000 you have to go study my WEB SHIP on my computer!
Yeah, at 2000 when I'm off to the bridge. Good, I'm alone on the bridge and I will enjoy my music full blast while drinking my tea.
Saturday 3rd of May 2008 and I woke up to a gorgeous day. After my shower I got my Oatmeal Surprise® and I was off to take a look on deck with the PEMEX representative.
We started on poop deck and the grit blasting, looking good and we can start spray paint soon. I hope starboard side is ready when our new Captain and my reliever come onboard.
Berthing prospects, maybe tonight. But first drop the anchor. I have things to do so I hope we stay anchored at least until tomorrow morning.
My original plan was to order a cake for the crew, good luck finding a bakery in Beaumont. Well, unless you want to buy a cake at Wal-Mart, but this was nothing I wanted. Not for this crew, they deserve something better, way better. So I decided to make the cake myself and I bought all the ingredients last time in Beaumont. Our Cook will give me a few pointers, but I will do the baking myself.
Well, approaching TUXPAN, anchoring around 1400 and it looks like we will get the Pilot at 1730 so I guess that I will have to the cake some other day.
We dropped anchor at 1405 and our Agent told me that the Pilot would board us in about 2 hours. I was in my office preparing papers when I heard how they cancelled our mooring due to swell at the SPM. I was surprised, 10 minutes before they said that the Loading Master would be onboard in 15 minutes.
No mooring today and it was 1610, maybe I can make the cake before 1730.
I threw myself in to the kitchen
- Do you think I can make the cake until 1730? I asked our Cook.
He had his doubts, but I got right on to it and we had the cake in the oven at 1630. The problem will be to get it cold until 1730. Well, especially when it turned out that I had to keep it in the oven until almost 1730. I had plenty time to prepare the decoration and at 1610 the cake was still in the oven and I realized that I would not be ready in time when.
Try to top the darn thing with whipped cream when it's fresh from the oven and you will see what I mean. But what to do? I asked our Cook if he could tell the crew that the dinner was 5 minutes late. Well, like that would help. But it gave me that good feeling of “MAYBE” and that we were working on the problem.
We cut the cake and I spread chocolate on the bottom layer and topped it with whipped cream, so far so good. But the top layer was still too hot.
I put the top layer in the fridge for a minute, yeah, like that would help. But now it was 1745 so I really couldn't care less. I dropped the top layer on the chocolate and whipped cream layer. The cream melted in 0,5 and the top layer slide of the bottom layer.
Motherf@cker! It's too hot but now I need the darn cake to be in the crew's mess room and I spread cream, coconut and nut spread on the top layer and when I was ready with the decoration the cream had melted and the tray was brimmed with whipped cream. Dripping after me when I took the cake to the crew's mess room.
Obviously my surprise was a failure, the whole crew knew that I was making a cake and when I entered the mess room they started to sing happy birthday.
- HEY! It's not my birth day. This is just another ballyhoo from the “Golden Silver Brush” AWARD”, I said.
Our Bosun was the one to cut the cake and well, it would have been perfect if it had been cold. But the taste is the same and when I was back to taste a piece there wasn't much left. So maybe it was good.
Well, one thing is for sure. It's always fun to make the crew happy, especially this crew #1. A nice crew, but not so nice so I won't go home in a few days, or 2 weeks or so. Sushi for dinner and a small piece of cake and I were pretty full when I came to the bridge for my night watch.
Anchor watch and talk about a long watch, exactly nothing happened. I tried to alleviate the boredom with FREE CELL and PINBALL on the computer without any success.
When I came on watch I could hear M/T Champion Star on the radio. They had been discharging gasoline at SPM #1 when we arrived. The cargo was off spec and they had to leave the SPM to go anchor and circulate their cargo. PEMEX is in desperate need of gasoline and that's way they wanted us to go to the SPM at arrival. Well, the weather prevented us from this and we could eat cake instead.
Sunday 4th of May 2008 and the crew was washing down poop deck to prepare the spray painting of the starboard side. While I was there giving pointers they told us that the pilot would be onboard at 9 o'clock, time to kick behinds again.
Anchor up at 9 and Pilot, Surveyor, Loading Master and PEMEX crew onboard at 0930 and I left the bridge for my office. OK, a quick stop in my cabin for a diet drink.
MY office was full o people when I came down and our Loading Master asked me to crank up the music. When the music was on full blast I asked everyone to leave that had no business to do in my office.
When they had left I could get down to business with the Loading Master and the Surveyors. Gauging, sampling calculation and all the other paper work.
I was busy in my office and the crew was busy preparing for the spray painting. She will soon look good on her starboard side and then the port side will soon be ready. So then they must upgrade the accommodation, crew's day room looks like on a PanamaGreek ship. Buy some nice couches and some nice tables and a few things to put on the walls and some of the silk flowers I bought for my cabin would have done wonders for the day room.
I was ashore here in Pajaritos in December to look for flowers for the day rooms and CCR, but I came up with ZIP. I also tried with our ship chandler and she came up with ZIP as well.
Our guest from PEMEX left us just after dinner, he had to be back on his office on Tuesday. He was a little disappointed when he left, he would have like to stay until we were finished here. But maybe next time.
Monday 5th of May 2008 and they called me at 0400. First parcel was about to be ready and I was in the CCR after a hot shower. Dead tired, not much sleep. I was back in bed at 0630 or 7 something and I woke up at 1030 again.
I went straight to the CCR and it looks like we will finish the MTBE parcel around 1330 something and that means departure in the middle of the night. I think it's about 14 hours to Pajaritos so it will be tank cleaning after departure.
Our crew was busy painting where they had spray painted yesterday. All ventilators and stencils to be black and tomorrow (weather permitted) they can paint deck red. They were also preparing for spray painting so they can spray the last on the house after lunch.
Well, maybe it will be ready at arrival to Pajaritos and then it's port side left. But that will be someone else that will do that, by then I'm long gone.
Lunch and then I had time to transfer this morning's picture from my camera to the computer before we were ready with the MTBE.
We started the last parcel at 1345 and we expect to be ready in the middle of the night. Well, tank cleaning at departure and arriving to Pajaritos tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to meet our new Captain, he will arrive with my new computer tomorrow.
DELL, and I will give away my old HP laptop and I will never buy HP again. At least to say, I have been nothing but disappointed with HP and the service they are able to provide.
Well, it was a beautiful day and if it's nice weather tomorrow they can paint the deck red on poop deck tomorrow and starboard side will look nice when we arrive to Pajaritos.
I will try to sleep a few hours after dinner so I'm prepared for a full night in the CCR and my office. If we're ready around 1 o'clock tomorrow morning I hope I can be in bed before 5 o'clock with cleaned tanks. Then we let the cargo pipes drain for a few hours and I will have my best man to strip and purge after lunch tomorrow.
Tuesday 6th of May 2008 and we completed discharging at 0025 and the Surveyor was onboard a few minutes later. I had been in my officer for some 20 minutes when Mr. ZIP was standing in the door way trying the ZIP IT WHISTLE® and I can't say if there had been any improvement. But he don't give up, I give him that.
Well, I don't know about the other ships, but on the ships I work on there is always music and I remember M/T Asian Progress. I was always walking around with my Walkman and I will never forget our Bosun. I was out on deck with the music on full blast in my headphones and I could hear Bosun screaming:
- That's why you look so young! Always music!
Our Surveyor told me that it was always good music in my office and later on the Agent said the same thing. Well, pretty much every one coming asks the same questions.
- What is this?
- Where can I get that?
- Is it possible to copy?
So that's why I wonder, is Barcarolle the only ship with music or if it my music taste that are so different? It's pretty much in all the ports and who can forget Brazil with the Agents on the air guitar and air drums.
Well, when I was ready with the paper work I went on deck to check everything before the tank cleaning. And Mr.ZIP , what a pleasant surprise.
I was at the manifold to check the valves and stuff and the PEMEX crew was waiting to leave the ship. I took the opportunity to say good bay to Mr.ZIP , this is hopefully my last time in TUXPAN.
We left the SPM at 0203 and all the people were of around 0230 and I started the cleaning at 0300. It didn't take may minutes before I ran in to trouble, one of the valves to the SLOP tank was stuck in closed position.
We tried to open the valve with the hydraulic hand pump and f@ck all happening. I was down the engine room in 2 steps and I opened the cabinet for the remote valves, to dark. I went to the ECR and I got a flash light from the duty Engineer and 5 minutes later the valve was open. We were delayed with 30 minutes, but we were still in a good mood.
Strange day, I went to bed between 0530 and 6 o'clock. Tired, but it was impossible to fall asleep. I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge at 10 and at 12 I went to bed again, dead tired. Impossible to fall asleep and I lost my temper while tossing around in bed.
Now it starts to look like something
It will be ready tomorrow
Impossible to forget how she looked back in the days. Straight from dry dock and I thought she was on the way to Alang when I joined first time
Well, we will drop anchor at arrival and we will get Pilot 0700 tomorrow morning according to present information. We see what happens. But tomorrow they will put the last paint on the starboard side of poop deck. So when our Captain arrives (with my computer) she will look nice.
We ordered a WELCOME ONBOARD doormat with a light house last time in Beaumont. But we never received it, but I think he will manage to get onboard anyway.
So I will spend my evening watch anchored and I hope the time will turn quicker than it did on TUXPAN anchorage.
Well, during my anchor watch I discovered that there are more to the pinball than just to shoot the ball. I took the times to read a little about the game and the idea is that you should aim and hit targets.
Captain arrived to Mexico in the evening, without his luggage and my computer. Well, there is always something working against you. He will stay overnight in Mexico City and he will arrive to Pajaritos tomorrow morning.
Wednesday 7th of May 2008 and they called me at 0715.
- Pilot onboard!
I took a hot shower before going to the bridge. We had all fast at 0840 and we started to load Naphtha at 1030 and I was surprised over how smooth everything went.
Thursday 8th of May 2008 and I did the discharge plan for Houston before relieving 3rd Officer in the CCR at 10. Loading rate decreasing by the hour and now it looks like the 10th in the afternoon. Well, I'm in no hurry as long as we don't have to go up in the middle of the night.
Captain luggage should arrive during the morning, but it didn't come onboard until almost 12 o'clock. Captain brought his suitcase to my cabin and then he came down to the CCR.
- Aren't you coming to see your new computer?
- I can't leave the CCR!
He was disappointed, but at 12 I took the stair case in two steps and I was in my cabin.
- What the BIP!!
His suitcase was full and it was only my computer in the suitcase. It a giant laptop or as Captain said.
- I was bringing it to the luggage store to buy a lap top bag for it. But after 5 minutes carrying the darn thing I was on my knees. I gave up and I put it in my suitcase just to discover that there was no room for anything else in the suitcase.
I was starring down the suitcase just thinking about to have to carry this machine when signing off. Well, I have carried linseeds and diet powder around the word so this laptop will not be a problem. I called our OS on the radio.
- Can you please come to my cabin!
He was pleasantly surprised when I gave him my old laptop. Now he can surf the internet, the DVD drive is broken. But this will only set him back 20 US to repair when he's home again.
Well, all and all it had been a pretty good day and I had the engine department in my cabin during the evening admiring my new machine.
Friday 9th of May 2008 and we were still loading when I woke up, well, I had expect us to do unless PEMEX had suspended loading.
It was one of those uneventful days and when I relieved 3rd Officer in the CCR at 10 I had managed to do not very much. A e-mail to SAAB about our tank radars and I discussed some work with our Bosun.
- Yes. I'm ready to sign off now!
My reliever will come in USA and I hope I'm of the ship between 20th and 25th of May. I might stop in Los Angeles for a few days, but I will be home before 1st of June and then it's time to go to school.
After lunch I went to my cabin and while sitting at my desk I could hear someone working with the door to deck. I went there to watch the excitements, now you understand how bored I am. I was discovering one of our Fitters working with the door to the sauna. A little afternoon adventure.
At 1600 I relieved 2nd Officer in the CCR and that was pretty much the end of this day. I don't have any expectations for any ballyhoo tomorrow, but who knows.
Saturday 10th of May 2008 and loading was still suspended when I woke up. They stopped loading yesterday evening.
- For 10 hours, we were informed on the radio.
Lo and behold, 10 hours and actually it turned out to be correct. At 0825 we resumed loading, so I had time to enjoy my GOOD MORNING bucket of tea before we resumed.
Our Electrician was the first one I ran in to on my way to the mess room.
- Thanks for the music, very good!
I had copied some of my FUNKY music for him and he was very happy. His smile stretched from ear to ear when I meet him and thumbs up.
We expected to be ready around 1400 so I had time to read a little in my cabin before the big “PAPER WORK ADVENTURE ” was going to set off. At 1245 2nd Officer called me on the radio.
- Surveyor onboard and they ask if they can start taking samples.
- Yes, at 1 o'clock when the guys are back from lunch they can have one AB to help them.
5 minutes later 2nd Officer called aging, by now I had moved in to my bed with my book.
- Surveyor said that they will stop loading at 1300 due to empty shore tanks. Then we will not get anymore cargo.
- OK ask them to slow down loading rate to 5000 Bbls/h. Close 8CT and only load 1CT, I told him on the radio.
When I came to my office our Surveyors handed me a diet drink.
- We are very sorry! It will never happen again!
Yesterday afternoon when I came to my office I lost my temper. Two Surveyors at my table and the first thing I caught sight of was an empty diet drink bottle.
- Who gave you that?
- It's from the fridge
- I know that, but who the BIP told you that you could take the Diet drink?
- Mmmmm, my colleague.....
- HEY! THIS IS MY FRIDGE!
And I continued.
- I DON'T GRAB STUFF FROM YOUR FRIDGE WITHOUT ASKING!
- But my colleague......, one of them said pointing at the other Surveyor.
I'm sitting on a ship with my two last diet drinks and I find you here drinking my diet drinks like dromedaries preparing for a 4 weeks cross desert journey. You just have to go to a convenient store around the corner to get what you want, but I'm stuck in the middle of the ocean.
Well, I got my diet drink and they were all happy again. One of the Surveyors handed his phone to the 2nd Officer and asked him to take a picture of us. Later on in the afternoon I got 3 cases of diet drinks delivered to my office by our Ship chandler, so I have enough to last me the last 10 days or so onboard. There is even a slight chance for a few give away when I'm signing off.
We completed loading at 1424 and we had full cargo. I really don't understand why they said that they would run out of cargo at 1300. But stranger things had happened here in Mexico. Just before 1400 I gave the terminal the 30 minutes' notice.
- Our tank is not empty until 1530, they informed me on the radio.
- But we are ready in 30 minutes! I said.
- Our tank is not empty until 1530!
I could not believe my ears. I mean, ending up in a discussion when we are ready, what is this? I had to put my feet down.
- Our ship is full in 30 minutes and then you have to stop! I don't care how much you have in your shore tank by then!
Originally Pilot was ordered for 1700 but PEMEX had changed it to 1830 because of that their shore tank should not be empty until 1530. Well, I'm not surprised.
OK, we're pretty much ready to leave, Immigration should be onboard at 1720 and then I can do the time sheet and we can leave for USA and the upcoming vetting inspection. No end to the excitements. But I must say, in my 10 months onboard we only had 1 vetting so it have pretty much been like a holiday. At least regarding the vetting stuff.
Well, we left Pajaritos and I had my new computer. And it was actually here in Pajaritos it all started. Remember? When I was ashore with the Chief Engineer. We were at the restaurant eating our dinner and I went to the internet next door to check out DELL.
This was just a wee bit more than 2 months ago and times turns fast. At least when thinking back, but two months was a long time to wait for the computer.
Our Pilot was onboard just after 1800 and we could finally leave Pajaritos behind and I had time for a quick shower before my night watch. It had been a long day so it was nice to go off my watch at midnight. I was in my bed 5 minutes after leaving the bridge and I finished a book before falling asleep.
Sunday 11th of May 2008 and well, first of all, my reliever will arrive to Houston early this morning so he will be onboard at arrival to Houston.
We got right on the SLOP detail after my morning tea. We managed to get rid of 211 m³ but then it was stop. I gave up just before 11 o'clock and I went to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge, a wee bit late. But he was in a good mood when I came to the bridge.
After lunch I had a steady stream of visitors and their computers coming to my cabin. Well, it's nice if I can help.
But this time we didn't had any luck, I need internet for our OS and his computer, so maybe it will work tomorrow.
Our Fitter showed up with his computer as well and he had problem with his screen saver and he asked if I could help.
Obviously it was not very exciting because he was soon sleeping in my sofa and he didn't woke up until it was time for our drills. Time for fire fighting action again.
We had fire drill, oil spill and life boat muster and first aid and plenty other stuff. We filled our poop deck with foam, smoke diving and there was no end to the excitements. We ended it all with an action filled oil spill drill and when we were ready I gave our SLOP another try. No luck!
Dinner, shower and it were soon time to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge. I really like the nights on the bridge, tea and music.
Monday 12th of May 2008 and I could not help thinking about my reliever when I had my GOOD MORNING Oatmeal Surprise®
- Maybe my reliever is sitting having breakfast at his hotel by now.
Never mind if he is having his breakfast or not, there are asses to kick on deck and when I got on deck the crew was washing down the fo'c's'le. They washed the house yesterday and now it's only tank deck to go.
Well, I was taking a tour on deck checking everything so it's ready for the vetting. No rags lying around on deck. SAVE ALLs around ventilators dry and plugged. Suction wells under the fo'c's'le should be dry. This is a standard thing, the Inspector is always checking those wells.
Well, I was on the bridge at 10 o'clock to relieve 3rd Officer. we were steaming north in the Safety Fairway and ETA Pilot station at 1600. But we will arrive later, first we need to test our engine ahead and astern. American regulations and at 1130 we put the engine to HALF AHEAD and rudder hard to starboard. 5 minutes later we had turned 360° and the speed was down to 2 knots. We put the engine to astern and 5 minutes later we could continue towards the pilot station.
I was soon to be relieved by 2nd Officer and I went to my cabin and I started to install windows for our OS and while waiting I went for lunch.
I spent much of the afternoon with his computer, well, I had time for a power nap as well. Captain woke me up at 1440.
- How much SLOP do we have onboard?
There will be a barge in Houston to get our SLOP and we can have empty SLOP tanks when my reliever takes over and I'm going home.
Impossible to forget how she looked back in the days
Well, soon time for the Swedish flag
I was sitting in my cabin listening to my Tom Jones collection ( Yeah! Fat chance) when 3rd Officer called me at 1930 and told me it was about 30 minutes 'til the tug boat arrived.
- So you have time for a shower, he said.
- Are you joining me?
I hung up and I called him on the radio.
- Ask Captain if I should have a white (Once white, by now grey) shirt!
At 2100 we had all fast at Oiltanking in Houston and now I only wait for my reliever. But he could not come onboard until the Immigration had been here. Agent and Agriculture came first, 20 past 9. The Agriculture Officer searched the whole ship for fruits, every cabin. Our Cook and I were walking him around from cabin to cabin.
He really took is job seriously, searching every cabin for fruit using a flashlight.
- Mexican fruit is very dangerous, he explained.
When he found fruit in the cabins he asked our Cook where they came from. He managed to confiscate 2 oranges.
- A BIG BUST! This is worse than smuggling drugs, I said.
When we were ready with the Immigration I returned to my office and the paper work with the Surveyor and Loading Master.
My reliever arrived in the middle of the action and he could get right in to the learning process.
While our new Chief Officer did the paper work I interrogated our Agent and about the night life in Galveston. The plan is that we should stay there for 4 days while repairing the auxiliary engine.
- The jetty is smack in the city, he said.
- Close to any good night life?
- It's close to the STRIP!
- What the BIP is that? I asked.
What did he say STRIP or beach, I have to ask.
- Mr Agent, did you say strip or beach? I'm not quite ready for the beach yet even though I have been on a KICK ASS diet.
Tuesday 13th of May 2008 and they called me at 4 o'clock in the morning.
- They want to start discharging!
I was in the shower when they called, we just finished the paper work. Well, at 0425 we started to discharge and 0530 the SLOP barge arrived and it will be a full night and morning before I can get some sleep
And the vetting inspector is coming today, well, I must get a few hours of sleep before he arrives so I'm not falling asleep.
At arrival they told us that we would only discharge 244000 Bbls at Oiltanking and that means shifting to another terminal to discharge the rest of the cargo. Always busy in Houston but I'm looking forward to the strip next weekend and I think it's about time I have a night on a hotel.
I went to bed at 10 and I had been sleeping for 3 hours when they called again. The vetting inspector wanted a tour on deck and we started on bridge deck. He was taking notes of the stuff he didn't like.
- Chief! Poop deck looks very shabby, he said.
- Well, guess what! We know, you can see that half of the poop deck is freshly painted so it's in progress.
- Yeah, but it's my job to tell you.
When he left we got the report and he was off the ship, nice.
We were supposed to shift to the next jetty when the first parcel is ready. But this terminal is occupied so we have to go out and drop the anchor, nice. I can go to bed after departure and I don't have to stay up all night and morning again.
Wednesday 14th of May 2008 and Captain woke me up in the day room. Good, just in time for breakfast. We were waiting for the Surveyor, waiting and waiting. Pilot came onboard at 0820 and the Surveyor 10 minutes later. A new Surveyor, the other one went ashore for a few hours to calculate the content in the shore tanks. Obviously this was a hard task and they still (1100, on our way to the anchorage) don't know how much cargo they got.
We left the jetty at 9 o'clock and I went down to our new Chief Officer's office to get him started with the paper work. Our Bosun kept himself busy with the drain pipes to our manifold. We got a remark on the vetting that there was only one valve so we need to put an extra valve on the drain pipes.
Chief Officer was busy with paper work and I went for a power nap and when I woke up we were anchored.
I spent the evening watch with our new Chief Officer on the bridge and he took the opportunity to get familiar with our maintenance program and some other stuff on the computer.
Thursday 15th of May 2008 and we started to heave up the anchor just after 8 o'clock. Good, let's get rid of the cargo so I can go home, the sooner the better.
I was on the bridge when I saw the AB running around the fo'c's'le with rags. One other AB was on tank deck below the fo'c's'le with a bucket and a bailer.
- What the BIP! Is it a major oil spill, a busted hydraulic pipe?
3rd Officer was back on the bridge after heaving up the anchor and he didn't say anything. Strange, and it was a big heap of rags the AB was coming with so I thought it was a major leak. I went forward to investigate. I was swearing on the way forward:
- Why don't they inform about oil spill? It will be so nice to leave the ship!
Yeah, I think you understand how my thoughts were running. But I was in for a pleasant surprise! Approaching the fo'c's'le and I could see the bucket and bailer on deck, but no oil. But I started to suspect what it was all about. And I say again, this is the “Golden Silver Brush” awarded crew.
Heaving up the anchor and I must have mentioned the mud on deck numerous times by now. When we heave up the anchor the mud spreads all over deck with the water from the hawser pipe and the crew were mopping up the water and mud. At sea we would have used hoses and the foam monitors, but I don't know if this would have been such a success in Houston Ship Channel. Well, you have to look hard if you want to find a better crew.
What a difference, now when deck looks nice all crew are interested in keeping in that way. A totally different story 1 year ago when no one gave a YOO about mud on deck. Well, another sign is our Vetting Inspector. Complaining about the poop deck, one year ago the whole ship looked the same and no one complained. But we still have half of the poop deck to do and then the last half sticks out. But it looks good in comparison, now they have chipped away the 2 inch layer of rust from deck and it's only blasting and painting remaining.
Galveston, I was looking forward to a few beers but now we are going to Freeport. In the middle of nowhere and, well, I will save my money and stay onboard.
We had all fast at ICT terminal in Houston at 1325 and this time I was more like a spectator when our Chief Officer did the paper work. Loading Master was DIPPIN' as they call it here in USA. Golden Rooster or whatever it was, some Scooby Doo snus they are using over here. Our Pilot was using Copenhagen, but they have noting here that can be compared with Swedish snus. I gave our Loading Master a box of ETTAN snus.
- You're better of finishing the paper work before you try it. With this stuff under your lip there will be no order on your paper work. And don't plan to drive your car!
Waiting and waiting and finally at 1935 we could start discharging. Good, looks like a full night's sleep and we will be ready tomorrow morning. After departure we have to do tank cleaning preparing to load caustic for Brazil.
We will stay 4 days if all goes well to repair our auxiliary engine in Freeport and then we will go out and do tank cleaning for 2 days. Then back to Freeport (I will sign off) to load caustic.
Friday 16th of May 2008 and completed discharging at 0835, Pilot ordered for 1100 and we will arrive late to Freeport. We will start the tank cleaning as soon as we have left the Pilot and then it will be about 5 hours to the Pilot in Freeport.
We left Houston, well, it was around 11 o'clock. I don't know, our Chief Officer was in charge over the time sheet and I'm just an observer. I was standing on the bridge with a diet drink in my hand watching the jetty disappear behind us. Believe me, I have no wish for ever coming back again.
Well, we had a few hours before we could start the tank cleaning and Chief Officer took the opportunity to test our gas meters and paper work until the pilot left and we could start the tank cleaning.
Our crew prepared deck for the cleaning while our Chief Officer and I were busy in my office. Well, he was busy while I was listening to music and drinking diet drinks giving one or two pointers.
When the pilot was off it was time to start to kick behinds on tank deck and the tank cleaning was up and running just after 3 o'clock. Our engine department supplied us with steam so we could get hot water. ETA Freeport 1900, but our jetty is occupied so we have until 2030 for the cleaning.
Our Pilot was delayed and he was onboard at 2115. He had been onboard for 3 minutes when I started to interrogate him about the night life in Freeport.
- Not very much, he said.
- What I expected, I said.
I asked about Galveston and he told me it was 45 minutes with taxi.
- But then you can as well go to Downtown Houston, plenty clubs and stuff.
He convinced me to go to Downtown Houston and he gave me names on some HOT SPOTS and when we had all fast I was down to my cabin to make a reservation on Marriott in Houston. Well, our internet connection was as we say, SUNKIG, so I guess I have to call tomorrow for my reservation.
Saturday 17th of May 2008 and I woke up to a gloomy and grey day in Freeport. I was soon to discover that the weather was not the only thing gloomy and grey, our internet (what a joke) had hibernated and thus I could not get to the online booking. I could not even get the phone number so I'm pretty much stuck here in Hicksville.
Well, we see. I hope the internet kicks in soon so I can call. Our Pilot told me that there was a Marriott downtown but according to internet there are millions of Marriott's in Houston so a call is to prefer so you get the Marriott smack in the city.
Our internet kicked in just before 10 and I was off to Captain's office to call Marriott. After thousands of question the asked for my credit card number.
- Hey! I'm in the office and I don't have my card with me.
- OK, you can call back.
- Do I have to go through all the questions again?
- OK, I will choose another hotel!
Well, Marriott is a nice hotel and I started to regret my decision and I asked Captain and Chief Engineer what they thought.
- Should I humble myself and call them back? I really like Marriott.
OK, diet or not, I ate the humble pie and I was on my way to call Marriott when I decided to try the internet and 3 minutes later I had my room. Downtown and as they said when I called them earlier this morning.
- Smack in the city with plenty night life!
This was the reason for me to call in my reservation. But now I had a confirmation that this was the hotel close the BUSTLING nightlife and I could do it over internet.
-Well, I'm out of here! I will be back tomorrow with a force 9,6 hangover. See you then!
- HEY HEY! Isn't that Charisma Man lurking around the corner?
Or as I said to the Pilot yesterday:
- OK! Houston tomorrow and that gives me one day for my KICK ASS diet. I will look great tomorrow!
He was laughing.
-OK! 12 beers is the best diet. You're handsome like never before after 12 beers, f@ck the diet!
He was just laughing.
I left the ship after lunch, a brisk walk to the gate to order a taxi. I have not been drinking for over 10 months so I had forgotten the procedure.
I was just about to leave the ship when I remembered the B-12 and snus.
Imagine arriving to Houston without snus, what a nightmare!
Well, my weekend bag is in FUNKYTOWN so I needed something else. I was looking for a plastic bag when I came up with the idea to use the computer bag I got from our Chief Engineer. I packed my snus and B-12 vitamins and I was off the ship.
I had been on my way for 27 seconds when I passed a security car with a woman eating a lollipop in it. I could see how she was starting to wave her arms almost chocking on her lollipop trying to get her power window down.
- That's a pair of nice tennis shoes you have! She screamed to me.
Well, of course it's nice tennis shoes and very comfy as well. It was the same story coming to the gate 5 minutes later. There were 3 or 4 girls in the gate.
- Hmm, girls, it was more like ladies. 150 years old. But very friendly.
They went on and on about my shoes, well, it was a little embarrassing. Never mind my taxi is soon to arrive and I'm out of here.
Waiting and waiting, the driver said 25 minutes and after 1 hour I was still standing there waiting. Yellow cab and I saw something yellow approaching. When I saw the yellow thing approaching I was hoping to be in Houston soon with a cold beer. But it turned out to be a truck.
While waiting there was a pick-up truck coming with stuff for Barcarolle and I asked where she was going after the delivery.
- I been waiting for my taxi for 1 hour and maybe I can go with you if my taxi is a no show?
- Of course, no problem.
The lovely ladies in the gate called the driver again. This time he said that he was in Lake Jackson and that he would be here in 25 minutes.
I went back to the ship, one of the ladies gave me a ride back to the ship. The crew unloaded the pick-up and I was soon on my way to Houston. Almost 2 hours after ordering the taxi.
It was a 1 hour ride to Houston and I was in my room just after 4 o'clock. It was a nice room, more like an apartment, kitchen and 2 rooms. I took a shower and a fistful of B-12s before leaving my room.
- Hmm, a fistful of B-12, isn't that a song with Motörhead?
I walked across the street and I changed battery in my watch and then I was pretty much ready for a beer. I asked the girl changing the battery where the best place for letting my hair down was.
- Well, just walk down the street for a few minutes and there are a few waterholes.
I said thank you and I left with a working watch. By the time I ordered my first beer I had had so many comments about my tennis shoes that I regretted buying them. I just walk down the street minding my own business and everyone has to say “NICE SHOES”. Well, I was lucky not to have any hangover, then it would have been a real pain in the a**.
Same when I was waiting for the taxi in Freeport. Everyone passing was waving, they are real friendly around here. Or is it that they are afraid that someone will shoot at them if they are not waving?
Well, anyway, I had to come up with something so I didn't had to wave to every car passing. I was standing there to the sky.
- What is that? E d en banan, NEJ, d e en SUPER banan!
Sunday 18th of May 2008 and MOTHERF@NKER! Charisma man was nowhere to be seen when I woke up in my room. It was only the Hangover Man left and what a difference from yesterday and early this morning when going to bed.
Agony and pain. and I really don't understand why it should be necessary with the agony every time waking up with a hangover. I didn't do anything stupid our embarrassing yesterday but I still have the agony every time waking up with a force 9 hangover.
Yesterday was a totally different story, spending money like a drunk sailor and life was beautiful. This morning it was a totally different story.
After a few hours rolling around in bed I went down for breakfast. WOW, it was crowded and now I really appreciated the kitchen in my room. I was in no mood to hang around a lot of people and I bought a few bottles of water and a few PELLES PIZZA MACKOR and I returned to my room.
I was back onboard just after 1 o'clock just to discover that we didn't had any AC onboard. We're running on shore power and there is not enough for the AC.
My hangover developed together with the day (lack of AC didn't do anything to improve my hangover) and it was real bad in the evening.
Monday 19th of May 2008 and my hangover was still on a full force 9 when I woke up. I'm too old for this now. And it's hot, no AC and it's terrible in the cabin, but I hope it will be better when the hangover is gone. If I remember it right (have not had a hangover for 10 months and I can't say that I have missed it) the hangover will be a goner in the evening, at least I hope so.
After lunch it was time to go shopping, time to sign off and I need a new shirt and trousers. Most of my cloths will be thrown away when I leave the ship in a week or so.
The seaman's church came to pick us up at 1230 and we stopped at the church to pick up 4 crew members from another ship. Well, we took off with smokin' and screamin' tires and we arrived to Best Buy just after 1 o'clock. Wal-Mart was around the corner and the Seaman's church was going to pick us up outside Wal-Mart at 1630.
The guys were looking for computers and one of the ABs bought a new laptop. well, I have more computers than I can take care of. And that's even though I gave my HP to the OS. Well, cloths, time to sign off and I left Best Buy.
At Wal-Mart it turned out to be hard, well, impossible is the word I'm looking for, to find some nice cloths. They didn't quite have the line I was looking for. I asked one of the girls working there for a mall nearby.
- Just across the street.
I took the 4 minutes' walk to the mall and it turned out to be a good move. I foundTALL & HANDSOME (Freely translated it will pretty much be TJOCK O FLÄSKIG in Swedish) across the street.
15 minutes later, after driving the saleswoman up the wall, I had a bag of trousers and shirts. It's very cheap to buy cloths in the USA. 50 US (150 US at TJOCK O FLÄSKIG in Sweden) for a pair of trousers and if you buy 2 you get the next pair for 99¢. So I ended up with 2 pair of trousers and 2 shirts.
I bought a few DVDs at Wal-Mart so now I will move over to my sofa watching a movie while you're enjoying yourself with the latest excitements on www.aladdin.st
Tuesday 20th of May 2008 and I woke up 5 minutes after 8. I had had a good night's sleep even though we don't have any AC. When I went to bed 2 o'clock this very same morning I moved my fan to my bed room.
I threw out my fan a few months ago, well, it will soon be 10 months ago. I put it in the Pilot cabin with wishes of never seeing the darn thing again. But I went to get it back last Sunday and it helps a little.
They turned on the AC in the morning, but it was turned off 1 hour later. We need to shift because there is another ship coming to the jetty. So we needed to disconnect the generator on the jetty and we will shift in the afternoon.
Yesterday I gave up on the Los Angeles adventure, If I sign off on Monday it's better to go home and prepare for school. OK, the hangover did help a little. But today they said that we would be ready on Saturday, 2 days cleaning and I can sign of in Corpus Christi on Thursday (All go well). Then I can as well stay in Los Angeles over the weekend and fly home on Sunday.
We see what happens and I'm so ready to leave now.
Wednesday 21st of May 2008 and I woke up at 0810. I took a shower and I went to my former office to see our Chief Officer. I asked him to find out what rules applied to our tank cleaning regarding discharging the water in to the sea.
Chemical, Cat-Z and we need to be 12 miles from shore and a water depth of at least 25meter. It would be easy for me to tell him, but it's a good practice for him to find information in books. I returned to, well, first I had a Oatmeal Surprise® and then I went to my cabin for a diet drink.
I was on the bridge at 1030 to check the progress and I ran in to Captain and Chief Engineer.
- HEY! Good morning, sleeping all day long! We missed you for breakfast!
- I'm on diet! I was up 10 past 8, I replied.
- I and the Chief Engineer were outside your cabin and at 0813 the door was closed.
- I need to prepare myself mentally before coming down, I said.
I'm onboard doing nothing, except giving the Chief Officer some pointers. They say that it's like prison to work on a ship. Well, I don't agree. You're working all the time. But now it's like being in prison. You are ready to go home and you do nothing all day long except trying to get the time to turn as fast as possible. Our Chief Officer is new and they want to keep me until the tank cleaning is ready and we're loading the caustic.
And we're delayed all the time. OK, here is the deal. Our auxiliary engine seized last time leaving Brazil. And we all have our Jamaican adventure fresh in mind so I won't go in to any details on the technicians came onboard to dismantle the engine.
A new shaft was found in a record braking time and it was delivered to us in USA. But now they discovered that the engine block was broken as well. OK, I will not try to explain it for you. So you're better off calling someone with mechanical skills to explain it for you.
But the shaft runs through the block and the pistons are driving the engine via piston rod and the shaft. The shaft is turning around and as you understand there must be bearings between the block
and shaft. Well, and the block is seized as well and they have to drill the engine in order to mount new bearings.
noun (PL. -os)
adjective [ATTRIB.] extremely small: a micro buffet area.
(used commonly in units of measurement) denoting a factor of one millionth (10-6): micro mm.
ORIGIN from Greek mikros 'small'.
Drilling the engine is a very precise job. We're not talking mm here, we're talking micro mm. So in order to do this job they have to eliminate all vibration and that's the reason we can't use any engines and we need the generator on the jetty.
Problem, the first drill was bended and the new one was suppose to arrive to Houston this very afternoon with Lufthansa from Denmark. I think they told me that there is only 2 available drilling machines in the world and one of them were in Denmark. well, we have the machine but no drill and the new drill is delayed until tomorrow.
-It was too big to get on the first Lufthansa flight. So you understand that it's not a small drill.
Well, tomorrow we have to move. 2 reefer ships arrive to this jetty and we have to move. First plan was to go anchor, but with no generator that's impossible.
In the afternoon I was to see Chief Engineer to return the computer bag he gave me. I don't need it because I gave away my laptop.
- We will go to Galveston tomorrow and continue the drilling, Captain said.
- OK, I keep the bag! Then I will explore the nightlife of Galveston and I will need the bag, I said.
- But you were never going to drink again!
- Well, that was last Sunday with a hangover force 9,8! Back then I was convinced that this was the last time. But I can change my mind.
No way am I sitting in my cabin Friday night if we stay in Galveston. I heard that the jetty is smack in the city. But we see what happens, I will check out hotels on the internet and if we're close to town I will at least go for 1 beer, well, maybe 2. As I told Captain last Sunday when coming back onboard.
- Nice to wake up in the hotel. Imagine waking up in my cabin having to worry about what I had told Captain when coming back onboard yesterday.
He was just laughing.
No, the 200 US for the hotel was well spent money.
Thursday 22nd of May 2008 and it's time to leave Freeport. I checked out Galveston (Singles in Galveston, Thousands of available singles near you, Galveston area) on the internet. Obviously the STRAND area is the place to be seen and heard at. So I will book me on a hotel in this area, close to the cruise terminal and the night life.
I found a fun map on the internet and there was actually so much fun places at the STRAND area so they had to show it in 2 insets.
We will be at Galveston Pilot station around 1500 and we will drop anchor until 0200, arrivals at slack water only. Well, more delays and when can I get home? As mentioned before, I'm ready to sign off any time now.
Well, the crew will be busy washing deck on the way to Galveston, 1 week in Freeport and she is very dirty on deck and we want her to look good in Galveston.
Pilot was onboard around 10 o'clock and we could leave Freeport, very nice. When the Pilot saw me on the bridge he could not believe his eyes.
- I thought you had signed off!
- Well, any day now, any day!
Soon time to go take an X-ray of my foot again. School is soon to begin and I don't want to miss my school, especially when I have invested thousands of dollars in fees.
Well, the latest plan I have is to be off on Thursday morning arriving Los Angeles in the afternoon and fly from Los Angeles to FUNKY TOWN on Sunday. That's what I want, but as you understand by now, nothing is for sure.
Well, anyway, we left Freeport. OK, let me tell you one thing first. I'm onboard like a passenger until we finish repairing the auxiliary engine and then I will help our new Chief Officer to do tank cleaning. His first time and I will be advising. So let's hope that the tank pass or it will be a major embarrassment.
OK, again, we left Freeport and the Pilot pointed at our port side.
- You see all this land? This is useless!
He told me that this was the place where they made the Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.
This is where they made the Agent Orange and the shed is where they shipped the darn thing from
They can't do anything here for 100 years, the soil is full of Agent Orange. Well, I guess what goes around comes around. We were out of Freeport just after 11 and soon time for lunch.
Friday 23rd of May 2008 and what the BIP!? I was supposed to be off the ship long time ago. Our Agent came onboard around 9 o'clock and I told him that I was going to spend a night on a hotel in
The Tremont Hotel
Nestled in the heart of Galveston Island's Strand Historic District is The Tremont House, an affordably elegant European-style hotel that begs your discovery. The Tremont House offers a delightful blend of 19th century charm, 20th century sophistication, with exemplary service and luxury that have made it a strong favourite among island visitors.
- Yeah, you know. Getting drunk, misbehave and wet my bed.
- OK, I can recommend a hotel. I spent the weekend here with my fianc�.
He didn't remember the name but he borrowed our internet and a few minutes later he came back.
- It's the Tremont Hotel.
- OK, thanks!
I went to my cabin and I booked a room on the internet and I will leave the ship in a few hours. I have a room but I need to walk to the gate, taxis are not allowed to come inside.
- Where is the darn gate?
Los Angeles, I want to stay in Hollywood, where all the night life is. According to internet and some guide books this is the place to be if you're looking for night life.
I spent a few hours on the internet looking for hotel and everything was full, well, all the room between 25US and a million. I can't spent a million and I don't want to live in a 25 US room either. Searching for room and they came up with dorm!
Well, no chance you will see me in a dorm
Well, this was nothing for me and my search continues. Hopefully I will find something or I'm straight off to FUNKY TOWN. But now it's time for a shower and I will soon be of for Galveston to explore the night life. Our Agent told me that it would be crowded in Galveston this weekend
- YEAH! Let's get arrested for disturbing the peace!
-Well, I'm out of here! I will be back tomorrow with a force 9,6 hangover. See you then!
- HEY HEY! Isn't that Charisma Man lurking around the corner?
- HEY! I HAD IT WITH YOU NOW!! STAY AWAY FROM ME!
Where ever Charisma Man is, the Hangover Man is not far away and this is the guy I can do without, believe me.
Well, I was in my room just after 2 o'clock. I really needed a shower before I was ready to take on the night life but with only 200 US in my valet. So I needed some cash before I was ready to take on any night life. It was hot outside so my idea was to go grab some cash at ATM machine, return to my room. Take a shower, leave my credit cards and fill up my pockets with snus. I did not even bother taking my B-12s.
I was walking down the Strand passing two girls drinking at a table on the side walk across the street. They started to wave at me, well, maybe this was something for Charisma Man, but I just walked on. One of the girls came running after me.
- Aladdin! (I have my name on the back of the shirt) Can I get a picture of us together?
- I don't have the time, I said entering the first bar lucky to escape the girl. From here things got worse, this must be a record when it comes to failure.
I ordered a beer and I put a fiver in the Jukebox. It was a friendly place and before soon we were all friends. I ended up talking with a guy that turned out to be Captain in American Eagle Tankers. He bought me a beer and, well, I don't like it. I had to buy him one back and then he bought one more and well, you understand. I was just off to get cash in my stinking t-shirt but my fait had different plans.
- HEY! Call the police! This must be against the law!
After a few hours they called me a taxi and I managed to leave the pub. My plan was to go back to my hotel for a shower and my B-12 vitamins with a quick stop at an ATM, but I ended up at Seawall. OK, I was pretty drunk and you know how it is.
- Why should I go take a shower? My t-shirt has the smell of summer flowers.
Charisma Man is always fresh, no chance to detect any BO on this guy. Charisma Man never has to worry about cash, he pays with his cards. Charisma Man has no worries in the word.
The only thing Charisma Man has to worry about is his snus. It was 8 o'clock and by now our hero was, well, how to put it? A wee bit more than tipsy. We were sitting at a pub listening to RL Burnside full blast when our hero's snus was gone.
8 o'clock and now our hero had to return to his room for more snus. He skidded in to his room losing his step falling on the bed waking up 0830 the next morning. Well, these things can happen to anyone even though it was not planned.
Saturday 24th of May 2008 and at 0830 Charisma Man had left. I was alone in my room and the first thing I did was to grab a fist of B-12. I came up with the idea to start collecting pictures of my B-12 from around the world. You know, some people take pictures of their Barbie doll in front of the Paris tower and in front of the pyramids and so on. Some people taking pictures of the food on airplanes.
My thing will be “Around the world with B-12 vitamins ”
- HEY! I can even make a stupid web page about it.
While waiting for the B-12s to kick in I ordered breakfast to my room. I was in no condition to go meet a lot of strangers in the restaurant.
I called the driver that took me to the city yesterday and I was back onboard just after 12 o'clock.
- Did you bring any diet drinks? Captain asked.
- You told me that we would get 10 cases yesterday!
Captain brought me a case of diet drinks and I went to my cabin and internet. The Captain from American Eagle Tankers told me that Venice Beach is way better than Hollywood if I wanted to have a good time in Los Angeles.
-Hollywood is very seedy, Santa Monica and Venice is the place to be and it's only 20 minutes to Hollywood if you want to check out the Hollywood night life.
It took me 30 minutes to find a hotel with rooms available and I was happy when I had my room confirmation at Best Western Marina Pacific Hotel & Suites located in the heart of world famous Venice Beach. Only steps away from the boardwalk and the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean.
Sunday 25th of May 2008 and I hope we're leaving today so we can get on with the tank cleaning so I can get out of here. Finally at 4 o'clock in the afternoon it was time to leave after a tedious day alongside doing nothing, well, there had been a few behinds kicked during the day.
We left Galveston and we started to fill FW in 8 and 6CT. Bosun had pumped Caustic and MarClean during the day and now we just had to fill 10m³ of FW in each of the tanks and we can start the cleaning.
At 1825 we started the cleaning and I was in the CCR with Chief Officer playing music on my new DELL computer. I left him alone every now and then, I hope to be off the ship in 2 days and I have stuff to pack, way too much.
I have to throw away most of my cloths. Well, they are to big anyway.
While in the CCR our Mess man came with a box of snus. I have kept it in the vegetable fridge and now, I really don't need any more to carry. But my snus is important and I will not leave any of it behind, but I gave Captain a roll the other day.
Monday 26th of May 2008 and the tank cleaning continued. I sent our Chief Officer to bed and I will call him when there is any interesting happening. I hope I can be off to bed at 6 o'clock in the morning.
Noodles seem to be the flavour of the day. Our Bosun was in at 2 o'clock to make noodles for the deck crew and as you can see on the picture above, a few hours earlier the AB on watch was in to the CCR with noodles for the Chief Officer. self discipline is my middle name and I turned down the offer.
OK, the AB was very persistent and I ended up with a plate as well. OK this was a setback even though it was a very small plate.
Tank cleaning continues and we expected to be ready with the caustic recirculation at 0600, but one machine gave up and we were 1 hour after schedule when we had our portable tank washing machine up and running.
When we are ready with the caustic recirculation we must heave up our anchor and be under way with at least 7 knots when we discharge the caustic and water in to the sea.
It was almost 7 when I went to bed and it was much later that I managed to fall asleep. Just to wake up at 0830 by a fire alarm. Our AC broke down during the morning and the fire alarm went off all morning. Even though I was dead tired I went down to the CCR to help our Chief Officer with the cleaning around 11.
It was a beautiful day and we steamed Southwards while rinsing our tanks with hot water. I sent Chief Officer to bed, but he was soon back with his paperwork.
-OK, now you must go to bed! You're facing a long night.
I turned off the tank cleaning machines 5 minutes before 7 and they guys could start stripping. When the stripping is done I'm off to bed and hopefully a full night's sleep.
We will drop anchor around 2300 and I really hope that we get the Pilot at 0400 tomorrow morning so I can go home late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Tuesday 27th of May 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. DARN! I was so disappointed that I could not fall asleep again. And that's even though I was dead tired due to lack of sleep. I went to bed around 11 o'clock yesterday, tossing and turning and I went out on deck to check on the progress with the cleaning. I was back in bed around 0130, tossing and turning until 3 o'clock.
What a shitty day, well, it started good with my flight details.
-------------- ------------------- --------------------- -------- -------
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES - CO 47
WED 28MAY HOUSTON TX LOS ANGELES CA 1900 2036
NON STOP G.BUSH INTERCONT INTL
SEAT 06B CONFIRMED - business class
THAI AIRWAYS INTL - TG 795
SUN 01JUN LOS ANGELES CA BANGKOK TH 2310 0640
NON STOP INTL SUVARNABHUMI INTL 03JUN
Thai has on this flight business class seats and economy class service.
4 days of party in Los Angeles before continue on my last leg to Funky Town. Well, the shit hit the fan real bad. Berth congestion at VOPAK, best estimated time for berthing is 31st of May.
I was not in the best of moods when I called and cancelled my hotel in los Angeles. I also cancelled my DP course I will be on my new ship in July and I will do the DP course when I sign off
that ship, but I'm looking forward to the Gas Tanker course in Manila. Well, my mood improved when I asked Captain to cancel all my flights.
Dear Sir/ Madame
Well, I should have been off the ship by now and, Yeah, we're anchored and I will most likely not make it for the DP course so I need to cancel this course. When is the next course?
I will still keep my gas tanker course and I will start 16th of June.
Please send a confirmation
Sorry for the inconvenience
- I will stay until 8th of June in Los Angeles and then we see how many days that will be.
If I can get of the 1st of June I can spend the 2 first days watching the views in Los Angeles. Then I can spend the end of the week on sleeping and the fun stuff.
Well, leaving Barcarolle is not that easy that I thought it would be. OK, more days more dollars as we use to say. But believe me, walking around a ship doing nothing drives you up the wall.
And hey! Do you remember how we started this month? Thursday 1st of May 2008 and the month of May is not a month I will see the end of onboard Barcarolle. It's soon time to sign off, my reliever will sign on in a few days and I will stay one trip with him before leaving.
- Yeah yeah, Blah blah
OK, I don't have to worry about my DP course any more, that was 2000 US and my hotel, another 1000 US I don't have to worry about any more. Today was the last day to cancel the hotel otherwise I had to pay the full fee. OK, I'm in a good mood. No DP course and I can spend 1 week in US so maybe I will pop by Las Vegas. I just keep my luggage at my room in Los Angeles and I can take off with my weekend bag to Las Vegas.
Talking about luggage, I had expected to leave the ship today and I have thrown away all my cloths. My last trunks and t-shirt would have gone to the garbage today when leaving the ship. So I'm here with no socks or anything, 1 pair of everything for the day I'm leaving.
Nothing to wear while washing my only set of change and with my luck it's time to leave the ship while my only cloths are in the washing machine.
Wednesday 28th of May 2008 and I woke up at 0930. Still anchored and no news about going home, ok, I started the day on internet with a diet drink. I spent some hours before going on deck to check out the work in 2CT.
When ejecting the 2CT they found that the cargo pump was leaking hydraulic oil and this is nothing they want in the caustic soda. Luckily enough we were anchored so they have time to repair the pump.
Well, being on the ship with no function is, well, I feel redundant. I don't want to interfere in the job, now it's the new Chief Officers show. I just try to stay out of the way. I kept myself busy doing nothing until lunch and after lunch I continued with my book.
Wood is needed in the tank to support the pump, and my best men are on the job
I was in my bed reading when Captain came in to my cabin singing.
- Happy birth day
- MOTHERF@CKER!! It's not my birthday
Well, Captain brought good news. OK, it was not that it was my 22nd birthday. But our auxiliary engine will most likely be ready tonight and the technicians will leave with a speed boat tomorrow and I will go with them and I will be in Los Angeles tomorrow night. (All Goes Well)
I spent the evening trying to rebook my hotel, well, everything seems to fill up when we approach the weekend and finally at 2300 I had a room at Marina Pacific hotel.
Well, 300 US/ night seems to be a good deal in the area, smack on the beach. If I manage to change my flight until the 8th of June the whole hotel stay will set me back 2700 US.
Well, as the Captain from American Eagle Tankers said in Galveston:
- If you have been onboard for 10 months you can afford a real hotel.
Thursday 29th of May 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Now I just wait for the speed boat to come pick up me and the technicians. They started the auxiliary engine yesterday and from now on its only laughs for the crew.
We expect the speed boat to be here around 1500 so that gives me 4 hours before my flight and it should be OK. Well, it HAS to be OK.
YOUR RESERVATION: 3DLI7O PAGE 1
DATE TIME FLIGHT CL
29MAY 1900 CO 047 A DEP HOUSTON - INTERCONTINEN(NONSTOP)
2036 OK ARR LOS ANGELES
SEAT 06A OK
Departure terminal C
Arrival terminal 6
01JUN 2310 TG 795 U DEP LOS ANGELES (NONSTOP)
03JUN 0640 OK ARR BANGKOK
SEAT 32A OK
Departure terminal B
Meal: Meal (not specified)
Duration: 17:30 MOTHERF@CKER!!
I will see if I can upgrade the last leg to 1st class. I have so many frequent flyer points that will expire 31st of December and I can as well use them to upgrade to 1st class. Same last year, I had these frequent flyer miles expiring, but I was onboard and I could never use them.
- Hmm, maybe I can claim my frequent flyer miles from Laurin??!!
- Psst, I will sue them for the food. My diet has set new records in failure and I must fly 1st class or a freighter.
The speed boat was ordered for 1500 and at 1430 our Chief Officer told me that the boat was just behind us. I went to my cabin to get my laptop. The phone rang.
- The boat will be here in 20 minutes.
- OK, I will be down in a jiff!
All our Technicians were waiting on deck and now we were only waiting for the boat. The boat will bring our new Deck Cadet as well, she have been waiting on a hotel in Houston since the 25th of May.
So I guess she was happy to come onboard.
We got the entire luggage down on the boat and we were ready to leave, the whole crew hanging on the rail waving at us. Well well, who could believe this day would come, but now its here. freighter or not, I'm out of here! Let's leave before it's getting too sentimental.
Well, I'm off to school and new adventures!