Thursday 1st of November 2007 and the first thing you notice is that my web page changed
From a standard width of 800 pixels I have increased it to 900 pixels. Well, welcome to 2007. I got e-mail from a visitor in USA and he was reading my web page at the library. They had a 15" or 12" screen and only God know what resolution they could run on those screens. He complained:
- Can you please make your site smaller? I have to scroll sideways all the time. It also takes ages to download the pictures.
Well, what do we say on www.aladdin.st? I don't know, but I suggest that he find another place to visit my web page so we can welcome him to 2007.
And I am sorry for asking, who goes to the library to surf the internet? Oh, yeah, how quick we forget!
- Det var vid 16-tiden i Lördags.......
Well, anyway, we were anchored when I woke up and the sun was shining. We dropped anchor around 2200 yesterday and we don't know for how long.
One thing is for sure, the only thing I'm in a hurry for is snus and I have more or less givin' up the hope.
Now when you have had a chance to absorb and get use to the new 900 pixels width I can also tell you that we skipped the GOOD MORNING PEP meeting. The crew is starting at 7 and I was alone at my office at 8, well, I had my bucket of tea.
After finishing half of the bucket I went on deck with my camera. This is the benefit of having a bucket of tea, you disappear for an hour and the tea is still hot when I'm back at the office.
Bucket of tea and Sint Eustatius and I can't help but telling you an anecdote before continuing with the other drivel. We were stopping at Sint Eustatius to get bunker with Argo Pallas on the way to Congo from Galveston lightering area. Our 1st Engineer and some of the crew had an expired vaccination and they needed to renew it before Africa.
They went ashore with the launch service and when they came back they gave me a tea mug, the biggest I had seen up to that day. Well, I got used to it and now I can't have tea from a normal tea cup.
Well, anyway, I left my office and the bucket half full of tea and I went on deck. I took a picture of our ODME and a few pictures of Sint Eustatius. Our crew were busy grit blasting, chipping and painting.
The NW part (Left hand side on the picture) is occupied by Kleine Bergen, a group of hills without any conspicuous peaks.
The SE part (Right hand side on the picture) is dominated by The Quill, an extinct volcano with a very conspicuous silhouette. Both Kleine Bergen and The Quill slope
gradually to the plain in the middle of the island. We can also see Saint Christopher, better known as St Kitts behind the extinct volcano. St Kitts lies about 7 miles SE of Sint Eustatius
I got alarming news at the coffee break. No paint in Panama, or as they said “We have a very very small stock” in Panama. It will take one month to get our paint to Panama from Houston. I have 500 litters waiting for me in Houston, but this was ordered for delivery 1st of October and now we need 1000 litters.
I ordered 500 litters FLEXI Red for Panama and the first thing I did when I heard the news was to go on deck. I told Bosun to stop using the Red FLEXI.
- Use the Blue, green and black FLEXI. Then we start with the white FLEXI.
We have 70 litters Red FLEXI and if they can only get us 200 litters Red FLEXI in Panama they can spray one side. We are not going to paint the hull for a long time so we can use the 2 pots of blue FLEXI for deck. We have 3 pots of white and 1 pot green and 1 pot black FLEXI, but these we need so we save them to last. After 4 layers of primer we need 1 layer of FLEXI before we spray the whole deck.
There are two ships alongside the terminal as you can see on the picture on your right hand side. There is still no news when we are going inside, no one seems to have heard about us.
Friday 2nd of November 2007 and still at anchor when I woke up. I saw the crew on deck when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. The sun was shining and I could see the Mount Liamuiga on St Kitts, the next island. The peak is usually enveloped in clouds but today I could see the peak. According to our Sailing Direction this is a rare sight so I took a picture.
At 1930 yesterday our whole painting plan capsized. We ran out of Barrier and we have to wait until Panama were we get 160 litters. So we have to use only MIO EXPRESS until then. We got confirmation from Jotun that they could deliver Barrier in Panama, but not a word about the FLEXI.
Captain talked with the company and still no news or any berthing prospects. But they will send our mail to Panama and Captain asked especially if there was mail for me.
- 2 big boxes!
MY SNUS! I don't know how many rolls, I think I have ordered 8 or 12 rolls and I don't remember how many rolls my brother ordered for me. But he sent me the bill:
So I guess it's a lot, if I'm lucky it's 20 rolls and if I'm unlucky (as usually) it will only be 12 rolls.
- Well, hmm, I should really give it up. But it's better than smoking.
I blame it on Greenpeace, with all the beautiful girls on Rainbow Warrior. I had to look as good as possible, and I look DARN good with a cancer stick in my hand.
Well, I spent the evening in my cabin, drinking diet drinks and writing on my web page. Now I will turn off the computer and do a little something with my language course before watching a movie. I'm sitting at my desk minding my own business when our 1st Engineer came skidding in to my cabin.
He doesn't even have the courtesy to wear pants.
- FER FÅCK'S SAKE! GET DRESSED!
He was in my sofa in 0,2 stinking up the darn thing. I still miss my TV pillow since last time I had him in my sofa and after this last ghastliness I don't know if I can ever use it again.
NOT IN MY SOFA!
I think I prefer to stay on the floor watching my movies in the future
Saturday 3rd of November 2007 and I woke up to yet another beautiful day. The chipping and blasting was in full swing when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. The crew start at 7 instead of 8 since the 1st of November.
After my morning tea we started to transfer cargo from 4 and 5CT to 7CT so we can top off the tanks with the MTBE and Blendstock. Now we only have 1700m3 to transfer when we are along side. We saved about 3 hours with this transfer at the anchorage, good!
I tried to have a power nap in the afternoon, but luckily enough I didn't felt a sleep. When I came down in my office I had an e-mail saying that we would go inside early tomorrow morning and not tonight. Tonight would have meant that I had to stay up all night transferring and load. Pilot 9 o'clock tomorrow morning would be nice.
After checking the painting on deck I went to the pool where the engine department was busy having a good time.
After dinner I went for my constitutional on deck, I gave up after 45 minutes, it's Saturday. There was only the OS on watch painting on deck and I told him to finish the paint and go watch a movie or something. It was pitch dark and Saturday, but otherwise they are out painting with flash lights and air driven lights until 8 o'clock in the evening.
I returned to my cabin and a hot shower and a DVD movie. I was just about to start the movie when out 1st Engineer came and we went down to the day room to watch a movie. Our day room is next to the mess room and as you understand there were quite a few temptations in the fridge.
I was going to bed hoping that I could sleep until 8 tomorrow morning without being disturbed by any pilot.
Sunday 4th of November 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Sun was shining, but it had been raining during the night so most of the salt was gone from deck. The crew was painting and chipping and I was busy in the stores. I threw away old expired filters and stuff.
First I was told 1800 for pilot boarding time, then they called and they had postponed it by 90 minutes. We had the anchor up at 1940 and the pilot was onboard at 2015.
We had all fast at 2125 and we were rolling alongside the jetty due to swell so the ullages will be a little approximate.
Monday 5th of November 2007 and MOTHERFUNKER, I was tired when 2nd Officer called me just after 7 o'clock.
- 1st parcel ready in an hour!
I was half asleep when I came down to the CCR even though I had had 15 minutes in a very hot shower. We started to load at 0340 and I had just felt sleep when they called me.
We completed the first parcel at 0815 and when we started the second parcel at 0845 I went to see the Captain. We ordered paint for Panama, they don't have FLEXI so we ordered AS. Then I went to bed for an hour and at 1110 we were finished with the second and last parcel.
At 1450 I was ready with the Agent and Pilot was ordered for 1530. I went to Captains office to give him the paper and he was just about to leave for coffee.
- GOOD! Bring your keys! I said.
He understood that I meant the key for the slop chest so he was just laughing. He knew what I wanted and it's not necessary to go in to details. I ended up with two tubes of PRINGLES, this was not my plan. But when I was about to leave the slop chest with what I Captain asked if I wanted anything else.
It was raining cats and dogs and our deck was full of water. Good, the salt is gone, but we don't have any paint. But the Agent and Surveyor were happy about the rain.
- Now we can drink water. We are dependent on the rain to get water.
Our Agent told me that all the houses on the island were built on a water tank.
- If there isn't any rain I have to pay 100 US for a truck of water. A very small truck.
- Obviously not the place to run around with a hangover, I said.
We left STATIA terminal at 1600 and I saw SABA in a distance. The top, Mount Scenery (870m), was enveloped in clouds. The island is a top of a volcano, now it's getting exciting. SABA is the smallest island in the Netherlands Antilles. 1992 the population was 1130. Well, not a place where I want to live.
It was nice to leave Sint Eustatius. We were rolling heavily at the jetty due to the swell. The sea looked like a mirror, the swell was long and you could hardly see the swell, but we rolled with it. We broke three mooring lines while along side. The plan was to load MTBE and Blendstock on top of our gasoline so I need to transfer the cargo from the full tanks so we got slack in all out tanks.
While at the anchorage I transferred about 3200m3 and we transferred the last along side. When our mooring lines started to break I stopped the transfer. When we only had 6 and 8 CT filled to 98% and we took a quick decision to keep them full and blend the cargo in the other tanks. Barcarolle rolled more and more the more slack tanks we had and we didn't want slack in all the tanks.
Tuesday 6th of November 2007 and I woke up at 7. I felt asleep 2130 yesterday and I had a very good sleep. The crew were busy on deck when I had my GOOD MORNING look over a sunny deck. Nice weather!
Yet another uneventful day had come to an end. We will retard ship's hour by one hour tonight so I will have to find something to alleviate my boredom with.
Wednesday 7th of November 2007 and I was tired when I woke up. This was even though we had retarded ship's time by one hour during the night. Well, the extra hour of sleep didn't help very much. A few minutes more would have been wonderful.
The futile work with the rust continues day after day. I really had it by now. It's the same every day, chipping and grit
blasting. Well, we
finished the last grits today and latest news from Panama is that there is no grits to buy. Well, we have to continue with the Jet Chisels and an upbeat mood.
If I'm on the verge to jump over board at any sight of the rusty deck we can imagine how the deck crew feels about it. Chipping 10-12 hours a day and no end to it. When we are finished it's just to start all over again. But even if I spend my days frustrated over our deck I was in a good mood when I left deck at 1930.
We have almost passed the manifold on the port side and we have passed the first bridge after the manifold on the starboard side.
But more alarming news arrived at the coffee break in the afternoon. After discharging in Lázaro Cárdenas they want us to go loading in Seattle. Seattle!!! That's almost in Canada and I only have t-shirts and shorts. Well, I hope this voyage will be cancelled.
- Hmm, but it would be nice if we could get 500 litters of red FLEXI in Seattle.
But now we need 800 litters, but we have 500 litters waiting for us in Houston. We need 500 to spray what's ready on deck up to now. Well, maybe the weather up there in Canada doesn't allow any job on deck. But as I said, I have more imminent problem to think of.
Last time I brought my winter hat and pullovers and stuff. This time I only brought my t-shirt and shorts expecting nothing but summer weather. Blue sky and sunshine is what we're looking for.
Well, they have winter cloths onboard and thinking of it. I really have to crank up my diet a notch to keep the FAT TO FLAT effect at a maximum. Well, triple slimming action and I will go XL to S in a jiff and no problem to wear the winter cloths.
Thursday 8th of November 2007 and we're approaching Panama. We were supposed to
wait two days at the anchorage before transit. But today they said that we will transfer tomorrow morning at 0550 and we will be on the Pacific side at 1600. Changing plans all the time.
is a major ship canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. The Panama Canal is 77km long.
The Canal is very important for the shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, obviating the long and dangerous route via Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 kilometres, well under half the distance of the previous 22,500 kilometre route around Cape Horn.
The first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. After this attempt collapsed, the work was finally completed by the United States, and the canal opened in 1914. About 27,500 workers died during the construction of the canal.
Every year there are more than 14,000 ships (about 40 per day) passing through the canal and at 2002 about 800,000 ships had passed through the canal. IT takes about 9 hours to pass the Canal.
The maximum size of vessel which can use the canal is known as Panamax.
The most expensive toll for canal passage to date was charged on May 30, 2006 to the container ship Maersk Delly, which paid US$249,165.00 for passage. The cheapest toll was 36 cents to American adventurer Richard Halliburton who swam the canal in 1928. The average toll is around US$54,000.
The canal consists of seventeen artificial lakes, several improved and artificial channels, and two sets of locks. An additional artificial lake, Alajuela Lake, acts as a reservoir for the canal.
I was on deck measuring gas in our ballast tanks and upper stools when I saw a falcon or a hawk chasing a swallow over deck. But the swallow managed to get away. But I can't help wondering what they are doing out here in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, is it the global warming?
Yoo! It was hot on deck during the afternoon. I spent the afternoon on deck with our Bosun. We checked our tank hatches for tightness. Before the Canal transit the check for gas leaks from the tanks. Yesterday we filled up the gap between the gasket and the hatch with silicon and today we measured the gas again. Silicon was no success, the gasoline vapours goes straight through the silicon. After the coffee break we changed to cement used for tiles and now it was working. We got 0 to 4 LEL on the gas detector and I consider that OK. We tried to trace the leaks with soap water, but there was ZIP to see.
Cristobal anchorage was full of ships waiting for transfer, well, maybe some were waiting for berthing in Cristobal or Colon.
Friday 9th of November 2007 and when I woke up I noticed that the ship was shaking a little. We had left the anchorage and we were in the middle of the jungle when I looked out my window.
A rainy morning in the Panama Canal
I could see our deck full of stores and my first thought, yeah, you guessed it!
- Did my snus come?
I could not see any paint, but after having my morning tea I found the paint on the poop deck and my snus was outside my store. Now my fridge is full of snus and, well, life is beautiful.
Snus, Diet Drinks and paint for the crew. 200 paint rolls and a 100 or 200 paint brushes. Life is smiling.
We use paint rollers like there is no tomorrow. I remember when I was an AB, we could use the same roll for months. In the evening it was just to put it in a bucket of water and it was ready for use the next morning. But back then we painted with INTERLAC or whatever the name was. Now it's epoxy paint and as soon as you make a roll you can see how the paint rolls disappears, leaving the fluff in the paint on deck. No matter what kind of rolls you are using, all of them are marked “FOR EPOXY”.
I was on the bridge when we passed the first set of locks, taking pictures and watching the views.
Gloomy and grey morning
When we came to the last lock on the Atlantic side we could see what they uses for testing all the people wanting to work in the locks.
Before they get the job they must be able to throw a heaving line over the top bar. They also need to be able to throw the heaving line through the hole in the target. Well, my guess is that it will take a lot of practice, especially to hit the target. But, well, there are plenty people working in the locks so it's not impossible to do it.
It was nice to leave the locks behind and now we have about 4 hours to the first lock on the Pacific side. There was nothing much to do. Raining and 3 guys on watch.
They moved the new paint to the paint store and our two extra crew started with the chipping of the provision cranes aft.
I spent most of the afternoon on the bridge, I mean, not really much to do on deck when there is no crew to pester. Suddenly our Pilot asked if we wanted to see a crocodile. He pointed over at the port side and it looked like a log to me. But it was a crocodile and he submerged when we came closer and all I got was a lousy picture with help of the binocular.
Is it a SNICKER, log or a crocodile?
When we had passed he came up again, but this time the picture was even worse. DARN!
Our Pilot told us that there were plenty crocodiles and last year they had eaten 2 fishermen. Well, some 30 minutes later our Pilot pointed at the shore.
- There is another one! Just next to the tree!
I could see the crocodile, he was 3 - 4 meters long.
- Hmm, maybe I should try to pull a cock-and-bull story saying that it was 17 meters long. But I managed to get a good picture with the binocular trick. So if I put the picture on my web you will easily see that it was just 3-4 meters.
According to the Pilot it was a middle size crocodile. The crocodile was just laying there having a good time.
We came closer to the Centennial Bridge and Captain called his wife so she could see us on the internet. They have a web cam in the lock just after the Centennial Bridge and she could see us when we passed under the bridge.
We were in the first lock on the Pacific side when a Stolt ship came up in the lock next to us. We are putting cement and silicon around our tank cover while they have open hatches.
Looked like they were doing tank cleaning and gas freeing. It started to smell when they came closer to us, and it was a pungent smell.
Last lock and it will be nice to put this adventure behind us. We will change three of our crew members after the last lock and I could see them from the bridge wing taking pictures and stuff. Happy to leave after 9 months onboard. I understand them and they will spend 1 night in Panama City before flying home tomorrow. So there is a chance for disco and diet drinks tonight.
Entering the lock
Leaving the lock
Miraflores Locks, last locks before the Pacific
We left the last lock just after 1630 and a few minutes later there was a boat to pick up the Panama Canal crew and then our new crew came onboard.
At 1715 I was in my cabin opening a diet drink relaxing before dinner.
Saturday 10th of November 2007 and it was a gloomy and grey morning. We were just going in to a shower when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window.
- DARN! Must they go straight in to the rain? I thought for myself.
A small change of the course and we had avoided the rain, but never mind. A little later it started to rain and it rained most of the day. When I came to my office there was e-mail from the Captain. His wife had sent the picture from the web cam in the Panama Canal.
From the web cam
From the web cam
Well, I spent the whole day transferring cargo mixing the gasoline with the cargo from St Eustatius. I will be busy with the mixing tomorrow again. But I hope we get nice weather tomorrow so we can find use for our new paint and rolls we got in Panama.
Sunday 11th of November 2007 and I woke up to a gorgeous morning. Sunshine, well, we had some spray on deck from the wind. But the crew could paint and chip rust on deck. No blaster grits, so only chipping. I have two of the crew to do our provision cranes and when they are ready they will paint the cranes and the nitrogen tank.
- Why the BIP are they chipping the provision cranes for? Shouldn't they finish tank deck first?
That's right, but they started the provision crane during the transit of the Panama Canal and now they have to finish the job. And also, they started with the nitrogen tank when we crossed the Atlantic in bad weather. And, well, better to finish the cranes before we paint the tank and the deck around the tank.
I spent the day transferring gasoline between the tanks to mix the cargo. We stopped just after 5 and the crew prepared for tonight's party. We will eat outside on C deck and, well, it will be too much food again. But as I told Captain:
- Tomorrow we have to get real serious with the diet! No more Scooby Dooing around.
I only wish I had kept myself to the salad. But I did in one way, well, almost. Our Cook had made a very delicious potato salad. Hmm, anyway, our Cook owes me several hundred dollars by now, I told him that he had to give me 10 dollar every time I was eating anything but salad.
Well, I was tired and I went to my cabin just after 8 o'clock and I watched a movie before going to sleep. I hope I can get a full night sleep tonight. I woke up 3 o'clock in the morning last night. Fire alarm and luckily enough it was no fire, just a busted fire detector. Well, I was soon in bed again sleeping.
But anyway, it's annoying to wake up in the middle of the night when the fire alarm goes off.
Sunset in the Pacific
Monday 12th of November 2007 and I woke up to yet another gorgeous day. I knew what I had to spend my day with, mixing cargo and I was busy for a full day. I was not in my track until almost 7, but I felt good after a day with only salad and black bread.
Tuesday 13th of November 2007 and I woke up to yet another beautiful day. I went to the mess room and I made myself some tea and I went to the CCR. We were soon up and running with the mixing of the cargo and we were ready at 4 o'clock.
Nice to be finished with the cargo, we arrive to the Pilot station at 0400 tomorrow morning and I had not looking forward to the middle of the night adventure. But we received a message that there was no plans for us, so anchoring at arrival. I was in a very good mood after receiving the news. But no news about our next load port, just Aruba for order.
Well, I hope I get the chance to upload my web page in Lázaro Cárdenas. Last time I went to our Loading Master's officer to upload my page. It some 5 to 10 minutes walk from the ship to his office.
Walking, I was on deck after diner (salad) for my constitutional. I ended up most of the evening giving pointers to the crew. I have spent the last 4 days in the CCR mixing cargo with only a few visits to the deck.
Wednesday 14th of November 2007 and we were anchored when I got out of my bed. Nice, today I don't need to spend any time mixing the cargo. I started my day with some paper work and so far no news or any berthing prospects.
After the coffee break I was on deck with Captain and Chief Engineer, it was a very hot day. But sunshine is good for the painting, reducing the curing time.
I was in the kitchen trying to find out what was for lunch, meatballs. Our Cook gave me one meatball to try, delicious!
- Do we have any news for the next voyage? Our Cook asked.
- Nothing, still Aruba for order, I answered.
I left for my office and I found out that there was a new e-mail and they are working on a cargo of Gasoil from Los Angeles to Chile. I returned to the kitchen, but first to the mess room to pick up a plate.
- I got the latest news about next voyage! I said when I entered the kitchen.
- Where are we going?
- Give me 2 meatballs and I will tell you next load port, I said holding up my plate.
He gave me 2 meatballs and I told him that they are working on a Gasoil from Los Angeles and that nothing was sure yet.
- Where are we discharging?
- HEY! That will cost you another 2 meatballs, I said.
When I got my meatballs I told him that it was Chile and I left the kitchen.
- Hmm, Los Angeles to Chile, what about my snus?
Let's say that I have snus for another 2 months and Captain and Chief Engineer will sign off in about a month. I can ask the relievers to bring some snus when they are coming.
Well, I knew it was time for me to leave the dinner table when the ice-cream came on the table. I left for deck and I was walking up and down the cat walk for almost 2 hours.
Thursday 15th of November 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Nice weather and the crew could continue the painting and chipping. Our provision cranes are soon ready and we can move on to the deck crane. But first they will paint the nitrogen tank and deck.
Bosun painting port side provision crane
How many of you think he was happy with me running around with my camera?
I did some cargo planning and before soon it was time for lunch and some socializing in the mess room, always nice. After the meal I went to my cabin for a diet drink while reading a few pages in my book.
I started the book 2 days ago and it is what we call a page turner. I was reading to almost 3 o'clock this morning so as you understand I was a wee bit tired when I woke up.
But I didn't start reading until almost midnight. I had watched a DVD, HATA GÖTEBORG. It was a pretty boring movie, but with the help of the FFW button. I don't know what happened but the only chose I could make from the menu was EXTRA MATERIAL. I never understood the meaning with this and when you buy a DVD they call it BONUS on the cover. Well, I will never waste time watching an old trailer just because they call it BONUS MATERIAL on the DVD.
I was almost losing my temper trying to get to the PLAY MOVIE. Well, I ran in to a Danish flag and I pushed the OK button on the remote and the movie started. After three seconds I could hear two Danish men speaking.
- What the ....??!!
Well, it turned out to be two men working for the Danish film institute and they were watching the movie beforehand and they were discussing the movie. Well, after 20 seconds they agreed on a cup of coffee and called the girl in the reception. I could hear her coming in to STUDIO 8.
- Here is your coffee!
- Sounds more like bottles, I thought.
After a while one of the guys offered the other one a cake and I could hear them open two beers.
After the second round of coffee they were pretty drunk and it was time for ESPRESSO. Well, it ended, yeah, I'm not going to tell you. But I was screaming of laughter in my sofa.
And from now on I will always check the BONUS MATERIAL. But I doubt it very much that I will find something like that again.
Well, otherwise the only fun thing in the movie was one of the guy's stepfather. His step son was asking for money.
-Money! That's something you have! I thought you knew that! He said laughing driving away with screaming and smoking tyres.
So if you get your hands on the DVD skip the movie and go straight to the EXTRA MATERIAL and CLICK the Danish flag If you don't know Danish? Hmm, don't bother.
Well, a tedious morning became a tedious afternoon very quickly and I was on deck inspecting the paint work. I ran in to our 3rd Officer and 2nd Engineer in the life boat while checking out our provision cranes.
STB crane a few days ago
After dinner I was on deck walking for 90 minutes, I had to run away from the dinner table. Blueberry jam, whipped cream and pancakes and I'm better off on deck.
Any berthing prospects, well, Captain got information that we have to stay anchored until the 24th of November. 9 more days with chipping and painting, but we need some red FLEXI paint so we can paint the deck.
Well, I got two DVD movies of our Cook yesterday and I was soon in my cabin watching movie.
Friday 16th of November 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. I was happy for the gorgeous weather and yet another day with chipping and painting.
- But man! Is this boring?
In 2 months I had 1 discharge port and 2 load port and I really feel useless walking around on deck watching the painting. Today I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge so he could go do something important with the lifeboat.
Our provision cranes are ready and it's just to paint the nitrogen tank and deck. Our Chief Engineer told me that he could stop the fans to the engine while we were anchored.
- Good, then we take the ventilation grill before we paint deck, I said.
Bosun and I went to check out the fans and our Bosun started to prepare the equipment and they will start tomorrow morning.
I went on deck after dinner (salad) for my constitutional. I like to have 1 - 2 hours of walking on deck with a few stops to plan work with Bosun and the other crew.
Not long after dinner it's getting dark. A few weeks ago our crew used flash lights on deck while painting, but our Bosun found 4 air driven lights they use now. Sunshine 7 o'clock in the morning when they start to work, as per beginning of this month the deck crew start to work at 7 instead of 8.
Well, I was pretty satisfied with the day, even though the boredom drove me to make a little CBT (Computer Based Training) during the afternoon.
Well, it was soon time to return to my cabin and a cold diet drink. A few word on the web page before my shower and then I will attend the DVD I borrowed from our Cook.
Saturday 17th of November 2007 and I woke up to yet another handsome day on Lazaro Cardenas's anchorage. The sea looked like a pond and I was looking forward to a day of chipping and painting.
Our extra crew got right on the engine ventilators, about time. I have been irritated by the gray primer around the grill since day one. They were off at the ship yard one year ago and when they welded them back they just put grey primer around them.
The grill is covered with thick rust and of course they should have been chipped at the shipyard when they were lying on deck when it was easy to reach them.
Now they have to stop the fans one by one while chipping the grill. Our Bosun started the day with covering the first fan inside the grill. I told you, I knew we would get inside the funnel on day! Our Bosun put a pallet on top of the canvas so our OS could stand there chipping the inside of the grill.
When the preparation was ready our enthusiastic crew started to work on them and they were full of energy and vim.
Well, after lunch a nice day turned to a rainy day. They were painting BARRIER on the grill when the first rain came falling down on us.
Luckily enough the rain passed by quickly and the chipping and painting continued like nothing ever happened. The time moved slowly towards dinner and I must say that I'm very disappointed with our Cook.
When I got my Swedish keyboard in France our Cook borrowed my cordless keyboard and mouse that I got when I bought my new computer and he felt in love with the HIGH QUALITY equipment instantly.
- Can I buy your stuff? He asked.
- You already owe me 200 US, I said.
When I decided to go serious with my diet I told our Cook that he had to pay me 10 US every time I was eating something “UNHEALTY”.
- Yeah, you owe me for eating. But, I give you my keyboard and mouse if you catch me eating.
- The keyboard will soon be mine, he said smiling.
But so far he had been very unsuccessful in catching me eating, OK, it has only been a few pancakes and some other small (Very small) things. But anyway, I'm disappointed.
OK, 24th of November is far away and we had lined up the jobs for next week. I was happy because I had planned to be ready with the starboard side up to the fo'c's'le when we were back in Panama. I was in the crew's mess room cracking a few jokes when one of the ABs came down.
- We are going along side tomorrow. Agent called.
- DARN! This was no good.
All the planning was down the drain and our weekend at the anchorage turned in to discharging. But good news for you, maybe I can upload my web page tomorrow.
Sunday 18th of November 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. We called the Port Control after breakfast and they had no news for us. Captain called our Agent and when he called back 20 minutes later it was pilot at 12 o'clock at Lazaro Cardenas Sea Buoy.
I was checking deck at 1030 when our 3rd Officer came on the cat walk.
- Time to heave up the anchor!
So obviously the pilot will come at 11 o'clock. Well, we will soon be alongside and hopefully there will be an internet connection waiting for me.
I checked my e-mail with my mobile phone yesterday evening and my friend at Broström had sent me an e-mail from my web page:
Where are you? Are you still on Barcarolle? I have not seen any updates for November on your web page.
STAY COOL! Hopefully I can upload my web page today.
We had all fast at jetty #2 just after 12 o'clock and we started discharging at 1730. Our Loading Master had promised me that I could use his computer and I went ashore first thing after that we were up and running with both parcels.
Well, I didn't manage to connect to my server with my FTP program. I could not connect to my FTP with the Windows Explorer either and, well, I gave up. The guy that took me to the computer said something about something. But I didn't understand what he said, but maybe they have locked internet for down and up loading. I was not in my best mood when I returned onboard.
Beautiful evening in Lazaro Cardenas
Monday 19th of November 2007 and I was tired when I woke up, even though I could sleep undisturbed all night. But I was reading to almost 2 o'clock. I stopped in the CCR on my way to the mess and we expected to start discharging at 11.
I decided to give the upload another try. I went ashore to Loading Masters Office and I used my online FILE MANAGER and I uploaded my latest picture and stuff. 20 minutes before 10 o'clock the AB came looking for me.
- 3rd Officer is calling you.
I borrowed his radio and called the 3rd Officer.
- PEMEX is ready to receive, he said.
- OK, call the Electrician for the IG and I will be onboard in 2 minutes, I said.
At 0955 we resumed discharging and we expect to leave for Manzanillo in the late afternoon. We have 10 hours to Manzanillo and that means arrival in the middle of the night. DARN! But I had expected to be up all night last night, but I was lucky.
I was in a bad mood after coming back from the internet yesterday and when I came onboard I ran in to the Loading Master.
- We will take all 70 000 Bbls, but we stop for about 12 hours after the 54 000 Bbls before we continue. Will that be any problem for you?
I was so happy that it came tears from my eyes.
- Yes, if you don't give me a hug!
First we should discharge 70 000 of the big parcel and then it was 54 000. We would be ready in the middle of the night and, well, no sleep. With this changed plan I could have a full night of good sleep. Well, I hope we have to drop anchor at arrival to Manzanillo.
Well, half of our ventilation grills are ready and we have 2 to go. Our crew started the chipping this morning, but at 10 PEMEX asked us if we could stop the chipping.
- No problem, I said disappointed.
I really hope that we get a day at the anchorage so we can finish the ventilators. When they are ready we can paint the nitrogen tank and the deck around the pool.
During the afternoon a 20 minutes stop for changing shore tank became a 3 hour stop.
Well, I don't mind, no arrival to Manzanillo in the middle of the night. But there is still a chance for an early morning arrival, but I hope the paper work take long time here tonight.
Tuesday 20th of November 2007 and I woke up just before my alarm went off. We were still steaming towards Manzanillo's anchorage when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window.
It's like a holiday, no night work since, well, I don't remember. We anchored at 0835 and we have no information or any berthing prospects. But no one is in a hurry and the crew got right on the ventilators when the main engine was stopped.
Hopefully they will be ready before it's time to start the main engine again. Well, just after lunch the pilot station called and asked us to be at the pilot boarding area at 1445 and 15 minutes later they asked us to be there at 1400. I was not in my best mood, everything is depending on the ventilation now. We need to have them ready before we can put the last coating on the nitrogen tank and deck. Otherwise it will run rust and other disgusting stuff from the ventilation grill down on the fresh pain, not what we want.
We had the anchor up at 1340 and we passed the breakwater at 1410. PEMEX's terminal is smack down town Manzanillo, first bar is just a 2 minutes' walk away. But Chief Officer has to stay onboard taking care of business.
After berthing our Captain called the company for an LOI so we could discharge. He found out that we will not discharge all the cargo here. We will continue to Guaymas in the Gulf of California to discharge the last cargo. I'm not surprised.
According to the original plan we should do a Ship to Ship transfer with the balance of the cargo. The ship was lying on the jetty next to us smoking from the funnel
Most of the crew went ashore, but I had to stay and at 1930 we started with the first parcel, changed from 30000 Bbls to 16000. So we will soon be finished with that one and I can watch a DVD while waiting for them to change to next parcel.
At 2145 we completed the first parcel and I was back in my cabin watching DVD waiting for them to start the second parcel. At2255 we started and I could go to bed at 2330 in a good mood. Looks like it will be a full night's sleep and we managed to complete the ventilation grill.
- How on earth did they manage to do that?
Well, a Chief Officer needs a few tricks up his sleeve and now we are ready to put top coat on the superstructure. Will look nice hopefully we will not look like a Panama ship next time we arrive to Panama. Yeah, we see about that?
Wednesday 21st of November 2007 and I woke up when my alarm went off. Good, yet another night without anyone disturbing me. I went to the mess room for a jug of tea and then I went to the CCR. At 0825 PEMEX stopped the discharging and I was waiting for the Surveyor to start measuring the tanks.
Nothing happened, not even any sight of anyone wanting to disconnect the arm. I tried to get something out of the Surveyor but his English left more than a little to wish for.
Well, this was the information I got out of him.
- Hmm, yesterday he was fluent in English, at least he could ask for dinner.
At 1130 Captain called the Agent and the shore tanks are full and no one knows what will happen. We were told that PEMEX will have a meeting in the afternoon to make some decisions. Maybe sailing at 2200 or tomorrow. Maybe start discharging at 2000. Lots of maybes, but there was no maybe when I said:
- Good, I'm going ashore to internet ordering snus!
Our Electrician, Chief Engineer and I (In the latest Hip Hop fashion) left the ship at 1300. I was in a good mode when leaving Barcarolle behind knowing that we don't need to arrive to Panama looking like a Panama ship now when all the ventilators are ready. Yeah, I had my best guys finishing the last ventilator this very morning.
Well, in good mood but with a small problem. The guys had been ashore yesterday and this morning I found chocolate in my cabin. I found it when I came back from the CCR.
-What the .....!!??
You get a gift and you just can't give it away, and I can't eat it. What to do? Any suggestions? I'm out of ideas, but I will for sure come up with something. Maybe in front of the DVD tonight already! This and more at my next upload, today it will be like a bonus upload. (If I find an internet place)
When we were off the gangway we watched all the fishes swimming around. Millions of them in all different colours together with rubbish and dead fishes. I can't help wondering what killed all the dead fishes swimming belly up. I suppose the other fishes would go elsewhere if the water was no good.
Well, enough of the fishes and we continued towards the gate and after 20 minutes we passed a PEMEX worker. He pointed at my shorts.
- PROBLEM! Panta longas!
- Why don't you go find out what it was killing all the fishes, I thought while returning to the ship to get a pair of panta longas.
Barcarolle from the city square
I was soon back on the jetty and I took of my panta longas in the gate and I kept them behind the counter so I could pick them up on the way back. It was a 2 minutes' walk to the gate and we were right on the city square. 2 minutes later I was on an internet place and after a few minutes I had ordered 20 rolls of snus.
Good, I have 6 rolls on the way from Amsterdam to Houston on a container ship and now I have 20 extra. Next time in Houston I will have snus for at least a few days.
I had spent about 40 minutes at the internet place when our Chief Engineer came to pick me up. Time for shopping and we went back to the square and we waved down a RADIO TAXI.
I saw a blue fish on the front door and it looked like the blue thing they have on the square. Maybe Manzanillo means sword fish?? No, manzano means apple tree, well I don't know.
We entered the taxi, three passengers and believe me, the taxi was full. A small yellow car of an indefinable brand with no AC, but off we went.
Barcarolle's funnel from the city square
Our 10 minutes ride to Wal Mart felt like a 90 minutes ride in the small taxi. When we arrived I had to press myself out of the front door while screaming at the driver.
- Kick me in the behind! Impossible to miss, 220 between the back pockets!
- DARN! These Scooby Doo cars!
I started with a milk shake and then I bought a new USB memory. The old one has served me well, but it finally got it when it was hit by a chair. I bought 5 seasons of 24 HOURS and some other DVD movies. I really hope the 24 HOURS is good, but so I was told. If it turns out to be some shit I will claim the money from the crew.
Our Electrician in the dangerous department of Wal Mart
I was just passing by for a few pictures
After buying the DVD I went to have a look at socks but all of them looked like baby size.
- Grande socko? I asked.
- Ah, si claro.
- Negro, I said.
She pointed at some black socks and I told her that they were looking very small. She took a pair and she stretched them. I mean she really stretched them, she looked like an East German heavy weight lifter. The socks went from small to 70cm in a jiff and I bought a bunch of them. Back onboard they turned out to be a wee bit too small, well, maybe it's the latest fashion not to have the socks sticking up from your shoes.
I took my shoes and I passed a shelf with SNICKERS Almond. I stopped a girl and I pointed at the SNICKERS.
She pulled me around the whole store looking for a box SNICKERS. Just when I thought she had left she was back again.
- Hmm, must be my Latino/ macho look, I thought.
I had skipped the shave the last few days and well, I was looking very Latino and macho. Well, anyway, she managed to get me a box of SNICKERS almond and I said thank you and left. Lo and behold, 7 minutes later she came running with a roll of tape to close the box. I had to leave to shop, otherwise no one would know how it would end.
She never gave up
She found a box
She came back again and again
SNICKERS girl at Wal Mart
Our Electrician and Chief Engineer were going to buy some fruits and vegetables and they left for the fruit market and I returned to the ship. No news when I came back just in time for dinner. Our Electrician and Chief Engineer came 15 minutes later with fruits and stuff.
I was in my cabin after dinner when Captain called.
- We will not leave tonight. They will start discharging 3 or 4 in the morning.
- Are you going ashore? Tell the crew to be onboard 5 o'clock in the morning.
Well, at 7 o'clock we should have pilot at 2100 and a few minutes later it was 2200. I had told Bosun to finish his paint and then he could go ashore, now I had to go back telling him that we could not go ashore.
- Pilot at 9 o'clock.
At 1930 it has changed so many times that I didn't knew anything anymore. During 30 minutes we got different information every minute. But at the end it had changed from start discharging at 3 or 4 in the morning to 6 or 7.
- We see about that I thought.
The remaining crew left, some of them had already left before the circus started and we had to send one AB to look for them on town. I wanted to join them for a few beers, let my hair down and we haven't seen Charisma Man around for several months now. Last time was in Miami and we miss him a wee bit.
- No chance in hell we will start discharging 3 o'clock in the morning. But if I go ashore they will for sure call at 3.
Well, I was drinking diet drinks, watching DVD and I also finished a new book before going to bed.
Thursday 22nd of November 2007 and I woke up when 3rd Officer called me at 0830.
- They want us to start discharging, he said.
- OK, I'm down in a jiff, I said.
Sleeping to 0830, well, I didn't turn on my alarm clock yesterday. If they call me early I don't want the alarm clock to bellow in my cabin when there is no one to turn it off.
I called PEMEX first thing when I came down to the CCR. We were ready to start but I just wanted to confirm shore stop. I was really happy that I only had Diet Drinks yesterday because I was soon in an argument with PEMEX.
- PEMEX, Barcarolle calling. This will be shore stop, I said.
- No this will be ship stop!
- How can it be ship stop? I don't know how much to discharge.
It has been a circus since we had all fast here in Manzanillo. No one knew how much we would discharge. It was 85000 to start with, then 70000 Bbls and when I had done the ship shore agreement with 70000 minds suddenly changed. 60000, 65000 maybe 70000. When the Loading Master left we knew nothing. This was 2 days ago and obviously nothing has changed.
I cannot stop if I don't know how much to discharge. 30 minutes later they called us.
- Discharge 60000!
I had to ask 3 times and then I suggested 16000 Bbls.
- Yes, 16200 Bbls, was the answer.
I really can't muster the required energy ( I have a DVD to watch) to tell you about all the turns with the cargo operation. But we were ready at 1400 and the Pilot came just before 5 o'clock.
When we were backing of the jetty I could not help myself, I just had to take a last picture of the blue fish on the city square. We were almost up in the city with our poop deck after turning out from our jetty. This is the kind of places we would like to go to, the terminal in the middle of the city.
- Hmm, would be expensive going ashore shopping all the time.
Pilot left us at 1710 and a few minutes later I was on deck instructing the crew for tomorrow. Chipping again and we will also test our emergency cargo pump. A little more chipping on the superstructure and the lifeboat davit and the crew can paint around the pool and nitrogen tank. She will soon look like a Swedish ship.
Leaving Manzanillo behind
Friday 23rd of November 2007 and I woke up at 0830. And this even though we retarded ships time by 1 hour during the night. Well, I was soon on deck and we tested our emergency cargo pump and it worked just fine.
It was a beautiful day and the sea looked like a mirror. The crew was busy chipping and painting as usually and, well, at least had it with the rust now. But the will finish the chipping around the pool today so it will be nice when it's painted. I'm thinking about buying flower boxes to put around the pool, but who is going to take care of them?
Our two extra crew finished the chipping of the C deck and the top of the life boat davit today. So I moved one of them to the deck crane and the other one will paint on the superstructure.
- What the..!!?? Life boat davit? Only the top? C-deck and ventilators? What are you on about?
Well, we had bad weather on the Atlantic and they could not be on deck. I sent my best guys on the nitrogen tank and the deck around the tank. It was soon ready for a full coat of red. Well, we remembered how the provision cranes looked.
So they had to take the provision cranes before painting the nitrogen tank and then they had to take the top of the life boat davit as well.
And when they were on it they took the whole C-deck with the pool. But now there is only one man remaining and all the other is on main deck. About 40 sections to go and we're talking 30 work days and it will be ready. Give and take a few days, but if we're lucky it will be ready for new year, I was about to say Christmas, but that's pushing it.
But with nice weather and not too many days in port it would be possible. And now we're talking the main deck, this excludes the poop deck and the fo'c's'le.
One of our Motormen was working on the door to the accommodation on c-deck and I pestered him with my camera while checking on the guys chipping and painting.
Motorman busy doing something
When I took my hundredth picture of the Motorman he got annoyed and he turned the camera against me.
- No! Please! I said.
But there was no mercy coming my way and he got the picture.
Well, soon end of the month and I reshuffled the deck crew. The OS we have as extra crew, well, I want him back here as an AB and he will start going watch next month to learn the ship. He has been onboard for 7 months, but only painting and grit blasting. SO I will take one of our OS, well, I want him to relieve the AB going home in January. But he has been here for long time and he knows the ship. Well, anyway, he will be with our extra AB chipping and painting.
I want both of our OS back as AB and I told it to Captain. Our extra OS has been an OS for 3 years and if you're not AB after 3 years as OS there are 2 options:
1) Give up your career at sea.
2) Change company, obviously there is something wrong.
Sorry, I'm very sorry. Reason #1, well, just forget about that option. When they keep a guy for 3 years as an OS it's time to change company. They keep you but they don't give you the extra dollars as AB. So change company.
When evaluate a guy that has been working for 3 years as an OS there is only 2 options:
1) We want him back as AB next time
2) This guy should not be allowed to set foot on a ship again.
It's simple like that. If he has been an OS for 3 years and no one has stopped him to come back, well, he is an AB. But I think all of you, at sea or not, know how it works. I have mentioned it on my web page many times. At sea or at any work place ashore, when you evaluate someone else you evaluate yourself at the same time.
- Hmm, what about this OS. He has been an OS for several years. I don't know if I like the way he was wearing his shirt the other day.
- Hmm, now it's up to me. He is not perfect and the tone he used when he said GOOD MORNING the other day......
- No, he can stay OS. He is not good enough for me.
- Why shall he have the extra money as an AB? No one ever gives me anything!
When the evaluation is ready its beer time and the same footling complaint. Complaining about his own paltry salary
- Why should he have the same salary as me? I'm much better?
- I want more pay! I'm irreplaceable, the company should learn how to appreciate me!
I and I and me and I can and I know and those stupid people. Only me, blah-blah.
Well, what does Aladdin say?
Saturday 24th of November 2007 and I found that the nice weather was gone when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. Strong head wind and rain, looks like a day for washing deck. Well, 2 guys were washing and the other was chipping, we can brush and paint when the weather is nice. Soon Christmas and deck needs to be ready.
I had my shower and I went down to the mess room and it will be interesting to see if our Fitter found out who put the box of chocolate outside his cabin. I was in the crew's mess room at their dinner yesterday and when I left I ran in to one of our Fitters. He was looking serious talking with one of the mess men.
- YOO! What's happening?
He told me that he had found a box of chocolate outside his cabin and no one knew where it came from. I was trying to look as sympathizing as I could when I said:
- You better off being careful and lock your cabin at night! I saw the other Mess man putting on his makeup, red lips and the whole thing so maybe he is coming knocking on your door, I said and left.
Well, I spent almost 2200 Scooby dollars in Manzanillo, most of it on chocolate. First evening and I felt very bad in my TV sofa after just 27 minutes of a DVD and 2 boxes of chocolate I was laying in my sofa suffering for severe pain and agony.
- I will never look good!
I came up with a Master plan: I will give away the darn chocolate. I started with our 3rd Officer, former Bosun two days ago. Yesterday I took 2 boxes, have to spread it over a certain period of time so no one is suspecting me. I passed an open cabin door, one of our AB's is living there. I threw a box on his bed and it bounced off and landed on his bed side table. No one saw a thing and I left the last box outside one of our Fitters door. No one will ever find out where the chocolate is coming from. Believe me, I'm good at this. Remember the socks on Rainbow Warrior?
- Me?? I'm just laughing while losing weight.
We will arrive to the pilot station around 1300 and we're going alongside at arrival. Saturday night and the crew might go ashore. - Me? I have to stay, maybe going for an hour or two if there is an internet place close by.
I was in my cabin when we approached Guaymas pilot station. Not much to see but rocks. It was like a Western movie, only big cactuses where ever you looked and of course rocks.
- Where is the town? Was the first thing I asked the pilot when he came onboard at 1320.
- It's there, he said while pointing to something that looked like a village.
Well, they told me that this should be like Manzanillo and I was looking forward to a tour on the city, with a stop at an internet place and a shopping mall (for a milkshake)
Well, looks like I'm better off staying onboard and when I had the Loading Master onboard he told me that we could discharge with 8 Bars so we will soon leave Guaymas behind, nice. I finished the paper work with the Loading Master.
Arriving to Guaymas
We were waiting for the Surveyor, but he was a no show and we did the ullageing with the Loading Master. Waiting for analyse of the sample and we're ready to start. Then the Surveyor shows up, if he speaks English? Not a word.
He carries a walkie talkie in front of him for me to talk to. I refuse.
- Who the hell is that with the other radio? I asked.
- My friend!
I refuse to talk in to the radio, there has to be an end to all the stupidity. ISPS and check lists and thousands of paper to sign stating that the whole operation will be conducted with SAFETY and PROFESSIONALISM on top of a list of priorities. The whole thing is a joke. But of course it will look good when the oil companies meet at a conference. You're on the stage talking banging a bundle with thousands of check lists on the rostrum.
- We are serious with the safety and we do all this check lists before even the simplest of operations!
- Where will it end? Seriously, sending onboard a guy with a walkie talkie. 90 minutes late, we were just about to start discharging when he wanted to take ullage. Every time I opened my mouth he put his radio to my mouth. We started discharging and I left for my diner (salad)
I remember when I was a young green Chief Officer and we were discharging 2 parcels. I did the check list with the Loading Master.
- Parcel 1 first and then the 2nd parcel on manifold 3, I said.
- OK, very good.
It was OK and no problem on all my questions when I did the ship/ shore agreement.
- This will be a smooth operation, I thought to myself.
- OK and very good. Start pumping, the Loading Master said.
Luckily enough there was a guy passing my office and he stopped everything. Not one thing of what we had agreed on was right. The Loading Master had not understood a word of what I had said, neither did he understand the paper he signed. If we had started we would have destroyed the cargo for millions of dollars.
- Who they would have blamed?
- Well, I don't think you need to spend too much time figuring that out.
Sunday 25th of November 2007 and I was in the CCR just after midnight. I had spent the evening watching DVD and running up and down to the CCR. We started stripping some 15 - 20 minutes after midnight. Pilot ordered for 0200 and I hope to be in bed not long after that.
We left just before 3 and I was in my bed, well, maybe 1 hour later and I didn't wake up until quarter to 10. A shower and I were just in time for the coffee break. I went to our dayroom and I threw myself in the sofa with a loud sigh:
- Fåcking hard job this!
Well, it's not a very hard job, especially with this a.. kicking crew. My biggest problem is my potted plants in my cabin. The flowers I bought in France had capsized before we were out of the Mediterranean and I bought new plants in Manzanillo.
I bought green plants this time because if there is any flowers on the plant it much harder to take care of them. Plants with just green leaves are, well, kind of easy. But if you buy something with flower you're up for trouble. OK, plastic flower takes care of them self so that is OK.
When I signed on Barcarolle for the first time my cabin was full of plants, there was plant in every window, in cracked jelly jars and whatever they could find to put them in. So I took all of those plants and put them in one of the flowerboxes that I bought in France.
On the picture on your left hand side you can see the old plants, the biggest one was only a dry branch when I moved it from a cracked jelly jar to the new box. Pretty much the same with the other 2, hmm, one of them is more dead than alive.
After moving them to the new box there was notin' much happening in the flower box for a long time. I went to our 1st Engineer's cabin.
- Hey! Do you have a coke?
I took the coke and left.
- HEY! Where the BIP are you going? If you take a coke you have to sit here drinking it, he screamed after me.
OK, I guess I had it coming. He is in my cabin getting diet drinks and stuff and every time I tell him that he have to sit and drink them in my cabin.
- If I give you a diet drink you have to socializing a bit, I use to tell him.
Well, anyway, I explained to him that it was for a medical purpose.
- You know I never drink coke, only diet drinks, I explained.
I left with the coke and when I was back in my cabin I poured the coke in my flower box. 2 days later the dry branch had become a rain forest. So a little coke for your plants and they get a new life. Sugar is OK as well, but there is so much phosphoric acid and other stuff in the coke that is good for you plants.
So me, I have a good time onboard. The only time (for a few days) I had been grumpy was when we had the ballast problem at TUXPAN anchorage. But you can see a grumpy Aladdin on the picture of us in our uniforms that the 3rd Officer brought us. No smiling when it's impossible to strip the ballast tanks. But the day after it was only smile and laugh. The crew repaired one pipe and one leaking valve and the stripping worked like a dream and it has been laughs ever since.
We held some drills during the afternoon and I was off to my cabin and a DVD.
Testing the powder extinguisher on poop deck
Monday 26th of November 2007 and I discovered yet another gorgeous day when I looked out my window. 0730 and the sun was shining and I saw the crew chipping our hydraulic pipes on deck. Our Engine department had drained the hydraulic system over night. The pipes are, well, very rusty and we don't want to risk any oil spill. But now the pipes are empty and they can work on them.
Tuesday 27th of November 2007 and just before lunch we got inquires about our best ETA to some place in El Salvador, Acajutla I think. Load 8000 MT of Ethanol to Houston. Well, I don't mind continue straight to the Panama Canal without any stop.
We got another message from the company as well. There is a big parcel, a really big parcel for the Chief Officer and it's marked with SNUS. Well, my 20 rolls have arrived to Houston.
I ordered the snus 21st of November and it's in Houston the 27th. Very good service, but when will I have the snus onboard? In the afternoon the talked about Peru and fish oil. I prefer that trip. Ethanol and El Salvador is nothing for me, I hope they send a STOLT ship to lift the cargo of Ethanol.
I was on my way to the D-deck with one of the ABs to talk with Bosun. It was around 1600 and we passed Captains office. The stairs outside is freshly painted and we had to walk through the accommodation. We got the good news:
Forget about the Ethanol in El Salvador.
I went from a good mood to a much better mood. The hydraulic lines will be ready today, most likely. The crew will soon be back on tank deck chipping ( I have already moved 2 AB's from the hydraulic pipes to tank deck). Bosun and the AB working on the house are almost ready with the white top coat on the superstructure (House).
Tomorrow morning they will start to clean the deck from the funnel down and then they can paint
the deck red. And you're better off preparing yourself for some awesome BEFORE and AFTER picture.
Well, I left deck at 1930 and the white paint on the house is ready. There is only a few spots left on the hydraulic pipe to chip and now it's too dark to work on the pipe. The whole crew was down on tank deck chipping when I left. When I was in my cabin I opened a diet drink and I looked out the window, and I just had to take a picture.
Well, another day at its end and I decided to relax with an episode of THE OFFICE before my shower. Now it's not the BBC version (The original and best) of the series. But it's OK, well, kind off. But comparing to the BBC version, well, that is a classic.
After my shower I went down to Bosun's cabin, I put the Teddy with the chocolate outside his door. I knocked on the door and I ran away.
Wednesday 28th of November 2007 and we were rolling slightly when I woke up. When I looked out my window I could see why. Strong wind and waves coming in from port side. Spray on deck and I was not in the best of moods. OK, Chipping and water blasting were in full swing and that improved my mood.
Our Bosun and 1 AB washed down the decks on the house and hopefully they can start paint after lunch. The weather got better and better, still rolling a wee bit, but the sun was shining.
During the afternoon we held a SAFETY MEETING and this was not very exciting, but the meeting pushed us to the end of the day and yet another DVD movie.
At dinner I told Captain that I had to go collect all the chocolate I had given away.
You know, agony, pain and I will never look good. So I gave away all my chocolate, but now it would have been nice with a SNICKERS. Well, the crew deserves the chocolate and with my hypersensitiveness to chocolate I'm better off without.
Well, after lunch I was on deck planning tomorrows work with Bosun and I was back in my cabin with a diet drink at 7 o'clock. I had suffered my way through yet another day. The boredom is killing me and I'm soon to start playing with matches. It was OK during last week when we had 3 ports, a little action and the time turns quick. But this sea passages are too much. I'm happy for the progress with the painting and chipping, but if it hasn't been for the deck I would have gone crazy a long time ago.
But soon we're in Panama with Crocodile action and stuff, and we need it after 3 months with only 2 load ports and long voyages. Well, I will move over to my TV sofa. STAY COOL!
Thursday 29th of November 2007 and I turned my alarm off and I felt s sleep again. At 0755 I woke up and I skipped my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. After my tea ( A very quick bucket) I checked the guys on deck. The work was in full swing since 7 and things are coming to place on deck. I expect the poop to be ready during the afternoon, and that's it with the house for this time, from now on it's all crew on tank deck.
OK, I admit it, don't tell anyone! I sneaked in to my cabin for a Diet Drink and I was inspecting my potted plant when I discovered a pink flower on the once so dry branch, the coke must have done wonders.
I had done a few changes in our ARRIVAL and DEPARTURE checklists and I went to Captain's office to discuss them.
- Now they want us to go loading in Europe, he said.
In the middle of the winter, I said while making a mental note to bring winter cloths next time signing on a ship.
- I don't have any panta longas, I said.
Captain came up with a solution:
- We can send your measurements to the Agent in Panama and he can arrange something.
|M/T Panamanian Pride
Our Nitrogen tank
|M/T Glorious Greek
Our Nitrogen tank
It was a nice afternoon and I was in a good mood, the house will be finished today. Not ready, but for this time, we will continue when the deck is ready.
I will see, maybe I will have one of the AB's to start chipping the house under the Nitrogen tank. There is not very much rust, but the rust has been running down from the lifeboat davit and it looks like shit. It's not a very good idea to chip on deck while transit the Panama Canal, maybe someone is complaining.
But there are plenty to paint on deck, all the hydraulic pipes are ready for painting and we need to grease as well. So we will keep ourselves busy no matter where we are.
At least the crew will be busy, I'm about jumping overboard in boredom.
|M/T Duke of Panama
M/T Greek Excellence
Just before 5 o'clock one of the AB's came looking for me in Captain's office. I had made some changes in our Arrival and Departure Check Lists and Captain had to send copies to the company and I had to change the pages in our SMS. No end to the paper work on a tanker in the year of our Lord 2007.
Well, anyway, it was time to mix the paint for the pool and the AB came to get me. We had run out of blue pain. Well, we're pretty much low on everything. But we mixed green and white paint and our Bosun and the AB started to paint the pool.
I was on D-deck watching them paint when Captain came with a Diet Drink. Watching the sun set in the Pacific, drinking diet drinks watching the crew painting. Yeah, it was a nice evening and it was nice to see C-deck getting ready. I took quite a few pictures, better doing it now when it looks nice.
Well, did I mention that this must be the best crew? Or as I asked our new OS yesterday:
|M/T Panamanian Joy
- Have you ever worked with a better crew?
- Well, I didn't think so.
OK, even though I'm jumping up and down with joy over our house I can't allow myself to forget about the tank deck.
Starboard side is hydro blasted and they have chipped deck almost up to the last bridge. Water blasting is in full swing on port side and then we will follow with the grit blaster, chipping machines and cup brushes. We have 10 tons of blaster grits waiting for us in Houston. This was ordered almost 3 months ago and if we continue like this we will find no use for the grits. The deck is soon ready.
Well, believe me, we will find use for the grits. Even though I'm not coming back I have plans. First of all I had put STANDING ORDERS in the crew's mess room. 8-12 watch will wash deck from bridge down every Sunday. Otherwise the deck will look like shit within 3 weeks.
When deck is ready the plan is to have two of the crew to walk around chipping for one day. They day after they will grit blast the spots and paint. If they do this a few times every month the deck will be in good order and look nice.
I really hope they don't let it go to the state it was in January 2007 again, it was a disgrace. One billion times worse than a certain web page. And when I was told how this web page had stirred up the feelings with the owners.
Yeah, it sounded so bad that I could not helping but imagine all the owners getting in to their cars and leave in a gypsy styled caravan with sawn-off shotguns to settle the scores with me.
Well, yet another day had come to an end. I received pictures from my LIFE COACH, he has become a father and I suspect that he wants' me to put the pictures on internet. But being on www.aladdin.st is not one of the human rights. You have to deserve it.
OK, one last thing before I turn off the computer. The pink flower has withered away, but I can see that there are several flowers just about to bloom so stay tuned for plenty more excitements!
Friday 30th of November 2007 and I woke up to a beautiful day. When I came down to the mess room I could hear the Christmas songs on full blast from the crew's day room.
- HEY! IT'S ONLY NOVEMBER!
Well, it was a beautiful day with some tropical rain passing. But we were lucky and the only time it rained on us was for a short moment after lunch. Painting and chipping all day. The AB working on the house before got up on the deck crane and I hope this one will look good in a few days.
OK, only a few hours left of November 2007 when I'm sitting in my cabin drinking a cold diet drink with my entertainment centre on full blast. I'm coming fresh from deck and the chipping gang are at the hatch to 1CT. And if you have been on a tanker you understand that they are almost at the fo'c's'le, maybe tomorrow. Then I will send in the brushing and painting gang. and this side will most likely be ready at arrival to US. Now we only need topcoat so we can spray the deck.
Our water blasting team will be ready with port side at arrival to US and if we get our blaster grits we can send in the grit blaster team.
- What does Aladdin say?
- WHAT A CREW WE HAVE! THE BEST!
Well, November had come to an end and we swing right over to December for some Christmas excitements. Hang on, it will be fun!
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured
links to the next page. So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!
คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้
Вы говорите по-русски? NJET PROBLEMA! Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!
E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.
Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.
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