Rewritten May 2011 while onboard M/T Ternvik
I took this picture when we were stucked in the ice January or February 1987
Bellatrix was built as M/S Thies 1972 by J.J. Sietas GmbH & Co KG SW, Hamburg. Yard no.710
Renamed BELLATRIX (1984), CAROLINA (1989), LISBETH (02)
Tuesday 2nd of December 1986 and I joined M/S Bellatrix in Kopparverks hamnen in Helsingborg. And once again I find some information from the letters I sent to my Grandparents.
First page on my first letter to my Grandparents from M/S Bellatrix
My writing left a whole lot to wish for
Wednesday 3rd of December 1986 and we left Helsingborg around 16 thirty. Yes, letters to my Grandparents and the writing left a lot to wish for.
Yes, my letters was terrible, I really couldn't come up with something to write about.
But now I know that we left Helsingborg for Finland, and I also know that we loaded in Helsingborg. But I don't know what we loaded.
But M/S Bellatrix was a bulk carrier so we loaded bulk cargoes as salt and grain. We loaded paper and wood in the cargo hold and when we loaded wood we could load on top of our hatches as well.
We passed through the Falsterbo Canal and we arrived to Finland around 8 o'clock in the evening on the 7th of December 1987.
And there were ice in the port and we had to start clear deck and our mooring equipment with big rubber and wooden clubs. But this was nothing compared to what was coming as the winter turned colder. The winter of 1986/ 87 must be one of my worst winters, at least the worst I have experienced onboard a ship. Well, we arrived to Finland in the evening but they didn't start the discharging until the day after.
I don't remember if it was in Finland, but I'm pretty sure it must have been in Finland. They were doing something with the lifeboat and it must have been in the beginning of December or there would have been too much ice.
And while writing this I think I remember that we launched the lifeboat when we arrived so everything would be ready for the day after. Just to start work after the breakfast.
And I, it must have been this time. But I'm not sure, but when we came out after breakfast the life boat was full of water. The plug was full of ice so the boat was filled with water during the night. Well, it was something like this and we had to lift onboard the life boat again.
I can't remember us ever launching the life boat again, it was too cold for any launch of any lifeboat the rest of the winter.
Look at the pictures, beginning of December and people are asking why I live in Thailand. Yeah, why? I just love 32°C below zero and pitch dark 24/7.
Thursday 4th of December 1986 and we left Finland around 22 thirty and we didn't had any
destination. Obviously we must have received loading instructions within a day or two because we arrived to Hammarby slussen at midnight on the 11th of December.
or the Hammarby lock in English is a lock between Årstaviken belonging to Lake Mälaren and Hammarby Lake which is part of the Baltic Sea .
Hammarby lock was built when they built the Hammarby Canal in the mid-1920s and opened in 1930. The lock is 115.00 m long and 17.40 m wide and depth of the gate threshold is 6.29 meters, the vertical clearance under the gate bridge ( bridge Skansbron ) is 10.4 meters, when it is closed.
Hammarbyslussen crossed by three bridges - Skansbron, Skanstullsbron and Johanneshovsbron.
We were bound for Köping to load artificial fertilizer to Denmark.
In order to get to Köping we need to get in to Lake Mälaren. There are two ways in to Lake Mälaren, through Hammarby slussen and the lock in Södertälje.
We arrived to Köping 9 o'clock in the morning on the 11th of Decmber but we didn't started to load until the 12th of December because there was another ship loading so we had to wait until they were ready.
We had a car onboard, an old SAAB. It was parked on the hatches and we used our deck crane to lift it ashore before opening our cargo hatches in ports.
I remember in Köping and the boredom drove us crazy, yes, sitting onboard isn't all that exciting. We decided to go explore Köping (and maybe buy some chocolate) so we took the car in to town. We arrived to the village square, there was the usual crowd of the locals.
There was a kiosk on the square and that was pretty much the only meeting point in Köping and this was about it when it came to things to do in Köping. So the locals were hanging around the kiosk throttling their mopeds and cars engines up and down in hope to impress the girls, or anyone else for that matter.
We went there to buy some newspaper and stuff (chocolate) and the locals where on the square in their "Hotted" cars. Mostly Volvo 142 and Amazon cars with Fuzzy Duzzy and double antennas. We could also see some cars with painted rims. Yes, they were busy being cool.
We drove a real wreck, our old SAAB was for sure not impressing anyone. Imagine how the car looked after a few years on top of the cargo holds. Bad weather and salt, so yes, the SAAB was a real junker. When we arrived to the kiosk the people couldn't believe their eyes.
- What the
After the first chock they started to laugh at our car. They were screaming of laughter. We left the square and we stopped around the corner.
- Let's show Farmer John how a hotted car should look!
We found a roll of toilet paper in the car. We took all the paper and we tied it around our antenna and we had a 20 meters flag hanging after us when we returned to the square. Now we were looking like "Raggare". The locals were staring at us in bewilderment like we came from another planet while we were spinning around the square with screamin' and smokin' tyres with the gravel and snow spraying behind us.
We were screaming of laughter, yes, I remember us laughing so we almost suffocated our self. After 2 or 3 times skidding around 360° we stopped and asked what kind of carburettor they had in their cars. Then we took off leaving Farmer John behind gaping at us.
I remember the day after, I was driving in to Köping to buy some stuff. As mentioned this old SAAB we had was very old and looked like, yeah, I don't know what.
I was stopped by the police on a routine control. I jumped out of the car slamming the door shut behind me. The police was asking for my driving license. While I was finding my license the police pointed at the car saying:
- Your car rolls away!!
I turned around and the old wreck had started to roll away. I tried to open the door, but in vain. I had to stop the car by grabbing the roof rack and I was hanging after the car until the car came to a halt.
- The car looks very old. It had seen the best of its days, the police said.
- It's a nice car, I said.
When finished with the police I had to work my way in to the car before I left.
Friday 12th of December 1986 and we left Köping around 8 o'clock in the evening. I had bought myself a Henly Hansen set during our stay, most likely why I had used the car to drive to town. According to one of my letters home it set me back by 539 SEK.
Saturday 13th of December 1986 and we arrived to Kalmar around 20 thirty for crew change. Our Cook and Mate signed off and we got a new Cook. The Mate was relieved by the twin brother of the Captain. It was 2 twin brothers owning M/S Bellatrix.
Monday 15th of December 1986 and we arrived to Aabenraa, Denmark 6 o'clock in the morning. And according to my letter home we had a drizzle during the day so the real cold had not yet started. And according to my pictures we were ashore with our new Cook.
Yes, it sounds unbelievable. What can there possible be to do in Aabenraa on a Monday night?
Not much I bet.I have a hard time beleiving that we had any fun. But according to our pictures we had dinner and we ended up on a pub and we don't look sad so it might be that we had a good time. And it dosen't look like we were dressed for the real winter so I guess the weather was pretty mild mid December 1987.
But the Christmas decorations were up so we know that the Christmas is approaching. We left Aabenraa on the 16th of December bound for Helsingborg to load for Bålsta in Lake Mälaren.
I remember our stay in Helsingborg because I was ashore to buy a CD player. They had 2 or 3 SONY models and 2 or 3 Philips models to choose from back in 1986. And back then they were very expensive and today they give them away for free. At least you can get 3 entertainment centers today for the same price I paid for the CD player. And back then I paid half or more of a month's salary, if I would have bought entertainment centers for half my salary today I would have got more than 1 or 2.
But that's how it works when you buy new technology. And to by CDs was another story, almost all music available on CD was classic music.
An old class mate to me and my brother lived in Helsingborg and he came onboard to visit my brother while we were laoding.
Sunday 21st of December 1986 and we arrived to Bålstad around 8 o'clock in the evening. And I read in my letter that we had much ice on our hatches and that we had spent the day removing ice with wooden clubs. Now it started to get cold for real.
The problem was the feet. Removing ice is a hard work and you're sweating, but you stand in the crushed ice that covers your foot and it is darn cold.
Tuesday 23rd of December 1986 and we arrived to Oxelesund 30 minutes past midnight. We were loading for England, obviously bulk cargo because it only took 3 to 4 hours to load in Oxelesund. And we can't have spent much time in Oxelesund because we arrived to Ystad on the 24th of December
The ship owners lived in Torekov just outside Båstad where I reside with my Grandparents back in 1986. The plan was to spend Christmas Eve at home so we stopped in Ystad on the Swedish South coast on our way to Gunness in England from Oxelesund.
As we can see on the pictures it was still day light at arrival to Ystad so it cannot have been later than 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Most likely mid day. We lifted ashore our orange SAAB and we left for Båstad.
The ship owner dropped my brother and me at our Grandparent's house before they continued to Torekov for their Christmas celebration. They would be back early morning on the 25 to pick us up for the return trip to M/S Bellatrix in Ystad. Well, we must have arrived to Båstad in the late afternoon, with the SAAB it would take 4 hours to drive from Ystad to Båstad.
We had the Christmas dinner and it was nice to get home for a few hours leaving the ship behind in Ystad.
So even if the car that we had on our hatches was a real junker it served its purpose, a mean of transportation. During my time onboard we never had any problem with the car and that says a whole lot about the quality of the car.
Snow, ice and salt, never mind. Our SAAB was always working.
I have never been a fan of Christmas food, but fresh cod fish with homemade Skånsk mustard is a hit. We always ate this on Christmas eve back then and I used to love fish. I always ordered fish when I was at a restaurant. Living on the coast and it was always fresh fish.
I used to fish at times back then and a fresh caught cod fish is something of the best you can eat.
My first ship and they were serving cod fish. YIPPEEE!! Yes, yippee ay ay motherf@cker. The cod fish had not been swimming for a very long time and I haven't liked fish since.
Well, anyway, and I don't mind the Ris ala Malta, but the rest I can live without.
Christmas Day 25th of December 1986 and the ship owners came to pick up my brother and me early morning and we left Båstad behind bound for Ystad.
And it was pretty nice to leave the Christmas behind, I really don't like Christmas and I always try to stay on the ship during Christmas and New Year.
It took us a few hours to get to Ystad and we lifted up the car on the ship and we left Ystad bound for Gunness in England. And we needed to stop for bunker in Skagen, Denmark.
First page on my second letter to my Grandparents from M/S Bellatrix
My writing left a whole lot to wish for
Boxing Day 26th of December 1986 and thanks to my letters home I know that we arrived to Skagen, Denmark 9 o'clock in the morning. We stayed in Skagen for an hour before we left for Gunness.
And as we can see on the right hand picture all snow and ice melted when we passed over the North Sea on the way to England. It was nice to get rid of the ice and it felt like spring even though it only was a few degrees above ZERO. We were not freezing, but it was blowing so it is something bad with the weather in Europe during the winter. Yes, I'm better off in Thailand during the winter.
Sunday 28th of December 1986 and we dropped anchor on River Humber at 6 o'clock in the evening. I think we're waiting for another ship to be ready up in Gunness before we can go alongside.
Tuesday 30th of December 1986 and our anchor was a weight around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. It took us 5 hours to go up the River Humber to Gunness
We arrived to Gunness 6 o'clock in the evening, but the Dutch ship on our jetty could not start her engine so we had to wait at another jetty.
New Year's Eve 31st of December 1986 and the Pilot came onboard quarter past 6 in the morning. The Dutch ship had managed to get the engine up and running so we could shift to the jetty.
And we didn't stay for many hours in Gunness, we started to load discharge in the morning and we left in the afternoon. The Pilot came onboard at 16:45, in the middle of the dinner.
Sunday 4th of January 1987 and we arrived to Höganäs 00:45 in the morning. I don't know if we dropped anchor or if we went alongside. But we were waiting for voyage orders. They were working on a voyage from Helsingborg to Husum when we left Gunness. But obviously nothing was confirmed.
I didn't write anything in my letter home about the dates between the 4th and 9th. But obviously we had loaded in Kopparverkshamnen in Helsingborg because I wrote home that we dropped our anchor at Blå Jungfrun, an island in the North of Kalmarsund on our way to Husum from Helsingborg.
I remember Helsingborg, my Brother signed off and the owners had asked me if I knew a good AB. I called an AB that I had been working with onboard M/S Nordic Link. He didn't mind to join M/S Bellatrix and he came onboard to relieved my brother.
I also remember that I went ashore to buy a new camera. A Minolta with a 28 to 135mm lens. Expensive, but I could buy it TAX free as I was working on a ship. And I have taken many shitty pictures with this camera and later on with my Canon EOS. For sure, if it wasn't for Photoshop I would not have had any pictures to put on my web page.
I also remember that it was very cold, now the winter had arrived full force and there were plenty snow. I'm not sure, but I think we got a new Cook onboard. The daughter to one of the owners. I don't remember, but the other Cook left us early. I don't think he liked to be on a ship. One time he was sea sick and he could not cook so I did the cooking.
I did fillet of beef with potatoes fried raw and an apple pie with vanilla custard as dessert.
And of course, this was an Apple pie ALADDIN SPECIAL without all the disgusting ingredients. (Apples) I only used the good stuff, almond paste, Digestive crumbs, nuts and butter. And plenty vanilla custard on top and you have a winner!
Of course, when the food was ready the Cook was ready to take over in the kitchen.
I don't remember what we loaded in Helsingborg, but it looks like gypsum on the picture. And if it wasn't for my old letters I would not even have known that we were discharging in Husum.
Friday 9th of January 1987 and I didn't wrote anything in my letter home about anything happening onboard between the 4th and 9th of January. But we dropped our anchor at Blå Jungfrun, an island in the North of Kalmarsund on our way to Husum.
We dropped anchor around 1 o'clock in the morning. Full storm and water spray over deck. Easy to imagine what happens when we have water blowing over deck when it is 20°C below ZERO.
The wind decreased and we left the anchorage in the afternoon. We don't know how long time it will take us to get to Husum, all depending on the ice. In the North of Baltic the ice was already thick and when the temp is between 20° C and 30°, C the water turns to ice very quickly, especially in the Baltic Sea where it is almost fresh water.
Sunday 11th of January 1987 and we got stuck in the ice during the night and we have to wait for the ice breaker to come and assist us. We have no chance to work our way through the ice by our own engine. So we just have to wait and we were busy removing ice on deck while waiting for the ice breaker. I will never forget how we froze while we were on deck. It was impossible to be on deck for any longer periods.
While waiting for the ice breaker we had ships passing us and they were going as close as possible trying to help us breaking the ice. But in vain, we didn't move many meters.
M/T OT Acid really came close to us trying to help. She tried her best to break the ice for us but we only managed to move a few meters before we were stuck in the ice again. I still remember when she passed us. I was freezing like never before and I really would have like to stay on her bridge drinking hot tea listening to music.
North of Sweden in the winter. As you can see it is sunshine when M/T OT Acid is approaching and when she had passed us it is dark. And this is in the afternoon so not many hours of day light in the winter.
The ice breaker Njord arrived around 1700, but we were soon stuck again. Njord was very busy helping the ships in the Baltic Sea or more likely in the Gulf of Bothnia. I'm not sure, but I call all the water East of Sweden for the Baltic Sea.
There were several ships stuck in the ice and Njord have to try to help them and organise them in to a convoy that follows the ice breaker through the ice.
And if you can't keep up you will be left behind until they have time to come and help you again. And of course, you have to keep an eye on the ship in front of you. If he get stuck you don't want to run in to him.
When Njord helped us the first time we got stuck again and we had to wait until she came back in the afternoon. Yes, it was dark like in the middle of the night, but it was in the afternoon. And we can see how Njord is coming in from the side and positioning herself in front of us breaking the ice as close to us as she can. Now we have to follow her in her track.
Sometimes we had to go all the way up to the ice breaker so we could send over a box of Vodka or Whiskey to the ice breaker. Not required, but as a thank you for the help gesture. And we could also get a wire from the ice breaker so she could pull us through the ice.
Monday 12th of January 1987 and we got help from the icebreaker Ymer today and we arrived to Husum around 6 o'clock in the evening. No work until tomorrow morning.
Tuesday 13th of January 1987 and we started to discharge 7 o'clock in the morning. And of course, while they were discharging we were busy removing ice from the deck. I remember one time and we had to rent a steam generator to free our hatches from ice.
The whole ship was covered with thick is and we could not open our hatches. We used big wooden sledge-hammers to knock the ice of the ship. While working we got hot except the feet. All the ice covered our feet so it was possible to work for about 10 minutes before going inside. Darn, it was really cold.
We will leave for Sundsvall when we're finished with the discharging in Husum. Sundsvall is South of Husum, just a few hours. Ymer was waiting next to us ready to assist us at departure and we left Husum around 6 thirty in the evening.
Wednesday 14th of January 1987 and we arrived to Sundsvall 3 o'clock in the morning. I remember Sundsvall very well, I was starting a new diet, bananas and soda water. A what we call a “KICK ARSE” diet. But first Semlor. I had asked our Agent to buy 20 Semlor for me.
And when I ordered Semlor the ship owners ordered Semlor as well, so we had plenty Semlor. Well, to make a long story short. The bananas turned old and I had to throw away an almost full box of bananas, and these banana boxes are not small. One good thing came out of the diet, I learned to drink soda water, I had never liked soda water before. But now I was drinking Club Soda like there was no tomorrow. So every time I open a Soda water I'm thinking of M/S Bellatrix.
I also remembered speaking with the Stevedores, it was 32°C below 0 and the Stevedores told me that if it became 33°C below 0 they had to stop loading. Minimum temperature the wires on the crane could handle was 32°C below 0. So just a wee bit colder and they would have to stop the loading.
I remember hoping for 33°C below 0 and we could have gone inside. But it would not have been like we would have waited until it was summer again. So we were better off getting the cargo onboard so we could leave for Denmark.
I also remember coming out on deck in the morning, darn cold, but the sun was shining. The port was covered in a thick layer of ice and they had an tug boat breaking the ice in order to prevent the ice to build up making it impossible to enter or leave the port. They would have to close the port and the paper mill would have lost millions every day. Well, it was OK to be on deck in the sun shine, but as soon as the tugboat passed it became very cold with the strong wind blowing over deck.
Breaking the ice and the warm water was exposed to the air.
- WARM WATER??!!
Yes, water with the temp of 10 to 15 ° C is warm comparing to 32° C below 0 in the air. So the “warm air” was blowing over deck and it was freezing cold. DARN! This was something that I could live without.
I also remember that M/S Lappland was loading wood behind us.
Unbelievable how much I can remember after 25 years. Well, anyway, they told me that she was loading a record breaking cargo of wood. I don't remember how much it was, but never before had so much wood left Sundsvall in one pop.
And one thing that I will never forget is when we were sitting watching TV and suddenly the ship capsize, or almost. Luckily enough she felt on the jetty. I swear to God, I was out of the mess room in to my cabin to get my camera and on the jetty within a very few seconds. I thought that we were going to capsize. DARN!
They had pumped out ballast, but we were stuck in the ice so of course, we didn't get any list. Not until one side was empty and the ship broke free from the ice. All the Stevedores left the ship, luckily no one got hurt. East to imagine what can happen if you're standing on the hatch or in the cargo hold when the ship tips over.
I don't remember when we left, but most likely in the middle of the night, assisted by Ymer.
North of Sweden in the winter. These pictures are obviously taken at different occasions. I remember us, well, I wrote it in my letters home. We were assisted by Ymer on our way to Husum and on our way from Husum to Sundsvall. And we were most likely assisted by Ymer when we left Sundsvall.
We were going to Denmark with the paper pulp from Sundsvall. Discharging in Nestved and Odense. And it took us 6 days to get to Nestved, not so bad regarding all the ice.
Of course, we were busy removing ice on deck, a never ending job. As you can see on the above picture our cargo hatches is covered in ice. The wire and chains to the hatches are 5 times as thick with the ice and it is impossible to open the hatches with all the ice. So we need to remove the ice or it will be impossible to load and discharge.
Our wires broke all the times and I had to splice new eyes on the wires we had to open and close the hatches with.
Not very easy when it is
20 ° C below zero. But at least I could sit inside
I had to splice new wires all the time for our hatches. They broke all the time. While splicing I could dream about the summer and having a good time.
It became dark early afternoon, well, not very long after it became day light. One afternoon we got stuck in the ice so we put down a ladder and the owners inspected the ship while I kept myself busy taking pictures.
Well, the light wasn't the best, and of course, it could have been a better guy operating the camera. And I'm pretty sure that 25 years in a box haven't made anything to improve the quality of the slides.
Yes, it was very cold outside and it was not much better in the accommodation, well, at least not in
the shower. Yeah, you needed skates to go have a shower. Imagine going for a hot GOOD MORNING shower, straight from bed in to a freezer.
or Aurgelmer is the giant of whom the world was created in norse mythology. Ymer, a preexistent giant created from hoarfrost from Nifelheim and sparks from Muspelheim. A cow, Audhumbla was also created from the frost and she fed Ymer with her milk.
Ymir's descendants arose while he slept: a man and a woman emerged in his left hand while his feet beget a son with 6 heads. These offspring became giants ancestors.
It's said that he was slayed by the sons of the god Bore: Odin, Vile and Ve, who created the world from his dead body.
Well, I can't remember the ice being in the shower for very long. A few days that I didn't jump out of bed in a hurry to get a hot shower.
And I had had enough of ice for a life time, we're doing
nothing but removing ice and splicing wires all day long and when I'm coming inside for a hot shower the darn shower is frozen. Back then I was young so it was no problem, nothing really was any problem back then. OK, I could not stand the cold, but a frozen shower today, more than I would have been able to stand.
In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr is father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed Van sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.
Njörðr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Njord, Njoerd, or Njorth.
At least I can't remember being cold in our cabins. And that's always something. And this was the first time for me to experience ice like this, for sure, I had seen ice before.
And when I was a kid we used to fish on the ice. But I never had experience ice breaker assistance before.
Gulf of Bothnia was covered in ice, and while searching the internet for ice maps from 1987 I discovered that the winter of 86/ 1987 was a record breaking winter. Not since the winter of 1942
1987 was an extreme ice winter and area of 405000 km³ was covered in ice. That means that there was only 15000 km³ open water between Gulf of Bothnia and a line between Grimstad and Skagen. (Seinä & Palusuo, 1996)
Well, I also found 3 interesting pictures at SMHI's web page. On the satellite pictures below we can see how quick the water freeze in the Gulf of Bothnia. These pictures are from February 2011.
So the winter of 1987 was the coldest since 1942-43 and this is a record I don't want to experience again.
And as we can see on the picture that I found in Helsingborgs Dagblad the winter of 1942-43 was very severe as well. Well, 15000 km³ of open water in 1987 and they don't have any records from back in 1942 and 1943.
Second World War 2 and people had other things to think about than to measure how much of the Baltic Sea that was covered in ice.
15000 km³ so it was pure luck if we managed to fins open water, and if we did we were soon running in to ice again. But as you can see on my pictures below we managed to find some spots of open water in the Gulf of Bothnia.
Well, it was nice to get inside after a full day on deck removing ice. Our day room was not the biggest, if we were 3 sitting there it was full. It was 2 benches with a table between them. I doubt that they were more than 1, 1 meter wide.
Just hit the PAGE UP button a few times and have a look at the first picture. Now you have an idea of what I'm talking about. And the TV was in a cupboard so this was not a place where you spent a few hours watching a movie.
I can't remember us watching TV, except for the time in Sundsvall when the ship was capsizing.
Otherwise we spent most of the time in our cabins talking with each other. Yes, I'm not very found of watching TV, we have ONE life so why waste it in front of a TV?
Now a days we never sit and talk about the good ol' times, only watching TV and the last few years the crew is in their cabins playing with their computers.
And well, I don't know, I wish I had a computer and a digital camera back then. Now I have to stick with my old slides and of course, they are better than nothing. But I wish I had more pictures and of a better quality. I had a very good camera, but my skills were not what I wished. And with a digital camera it is just to take pictures until you get a good one.
Back then I had to take a picture hoping that it would be good. I always went to the photo shop to leave my films for processing.
And I remember always being excited when I went to the photo shop to pick up my slides after 1 or 2 weeks waiting. And many, well, most of the times I was disappointed when I looked at the pictures.
On Bellatrix they had a quarter to 12 routine, before every lunch they had a meeting on the bridge for a schnapps.
And as it was not socially accepted to drink diet drinks back then I stayed in my cabin.
Or well, I was most likely in the mess room eating. Or even more likely, in my cabin eating bananas and drinking soda water BEFORE going to the mess room to eat.
I remember one time when our Cook had a fire in the oven. Instead of using the CO2 extinguisher next to the oven she ran away to get Captain.
Captain came running with a powder extinguisher and he discharged all the powder in to the oven. Have you ever seen a powder extinguisher in action?
Well, if you have you know what a mess this turned out to be. And if you haven't seen any powder extinguisher in action just have a look on the above pictures from my fire fighting course in Go:teborg 2009. Yes, the kitchen was full of powder and if you try to use a vacuum cleaner with this power you destroy the vacuum cleaner. The powder is very fine and goes straight through the bag and f@cks up the vacuum cleaner.
Well, we left the Gulf of Bothnia and we never returned when I was onboard, at least not what I can remember. We were bound for Nestved and Odense in Denmark to discharge the paper pulp.
I have pictures from when we bunkered outside Kalmar and I don't know when it was. But on one of the pictures I can see the Ölands bridge crossing Kalmarsund behind us so I guess it was when we were on our way to Denmark. I doubt that we did a 390° in the ice outside Kalmar so my guess is that we came from the North. Obviously the pictures are taken South of the bridge.
Tuesday 20th of January 1987 and according to my letter home we arrived to Nestved, Denmark around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We were only discharging a little bit of the paper pulp in Nestved
Wednesday 21st of January 1987 and we started to discharge in the morning. I don't know why we waited to start discharging for 1 day. But we left 1 o'clock in the afternoon and it is 6 to 10 hours to Odense. But we expect it to take longer due to the ice.
As we can see on the ice map above the whole of Kattegat and Skagerrak was covered in ice. There was a Danish ice breaker assisting ships and I didn't even know that Denmark had ice breakers. For sure, they do not have to use them very often. I read in my letter that we spent the whole day removing ice from deck.
It was very cold and after 10 minutes on deck we had to go inside again to prevent freezing to death.
Seriously, after 10 to 15 minutes on deck your feet were hurting so it was impossible to move and we had to go inside to get warm again. Terrible and I will hopefully never have to experience something like this again.
Tursday 22nd of January 1987 and we arrived around mid day. And I see in my letter that I had planed to go ashore for a haircut.
Well, according to my pictures we drank beer and I also remember us drinking in my cabin before we went ashore. I also remember me falling on deck on our way ashore. I had a beer in my hand, but I managed to hold on to the bottle.
And I hope I felt because of the slippery deck and not because we were a wee bit tipsy when we went ashore. I remember one of the places we went to, at least I think so.
I also remember that I got a letter from a friend and he was in South America and here we are in the middle of the f@cking winter. Yes, I was jealous. I mean who wouldn't have been? The temperature difference would have been in the range of 40 to 50° between the Baltic and South America.
Well, according to my letters we left Odense the day after bound for Falkenberg to load wood for England. How exciting can it be? Not very! Loading wood in Falkenberg doesn't make it very high on my “what I wish for” list.
Well, I think it was in Falkenberg. We went ashore and we were watching a movie. Howard the Duck and I remember this movie as very funny.
Hmm, maybe I should try to find it again and keep it in my HANGOVER DVD collection.
Loading wood and there were nothing for us to do until we were finished with the loading on top of the hatches. Then we had to lash all the cargo. So we were busy removing ice from deck while they were loading.
I also remember that we spend a lot of time in the engine putting up boards that we were going to use to hang up tools on.
Tuesday 27nd of January 1987 and no entries in my letter between the 22nd and 27th. But on the 27th I can read that we left Falkenberg at 17 thirty and that we had secured wood on our hatches all day long.
It was really nice to leave Sweden behind and as soon as we had left Skagen, Denmark behind we got rid of the ice. Yes, we had to pass Skagen before the ice disappeared. Skagerrak and Kattegat was covered in ice.
But the ice on the ship didn't melt for several days and we arrived to England covered in ice. It was a very severe winter in Britain as well. The Stevedores were freezing like never before and they had a big fire going in a drum on the jetty. I went over for a chat.
I went over for a chat.
- It's nice to have a fire when the winter comes, I said.
- It's winter now!
Here these guys are freezing to death and I'm coming along in shorts telling them that it will be nice for them to have their fire up and going when and if the winter comes along.
DARN! Coming from 32°C below ZERO to between 0°C and + 3°C was like coming to the summer for me and I had forgotten that it was winter. For me, arriving from Sweden, this was like a nice spring day with a bonfire in the garden.
But soon we had to return to Sweden and the winter. It was terrible and I really wanted to go home, but we had some good times as well, going ashore having a good time. Most of the weekends when we were alongside there was no work because the stevedores didn't work on the weekends.
If I remember it right we loaded in England before going back to Sweden. Or if we discharged at 2 places. But the picture of the AB sleeping in my cabin is marked King's Lynn.
Well, and after searching the internet I'm pretty sure that King's Lynn is the place where we discharged the wood. It is a little bit up a river, but I'm not sure where we were. But I remember us going ashore for a few beers, well, maybe more than a few.
We had a gangway from the poop deck
And we usually have it laying on top of the gunwale and then we have a ladder up to the gangway
gunwale (also gunnel)
noun (often gunwales) the upper edge or planking of the side of a boat or ship.
Well, this time we used the gate in the gunwale and thus the gangway were lying straight on deck. No ladder necessary so we had this on the gunwale next to the gate. We were on the jetty waiting for our Cook, and jeez, did she have bad eyesight. Her glasses were 2 inches thick and she was almost blind.
Luckily enough we were on the jetty waiting because she went up the ladder and was just about to step overboard when we stopped her.
I remember when we walked to the pub and we stopped to wait for her. She just walked right in to me, and I'm not a very small guy. We returned to Sweden, Västerås, for loading or discharging? I have no idea.
Wednesday 11th of February 1987 and I signed off in Västerås. My Grandmother just died so I signed off and I took the train back home to Båstad.
I don't remember who relieved me and it is not important. I only remember that I arrived home in the evening, at least it was dark. Hmm, February in Sweden and it could as well have been in the afternoon.
I remember taking a picture of the moon from the small bridge crossing Örebäcken when I walked home from the train station
And when I checked my pictures I discovered that I had taken a picture of a gas stop from the train. Yes, what a waste of film. But this one was a wee bit interesting. Gulf changed name to Q8 and then it became OK Q8 when Q8 and OK got together.
And on the above picture we have all 3 brands, only OK Q8 is missing.
is a blues band formed in Lund 1980 by the groups singer Mats Zetterberg. Mats Zetterberg has background as singer in the new wave group Fiendens Musik and in the later group Svenska Musikrörelsen. Bluesblocket was in the start Zetterbergs Swedish lyrics to John Mayall songs and the groups only album Bluesblocket was released 1981 on Zetterbergs own label Tredje Tåget and pressed in 1800 copies. During Bluesblocket's first period 1980-86 and the second after the reunion 2006 has at least 50 musicians been members in the group and a lot of artists has cooperated with Bluesblocket live as Peps Persson and Troels Jensen.
Mats Zetterberg has been music critic in the Swedish evening paper Aftonbladet and in the magazine Musikens Makt. He also owned the Lund record store Living in the Past in many years until its close down 2006.
Well, when I came home I had a new record waiting for me. I had been looking for the LP everywhere and while on M/S Bellatrix I had been in a second hand record shop in Helsingborg looking for the record.
First time I heard them was when my friend played a cassette, yes back then there were no CDs, only LPs and tapes. Must have been 1981 or 82 and he had been watching Bluesblocket at Holger Danske in Helsingør and they sold tapes and records at the concert.
Obviously not too well known because I had failed to find the record. And now, 2011, thanks' to the internet I found out that they only made 1800 copies of the record. Well, anyway, at the last record shop in Helsingborg I got a hot tip.
- Call Mats Zetterberg and ask if he have a copy.
I got the number and I called Mats Zetterberg and he sent me a signed record.
Friday 13th of February 1987 and according to my pictures I spent Friday evening in Helsingborg.
There wasn't much happening in Båstad, at least not during the winter. A place called Gustav 5 and a place called Spettet and that was pretty much it. So I had to go visit friends in Helsingborg
In the summer it was a wee bit different, then they came from Helsingborg to Båstad.
Of course, I don't remember what we did in Helsingborg on the evening of the 13th of February 1987. But there is a picture of me and an AB from M/S Nordic Link when we're drinking beer at Dickens. But we started at another friend's apartment.
And I'm pretty sure the evening ended on my friend's sofa.
Tuesday 17th of February 1987 and I took an early morning train to Halmstad where I joined M/S Ewaria and I was soon off to new adventures.
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