Tuesday 12th of January 2010 and official time for the flag change 09:30. So at 09:30 we were officially on a Norwegian ship. But there was still plenty work to do before DNV and the Norwegian Maritime Authorities was satisfied with us and the change to Norwegian flag.
The DNV guy and the guy from the Norwegian Maritime Authorities came to my office.
- What the ??!!
Coming to disturb me, like I have nothing to do!
They wanted to see the ODME running. When we finished with the ODME they wanted to make sure that the gas alarm in the pump room was working like it should. They kept me busy until lunch time. We tested emergency fire pump and we released the lifeboat so it was nice to go for a very quick lunch.
It was only me and the Chief Engineer at the lunch table. He joined us yesterday and the other Chief Engineer signed off. We were talking about the good old time when suddenly the FART BLASTER® went off. He looked very angry and I turned my chair upside down to show him the FART BLASTER®.
- What the ??!! Where the.....?
I could not see the FART BLASTER® so I turned all the chairs upside down. Still no sign of the machine.
- Where the is the darn thing?
Our Chief Engineer was not happy, and that's even though there should have been an alarm going off when he heard our Cook and Mess Man screaming of laughter in the galley.
- Hmm, I don't know who pushed the remote?
Our Cook was in the doorway as always nagging about my diet and Mess Man was around laughing. Well, our Cook likes to be on the internet and I suspect this is the reason for her to hang in the door way nagging at me expecting me to take pictures.
Our Surveyor came onboard around 2 o'clock and no difference from the other people coming onboard.
- WOW!! NICE SHIRT!!!
- Well, I know!
OK, if our Chief Engineer's face was priceless at the lunch table I don't know what to call the Surveyor's face in my office. I had confiscated the FART BLASTER® from our Cook after lunch. I had forgotten that I had it in my back pocket. Yeah, you understand, our Cook was still in control over the remote. And our Surveyor looked like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Our Chief Engineer was in my office and he looked at me like I was something the cat had dragged in. Yeah, he was still unaware of the FART BLASTER®
But of course, our Cook was outside my office screaming of laughter. Well, I had to bring out the FART BLASTER® to show for the Surveyor and Chief Engineer. exactly the same reaction as yesterday. They cracked up smiling.
- You thought it was for real?
- You never know, the Surveyor said.
- Well, maybe on a PanamaGreek ship. But now you�re on a Swe..well, Norwegian flagged ship and something like that would never happen.
Pilot was ordered for 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The original plan was to shift to Torshamn and continue the flag change there. But change of plans, we will go to the anchorage. DARN! I will not be able to go get my confirmation that I have emigrated from Sweden. And I will not get my socks. That was the first thing I asked the guy coming from the office this morning.
- Have my socks arrived yet?
- No, but the whole office is keeping an eye out for them.
So we had to paint the new homeport on the stern before we left the jetty. So I asked our Bosun to take his best guy and to get right on to it.
Pilot or not, we cannot leave before the new homeport is painted on the stern. So we had to wait for the crew to be ready with the painting on the stern before we can leave for the anchorage.
I took on my fur hat and I went out to check the progress on poop deck. They were painting on the last letter so we expect to be leaving on time, well, maybe a few minutes late.
Our Cook was on poop deck taking pictures.
- What??!! Aren't you home by now?
- I will soon leave.
Her reliever arrived earlier this afternoon together with 2 Deck Officers, 1 Engineer and 1 Electrician. Our Swedish AB will not be relieved so I have one ass less to kick on deck.
While on poop deck I could see the Pilot coming on the jetty. Pilot was onboard 5 minutes before 4 o'clock and that was the same time all the people left the ship. Our crew was ready with the painting on the stern and they had the platform and equipment back up on deck a few minutes after 4 o'clock.
well, it will be very nice to leave Göteborg behind. Well, I wished I had got the paper s from the national registration so I could have sent it to the company. Well, I guess it will be taken care of. My friend is on his way to America, but his wife is home so there will be no problem. But I need to scan my documents so I can get them onboard.
- Hmm, what to do..............
- YEAH! I CAN TRY TO CALL J!!
We left Göteborg 15 minutes or so after 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we expect it to take about 1 hour to the anchorage. It was no good news coming down for dinner, it sees likeit will be very hard to keep my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet on the right track. Our Cook is gone and our mess Man started right off.
- Today it's ice cream!
- I'm on diet!
- We have new Swedish bread!
- I'm on diet!
- We have a new Cook and he won't mind!
- HEY! We must look good if we're going to the Fort when we sign off!!!
Arriving to the anchorage and I had our Bosun and his best man to secure the life boat before they finished for the day. I was to check on them before going to bed, I have been up since 5 and I was a wee bit tired. But never mind, I suspect that I will find it hard to fall asleep.
Wednesday 13th of January 2010 and I woke up 20 minutes after 7. Strangely enough I managed to fall asleep yesterday so I was thoroughly rested when I got out of bed.
Well, first morning with Norwegian flag. Yesterday we had 3 Norwegians in the crew. That was while we had Swedish flag, they got kicked ashore when we changed to Norwegian flag. Now it's only 2 Swedish, 1 Polish and the rest is Filipinos.
When I woke up it was pitch dark, but as the sun came up I saw that the sea was covered in ice. For sure, that was a long time ago I experienced ice on Skagerack and Kattegat.
Reviewing my files and I had to go back to the winter of 1986 /87 to find any pictures of ice on Skagerack. Ice breakers in Skagerack and it were darn cold.
I spent the morning with paper work and cargo calculations. After lunch we got a cargo of FO from Swinoujscie, Poland for orders, most likely ARA.
I was in my bed reading Thai when I heard them start the engine. Well, nice to leave the anchorage, but it would have been nice to stay for another hour so they could have finished the CALL SIGN on the life boat. Now they only did 1 side because when we left it started to blow and it was impossible to keep the paper stencil on place.
Well we expect to arrive to Swinoujscie tomorrow afternoon so I hope we can make the last stencil then. But I have other and bigger problems on my mind. I ran in to our Mess Man when I came to the galley for a cup of tea.
- Hey, try my cake. I just made it!
And how can I say no? He is a nice guy and I don't want to disappoint him so I had a piece of his chocolate cake. Delicious! But it was strange, he cut 2 pieces and when I reached for the small one he told me that this was for him. Well, I didn't want to disappoint him.
Thursday 14th of January 2010 and we were approaching Swinoujscie anchorage when I got out of bed 20 minutes before 8. Today is the first day of my new life and it started well. A cup of tea and 2 slices of dark bread. For lunch: A plate of salad and I left the table after 3 minutes.
I got dressed and I left for a lunch constitutional on deck. Darn, it was cold and I could see that there was coming ice on the sea. If it continues like this the Baltic Sea will soon be covered in ice. Latest news is that we will go inside tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. Good, I have plenty to do.
I finished my cargo plan yesterday, but it was a waste of time. Well, not entirely, but we don't know how much we're going to load so I will have to complete the darn loading plan tomorrow when we're alongside when I have the density, temp and most important, how many tonnes they have for us.
Well, my new life and the day started out very fine. Instead of eating I was on deck walking. OK, our Chief Engineer was not very impressed. And he was sure to let me know at the dinner. OK, I admit, I was bragging a wee bit, but it was unnecessary for our Chief Engineer to be so harsh.
- Fer f@cks sake! You call that exercise?
- Yeah, what?
- I saw you and you were hardly moving!
Our Cook has left us, but it seems like Captain has relieved her. Good, found a note on my desk and from now on there is no joking around in the slop chest. The only thing I'm allowed to come near is Ramlösa and snus. That's the spirit!
When I finished my dinner, salad only, and I left for the galley just to find cheese cake with whipped cream and raspberries. Didn't take long before I heard a roar from the mess room.
- WHAT ARE YOU UP TO??!!
It took 3 seconds and he was in the galley.
- IF YOU'RE QUIET FOR MORE THAN 5 SECONDS IT MEANS
THAT YOU'RE EATING SOMETHING!!
Well, he was right about the eating. I was stuffing myself with cheesecake, whipped cream and raspberries. But the talking bit, I might talk a little bit. But it's not like I'm eating every time I'm not talking.
He and the Chief Engineer wanted me to join them in the gym.
- I wish I had the time!
But the idea was not that bad.
- Hmm, the gym might be the place to be if I want quick results.
But I will go back to the gym when I'm back home. And one of my Teachers sent me an e-mail 3 days ago. She was looking forward to play badminton when I was back home. “I believe you can runvery quickly now when you have succeeded in your diet”
Well, I guess she will be in for a surprise when Porky “The Anti Aircraft Balloon” is back in town. Hmm, maybe I should stay onboard for an extra few months.
Friday 15th of January 2010 and we were still anchored when they called me, and today they called me 10 minutes late. Never mind, Chief Officer is always stand-by for action.
The first thing I noticed when coming to the galley for my tea was that our Mess Man was “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” ready. e as supposed to start with the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” yesterday, but he was out of battery in his trimmer. But today he was ready.
- I will apply it in the afternoon, he said.
- That's the spirit!
Well, I was supposed to sign off beginning of January and by then I should have had more than half of my bottle of “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” left. It was easy to promise our Mess Man that he was more than welcome to use my stuff. But now I'm running low, at least if I will be here until March.
But I have promised him and it would be awkward to say no now. Well, I have enough snus. And last time in Göteborg I received yet another box that I'm storing in the freezer. So I have snus to last me for a few months.
We had our anchor up at 09:40 and our Pump Man and I had done all the pre arrival tests so I was drinking tea when our Pilot came onboard 15 minutes after 10.
We had all fast at our jetty 15 minutes before lunch time. It was a gloomy and grey day in Swinoujscie and it was exactly as grey as I remember it from back in the days when Poland was a part of the East block under the wings of Soviet union.
Well, it was cold and I suspect we will have plenty ice next time coming back to the Baltic sea. This morning the anchorage was covered in ice. A big change since arrival yesterday, then the sea was covered in ice slush. But no wind and cold have turned the ice slush to an ice layer.
Approaching the jetty and I saw a very small cargo arm and I understood that it would take long time to load here. When we were at the jetty they told us that we had to connect the hose and not the yellow arm. The hose looked like a garden hose.
- What the ??!! A hose like that is what I use for milkshake!!
And I was correct, when the Surveyor and Loading Master came onboard I was told that they would “maybe” be able to load us with maximum 350m³/h.
- I'm in no hurry!
We started to load at 13:30 and an hour or so later they changed our nomination to MIN/MAX 9300 MT to be discharged in Aarhus, Denmark. Well, 2000 tonnes less and we will be ready a few hours earlier. Hopefully, we will be able to leave in the afternoon arriving in the morning to Aarhus and we can dodge all the night work.
We had problems with a few of the remote valves. They refused to open and I called our Fitter and we went down to the engine room where we can open and close the valves, don't ask me what it called, but it's something with the hydraulic. But it was fixed in a jiff and we could operate the valves from the computer again.
I ran in to our Mess Man in my cabin in the afternoon.
- Yo! I took some of the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF”!
He was really delirious with expectations. I explained that there would not be any noticeable changes over night. Or as in my case, for several months. But I refuse to give up anytime soon.
Of course, I had missed my lunch constitutional due to the arrival. and I had had no chance to study my Thai books. So my plan was to study after dinner, but I ended up in an SMS exchange with one of my Teachers and I could not concentrate on the Thai studies. Amazing with SMS, during the time it takes me to finish one SMS with my sausage fingers I receive 1 million SMS.
I remember one time, hmm, must have been a few years ago, when a girl wanted to chat with me. We used to exchange pleasantries on the phone or send e-mail. Good, but she suggested a chat on internet. I never done it before, but I managed to set up an account or whatever they call it. We were ready to start and the first message or line, I don't know what they call it, came up on my screen.
Beautiful girl wrote: How are you?
Aladdin wrote: Good, and how are you?
So far so good, but then the messages started to pop up in an ever increasing rate.
Beautiful girl wrote: Blah-blah-blah........Blah-blah-blah........Blah-blah-blah.......? Blah-blah-blah.......?
Aladdin wrote: I don't .........
Next message was on the screen before I even had a chance to write my first few letters.
Beautiful girl wrote: And....Well.........Blah-blah-blah.....??? Blah-blah-blah.......? Blah-blah-blah.....?
Aladdin wrote: .....know. Bu..........
Beautiful girl wrote: Blah-blah-blah.....??? Blah-blah-blah.......? Blah-blah-blah.....?
Aladdin wrote: ....t maybe.....
Beautiful girl wrote: Blah-blah-blah.....??? Blah-blah-blah.......? Blah-blah-blah.....?
Aladdin wrote: .... what the .....
I gave up and disconnected. I had received millions of questions before I even had had a chance to answer the first one. So it was very confusing and I sent an e-mail to explain that I gave up the chatting idea.
- You're not used to it!
- Hell, yeah. And I won't chat again. I can still afford a phone call.
Well, anyway, when I was ready with the SMS business, always nice to hear from my Teachers, I returned to my school books. When I finished my studies I had a shower and I moved out in to my living room where I poured my last glass of diet drink. I wrote a few stupid words on my web page before I finished a movie I started yesterday.
Yeah, my last diet drink. When I got them onboard in France I was the king of the hill handing out bottles of diet drinks to the left and to the right. Well, now I regret it, would be nice with another diet drink. So I will be off looking for my diet drinks first thing tomorrow morning.
- WHERE ARE MY DIET DRINKS??!!
I discovered our Mess Man on cloud 9 when I came down to make myself an evening salad.
- THE “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” IS VERY GOOD!! SMELLS VERY GOOD!!
- Do you see any difference?
- YOU PROMISE TO BRING A FEW BOTTLES FOR ME IN MANILA?
- Of course.
- NO! BUT IT SMELLS VERY GOOD! IT'S MADE FROM THAI FLOWERS, RIGHT?
- Yes, I think so!
- Maybe your wife will take it, Pump Man told him.
- Why? Is she getting bold? I asked.
- No but it smells very good.
- Well, then she will smell even better if she use Nutella, I suggested.
I was almost choking on my salad when our Mess Man asked if my Teacher would like him when he looked like Bob Marley.
- What the ??!!
- Yeah, I saw your Teacher on internet and she is very beautiful.
Well, I had to leave, but our Mess Man had promised to bring a bowl of salad to my office for lunch and for dinner from as per tomorrow. So I will never have to see any temptations in our mess room again. And I'm confident that this will do wonders for my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet.
Saturday 16th of January 2010 and we were still loading when I got out of bed 20 minutes before 8 o'clock in the morning. A shower and I were in my office for my morning tea. When I finished my morning tea I checked the last stuff in our hospital. We changed from Swedish to Norwegian hospital stuff in Göteborg. So I need to make sure we have all the medicine and equipment onboard.
And when we changed from Swedish to Norwegian flag I became the ship�s Doctor.
- What the does Aladdin knows about being a Doctor.
- Well, let me tell you that I'm supposed to have the proper education.
OK, seriously, I'm supposed to have the doctor's training. Take care of sick people and do surgery. But, OK, don't tell anyone!
- Shh, I can't stand seeing blood, I'm suffering from vertigo, baldness and a severe eating disturbance.
Well, anyway, my first hospital training was back in Sweden some 20 years ago. And I was not looking forward to it. We have had the lessons in school and when they talked about broken arms and stuff I almost fainted, yeah, just by the thought of it. So I was not looking forward to start working at the Emergency ward at Shalgrenska Sjukhuset in Göteborg. I stepped inside the hospital on morning and they asked what I wanted.
- I'm here to learn some serious surgery.
- OK, wait a minute.
I was waiting for a minute and I could not believe my luck when no one showed up after 1 minute and I left. Yeah, I went back home without any backward glances.
I have to go to the hospital every fifth year for training and I was at Östra Sjukhuset in Göteborg back in 1995 or 96. First day and there were 3 different girls coming in to the hospital with a few hours between them. All three had been kicked by a horse. Not the same horse. But when they brought in the first one I almost fainted.
Well, luckily enough the staff at the hospital put me at the medicine department. And when there was nothing to do I practiced stitching on a rubber arm.
But well, so far, knock on wood, I have managed to get by without seeing any blood. And I remember Argo Pallas, we had a riding squad from South Africa onboard and they were visiting me in the hospital every day. I guess that they were not spoiled with medical service in their home towns or whatever they called it back then.
They must have thought I had direct contact with God himself. They were in pain and I cured them in a jiff. Well, I guess the most important was that someone cared about them. And back then, no white people would have cared F@CK ALL about them. So I guess the Swedish Doctor was pretty exotic for them.
Well, I guess I can't dodge the hospital this time so maybe I have to do it next time I'm home. But I prefer my Thai studies and my courses in Manila.
- I guess I'm too busy to do the hospital stuff next time I'm home.
When I was finished in the hospital I went to my office and our Mess Man came with my salad. Yeah, we had an agreement yesterday, he would bring the salad to my office and I can dodge the temptations in the mess room. And of course, our Mess Man asked about my Teacher, again. Well, he is so confident since he started with the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF”. And who can blame him.
- Do you think she likes me?
- I have no clue! I asked if she was going to charge me for the lessons after we got married, and I never heard from her again!
Well, I bought 4 pairs of ECCO sandals a few years back. 100 US per pair and I could as well have put fire to the money. Daylight robbery. I remember when I went down to my local 7/11 back home. I took my new pair of ECCO sandals. When I reached the 7/11 200 meters away the soles were history. I thought that this must have been an accident in production and I tried the second pair. Same story and the third pair was the pair I brought when I joined Ek-River and it has been like walking bare foot since day 2 onboard.
So I'm a wee bit grumpy walking around and now I really need a pair of new sandals. And I had the opportunity today. We are a mere 5 minutes walk away from the free ferry across the river Oder or whatever the name is.
We should have a meeting at 2 o'clock in the afternoon so I was pretty confident that I would be back in time. So I had my bowl of salad and I took off towards the ferry. And once again it paid off to have slept my way through 3 years of German studies in school.
- Excuse me, do you know the way to the ferry?
- Sprechen sie Deutch?
- Ein bisschen.
He explained how to get to the ferry and I reached the ferry a few minutes later.
It took about 5 minutes to cross the river with the ferry. And we arrived to the, well, I guess, city centre of Swinoujscie. I could spot a few shops from the ferry.
I had to walk for 2 minutes before I reached the first shop selling shoes. I went inside and after just 4 seconds in the shop I could sense that they wouldn't have what I was looking for. It looked like a fashion shop in East Germany anno 1975. But it won't hurt to ask.
The girl working in the shop was busy with a guy complaining about a pair of shoes he had bought. And by looking at the shoes I guessed he had bought the shoes for his child. Well, I started to get impatient jumping up and down and I caught sight of his shoes.
Obviously he had bought the shoes for himself, he had the smallest feet I ever seen. Never mind, I had no time hanging around so I left.
I made a quick stop at the shop next door, yeah, what a waste of time.
I passed a shop which gave the impression off having good quality stuff on the shelves. I asked the girl if they had sandals. She just gaped at me in disbelief before she let out a hissing sound from her mouth.
- Well, do you know where they sell sandals?
Still the same, well, at least it sounded the same.
OK, I'm better off with some of my home made Polish.
- Sellski sandalski aroundski hereski??!!
- WE DON'T HAVE SANDALS! In English
- What the ??!! OK, I'm out of here!
Would have been much easier if she had speaking English from the beginning, at least I wouldn't have had to waste 2 minutes in her shop.
Next shop and it took me some 10 minutes to get the old lady to understand my home made Polish. But then she came up with a pair of sandals that I like. OK, now we're talking.
- I wantski 3 pairski.
- OK, I decided to take the pair and I handed her my VISA card.
By now I had lost count on how many times I had heard “problemski” in one day.
Now she understands with no problem and she pointed in a direction and I took off to get me some Polish cash. On the way to the “automata” I passed a few other shops of which no one had sandalski. And there was no sign of any “automata” either. So I was very happy when I found a shop with sandals that accepted credit cards.
I bought two pairs and I returned to the ferry and on the way I looked for a convenient store for diet drinks. No one accepted cards.
- Swedisko moneyski?
- Only Zloty!
They wouldn't look twice after Swedish Scooby Dollars. It was a wee bit different story a few years ago. It was impossible to finish 100 Swedish Scooby dollars back then. They threw themselves upon you at first sight.
Hell, you had to throw away the money when you returned to the ship. I remember when going ashore the day after. The Canal was covered with ice and the ice was covered with money that we h ad been throwing away the day before.
Well, it looked bad for me and my diet drinks. I stopped at a bar close to the ferry.
- Can I pay with VISA?
- NO, but the gas stop up the road does.
I was running as good as I could to the gas stop. The ferry was coming in and I was in a hurry to get back onboard to 2 o'clock. The side walk was covered in ice and snow so it was not very easy to run.
I could see the VISA sign on the door when I approached the gas stop but upon entering the place I got very disappointed. No DIET MAX or DIET ZERO! Only diet coke and, well, diet coke is not very good. But what to do? I bought all their diet cokes and I paid for my stuff. I was in a hurry to get back to the ferry and I was a wee bit impatient when I had the counter full of bottles and no sign of them starting to put them in bags.
Turned out that they only had small bags and I would have to have hundreds of them. But one of the guys pointed at a GO ECO bag.
- Only 2,5 Zloty!
- OK, but hurry up!
I left the gas stop with 2 big bags and I gave it a good effort to run, well, it was more like walking quickly back to the ferry. I guess they had spotted me from the ferry because when I came around the corner all ramps were up, except the walk on ramp.
I'm sure they have been rolling around the floor wetting themselves in laughter when they saw me coming from the gas stop.
- HEY!! LOOK AT PORKY RUNNING!!!
- What the ??!! Big bad wolf chasing Porky today?
- Are we going to wait for him?
- Yeah, this was hilarious!
And as soon as I sat foot on deck they lifted the ramp and we were off across the river again. I was back onboard in time for our meeting. But first I went to my cabin to change to my new sandals and to get a bottle of diet coke.
I threw my ECCO sandals in the trash bin and I will never buy anything ECCO again. And the diet coke tasted just as awful as I had expected. But when I came down from my cabin everyone was impressed by my new shoes.
We discussed upcoming vetting inspections and safety matters on the meeting. It was a pretty productive meeting with a few minor interruptions when they were admiring my new sandals. Yes, it�s no exaggeration to say that my new sandals stole the whole show.
And that's even though I didn't mention that I bought 2 (TWO) pairs. For sure that would have turned them green of envy.
Well, the meeting was in good progress and we were kicking ass. But it was very nice when our Mess Man showed up in the door way with a tray of coffee cups for the girls and a tea cup for me.
Yeah, I was ready for some tea, especially when my diet drink wasn't that yummy.
- Hmm, I guess they will last longer and at the end I will save some money.
we expected to be ready with the loading at 16:00, but they had changed shore tank and we would be delayed until around 17:30. Good, the meeting took longer than expected and it was way after 4 when we finished with everything.
Among other things we decided to have some drills tomorrow. We have plenty new crew onboard so we will have fire drills tomorrow so the new guys knows what to do in case of emergency.
I returned to my office when we finished the meeting. I don't know, but word must have got around about my new sandals. They guys on deck were in the window admiring my new GOOD MORNING BOOTS disturbing me in my important work. I have all this SUPER DUPER important work to do and then I'm going to have the crew hanging in the windows drooling over my new sandals.
- Hey! Please, don't disturb! There must be plenty to do on deck!
We completed loading at 17:35 and ullage and calculation was completed 15 minutes after 6 o'clock. Pilot ordered for 20:20 and it will be nice to leave Swinoujscie behind.
We started to take in the ropes at 20:25 and we departed from Swinoujscie at 20:30 and we will arrive to Aarhus tomorrow evening. I'm leaving the bridge for a diet drink in my cabin and I'm almost running in to our OS on his way to his cabin.
- OH! nice sandals!
- OK, enough already about the darn sandals!
I closed the door to my cabin and I poured a diet drink. I had to go down to the galley to get my glass first. The diet drink taste like shit, but it was nice anyway. A long busy day had come to an end and I was pretty pleased with the day. well, except that I had not found the time to study my Thai. Ok, I will do it tomorrow. And all in all its only 3 or 4 days I missed my studies since I came onboard back in November.
- What? If there have been any improvements?
No, I don't think so. But it's a way better pastime than to sit in front of a stupid TV eating sandwich. Gaining weight loosing hair.
Sunday 17th of January 2010 and today it was time for our drills. But first my morning tea and 2 sandwiches without butter. I did some cargo planning and it was soon 10 o'clock.
Fire in the paint store and our crew were quick to muster at the muster station. Yes, I was stand by with my camera as always. And they were happy, everyone wants to be on the internet.
Our 2 smoke diving teams were ready for action in a jiff and TEAM #2 went down to the paint store to fight the fire and to search for the missing person.
They found the missing person and they brought him out on deck and we could extinguished the fire with the CO2.
When we were ready we had an oil spill drill and lifeboat/ raft drill and we were ready just in time for lunch. A bowl of our Mess Man's prepared salad. OK, I ate my salad in the kitchen out of sight. So I could top the salad with a hamburger. Well, or if it was 2.
- Hmm, was it three?
Well, after lunch I had time for my Thai books again. I spent 30 minutes with my books before I returned to my office. We have a new 3rd Officer and I gave him a few pointers regarding gad detection after lunch. We calibrated our gas instruments and I hope he understand what I tried to explain. I'm not all that pedagogic.
We had all fast at KAJ 122 in Aarhus 18:35 and we started discharging at 19:40. We expect to be ready tomorrow afternoon. I returned to my cabin at 9 o'clock, well, I have to be stand-by until midnight with our new 3rd Officer Jr.
First time on a ship and he needs a few pointers, but he is young and he will soon learn. So I was in my cabin drinking diet drinks while our 3rd Officer Jr discharging. I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when Captain came by. The first thing he saw was that I had 2 pair of sandals.
- WOW! Did you buy 2 pairs? Nice!
My diet drinks tastes better now when I got used to them. But I'm very sceptic to Polish diet drinks. So I didn't buy so many of them. Well, when I left the gas stop in Swinoujscie they were out of diet drinks. But there wasn't so many of them to start with. I remember a few years ago in Göteborg, I was in a convenient store and I wondered why the diet drinks was so cheap. I bought 2 cans.
Back home in J's sofa I opened a can.
- What the ??!!
I started to look for an expiry date on the can when I realized that it was Polish text on the can. I had to pour my diet drinks in the sink. And after that I always made sure it was Swedish diet drinks I bought, even if they charged me more for my diet drinks.
- Quality, yes, it's worth to spend the extra money!
Monday 18th of January 2010 and we were still discharging when I got out of bed. 1 Hour late, they forgot to wake me up this morning. Well, I didn't get to bed until after midnight so a little extra sleep didn't hurt. So I was in a pretty good mode coming down to my office even though I could have slept for a few hours more.
I spent the morning filling up training records for our new guys and as usually time turned quick and it was soon time for my by Mess Man prepared bowl of salad. We were stripping and blowing lines at lunch so I ate my salad in the CCR while keeping an eye on out new 3rd Officer Jr.
Our 2nd Officer came on watch at 12:30 so he could relieve me and continue the training of our 3rd Officer Jr. And when we're finished he will know how to strip the tanks and blow the lines. Well, I left 3rd Officer Jr. in the good hands of our 2nd Officer and I went to my cabin for a glass of diet drink.
I poured a glass of diet drink and I checked my e-mail. An e-mail from our previous Cook. Yeah, this is what I always said. Onboard it's so much talk about how nice it will be to come home. And when finally home they are only sitting in front of the computer checking out what's going on onboard.
And she was updated about everything onboard. We remember a few days ago when our Mess Man talked me in to have some cake.
- I made it myself!
Of course, I didn't want to disappoint him so I had a piece. Well, obviously he had been lying to me because our previous cook wrote to me that it was her cake.
- What the ??!!
I was down in the galley in 2 steps and it didn't took me long to find our Mess Man.
- Why the did you tell me it was you that had made the cake?
- Have you been speaking with our previous Cook?
- You bet I have!
I was screaming at our Mess Man and luckily enough our Chief Engineer was nearby so he could take pictures. But I don't think I have been explicit enough when explaining the “from a worm's-eye view" only” for him.
- Shoulder up only!
Well, we had to take a second picture and I was hiding behind our Mess Man and now it worked out just fine. He was just laughing when I pulled his ear so I don't know if it was much of a punishment. Well, anyway, pulling his ear was nothing compared to when I told him that I had been speaking with my Teacher. He turned green of envy.
- She told me she was single!
- Can you please tell her that I think she is beautiful?
- For what? She already knows that she is beautiful so why do you need to tell her that?
We left Aarhus 20 minutes after 3 o'clock in the afternoon. When we had left our Pilot I went down to my office to test our STAND-BY cargo computer. I ran in to our Mess Man in the stairs.
- HEY! I'm on my way to the slop chest. Do you need anything?
- Fer sake! I don't eat snacks!
Well, anyway , I followed him to the slop chest, just to check out what he had in store. Just to check out what he had, I don�t bought anything. But he didn't give up that easy. On the way back down we stopped at his cabin.
- Come here! I show you my private stash.
- WOW, what are going to do with all the chocolate?
He tried to give me chocolate but I refused.
Well, I was tempted, but I cannot start eat chocolate in the middle of my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet. But he was really pushy and was not going to take no for an answer that easy. Luckily enough I have my will power and self discipline.
- Choose one!
- No thanks! I really don't want any chocolate.
- Well, have a tube of Pringles!
I had to leave before I changed my mind. I tested our cargo computer and finished the last paper work before dinner. Salmon and when I was finished I returned to my cabin and my Thai books. I was in my bed study when I heard them drop the anchor outside Grenå and we will stay here waiting for orders.
When I finished my studies I went to my desk for a few stupid words on my web page. I was not happy when I discovered that I was in the bottom of my Polish diet drink bag. For sure, the diet drinks are not getting old.
- What the ??!! It was brimmed yesterday!
Tuesday 19th of January 2010 and we were still at Grenå anchorage when I came down to my office in the morning. I hope we stay here for the whole day, and I don't mind if we stay here the whole day tomorrow also. We have plenty to do.
I finished my morning tea and it was time to get on a safety tour around the ship. We do this every month to see if there is anything to rectify and repair. Our Pump Man was with us so he keeps the stuff fresh in mind.
Well, there wasn't very much to takes note on. She is fine on deck, the most important now is to mark our hatches to enclose spaces. Now we must put warning signs on all the openings to the enclosed spaces so people think before they rush in and die.
When we were ready with deck we continued to the engine room and we were ready just in time for lunch. I had my prepared salad in the galley.
- Why you don't come sit down while eating? Chief Engineer screamed at me.
- I'm better off out here. No temptations and I stay away from all the bad stuff.
Lunch time was spent with my Thai books and at 13:00 we held a safety meeting. Yeah, we managed to spend the whole afternoon with the meeting. So after the coffee break it was time for an emergency steering drill and after that it was time for dinner. And after dinner it was time for good night.
Wednesday 20th of January 2010 and we were still anchored at Grenå anchorage when I got out of bed this morning. A quick shower, yeah, they forgot to wake me up in time today again. I had my morning tea in my office with Pump Man planning today�s work.
When Pump man left my office I continued to fill up Management Meeting reports and crew evaluations while drinking my tea and listening to Trip Hop.
The crew started the ventilation in cargo tank 4 Stb so Pump man can go down trying to repair the bulkhead valves between 4 Port and stb. But we will wait until after lunch.
I had my lunch, Mess man�s salad in the galley and they were shouting from the mess room.
- Come sit here!
- Nah! I take my salad here.
- Ah! Come on!
OK, I took my seat and I hold our Chief Engineer responsible for the lunch failure. Well, anyway, after lunch I went back to my cabin and my Thai books. I checked my e-mail before I started with my books. J, he had scanned and sent me the documents from the authorities about my move from Sweden.
Well, coming on deck after lunch was a chock, the deck was covered in snow. It was snowing and the wind had increased so I was in a hurry to come back in. Our Pump man was soon on the way down in the tank. He wanted me to take a picture for his wife to see on the internet.
- Then she might be careful spending the money.
While we were busy preparing the tank entry they had started to heave up the anchor. We will go to Swinoujscie to load Heavy Fuel Oil for Rotterdam. Our Pump man was down in the tank to change the o-rings in the valve and hopefully we can open the valves again. But we didn't have any luck, one valve is still not opening. And this valve is in 4 Port so we have to go down there tomorrow.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in my office with our Pump man. We need to order spare parts for our cargo valves. And we started with this as soon as I had got myself a cup of tea.
Thursday 21st of January 2010 and started the day by measuring cargo tank 4 Port right on after my morning shower. Coming out on deck was not a very nice experience. Ice cold and deck was covered in ice and snow.
We can also see the difference on the ice covering the sea from last time even though we only have been away from Swinoujscie for a few days. The ice is building up quickly in this weather.
Well, at least there are no storms and heavy seas and that's most important. Our Pump man managed to fix the valve in 4 Port so now our valves are back in working condition. In the nick of time, when he was ready we arrived to the Pilot station. We had all fast in Swinoujscie at 10:45 and we started to load 20 minutes after 12.
Friday 22nd of January 2010 and we were still loading when I came down for my morning tea in my office. Looks like we will discharge this cargo in Aarhus, but nothing is confirmed. But Aarhus is OK, we can get rid of all our garbage.
We will also have a vetting inspection in next port so the crew are busy preparing the ship. And I'm busy chasing the crew. Well, the ship is ship shape, but we need to put the last hands on things and tomorrow they will check for water and stuff in the drip trays around the ships. Well, I guess its most ice in this weather.
I took a tour of the ship with Pump man to check our ISPS preparedness. We put seals on the doors around the ship and while walking around we checked how the ship looked. It looked quite good, but we had to put our OS to clean one of our FAN ROOMS.
Well, seems like my reliever doesn't come back to relieve me. They called from the company and they asked when I wanted to go home.
- Hmm, I should have been home already.
- Hmm, my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet has not turned out to a success.
- I got one of those DARLING ALADDIN e-mail the other day!
So, well, all in all it looks like I would be better off staying onboard for a few days extra. As mentioned before, the “Best looking guy in town '10” diet has not turned out to be quite the success I had hoped for. So I would look much better if I could stay for another 2 months. Well, that is if I can get the DARN diet back on track again.
Otherwise 2 more months onboard would just turn Porky “The Anti Aircraft balloon” in to Porky “The GIANT Anti Aircraft Balloon”
- Hmm, that might be a good thing! For sure I would dodge the DARLING ALADDIN e-mail.
As I see it I have 2 choices if I want to avoid the DARLING ALADDIN e-mails.
1) Stay onboard until they have forgotten all about me.
2) Stop with my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet so I will go back looking like Porky “The GIANT Anti Aircraft Balloon”
OK, there is one more, but this option is nothing that I consider.
3) Jump in front of the sky train.
Well, I told the company that I could stay until mid March. Until then I should look good and I'm looking forward to all the DARLING ALADDIN e-mails they can throw in my direction.
And I might have a chance to get my socks onboard before going home. I received e-mail from the company a few days ago.
“YOUR SOCKS HAS ARRIVED TO THE OFFICE!!! Now we just have to get them onboard so you can start use them.”
Yeah, so we're looking at mid March and then I hope to stay home for 8 weeks before going back again. And then I hope we're back to the normal tours of duties. 6-8 weeks onboard and 6-8 weeks at home. Not as last time 3 or 4 months, 8 weeks and you don't have the time to make a total tit out of yourself. At least not at as many places.
And when on Norwegian flag you can at least see the difference in your pocket after 1 month onboard. Before you stayed onboard for a few months and you had to go straight home to the street corner begging for money playing the guitar, joggle with oranges or just wearing a plain sign: I HAVE NO MONEY!
A MAJOR embarrassment when people recognised you on the streets and for sure, my inbox wasn't exactly brimmed with DARLING ALADDIN e-mails.
- Yeah! I remember back then. Life was a real struggle for survival.
Hopefully I will never have to experience this hardship again. Rich and handsome, yeah, now I expect to die in cancer any day.
Well, afternoon was turned in to evening and we completed loading at 17:35. Good, now I hope we can finish paperwork so we can leave Swinoujscie so I can go to bed. It has been a very busy day and I have slept next to nothing the last two nights.
Tossing and turning until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. So it has not exactly been any pleasant experience to receive my wake up calls 20 minutes before 8 o'clock in the morning.
The Surveyor left 15 minutes after 6 o'clock. He told me he would be back around 7 o'clock with the papers. Well, at 7 our Agent told us that the paper would be onboard at 8 o'clock and Pilot was ordered for 20:45
Pilot was onboard at 20:35 and we left Swinoujscie 10 minutes before 9 o'clock. But we don't know our destination, but we're steaming towards Aarhus and maybe there will be changes tomorrow.
Saturday 23nd of January 2010 and we were steaming North n the Great Belt when I came down to my office for my morning tea. No news about our destination so I guess Aarhus is cancelled. So we continue towards Rotterdam and we will arrive there Monday night.
Our crew was preparing deck for vetting, mopping under the fo�c�s�le and the “SAVE ALL” around winches and bunker ventilations. It was cold so I kept myself busy in my office doing the discharge plan.
Time turned quick and it was soon coffee break for the crew and we have planned for an ENCLOSED SPACE RESCUE DRILL after the coffee break. So all crew in the ECR and what a golden opportunity for a group hug. Representatives from 3 different departments. Kitchen, engine and deck.
Well, engine and kitchen department wasn't all that enthusiastic when I first suggested the group hug. Well, deck department are used to it by now but this is the first time for the engine and kitchen department. Well, I think it's important that they know that someone cares for them as well so I insisted on the group hug. When they finally gave in the deck department were screaming of joy welcoming them to the group hug.
This must have been a record braking group hug, most of the people onboard participated so we must have been 15 people hugging. Hardly room for all and as you can see on the picture it wasn't very easy to get a good picture. Yes, of course, I had to join them in the group hug, more important than the picture.
OK, enough already! Time to get serious!
We used our Mess man as the unconscious guy we were going to rescue.
- Lay dawn play dead.
He got down on the floor.
- Picture for the Teacher!
I took a picture to please him and we could start the drill.
I explained a few rescue techniques for the crew before it was time to get Mess man out from the CCR through the emergency exit. We donned a safety harness and we brought him to the emergency exit.
The worst part was to drag him to the emergency exit. from there on it was a piece of cake. I sent 3 of my best guys on deck to open the emergency exit.
We have a tackle and manila rope stand-by at the emergency exit so I just did a bowline knot in the safety harness and I told the guys to HEAVE AWAY while our Mess man was screaming.
Yes, he was screaming “PICTURE” all the way up on deck. I had to stop them half way so I could get up on deck for some FROM ABOVE ACTION pictures.
- TAKE PICTURES AND SEND TO YOUR TEACHER!!
- Yeah-yeah! She is going to kill herself if I send these pictures to her!!
We finished the drill and I returned to my office. I was going for a refill of my tea cup, maybe 10 minutes after we completed the drill. But our Mess man was all over me about the pictures.
- Have you put the pictures on internet so your Teacher can see them?
- What the !!?? I took them less than 10 minutes ago!
- Yeah, but hurry up putting them on the internet!
I called my Teacher after lunch. Must have been a nice chat because before I knew it I had spent almost 1 hour on the phone with her. She asked if I could practice my Thai onboard.
- No, here is no Thai people onboard.
- They look like Thai people, she said
- They are from the Philippines.
I told her about our Mess man.
- He is in love with you.
- Say hello to him, and good bye to Philippines.
- So, hmm, Swedish people are more handsome??
- Of course!
When I finished talking with her I went down to the galley to see our Mess man.
- I just had a talk with my Teacher.
He turned green of envy. But when I told him that my Teacher had said hello to him he was beaming of joy.
- ARE YOU SURE!!
- Yes, pretty sure.
- I knew it! She likes me!
He was on cloud 9 and I hesitated to tell him that she had told me that she liked Swedish guys better. well, at least guys from Skåne.
- I don't believe you! When she meets me maybe we get married.
- Where do you come up with all this crap?
Well, yet another day has come to an end and I hope I can sleep tonight. Our Chief engineer told me that I was looking very tired after dinner. Yeah, it's the same every night, I'm going to bed dead tired but as soon as I'm in bed it's impossible to fall asleep.
And I don't think it will be any easier to fall asleep tonight. My Teacher told me about a Teacher walking around telling everyone that I like her.
- Everyone at school knows that you like her.
- How do they know that?
- You always bought her chocolate.
- Hey! That was a joke!
We remember when I went to see my friend in Korea. The Teachers asked me if I could bring back some snacks from Korea.
- No problem!
I spent a whole day on the internet searching for Korean snacks. Yeah, better off being prepared. I know f@ck all about Korean snacks and it would have been embarrassing to come back with out. I review my files from August 2009 and I remember searching the internet for Korean snacks while they were painting my apartment.
Last day in school for a while, I'm off to Seoul next Monday and of course all the Teachers wanted me to buy Korean snacks for them. This seems to be a Thai thing. I remember when sightseeing with Sue. She bought snacks for her friends from every place she visited. And why not, a nice thing to do and when in FUNKY TOWN do as the Thai does.
Well, we see. During the break I asked the Teacher to write a list of what she wanted. It's not like I'm an expert on Korean snacks and all I got was here phone number. Well, I wished.
I got the note saying “arai go dai” meaning anything will be good. I took the note and I said:
- I didn't want your phone number!!!
The other Teachers got chocked and my Teacher got embarrassed and she snatched back the note to show the other Teachers that there was nothin' even remotely reminding about a phone number on the note.
We see about the snack, I will travel with my weekend bag only and, well, there is the chance that I will forget it. But as I told my friend the other day:
- You must try to stick to your word. And it would be slightly embarrassing to tell the Teacher that it's too much job buying the darn snacks.
What do I know about Korean snacks? F@ck all, but I spent the whole Friday afternoon finding out on the internet.
- Friday and Aladdin is spending the day on internet finding out about Korean snacks??!!
Yeah, coming home in a good mood. Painting was in progress and they had almost finished the apartment when I came home.
- What the hell??!!!!!
They have painted my apartment with grey colour. Motherf@cker! Lucky it was Friday and I had no afternoon school and now I managed to stop them in time. The son of the owner was in my apartment when I came home so I told him to get some white paint over here on the double. I told them to stop painting immediately and what the hell, who the hell wants� to have a grey ceiling?
But this company is a good company and it's usually no problem. The owner was over within 10 minutes and they could start the ceiling with white paint. But we were delayed by hours.
A good thing? Maybe, for sure, if it wasn't for the delay while I had to sit in my nook with my computer I would not have had a clue about what different kind of Korean snacks there was. Spicy dried rice, Pizza dumpling, Breaded pincer, Breaded scallop cake, Yam samosa, Takoyaki ball, Siew mai and Har kau. What the hell is all this? I still have no clue, but at least I'm aware of the existence of all these snacks. But I can't help wondering what's wrong with peanuts and a bottle of vodka?
- Hmm, maybe that I'm looking like a balloon?
Friday night was spent cleaning my apartment???!!!!! No wine and thus no hangover tomorrow when they come to put up the wall papers at 9 o'clock.
And yes, I bought a box of Korean snacks and we all remember the below story on how I got the darn box from Korea to school.
I delivered the darn box to school and all the Teachers were happy. Even though they would never be able to finish all the snacks. Well, except Miss Sullen. She came to me after class.
- Why didn't you buy snacks for me?
- Well, I did didn�t I??!!
OK, maybe she wanted her own box, it's important for some people to feel special. So I brought chocolate for school, every day for one week and then she told everyone that I liked her.
- Hmm, you try to be nice and the only thing coming your way is shit!
Sunday 24th of January 2010 and the wind had increased during the night. It was still OK, but we had a list to Starboard due to the wind that was coming in from Port side. Our crew was cleaning the drip trays and preparing the last for vetting in Rotterdam.
I spent the day with paperwork, drinking tea and listening to music.
Monday 25th of January 2010 and I my morning tea with pump man in my office planning today�s work. Today it was +3°C, above 0 for the first time in a long time. So I told our Pump man to have our best guy to wash down poop deck.
- So she will look nice when the vetting Inspector is coming.
Above 0°, but it was still darn cold so I still need my fur hat when I'm checking the guys on deck. And talking about the fur hat. The other day my Teacher told me that the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” did wonders to my hair.
- I saw on the internet that you have plenty hair.
- HAIR!!! It's my fur hat!!!!
Well, we will take Pilot at 14:30 so the crew was doing the last polishing and cleaning before arrival. Vetting Inspector is expected to arrive onboard tomorrow morning.
Our AB on the 8-12 watch cleaned deck around the accommodation with a high pressure cleaner. Our OS cleaned our drip tray during the afternoon. Always some Heavy Fuel Oil drops in the tray from connection and disconnection of the cargo arms.
- Is this the quickest you can? I asked him.
- You and Pump man only have a good time while I'm doing the job!
- Management level! Responsibility!
I don't know if he was satisfied with the answer. It was very cold and windy, wearing fur hat or not, so for sure, our OS didn't looked any happier when I said:
- OK Pumpy, it's cold here. Let's go inside for a cup of tea!
Well, the ship is in good conditon but the Inspector wont be impressed if he see water or oil on the bottom of the pump room or bow thruster room. Cofferdams around ventilators and the save alls around the winches has to be dry. So when our OS was ready with the drip trays he just got right on to the cofferdam around the bunker ventilator detail.
I keept an eye on him while I was taking a tour on deck to see if I could discover anything that we need to do before arrival.
I was on the fo'c's'le when out Chief Engineer came plunging down the cat walk. He was on the way forward to check out emergency fire pump. While under the fo'c's'le I took the opportunity to show him our freshly marked man holes. Yellow and red. Well, he was mighty impressed.
- MUCH NICER THAN IN THE ENGINE ROOM!!
- Of course.....
And yes, yellow and red is the colour of the flag of Skåne so I think I will have the crew to paint the rest of the man holes and hatches as the flag of Skåne. Beautiful!
I remember back in the days, and I was always hoisting the flag of Skåne as guest flag when we were in Malmö or Helsingborg. Very popular, and at the crack of dawn the terminal staff spotted the flag and they came running down to the ship.
- WOW!! You have hoisted the flag of Skåne!
But there is a law against the desecration of the flag. So I guess I could have ended up in jail. But that would have been fun. I don't mean to be in jail, but if they would have put me in jail for hoisting the flag of Skåne as guest flag it would have been fun.
But no problem, everyone thought it was a great idea. The ship owner visited us in Malmö.
- I could see the flag of Skåne all the way from the top of Hallandsåsen.
OK, I had one complaints. He told me it was a disgrace. This was the worst desecration of the Swedish flag he had ever seen.
- Ugh! Eh... interessting......
Well, anyway, we got our Pilot onboard at 14:43 and we had all fast at the jetty 10 minutes after 5 o'clock. Of course, 2 Vetting Inspectors was waiting for us on the jetty. Our Agent had told them that we wolud be ready to leave tomorrw morning at 8 o'clock. So there were 2 of them to do a quick inspection.
Obviously our Agent had f@cked up things. Well, I'm not surprised, I'm not very impressed by most of those Agents. We have sent messages after messages that the vetting inspector was welcome onboard tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock. They left again and one of them has his flight back home tonight and the other one will be back tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock.
Tuesday 26th of January 2010 and our 3rd Officer Jr called me and asked if I could come down in the CCR to help him.
- No problemas!
I looked at my wrist watch, 09:40.
- What the ??!! Did they forget to call me this morning?
Well, I don't know. But I don't remember anyone calling me 20 before 8 this morning. So the first thing I did when I came down to the CCR was to tell 3rd Officer Jr to call me if he had not seen me by 8 in the morning.
- Of course, not if I have been up “LATE”!
I had time for my morning tea before it was time to take the tour on deck with the Vetting Inspector. Everything looked good, the only thing was a crack in the MOB boat. But this was just a crack in the jell coat. But he wanted to see a drawing of the MOB boat just to make SURE it was nothing serious.
I found no good drawing of the boat so I went out with our Fitter to take a few pictures. When the vetting Inspector saw the pictures he was satisfied.
The vetting went excellent, regarding my area: NO REMARKS! Hell, yeah, the Inspector was even laughing when he left the ship. But I had other more important things to think of. Some of the crew was going ashore and I needed to get some diet drinks. I mean, I REALLY needed some of the sweet stuff.
I had arranged to get some Scooby Dollars from our OS. 25 € should be enough for a few days.
- And I'm going to give up this diet drink bullshit anyway!
Well, at least that's my plan and my intentions are all the best. But sometimes you must be allowed to indulge a little. Aspartan or whatever they call it is so dangerous. But I believe it's better to drink a bottle of diet drink than to drink 2 bottles of Vodka. Not very good for your health. And not to mention to make an utter tit out of yourself lying in a gutter somewhere. Yes, we have my friends pictures from outside my hotel in Göteborg fresh in mind.
Yet again Björn. Thank you!!
So Arspartan, JUST BRING IT ON! Well, I had been running around with the vetting Inspector all day in white shirt, black trousers, shoes and with a stupid white helmet on my head . And believe me, if I had been any more handsome it would have been against the law.
The first thing I did when he left was to go get my SUMMER PANTS on. Then I went to get a cup of tea in the galley before returning to the music and all the IMPORTANT work in my office.
And my tea cup, our vetting Inspector got a small chock when he saw me and my tea cup during lunch. They were drinking coffee when I came to the table with my tea cup.
- Is that your tea cup??!!
- Yeah, but only when we have guests onboard. Otherwise I'm drinking from a bucket.
I was in my office waiting for my diet drinks. I was really looking forward to it. The crew was back around 3 o'clock and what a disappointment.
- NO DIET DRINKS!!
- What the !!?? Is this the guys we should rely on when the ship is on fire or sinking? I asked Captain.
So what to do? I called our Agent.
- Yo! I'm sitting here with 25 Scooby Dollars and no diet drinks. EMERGENCY!!
- I will take care of it!
- That's the spirit.
We completed discharging at 17:05 and our Agent was onboard around 7 o'clock.
- Where are my diet drinks?
- They are in my car.
- THANK YOU!!!!!
I had my best guy on the radio within 0,5. Yeah, I swear to you, I wouldn't have needed the radio, I was screaming in excitement so he could hear me all the way out on deck without the radio.
- He, let go everything you have in your hands! There is important stuff in our Agent's car.
It took my best man about 5 minutes, for me it was like an eternity. I was watching my wrist watch every 20 seconds wondering WHERE THE HELL HE IS?
When the diet drinks were onboard I was quickly in my cabin enjoying a glass of the most delicious drink I had had in a few days. Pilot was onboard at 19:35 and I went to the bridge.
We left Rotterdam 15 minutes before 8 o'clock and I was soon back in my cabin where I could really enjoy my diet drink. Well, aspartan or not. I was pretty pleased when I was back in my cabin with my glass of diet drink. The vetting turned out very good.
But, well, easy to be the Chief Officer when you working with the A-TEAM. No problems, just to sit down relax with a cup of tea or a glass of diet drink when you know you have your best guys on the job.
We dropped anchor outside Rotterdam, they are working on a cargo from Stanlow and we will get confirmation tomorrow. But I don't mind staying for 2 days at the anchorage.
Wednesday 27th of January 2010 and we were anchored outside Rotterdam when I got out of bed. No more white shirt, good! I have found out that I'm looking much smaller in black. One morning in school and my Teacher came in to the class room. She spotted me first thing. Yeah, I stick out.
- OH!! You have lost weight!
- What??!! 50 kg, over night?
Turned out that I was wearing a black shirt and thus looking much smaller.
- Hmm, if I look like I lost 50 kg in a black shirt I must look like 500 in a white shirt!
I started my day with tea in my office. I had to prepare Ballast Water Management stuff for Kattegat Design, a company that will do our Ballast Water Management binder. And I'm not sure if they know too much about ballast handling.
Our crew was on deck greasing and Pump man repaired a tank cleaning machine in one of the cargo tanks.
It was a good day, I had plenty to do with the ballast stuff so time turned real quick. After lunch we heaved up our anchor. Next load port Stanlow, and it looks like we will load VGO to 8,5 meters draft in FW. So we have about 2 days to go to Liverpool Pilot station and, well, then it's almost February.
February, 28 days only and then it's time to go home. School and courses in Manila, I'm looking forward to it. Nice to be a student again.
Our Chief Engineer came to my office in the afternoon. He told me that our Fitter felt bad. So we would call Radio medical in Sweden after dinner. Captain and I had not taken any blood pressure for a very long time so we went to the hospital to refresh our memory.
It wasn't all that easy and when we were ready I went to order an electrical blood pressure meter. After the call to the hospital in Sweden we took our Fitter to our hospital for a check up. We tried to take his blood pressure. First me and then Captain, well, as I said. I have ordered an electrical meter. But I guess we managed to get the blood pressure, but we're not sure if it's correct. I gave medicine to our Fitter and he felt much better when he left the hospital. As I said to him:
- It's maybe the most important to have some on to talk to, some one that cares and listen to you!
- Hmm, well, it's most likely not the cure for cancer.
When we were ready in the hospital I returned to my cabin and my web page. I poured a glass of diet drink and I wrote a few words on my web page before going to bed and my Thai books.
I started my day on the bridge. Our Fitter's condition had exacerbated during the night. So we made yet another Radio medical call in the morning and it was decided that they would pick up our Fitter with a helicopter.
We were steaming on a SW'ly course in the English Channel when I came on the bridge at 8 o'clock. Captain had been in our Fitter' cabin and he told me that he was worse than yesterday.
I went down to the Fitter in his cabin to check his pulse, blood pressure and temp. We reported this to the hospital in Sweden and MRCC in Sweden connected us to Portsmouth MRCC.
We were 23 Nm South of Anvil Pt. and we were approaching Off Casquet TSS when they asked us to steer towards Bill of Portland. At 08:56 we changed course from 255° to 315°: towards Bill of Portland. They asked us to steer to the North so we had the wind coming in from forward.
We were on deck waiting for the helicopter when we saw them approaching from our starboard side. Our Fitter was ready with his bag and I had our Pump man and one AB stand-by with fire fighting equipment. And I was busy taking pictures for my web page.
The helicopter came alongside on our port side and at first the y were just hovering above deck and then they moved out from the ship. So I guess they needed to check up wind and speed before lowering down the Paramedic to take care of our Fitter.
After a minute or so the helicopter came back in over deck and they sent down the Paramedic. He sent up our Fitter's bag to the helicopter before he examined our Fitter.
When he had examined our Fitter he prepared him with a harness for the hoist. When they were ready they took seat on deck and the Paramedic gave the thumbs up for the hoist.
The winch man in the helicopter lifted the Paramedic and our Fitter off the deck and as soon as they were clear from the rail swung out from the ship. They hovered next to us until our Fitter and Paramedic was onboard on the helicopter.
It didn't take long for the helicopter crew to get them onboard and they disappeared towards a hospital in England. We changed course back towards Liverpool Pilot station and Stanlow.
And of course, the crew. As soon as the helicopter was clear from deck they wanted me to take a picture of them with the helicopter in the back. Yeah, I would have been surprised if they hadn't asked for me to take a picture. And who am I to say no?
Well, as soon as I had taken the picture I was back in my office. I had a cubic ton of work to do in my office. But of course, first of all I went to get a cup of tea in the galley.
First load order was to 8,5 meters draft in fresh water, but we received final voyage instructions today. MAXIMUM 11,000 MT of VGO. Load in Stanlow and go to Rotterdam for orders.
Well, but before I could start with my cargo plan I made some Pre Arrival Information for the crew. I found a MSDS for VGO on the internet and I copied the information about:
• HAZARDS INFORMATION
• FIRST AID MEASURES
• FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES
• ACCIDENTAL RELEASE MEASURES
Then I put this on a paper for the crew to read. And to search internet for the information is a beauty. I can just copy and paste so no need to write anything. I'm saving hours and I can find funnier things to do during this time.
And I was study my Thai books after lunch so I'm back on track after vetting inspections and stuff. But I don't think it matters if I miss a day or two of studies. Sometimes it's just nice to just skip the reading and go straight to the TRYING TO FALL ASLEEP BUSINESS.
I tried to start with the cargo planning after lunch. But latest news from load port is that we're allowed too have maximum 5 PPM of H2S gas in our tanks. So our crew brought out the fans and we started to forceventilate the cargo tanks. I will measure the gas tomorrow morning and we see if we pass, but it should be no problem.
Our Fitter left us this morning and he was a smoke diver in TEAM #2. So our 1st Engineer called for a PEC meeting for
3 o'clock in the afternoon. We decided that our OS will replace our Fitter as smoke diver in TEAM #2
We discussed a few other topics and of course, we had a group hug. Yeah, since we started the group hug the crew is demanding a group hug every time we meet.
And together with the e-mail with the regulations about the H2S content in the cargo tanks we got a regulation regarding Rat Guards. Yes, this was very important for the security. And I can't help remember when Navigo arrived to Humber Pilot. Captain told the Pilot that it was very difficult with the time difference.
- But it's only 1 hour, the Pilot said.
- Yes, but you have to take away 100 years as well, Captain said.
The Pilot didn't talk with the Captain again. Well, what to say?
No British people around? Well, I can't help it, but I'm very happy that I was born in Sweden.
Well, I hope the British people don't get upset. I remember our Loading Master in Rotterdam. He was British and he was working in Rotterdam and he did a wee bit of complaining.
- I have not been back home in England for 6 weeks, he said
- Nice, I said.
Well, he didn't talked to me after that.
Yeah, like my crew don't have more important things to do. Well, I had to put them to work making rat guards and I could finally start with my cargo planning and I was ready just in time for dinner. And of course I had too much to eat.
I spent the evening with my Thai book and my web page. Well, I was also drinking diet drinks and I was sitting there minding my own business when our Chief Engineer came by. He is soon signing off so he wanted to copy my pictures.
He spotted my “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” TRAVEL KIT® first thing. Yeah, I found a small flask yesterday and I prepared my first ever “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” TRAVEL KIT® so now I'm ready to take off to any part of the world.
Our Chief engineer asked if the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” hair stuff helped. And it just happened that I had cut my hair 10 minutes before he came. So I tried to take a picture of the top of my head. Well, I failed 5 times and our Chief Engineer took my camera.
- Let me do it!
And I'll be darned. My helipad has really got smaller. Our Chief Engineer said that the top of my head was covered in something looking like peach fluff.
- Looks very weak, he said.
- YEAH! BUT THEY WILL SOON BE STRONGER!!
OK, I was in a very good mood and now I only wish we can get to see the effect of the “Best looking guy in town '10” diet. The other day when I spoke with my Teacher, well, not only did she told me that I had plenty hair now. Yeah, I guess they are yet to see a fur hat. Well, anyway, she also told me that I was looking much smaller.
- Don't you eat?
I never told her about Photoshop.
- She must have heard of the Photoshop EFFECT, right?
Well, I never told her and now I have two choices if I don't want to return home as Porky The Anti Aircraft Balloon.
1) Get serious with my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet, and I mean really serious!
2) I can ask for an extension to come back home in May, 2014.
But it might be easier to continue with my “Best looking guy in town '10” diet after today�s VERY
pleasant discovery of the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” effect.
Yes, can't say it has been very inspiring trying to keep my diet when I have lost more hair than weight.
Well, maybe there will be changes from now on, I will gain hair and lose weight. I'm already feeling the enthusiasm coming back.
Our Chief Engineer left and he spotted my sandals on the way out.
- WOW, did you buy 2 pairs? NICE!
- Of course, can as well buy 2 pairs.
- I only see you using one pair. Is the second pair for Sundays?
A little bit later we changed to a Northerly course towards the Irish sea and we started to roll. Not much, but it was enough to get my diet drink glass to start move. Well, can't complain. We have been very lucky with the weather since I joined 17th of January 2009.
Well, I guess this is it for today, more will follow soon. So it's over and out from the HUMAN BALLOON until the next time. Keep your eyes out for updates on www.aladdin.st!
Friday 29th of January 2010 and I woke up to a full storm. Head wind so the ship didn't moved very much and no one was sea sick, at least not what I know of. And the best was that I could enjoy my tea without having to hold the cup. well, enjoy, of course I was disturbed all the time.
We have been force ventilating our cargo tanks all night so I measured the tanks in the morning and they were all gas free. So the crew could move the fans to the last 3 tanks and we finished the ventilation after lunch.
We could not take the Pilot at Liverpool Pilot station due to the bad weather so we had to go to Isle of Man for the Pilot. They have flown the Pilots from Liverpool to Isle of Man and he boarded us there 20 minutes before 4 o'clock in the afternoon. We will enter the lock to Manchester Ship Canal at high water tonight, around 2200 L/T. That's 11 o'clock ships time and we expect to be in Stanlow around 2 o'clock in the morning.
So I went to bed after dinner and I woke up at 10 o'clock in the evening, happy that I had been able to fall asleep. It might be a long night and I don't know when I can get to bed.
Saturday 30th of January 2010 and we were going in to the lock to Manchester Ship Canal a few minutes after midnight. The lock is 24m wide and we are almost 23 meters wide. So there is not much space for us in the lock. We left the lock 33 minutes past midnight and it's about 1 hour up the Manchester Ship Canal to Shell's refinery in Stanlow.
We had all fast in Stanlow 15 minutes after 2 o'clock ship's time, that is 01:15 local time. Surveyor and Loading Master came onboard at 02:35 and we were pretty much ready to start the loading at 3 o'clock and we started loading 15 minutes after 3 o'clock ships time.
I asked the jetty man if he know a place to go shopping around here. Yes, I need more diet drinks.
- For a fiver you will get to Europe's biggest shopping mall with a taxi.
- Biggest shopping mall!!?? That's what they tell me in every city.
- Yeah, but there are 400 shops and you can get whatever you want over there.
- I need hair and a V-shaped torso?
Well, maybe I can find the time to go ashore tomorrow. And this will be a great opportunity to test my new “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” TRAVEL KIT®. Yes, the bottle will be perfect for a “EUROPE'S BIGGEST SHOPPING MALL” adventure. I will bring the bottle and I can try to apply the darn thing while shopping for my diet drinks and I will soon see if there are any strange reactions from the people at the shopping mall.
- Hmm, maybe my new “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” TRAVEL KIT® turns out to be a real success and I can start sell it at the shopping mall. I will soon have billions of Scooby dollars and I will never have to work again. But again, I think I would go crazy if I was just to walk around doing nothing back home in FUNKY TOWN.
It was over 6 o'clock in the morning when I managed to fall asleep and I got out of bed at 11 o'clock after a terrible morning. Felt like I had been waking up every 15 minutes during the morning. So I could as well get out of bed and take a shower.
I went down to the CCR and it looked like we would be ready around midnight. Good, maybe I should try to get ashore for some diet drink supplies.
But before I left I had to help our OS to send flowers to our previous Cook in Sweden. So we called the flower shop from my office right after lunch.
We had checked internet a few days ago and he had choose a bouquet of tulips. So we called the flower shop in Sweden and we placed the order and they would try to deliver it today.
- If we won't make it today we will send it on Monday.
It took me 5 minutes to order and pay the flowers. Our OS had to go to his cabin for more money. The diet drink allowance he gave me in Rotterdam wasn't enough. They charged 10 € for delivery and our previous Cook better appreciate the flowers.
When we were finished with our OS flower business I returned to my cabin to change before going ashore. I gave the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” TRAVEL KIT® idea a second thought and I decided to apply the “MAGIC HAIR STUFF” before leaving for shore.
When I came down on the jetty our jetty man opened the gate and there was transportation to the gate. They had ordered a taxi for me so hopefully I don't have to wait too long at the gate for my taxi.
But, but I was lucky. The taxi was waiting for me so I could go straight from the mini bus to the taxi. And when I return I just have to call the mini bus so they come and pick me up for transportation to the ship. No need to walk around carrying my bags of diet drinks.
I took me seat in the back seat and I told the driver to take me to the shopping centre.
- The Chester something? He asked.
- Do you have more than one?
Well, we took off towards the shopping centre and I told my driver that we needed to make a stop at an ATM.
- I don't have any Scooby Dollars!
- Yeah, I need Scooby Dollars, or do you accept €?
- Where are you from?
- I'm from Sweden
I could see that he didn't like me calling the British £ for Scooby Dollars. And for sure, he didn't became any merrier when I asked why they had built Europe's biggest Shopping Centre here in the middle of nowhere.
- This is not in the middle of nowhere!
- Yeah, whatever you say.
We had been on the way for 3 minutes and still nothing reminding of a GIANT shopping centre. We passed pastureland and a few gas stops. I had expected to caught sight of this wonder at least a few minutes before we were to reach the place. Suddenly we stopped at an ATM.
- Are we here? I asked.
- But this is no shopping mall!
- No, it's more like a row of shops built in an antique style.
- OK, I said trying to sound impressive.
I got out of the car and I got the cash for the driver. Well, for sure this wasn't what I had expected. I had expected a shopping mall and here I am outdoors and it hasn't been this cold in United Kingdom for 30 years. 16 °C below zero 2 weeks ago and there were still ice on the roads.
Europe's biggest shopping centre Stanlow style was like a bunch of shops surrounding a square divided by a road. And of course, there was this direction finder so they made sure you knew that you where in the middle of nowhere.
Yeah, you see them all over the world and no doubt that you're at a boring place when you see one of those.
FUNKY TOWN-100000 miles away, yeah, they really know how th cheer you up. Well, now I just have to find what I'm looking for and I'm not sure that I know what I'm looking for. Just have some Scooby Dollars burning in my pocket.
- Hmm, what to buy?
I need an USB extension cord, I will look for loudspeakers for my office and my mission for the last few months, to find a hat for a Chinese girl I know in FUNKY TOWN. And I don't think I need to mention the diet drinks.
The whole place reminded me of numerous places I visited in Texas, fast food places and the same chain stores selling pretty much the same thing in the whole world. I was looking for a computer shop and a radio store and I could not find it anywhere. So I took the opportunity to ask for a computer shops when I was around looking for the hat for the Chinese girl.
And seriously, I had given up the whole idea of finding a hat or a computer shop. People haven't been wearing hats since the 50's, unless you're 110 years old so this was a no hoper. But the last shop I went in to ask for a computer shop they had hats.
I paid the hat and I got a nice hat box to go with it. And the girl told me to go to Coliseum for computer shop.
- Thank you!
I took my hat box and I left for the coliseum and it was not very easy to find. But after some asking around I got to the coliseum back of the first row of shops.
I found the radio shop, but they didn't had what I wanted so they sent me to a computer shop 2 doors down the road. I found the USB extension cord and a pair of loudspeakers. But this was not enough, I just felt like spending some money and the sales man talked me into buying Windows 7 and my valet was 300 £ or as I call them, Scooby Dollars lighter when I left the shop.
Now it's only the diet drinks and I can return to the ship. I found a Marks and Spencer shop and I entered with my bag and hat box. Finding diet drinks was not easy so I asked one of the guys working there.
- Of course we have! Follow me!
When we arrived to the shelf he brought a bottle of diet drink for me.
- What the is that??
- OH, it's our own brand.
Well, I don't fancy ending up with a cubic of diet drinks I can't drink so I asked if he knew another shop. He pointed me in a direction for a convenient store I never found. After some looking around I was pointed towards a Boots shop.
I entered and I filled up a basked with diet drinks, I think there was 3 bottles left on the shelf when I went for the cashier. I put the basket on the counter and the lady asked me how many there was.
- I don't know.
- Did you get as many as you wanted.
- Well, there is no more space in the basked.
No sight of any V-shaped torso or hair around here so I could as well return to the ship. Taxi was not easy to get so I had to return to the computer shop and they called me a taxi and I was soon back at Stanlow Gate #3. I kept my camera in my pocket, strictly forbidden to take pictures of the junk yard they call a refinery. When I left the mini bus for my waiting taxi on my way to what I back then expected to be Europe's biggest shopping mall the driver of the mini bus told me it was strictly forbidden to take picture.
I called the mini bus and when he arrived there was a security guard coming as well. He wanted to see my ID before I could enter the refinery.
- I can't see you on the list.
- I'm number 2 on the list.
- But you see my name right there!
- But your ID say Körkort Sverige
- Well, that means driving license and Sweden.
I was onboard 5 minutes later and 10 minutes later I had the music blasting high on the Richter scale in my office. When I had my music up and running I brought my other stuff to my cabin.
Nice to see that my diet drink box is full again, at least for a few days.
The hat box cause me some problem, when I put it in my suitcase there wasn't very much space for much else.
- Hmm, might be a good thing! Soon time to go home and I don't have to worry about overweight when checking in at the airport.
The hat box and my chocolate filed my suitcase was full. OK, I had planned to throw away my clothes anyway. No meaning carry the old rags around the world.
Well, Texas, the most modern refinery they have was built back in the 70's, and you notice when you are passing them, believe me. But England, I really don't understand how they can keep the country up and running. Everything looks like it was built back in the 20's. We had to stop loading at 15:55 due to blocked lines.
We left the berth at midnight and we had all fast at next jetty quarter to 1. We resumed loading at 3 o'clock in the morning. And the rate was impressive, 200m³/h. Really, I have the felling of that everything is falling apart around me when in England. No radios at the refinery so we have to shout to a guy sitting in something reminding me of a box on the jetty.
I remember my friend, this is maybe 20 years ago. He had bought a new Armani suit and he was bragging about it. My brother told him that he was looking like a Polish Stevedore. This was the thing 20 years back when Poland was a part of the Russian empire.
To look like a Polish Stevedore was nothing you wished for. But today they are way ahead of England and loading in Swinoujscie was a very nice experience comparing to this.
Swinoujscie, a beacon of efficiency and organisation comparing to Stanlow, who would have thought that 20 years ago? Not me, that's for sure!
Sunday 31st of January 2010 and I woke up at 10:30 dead tired. It must be the diet drinks, I went to bed at 5 and I had spent the morning waking up every 15 minutes. So I had not got much rest when I decided to get out of bed.
I was in the CCR just after 11 and our Pump man told me there was oil in the water around the ship. SO I went out to check it out, yes, Manchester Ship Canal was full of oil.
So I called the jetty man and he came down to take a look. He just gave me the thumbs up. I could not believe my eyes. So I told him again and I got a second thumbs up.
- OK! He said leaving for his box
I made a note in our log book and I brought it up with our Agent when he came onboard 10 minutes later.
- Yeah, there has been oil for 100 years now. The refinery doesn�t do anything about it.
- Yeah, but if there is a drop coming from the ship the police are soon arriving with the blue light on and the artillery ready, I said.
- Yes, of this you can be 100% sure, the Agent said.
Well, pisses me of. No consideration for the environment at all. And our Chief Engineer also pissed me off. He had been ashore and he returned with a JUMBO bag of Peanut M&M. I tried to tell him that I was on diet.
- Ah, it's Sunday! You can indulge a wee bit.
He forced me to take the darn bag and there is no hope for the HUMAN BALLOON. And I can't give it away. He will not appreciate if I give away his gifts. Well, I have 6 weeks to go before I sign off and I still have time so I can look good by then.
WOW, January disappeared like nothing and it's already time to change to February 2010, soon time to sign off.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens at my web page. So it's not very easy
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.
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!
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? No hay problema! 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!