Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I've been on board for 3 weeks now. Last week I was involved in quite a few dramas, which is really exciting for me.

In my day work, I have been working on doing a lot of painting and wire-brushing, on the aft mooring-line cleats, and also the last 2 days on the "paint raft", which is a rather ugly floating box which is used for going around the water around the side of the ship, and painting and working on the hull. I'm making a lot of mistakes though in the deck work, forgetting to put on a coat of thinner before painting on bare metal, breaking a drill bit, and so on. Nothing major, but kind of wearying. This week I'm quite tired, perhaps trying to get involved in too many things at once.

In about a week there will be auditions for the official Doulos drama team. I'm really excited about it, and in some ways it would make it a lot easier to do dramas and stuff, as I would then get proper times to do it, rather than having to try and get personal time off work for it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yesterday we had a big program in a park, I was a clown for most of the afternoon. I enjoyed it a lot. I love clowning, but it was fairly tiring.

We are in the port of Doha, and today I am planning to go out to see more of the town with some friends.

two days ago I met up with another juggler. we played quite a bit, and he is going to form a juggling group, and we will be making sketches and stuff using juggling. this is v. cool :-)

While we were meeting tho, it was my duty day, which means I can't leave the ship, and if there is a problem, I have to go help with it. The duty people kept getting paged because of someone ironing and cooking at the same time in one of the pantries. There was no fire, and it was quite safe, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and the fire/smoke detectrs are quite easily excitable. Better that they are too active than not active enough, of course.

Still. it's kind of funny.

Then later that evening, someone happened to knock a detector off the ceiling! that set off the alarms again, so again we all went running. heh.

Whenever there is an announcement for duty people to report to the right place, suddenly about 13 people all drop whatever they are doing and sprint off towards the control station. as soon as everyone else hears the announcement, they all flatten themseleves against the walls and laugh as deckies wearing anything from full coveralls to tshirt and shorts, to full dress coat, tie and tails race about. We train and do drills every week, and everyone knows exactly what to do. It's just funny seeing it happen.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good morning world, this is radio dan blogging at 20 past 10 from the good ship Doulos. I'm tired, folks, and the reason is this: I got up at 3.30 this morning to go on watch. Was quite a good watch, did one fireround in the middle. Followed the paper list, and finished in 35 minutes, so could spend almost half an hour in the mess getting something to eat and drink. Nice break.

This week has been quite busy, with many different things rather than just solid work. I had 3 days of "fire watch" which everyone in deck assured me was the most boring job on the planet. Basically, whenever someone (an engine room dude) is doing welding, there must be someone watching, from the other side of what they are working on (so sometimes a whole different deck!) to make sure sparks and heat don't transfer into something else and start a fire that they can't see. So I took my tenor recorder (blockflute) and some juggling balls expecting a day of relative quietness.


About an hour was sitting watching, but then after that the guy needed me up with him on the sun deck (top of the ship!) actually helping. What we were doing was removing an old air-vent cover from up there, so that there will be space for a new satellite communication dish tower thingy.

So I was hammering, chipping, scrapeing, jumping up and down on top of the air vent trying to make it fall off while the guy hit it with a hammer, pulling on chain blocks trying to get the thing to move, and then eventually I was in the coffee bar below, with a hydraulic jack and 2 metre long metal pipe and a few empty book pallets pushing it upwards, while on the deck above the other guy was using a chainblock and pulling it upwards. I got slightly worried when the ceramic tiles on the deck I was standing on started buckling and cracking everywhere, but he said not to worry. Occupational hazard of being a floor tile, I guess. We got it shifted in the end though.

Ah. I need to go. Some friends want to play Carcassone. Cool.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I was the fire watch man today again, for the same welder/engine guy. We're working on building the new platform/deck for the new satillite internet connection dish thingy. It is really big and has to be really high up to get a good line of sight above the funnel and stuff. Fun.

I spent most of the afternoon chipping off paint so that the welding torch could work properly. This morning was bible study groups, drills and deckie devotions, and because of various things didn't actually get a chance to work until after lunch.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm involved in a music cafe programme tonight! Sound check in half an hour! We're doing a live percussion jam/jazz session that I started (whoo!!!) yesterday. I hope it goes well.

Today I swept the decks, helped loading cargo from a new container (food, books, etc), I love doing this. Ropes and the crane and all. Then after lunch I was helping an engine room welder with removing a large air-vent from above the book ex deck. This involved standing below making sure no sparks caused a fire, pushing and shoving on a large piece of metal trying to make it move, pumping something like a car-jack to try and lift this air-vent, jumping up and
down on top of it while he hit it with a hammer, attaching a block and tackle metal chain type affair to whatever random bits of deck or railing we could find, attaching the other end to the air vent, and pulling, and then stopping when the railing started to bend too much, and then finding another railing to try. Yeah. Fun day.

I've also been introduced to a really cool board/stratergy game called carcassone (possibly wrong spelling). It's about building cities, roads and so on, and is for 3 to 5 players. Cool game, and wonderful for strange conversations about word meanings, work, and all kinds of odd topics. Very cool.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We arrived 3 days ago at the ship, and have been mostly doing training so far. I'm enjoying it. I'm working in the Deck department again, so will spend 40 hours a week as a deck-hand. Cleaning, scrubbing, painting, chipping rust, and making this ship look beautiful. Also today we had watch-keeper training. So 40 hours a month each of us will be on gang-way watch, crowd control, and keeping order. We are currently in the port town of Sharjah, in the UAE.

I bought half a kilo of cashew nuts yesterday! For about 1 CYP, I think. I'm still having problems with converting the numbers.

Today I finally saw the doctor, and got some anti fungal cream for my feet. The athletes foot problem has appeared again...

I love cashew nuts.

I hate athletes foot.

I love chocolate too. In the fireroundsmans training today, we learned: accept bribes of chocolate from curfew breakers, eat it, and then write their names down anyway.

Oh! Yeah, and I also got a nice new sun hat for around 80 cents as well yesterday.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Text message receieved Saturday night:

Just told us now our departments, I am a deckie! Whoo!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another text message from the pre-ship training:

Survived practical water survival. Floating using trousers as lifejacket, for 2 mins, etc. Fun.