Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yesterday was my first day as duty fireman. Once every few weeks I'll spend a day on duty running the firestation. We had a control team page at 8pm - the laundry girls saw steam coming from one of the machines doing a 95 degree wash, and thought it was smoke! It was quite dramatic. On Christmas Day, I got paged about 20 times... insane! About the 18th time I phoned info, and asked if I could get a prize. We were loading water; the quayside is weird here, and the officers wanted to ask about water several times. Also the shipping agent wanted photocopies of receipts, and the purser...

Today was kind of a strange day. I taught puppets this morning to all the port volunteers. Now they're all shouting, 'Hello Daniel!' every time they see me. Then I played guitar for deck devotions, did my soundings and water rounds (quickly), then fixed the director's cabin door. Then I replaced a broken porthole with one of the carpenters, and then took a valve apart in the engine room, and put it back together again, stopping it leaking. All random jobs. It's not a "normal" day for watermen; it's kind of weird, but it's because all our normal jobs were done already. The monthly ones in dry-dock, there are no bags needing to go up or down, and no-one has lost any keys recently.

This port is quite stressful for me. Strange loading, and Stephane has moved to another job. So I'm training/leading Tomas, the new waterman. Because it's a strange port there is no way I can give him routine jobs (like loading water) to do every day for a bit, and I couldn't do the random jobs today with him as he was out with a team!

Friday, December 08, 2006

So, still in drydock mode. But here is a blog update I wanted to write about 2 months ago, but never got around to. I'm really tired, so this may not be as interesting as I kind of imagined it originally.

During the leadership training thing I did a few months ago, we had a day doing work at a school, making their football pitch ready. Filling in holes and such. So I spent a few hours carrying buckets of dirt and filling holes. Nice day, didn't have to think too much. Another guy was there, who was making the buckets of dirt ready for carrying, scraping it out of the big piles of dirt dumped on the stands.

Anyway. I thanked him slightly ironically for the dirt he gave me one time, and he said something like, "Only the best for our customers" or something like that. Anyway, so we developed a whole routine about the dirt, talking about the moisture content, worms, and so on. We formed our own company:

DARN: Dirt And Rain eNterprises.

While walking back and forth so many times I slowly developed one stage at a time our mission statement, basically stating our belief and trust in giving dry dirt, so as to allow the rain to add the correct moisture levels, without the burdensome weight of pre-added moisture:

"We believe in a holistic customer-empowering service effectiveness paradigm which utilises the undeniable precepts of positive precipitation to innovativly implement a beneficial weight/content transportation ratio. "

Kind of rolls off the tongue, I think.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

One of our frequent jobs as watermen is greasing various deck equipment.

Our grease gun (device for putting grease inside deck equipment) is moderately dead. It's horrible. We don't have grease cartridges, but have to fill it by sticking the end in a bucket of grease and pulling the spring back. Kind of like re-loading a cross-bow, just messier.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I had kind of a frustrating day today. I expected and wanted to spend the day happily in the engine room with cleaning and putting back togeather a really rusty horrible old valve. But ended up spending most of the day helping a deck team with trying to set up pumps and running around the engine room with them, trying to pump the last few centimetres of water out of parts of a tank so they can work in it.

The chief mate and bosun went briefly into the tank this morning, looked around and said it should be a quick job to do the whole thing. At lunch time, the bosun asked the team leader how it was going, and said, "oh well, at least if you get the tank empty of water by this evening it'll be good."

This evening, there's no noticeable progress made at all.

I went and crawled though the whole length of the tank, found two old rust scrapers from last time the tank was opened (2 and a half years ago). It's going to be a really big job. Loads of the bits of the tank in the forward end have all the cement fallen off, and rust and all kinds, so it's not just a one day job. Once it's dried (which may take 2 or 3 or more days) it may then take another week or so of work chipping all the cement and stuff and putting in new cement. It's down in the bottom of the engine room, below generator 2, so the deckies feel really uneasy and keep coming to me for help all the time.

Luckily once it's dried, all the rest should be done by deckies, not us. But still it's kind of annoying.