Monday, November 26, 2007
So we had to screw all kinds of things together (literally. We borrowed two electric drills).
At this point, we realised that the AV manager would be coming back to the ship after three weeks away during dry dock.
We also realised that she would NOT be happy with a dirty great ugly hole in the middle of the AV desk. Also that we were kind of stuck, as the jigsaw wouldn't fit under another part of the desk to finish re-cutting the hole...
So we pulled even more of the desk apart, cut more holes, screwed things back together, drilled dholes, and generally had lots of very stressful fun.
The other AV guy was sweating like crazy. I was laughing and loving it, in a stressed kind of way. Kind of like the waterman thing, leaving port with transferring water all around, ballast tanks, and overflowing, flooding places, and so on.
Fun, fun, fun.
Anyway, we eventually got it all back to a fairly good state. It all looks pretty good now:
I won't post a hi-res photo.
Anyway, the lights are working well too. We need a few sockets for the ceiling - we'll buy them in Manilla. Otherwise things seem sane and happy.
Those lights can be put anywhere in the ceiling - we can position them in any place! It's great.
We also pulled the AV computer monitor out of the rack mount, managed to get a small LCD display from IT, and replace it with this. Now no more evil flickering and madness from engine/ship magnetic interference.
That was horribly complex too, with the other AV guy lifting the monitor from the back of the rack, and me trying to fit it through the hole on the other side with a screwdriver.
Anyway. All seems well.
We've also taken all the video tapes out of the wall, and put them in boxes. The carpenters will take out all the shelves and make us some wall mounts for the lights and cables, so we can keep them there. We never use the video library anyway (well, hardly ever). Hopefully we can make it all more efficient and sensible (and fun!) around here.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
As well as making rope-ladders, I'm also working at the new lights installation in our Main Lounge. As the ladders team is quite small, I feel kind of guilty and silly trying to get time off that to make the lights, and we have 3 ladders to make and everything, so I'm kind of doing lights and video stuff in my deck dept "off time".
This is one of the finished products, this amazing bar will attach into our ceiling (or false deck-head, or whatever you want to call it) at any place in the Main Lounge.
This is the clever fitment idea from our ex-electrical officer. The blue rubber is actually from a stethoscope that we attacked, and then a wing-nut underneath tightens the bolt which squeezes the rubber and makes it hold into the ceiling. Amazing...
We then have 6 places in the ceiling which will have 4 power sockets for them, which are linked to our dimmer pack. We also have made a patch box which allows us to run DMX (lighting control signals) down our "comms" system (a complex head-set communication system built into our Main Lounge, something far too complicated and big for such a small venue...), and so to plug in a bunch of coloured LED bars lamps on the floor. Fun stuff.
My parents actually bought these lights just before LAST dry-dock, that is, about a year ago. Then, due to ship-politics, mis-communication, and lack of real push, they never got installed until this dry-dock. Rather sad.
So as not to end on that unhappy note, the lights are being installed.
And now for something totally different...
I went to get some coffee. it appears that the Programme Room coffee maker hasn't been used in a while:
Monday, November 19, 2007
Dear readers, I feel it is time for your nautical education to be expanded. I'm going to teach you about making rope ladders.
We're currently in dry-dock, Doulos is out of the water, and so we can do an awful lot of big jobs that we can't do at other times during the year.
I'm on the lifeboats team this time, and so we're making a few new ladders for the life rafts, as the old ones are really nasty. I've spent 12 hours a day for the last 2 days making this one, and I'll be at it for another week or so, and I think you might enjoy.
First you will need some 2 mm tarred hemp (a lot), about 45 metres of 22 mm manila rope, about 30 wooden steps with two holes at each end, a hard metal eye/thimble, some plastic spacers, and some tools (heavy duty needle, sail-makers palm, knife, marlin spike, Swedish fid is very nice, and a threading spool. Although you could probably get by with a bit less. You will also need a wooden block with slats cut out for at the right distance for the steps to rest in while you make the ladder.
First soak and stretch the manila rope. We stretched it overnight with a chain block over the top of the book exhibition roof.
Next, once it's dried, cut it in half, so you get two (roughly) 23 metre lengths.
Next divide both in half, and put the thimble in place, and seize it into a hard eye, then add a few extra security whippings.
After you have got these in place on both, you will need to thread the rope into all the steps. They should be quite tight, and it may be horribly difficult.
Once they are all on, you can start getting them ready on the ladder block. This block lets the steps sit at the right distance from each other while you seize/whip them into place.
It's very important to make sure the first step is the right distance from the hard eye, on both.
If you get it a bit wrong, all the rest of the steps will be wrong too. Don't.
A small aside... you should use tarred hemp for this kind of thing, as the thread. tarred hemp lasts much longer, and holds together well. We don't have any right now, and the Chandlers are very late in supplying it, so we have to use regular un-tarred hemp, and wax it ourselves. We're doing this by running all of it by hand through blocks of wax.
I also am using one of these threading spools to hold the hemp once I've waxed it. Saves a bit of time, and makes handling it all a bit easier.
So this is how you attach every step. First, place a (plastic) spacer between the ropes next to the step on both sides.
Then sew a small (40cm) length of hemp through the two ropes, so that it pulls the spacer back towards to the step. Don't make it too tight yet, leave it for later.
You can use a sailmakers palm to sew the hemp through the rope, as you need a lot of force when the rope is tight, and you will be doing this a lot. Sailmaker's palms are wonderful, but even with them you may get a few stabs and minor cuts.
I've got blood on the ladder twice so far...
Then sew a 2 metre length of hemp into the top rope, about 5-8cm from the end of the spacer,
and make it fast with a constrictor knot, or another knot of your choice.
After it's on start binding the two ropes together with this hemp working towards the spacer. This photo shows me using a marlinespike (& marlin spike hitch) to pull the hemp tight. Marline spikes and their hitches are your best friend. Bind over the top of the free end of the constrictor knot you just made, so it is trapped underneath and cannot come loose.
Once it's at the spacer, make a couple of hitches/clove hitch (or another constrictor knot, if you feel so inclined) around one of the ropes, and then loop around the entirety of it twice or three times, going between the two ropes, pulling the previously made binding together more, and adding strength.
These turns are called "frapping turns". Once you've done a few, make it fast again with a constrictor knot, or clove hitch or something, and then sew it once through the rope, and tie a small overhand knot. Then sew it once more through the rope, and cut it off flush with the rope.
After that's all done, you can then tie off the first bit of hemp you put in around the spacer. Once it's tightly bound and made fast, sew the ends through the main rope, make a small overhand knot, and sew through once again.
The way I'm trying to get the team to do it is to leave no free ends of hemp hanging around at all, everything should be ended by sewing through the main rope, preferably twice. Once, then an overhand knot to secure it, and then again to bury the end. It looks so much nicer, and can catch on less and is much less likely to come apart.
Use the valleys in the lay of the manila main ropes to bury the overhand knots too, and then they can less likely to come out either.
Anyway, that's about it. You go through all of this 4 times for every step, as you put a space in on both sides of the step, and facing topside and bottom. It takes between 10-30 minutes for each one. So about an hour per step, working full speed. And this ladder has 20 odd steps, plus extra time, and teaching the new people how to do it all, and so on.
You never realise how complex rope ladders are until you make one.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Here's a few random pictures.
I moved into a new cabin a few months ago, when I changed jobs to AV, I could no longer sleep in my beloved Waterman's Cabin any more. My new cabin is alright. Not anything really special... Actually, it is quite special. The bathroom and main doors are in exactly the same place, in a tiny corner of the room, making it a health hazard if you happen to try to open one while someone else is opening the other. Speaking of the bathroom, here's a rather nice photo of the flush valve on the toilet.
There. Isn't that special. It leaks a lot, which is why it's encrusted with green salt-crystal thingies. Doulos toilets are flushed with salt water, by the way. Thus we have a slightly strange feeling (for europeans) system, that you can have only 3 minutes of shower per day (which is fresh water, and expensive), but are expected to flush toilets for a minumum of about 20 seconds, to keep the system well cleaned out. Our toilet blocks a lot, probably partly due to the flush valve, which you've just seen. It has this helpful sign above it, which never ceases to amuse me:
The actual meaning of the author is probably lost in all antiquity, as is his identity, which is probably a good thing. They also left this charming inscription on another note stuck up by the sink:Ahh... the joys of living on a multicultural almost-english speaking ship.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Doulos account. If it does work, it should be even easier for me to
post. So hopefully I'll be sending more interesting entries a lot more
I'll keep you updated.
_____________ NOD32 EMON 2572 (20071004) information _____________
This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
So. First Post in a LONG time.
I'm sitting in a starbucks in Hong Kong, so this is also the first post I have personally posted in a long time too. Mostly I send my entries via email to Cyprus, where my family upload them here for me.
On Doulos we do have an internet connection now, and have done for the last year. This is via a huge golfball stuck on top of the book-ex roof. OK. It's not really a golfball. It just looks like one. It's actually a satillite dish inside a globe, so it can swing around and point the right way without getting stopped by anything or fall off or something.
A few months ago one of the I.T. techies came out from the USA and did some clever stuff with the connection packet shaping and bandwidth distribution, so now all ship computers have internet access, and when we are in port we usually have a wired local broadband connection. Personal laptops don't have access to the net, only our doulos email accounts, but I (theoretically) could post from the computer inside the AV booth.
Speaking of which, I'm now working as an "Audio Visual Operator" or possibly "technician". Yes, after all that hassle. It's great. Totally different work, but getting to work with on board shows/programmes every day is good. I really enjoy that, and have many ideas I want to try, and hopefully will get a chance to soon. Learning/practicing live sound mixing is also good. Not something I feel very confident at yet, but it's something I really want to be good at, and so working with AV every day, I'm getting better. Some nice things about being a musician and doing AV, I'm trying to be able to say "that echo/feedback/noise/loud-part-of-voice is B, one octive above concert A" and then be able to EQ it out straight away... takes practice though, to be able to do it fast enough to not be noticed. Anyway, I'm out of battery juice on this machine, so should head home. It's lunch time. "Cold cuts and cheese" Yum.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I feel slightly directionless at the moment. I have so many things to do, and to be doing, and yet not getting any of them done. I join AV in two weeks, but I really want to finish Deck well.
I was given three days to do the lifeboat videos, during the time these guys are doing their training, to video them doing everything, basically.
Today was my last day given to do them. I've got the script of one of them done, 1/4 of the second script done, a bit of B-roll filming done. But none of the blocking done, none of the real filming done, and so, obviously, none of the editing done.
I'm VERY excited to go to AV. I really look forward to leaving deck. I don't know how it will be at all. Really weird. Kind of like being a kid, who was in school, suddenly being home-schooled, or something. I enjoy deck work, and too easily and probably too much see myself as a deckie, and a waterman. I am already doing video stuff and some AV programmes in my free time. I have so many ideas, but no way to play with them and try out.
Suddenly, it will be my job.
On one hand, sounds wonderful. On the other, slightly worrying.
Also I still have a problem really accepting that I will be joining AV. , even though I've had an official letter from Personnel about it, at last. I still honestly have a 80% belief that I'll be told "Sorry, someone is leaving, you need to stay in deck" or "Logos Hope NEEDS people, you're the only one who can go, even possibly. We don't NEED you in AV, we could take someone else, but if we don't send 2 deckies, they can't sail." Silly, I know.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Found found a weird inconsistancy in the liferafts procedures, so chased it up, asked the captain about it, and have emailed a picture and full explanation to both captain and safety officers.
It's so strange though... I actually quite like ships, and all this safety stuff and all.W orking within the ISM and all the regulations and stuff is quite fun in a weird sort of way. Maybe I would make a good maritime laywer or something....
Monday, August 13, 2007
If there is a fire alarm go off, I'm fire-station supervisor, overseeing the investigators, calling if to page for the full fire control team to come, etc. Also I have to check any locations before any hotwork is allowed (welding, etc), isolate zones on the smoke detector panel before hotwork is allowed, etc etc.N ot very exciting unless an alarm goes off. Then it's quite mad. My first 3 times as duty fireman I had big false alarms.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
But I just got a programme installed which makes this windows machine work almost like a Linux desktop. I can have 4 or 5 applications open, adn 8 or 9 windows, and get between each job just by pressing alt-1 or whatever. No silly alt-tabbing through 10 windows to see what I want. I don't like using the mouse.
The first day's training went well. I covered most of the ropework they needed to know. Knots, splicing, seizing, worming/parcelling/serving, stoppering at mooring. It's quite satisfying teaching, but complex too, and so much stuff to think about, and figure out how to get it to work. Tomorrow we will do purchases, bosun's chair and stage tomorrow, also care of rope....
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The e-day went very well.
I'm going to join AV on the voyage to Hong Kong in September!!
But I'm really tired.
9-12 i-night technical meeting, looking at the lights
12-3 sea watch
3-5.20 mooring and preparing water for the port
It's now 5.45.
Tomorrow I start teaching EDH (Effiicent Deck Hand), so I need to prepare all that. Should be interesting, but I don't have anything prepared yet.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I know that what job I actually do is quite minor, really, and that I'm here to serve, and it's God's choice what He asks me to do, nevertheless, I'm finding it intensely frustrating, and hard to focus on what I have to do day to day, and know how to spend my time. I was told (again) yesterday that I will be told for sure by the end of the week...
Tomorrow morning I'm taking a team of 4 people who I've never spoken with together (one of whom I've never met!) to do a 90 minute kids programme. I was told on Sunday afternoon that I was in charge. I was also told I had 2 steppers (who are tour guides, and so don't really speak english) and one from the new preship, who I've never really spoken with. So I tried to arrange a meeting that night, and told them as best I could.
None of them showed up.
So I spoke with the one from the new preship, who was working at the book-ex, and so couldnt come to any meetings. I arranged a programme, and told her what I needed her to do.
I managed to find one of the steppers, but I don't really know what she will do. We arranged to meet this evening to sort out her Bible story, but she never showed again. and I still havent met the other stepper/volunteer.
So I phoned today the host, and she wants to take us for lunch. So I said it was 4 of us.Then this evening I saw the notice board for e-days, and we have someone else joining the team!! So I hope I can see them at breakfast tomorrow, and maybe we have to skip devotions or something to prepare.
I really hate just bulldozing over the others, especially the steppers and just making them translate or something, but then the ballance between "the show must go on" and also "Doulos is about people".
To make it worse, Creative Ministries are closed all Monday, and by the time I'd found out I was in charge and thought about ideas on Sunday, they had also finished. So I havent been able to get any drama music CDs, or props, or costumes, or anything. They dont "open" until 9am tomorrow! Which is the time we're being picked up. I'll try to speak to one of them tomorrow at breakfast.
The host's expectations sound quite high of us, and I am really unsure of how it will all go. We're totally unprepared, and I'm struggling with feeling inadequate and cynical.
Just 4 days ago we had another crazy programme, a "mini-international night" which a church told us to produce at a concert hall they had booked without checking if it was a good idea with us first. So I was roped in and after work went along, having just taught 6 people that afternoon our cultural Scottish dance to perform... When we got there, we discovered one of the costumes missing, and so I had to re- teach them the 3 couple version backstage while the show had already started! We were totally unprepared, but somehow they managed to remember their steps.
The audience was about 80 kids and a few adults, who were there before we arrived and watched us troop in to the theatre and even practice how we would come out to bow at the end. I was feeling quite flippant and cynical by the end. It was an okay show, but what was the point!?
THEN... As we sat in the bus about to head back, a lady climbed up and spoke to all of us: "Thank you all for what you told us. Because of you, I now have strength to believe in Jesus".
Sunday, August 05, 2007
It was raining today, so not so busy. It's rainy season here, and rain does have a certain charm.
I'm probably doing AV for a programme on Tuesday. The AV head went today and talked in strong terms to Personnel, and said she sped things up a bit. She wants me full-time in AV so she can release me to make more programme videos, and media clips for our use on board.
Now I have an e-day to organise....
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The new Waterman is away on overnight, and will be back Tuesday. The other Waterman is doing most of the work at the moment.
So I'm working to get non-essential but good things done, such as the Waterman's bible, and writing a proper Waterman entry to the Ship Board Operations Procedures Manual (basically ISO 9000 for ships). And I'm getting the keys updated from piles of paperwork to be integrated into the ship's main database, and hopefully making the new lifeboat's training videos with the Captain soon.
Maybe also working with IT to get a couple of databases done.
Oh, and I'm trying to actually get to the bottom of the whole water chlorination deal, and get a proper procedure written down, and perhaps (the Captain is backing) to get an inline automatic chlorination system added. I'm aiming to leave my mark on the Waterman job!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
- too short.
- too fast.
- too slow.
- too bizarre.
- too boring.
- too random.
- too inane.
- etc. etc. ad nauseum.
He told me that it's all very complicated, and that video isn't really a full time job, and that all the manning problems are causing so much confusion.
The new Waterman has started. He's learning fast. I taught him the sounding and basic rounds on day 1, then the other Waterman watched him do them on day 2. Today he wasn't workign with us, tomorrow he's on e-day, Saturday we will work together again, I guess. So I'll keep them updated about how he's doing, and hinting that I'm redundant...
So that's good. But I'm still feeling very frustrated, making me want to leave the ship, even though I still feel it's the right place. Every day people ask, 'So what's happening?' and all I can respond is, 'If you find out, let me know!' And that just makes them think I"m being funny or secretive or something.
It's weird. usually, I can *feel* how the dynamics of the place are, and can fit in. But right now, I feel on a different wavelength, like I expect gravity to be normal, and all mass to attract each other, and apples to fall to the ground, and so on, and yet I'm living in a universe where in fact things don't do that, but almost. And there are no rules written down, but in fact it's something like things attract each other depending on how blue their colour is, and that's why apples fall towards the earth.
I feel like I'm in a computer programme I'm trying to debug, and everything ALMOST works,except that there is some wretched buffer overflow error, and extra 0s and 1s get dumped into random data structures.
Right now, I want to do video and AV stuff, and maybe study and get my deck officers ticket in a few years. It takes 2 years or so. 6 months study, and 9 months on a ship, and then a few months study, then an exam. I think.
My idea currently is do AV until either mid 2008, or maybe 2010, on Doulos, then perhaps
work with the company's TV/video group in the UK, and then either study as a deck officer, or go do AV on Logos Hope, or come work with dad, or all of the above, in some random order.
The AV team would like me to work with them.
But does the dept. head? I dunno.
Does personnel? I dunno.
Will it happen? I dunno.
This country is lovely, but so tiring. Such weird expectations.T hey expect us to bring revival , or something. The church here started with a revival in 1907 of that kind, out of nothing.
They want us to come and for revival to burn, and then seem disappointed slightly by seeing that we are, in fact, merely human. and God is using us in small ways., and all our human efort and life and all is not amounting to the huge dramatic stories they want.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I'd like to record my own footage and make a better one., I need to record some interviews anyway. I finished the music track I chose, and it works quite well, but at the end, it feels like it's just the introduction to a whole big project. So I'll try recording interviews,and add footage from this current i-night of the actual dances and all that,and try and make a full documentry of inight. But this means its a bit of a bigger project.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The half e-days doing puppets with children were moderately rubbish. Unresponsive kids, then loud and random.
Then the water got messed up. The water people don't bring anything like what we ask. Like totally different amounts. We ask for 200, they bring 36, etc. so I've no idea how much we have on board. Their barge only comes with random amounts of water in it.
Also I spoke with Personnel about doing half video and half deck, after being told so many times by the video boss he wants me, and my boss OK-ed it, and personnel said it sounded fine.
But today My boss had a meeting with Personnel, and they have a videographer coming in the next preship. So it looks like they don't want me in video.
So I have no idea any more at all what is happening.
There's little stuff on top too. Like I got a key request, but the cabin number and key number on the request don't match, so I don't know which they really need, and then the personnel secretary was in meetings all afternoon, so I couldn't call her and ask which it really was. Just silly little stuff like that. Feels like the last straw when life is frustrating anyway.
Also, I'm SO tired.
Seawatch was so long and tiring, and then yesterday after prayer night I went by the keyshop, and found a water sample had gone positive, so I had to start doing re-tests on all the water until midnight. Then I was up this morning at 6am to get all the valves ready for when the water arrived while I was out.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
This is OK with both the second mate, and the videographer's boss. So maybe I start in a week or two... Even better than AV, I think. I still get time outside, playing with ropes. And I'll still be doing AV for i-nights. If I do stay in deck, then I can apply for my AB ticket in February, since I'm still signed on under articles, still a deck rating, and still lifeboat 1 coxswain.
I can still hang out in AV, and mix video for them sometimes too.
I have three crazy days ahead.
The next two days are half e-days when I'm doing a puppet thing for six-year-olds, and half water loading and other work. Then there's the i-night the day after.
Friday, July 20, 2007
During a 2 year stay on Doulos, most people will go out for 3 teams like this. Some, like here, being very civilised, others (say in PNG or parts of North Africa), being much more out-back "jungle teams". I was staying on my own with a family of four, and every day going to work with my team from 9am until late at night. I really enjoyed living with a family, again. They were so hospitable to me, and looked after me so well, also, they were very relaxed and friendly.
I was introduced to the father like this:
"Daniel, This is Elder Shim. You will be staying at his house."
So I was a bit worried about how formal I would have to be. We'd been warned that Korean culture is very formal, and that on past visits of the ship, many westerners had caused problems, and had problems, due to the very low-context, low formal nature of the west, and also of the ship.
But I found it totally the opposite. Very easy to get along with, very friendly, very family. The parents sitting on my bed talking (even though I don't speak Korean, and they don't speak English!!), and the kids running around, doing a bit of puppetry with them.
It was one of the kids birthday while I was there, here is a photo.
As you can see, a nice cake (for breakfast!) and also much traditional Korean food. My hostess cooked amazing food every breakfast. I was so well fed. Lovely. Kimchi and rice for breakfast,
with rice and soup. Mmmmmmm.
One day she made kim-pap, kind of rolled seaweed paper with rice and crab and carrots and cucumber inside. I'd wondered how it was made. Now I know. They treated us so well, we went out for Korean barbecue 3 or 4 times, had much traditional food. So good. SOOO good! Anyway. A really good time. Really nice people.
Now I'm back on the ship, and have been for a week or two. Usual stressful running around, busy life.
I've been waterman for more than a year. Almost 13 months now. Amazing. It's gone so fast. And I still quite enjoy it. I'm also really tired of it, though. Firstly the long days, and always
thinking ahead and being on-call whenever I'm on board, but also it's not something I'm especially interested in, water tanks, locks, and all. I'm able to do it, and quite well, I think, and have learned a lot, and enjoyed it a lot. But I really want to change my job.
My first love work wise is still theatre and performance/art. I've been working with the videographer on board quite a bit, recently in my spare time, and also helping some with the AV/technical/sound/video people in our on board programmes team. I've applied for a couple of different jobs, on board, but at the moment it looks like I'll probably be staying in the deck department for a while.
I may be changing jobs within the department (maybe going to work on the lifeboats for a bit, do some maintenance there), or something else. The second waterman knows everything now, and it's time for him to take charge, and have someone for him to teach. Time for me to step down.
I have a kind of dilemma, in that I enjoy the practical work in the deck department, I enjoy many of the people. The chief mates, bosun, and many of my friends. I also know quite well the work, and can do it competently, and seriously. Many of the more experienced people in the
deck department are leaving in September, and many other people want to leave. So Deck needs people who are serious about work, and can work well and enjoy it.
On the second horn, I want to do something more creative. To spend my time making and exploring, which currently I just don't have time for. I really want to help the ship make quality videos and programmes and present a high standard to visitors and others. We're using video and multimedia presentations quite a lot, and I can see even more potential in it, and there is a need for creative people who know video and are technical enough.
A lot of the current team dynamics on Deck I find really hard as well right now. Many people not taking the jobs seriously, or getting angry, not caring about the work they do, etc. Many of us still acting like boys, not like men. So many things I find really hard to work and live with, that I'd really be happy to not have to worry about.
I feel as if there is not enough strength of experience and caring about the jobs and the people, so new people join, and when they do, they inherit the old habits and attitudes of the previous people, most of whom are already tired of the work and want to leave.
Do I try to move away from it all and start doing my preferred type of work as soon as I can? Or do I try to stay and be a positive influence, and try and encourage the new people to find interest and joy within their work? Maybe it's my home-educated mind-set, or maybe grace, or something else, that lets me work with this attitude.
Life is complex, sometimes.
Friday, June 22, 2007
23:45 - 04:00am sea-watch.
07.30 - 08:30am study groups.
09:00 - 11:45am Korea country orientation. (basic history lessons, culture, language, etc)
11:45 - 16:00pm sea-watch
19:30 - 22:00pm a-team meeting
23:45 - 04:00am sea-watch...
And so on! Quite busy, as you can see. In my "free time" I've also been working on the ship's video edit suite editing 2 video projects. Tomorrow I'm going out with a group of people for ten days to work with a local church.
Here are two photos of me taken in Japan, where we've been for the past month:
Monday, June 04, 2007
Before we get much further, here is a photo of yours truly:
Taken in Fukuoka, Japan. Nice place. Very clean, efficient, tidy, quiet. Kind of reminded me of some of the more sane and modern parts of London (not that there are too many parts which combine both of those adjectives).
We're now actually in Kanazawa, which is further north.
I've been quite busy this port, as the second waterman has been on a team staying and working off the ship for the whole port. I was also learning a lot about the audio-visual stuff on board the ship, how to use Final Cut Pro, sound balancing, and so on. Fun stuff. We had some of the people from our company's technical/production side out for a week or so, and doing some training for us.
Since then I've been working on the ship's edit suite making a couple of video projects (a Taiwan report video, and a video about the work the ship did in Philippines to show in Korea).. Final Cut Pro is very very nice software.
Especially once you get rid of the silly one button mac mouse, and put a proper 2 button+scrollwheel on the beast.
I've also been working quite a lot on just refilling up the ship with water. We had to pretty much replace all our water with Japanese water, due to strange regulations here, and that was all a bit complex.
I stayed up quite late one night running around the ship with the I.T. guys, when they re-built the network system, rebooting and reconnecting the DHCP client sessions on every computer... We now have internet web access on every ship-computer (not personal laptops). That is really cool.
I am probably going to be changing jobs fairly soon, I don't know where yet. Possibly into I.T and Videographer, or something like that. Maybe working with the Audio-Visual team running the sound and stuff programmes on board. I've been working as a waterman for almost a year now. On Doulos that's a long time. I just looked in our logbook the other day, which I started us keeping. The first entries are from August last year. Amazing.
I applied for the job of Technical Administrator. It would be quite interesting, and a big challenge too. A more technical ship work, and I could learn a lot of administration skills that would be useful in whatever job I end up doing in the future.
Doing all the video and all that these last two weeks, and hanging around with the IT guys a bit, I know that that is where I enjoy working most. I love doing video editing, and IT configuring and installing and all that work is so much more satisfying than water stuff. I miss programming a lot.
I miss linux, actually. Now THAT's a geeky comment.
But whatever job I end up doing here, it'll be useful, and also a good change. I'm really tired of the waterman's job. It's a great job, you can learn sooo much. And it's very interesting, very much responsibility, very much independence. More independence than any other job on the ship, probably. Still. It's time for a change. I'm tired of the midnight phone calls, of thinking about the ship's water and list and draft 24/7. Of being "on call" whenever I'm on the ship. Of working alone, truely alone. Even working with the other waterman, I still miss being part of a team. I don't much enjoy being a leader. I prefer to be a team player. Able to relax with others who know as much or more than I do, and able to pass the ball around, rather than just holding it myself, or watch my partner/assistant run with it the whole time.
Anyway. It's late. Past 10. I need to sleep. goodnight.
Monday, April 30, 2007
We had two tanks which were on schedule for being worked in (we emptied out one of them a month or so ago, and had deck teams in there scraping off the old dead cement, and we last week got the new cement on all the walls.
So we had to open up this empty tank again, and open up the other tank, and get everything ready for that. This meant the usual sitting for a few hours in a bilge/tanktop covered in slime and grease and oil with various sizes of wrenches/spanners getting the manhole open.. This one also created a few more problems though, as some of the nuts were really old and totally seized up.
I had to find out how to get them off. I tried everything I knew how to do (various lubricants, hammers, spanners with extensions, and so on). My next and final option was to grind the thing off. As this is in a bilge, with oil and all about, it's quite dangerous to do grinding, as you have sparks all over the place. So you need "Hot Work permits" which are paperwork to make sure you follow all safety procedures, have another guy on firewatch while you work, have fire extinguishers ready, etc... The chief mate suggested I try using just a oil burner/torch and heating up the nut around the edges, to try and expand it and so free it up. This would also require Hot Work permits, but would be safer, and also a lot easier, if it worked.
As I was getting ready for this (with the deadline being the drill the day after), the chief engineer suggested just using a "Nut splitter", a really cool tool I'd never seen before. Basically it's a chisel with a threaded end, a bolt on the end, and a case to drive it through the nut, as you tighten the bolt. Very cool indeed. So I found this device, and amazingly, it worked! Very nice indeed. I was chatting with the Engine Foreman afterwards, and he suggested a few other ideas involving chisels (and hitting the bolt in the right places to expand the right parts). So I have lots of new stuff learned. Cool. I'll put it all in the "Waterman's Bible."
Have I mentioned the "Waterman's Bible"?
It's our source of all knowledge and wisdom, concerning the job. When I joined, it was about 4 pages long, very hastily put togeather, and with confusing notes, and about as comprehensive as "Spot the Dog" is as a guide to the English language.
So myself and the former watermen began to add to it, and since I took over as head waterman, I've added diagrams of valves, information about the "Free Surface Effect" and other important things we really need to know, but were always handed on (getting more and more incorrect over time) by word of mouth, or just totally ignored, and other interesting information (such as "Where to find people to hang out with on the ship at 2 in the morning when you're waiting for the final water truck to arrive" and "Where can I get new hose-clips?" and "Where can I find good coffee?" or even "How can I get these wretched rusted nuts off the manhole-cover!?" for instance.
Currently the "Waterman's Bible: Nearly Accurate Simplified Version (NASV) April 2007 Edition" is around 50 pages long.
So, back to my week. Three days ago we had to move the ship a few hundred meters down the quayside, so a container ship could come in... the next morning we moved her back again. Then we have have 3 containers of food/books/supplies/chemicals arrive in (including 2 new waterhoses I ordered 3 months ago!).
And most recently, yesterday.
Yesterday was International Night (I-night). Our big festival of songs and dances and dramas from around the world! We're having two this port, for different audiences, and I am on the "I-night Crew" now, doing the multimedia (videos, cameras, projectors, etc). Yesterday was my first time doing that, always before I've been on stage performing. It was so much fun! So good to do theatrey work again. I love the energy and excitement of it. I was sitting on my own with a laptop, projector and camera (and camera person for a while) with a headset on listening to the stage director and back stage crew, and most things went pretty well.
At the beginning of this I-night we had a local Christian band playing, and then we went into 2 movies/video clips, and then the show proper. 5 minutes before the local band started their sound check, the singer came up to me with a USB stick and said "Hey, can you show this powerpoint, it's the lyrics of our 3 songs, while we sing..."
Yeah, no worries... Except, it's all in Mandarin! And I don't really speak any Mandarin at all!
He told me. "OK, these are my hand signals I use with the band, 'this' means 'Chorus' and 'this' means 'from the top'. We have 3 songs in this powerpoint, the first one is slides 1-3, slide 3 is the chorus..."
Woah! Cool! Bring it on! In the end, we did find one of our translators who could run the lyrics with me, which helped, rather.
After the local band, we had those two video clips. The first one for some reason was not on the laptop (someone else had set up the laptop and files on the ship before the day), and it only arrived 10 minutes before the performance! Still, I had them ready. Then, just as I started the clips, the sound came on, but no video on the projector! This was crazy! I'd just been showing lyrics on them! We'd managed to get a flatscreen monitor from the venue to use as a second monitor display by me, so I could set up the videos on the screen before switching the video-switch to display the computer, and the video was playing fine on my monitor.
So I switched off the video and began checking cables, while the whole audience was sitting there... and I found the projector had switched itself off! So I turned it on again, and reset my videos and got it going again. The whole time (probably only 15-20 seconds at the most, from when the sound came on without visuals to when it started working properly) with the stage director and everyone worried in the headset, and me on my first time with multimedia i-night. It was great! I love theatre.
Everything else went pretty smoothly. It was a long day, we started at 6.30am (after getting to bed around midnight the night before because of the container arrivals, that was a 14 hour work day), and then finished de-briefing after the I-night around half past midnight, and then eating dinner til past 1am, (So about 18 work hours...) Then I was up again this morning at 6.30 to get ready for a study group. I don't think I'll work too hard today, except I have my normal work to do, after church, then 2 Irish dance performances later in the afternoon, I need to do my work appraisal with the chief mate, and also a sermon review with the study group coordinator about 5pm...
[Ding Dong, Ding Dong...]
OK, just to add to the fun, the fire alarm just went off. Some kind of electrical fault in one of the wires, they guess. I was at the firestation with the others for about 10 minutes, they couldn't find anything in the whole zone where the alarm went off, so they've isolated the alarm, and check again in an hour.
Yeah. Fun week.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Unfortunately there are only two watermen.
I did some maths. The water at this port is REALLY slow to load: like 10 tons an hour. If we use 40 tons a day, then in Sabbath week we must load roughly 300 tons of water, which is 30 hours of loading.
It's not too hard work, really, as most of the time we can rest while it is loading. But there are also about four hours of sounding to do (over the whole week), plus another five or six hours moving water ready for the voyage, and so on.
It's quite OK - not too bad, really. If it were a normal port, then no worries. But it's still roughly 20 hours work each - kind of annoying when we're supposed to rest. Normally it's no problem - like last year, there was virtually no work for the watermen, because it was the beginning of a port. So they just loaded the ship totally full - so full she could not sail - and then basically did nothing the whole week.
But we arrived here after a two-hour voyage from the last berth (which still counts as a voyage, so we cannot load above the limit). The water connection only arrived during Sabbath week. It's a slow connection... AND, we sail right at the end of the week so we have to have all the tanks in order for sailing (some full, some empty, etc).
Sunday, March 25, 2007
When they loaded the fuel, the ship was below her loadline. Its quite colder weather, so all the doors are acting a bit odd. The c/m told me that he knew we must be light on water, since his door was not shutting as normal. I told him we had enough, but he said "load her up! The ship must be almost flat right now!" So I loaded her up. It was quite fun. My bathroom was almost diagonal, and the toilet outside the engine room was tilted both ways, and very weird to use.
Anyway. we will load another 50 tons or so the day we sail. (Tuesday)
So today, we started work after lunch (its Sunday) and then did basic soundings, made a few keys and I went up to the mates office. I found a really really dirty tarnished old brass ship's wheel (with wood outer spokes) in the office. The deck secretary told me that the 2nd officer had found it in an antique store, and that it was going to be attached to the bridge of Doulos.
There were Brasso tubs around the floor, and so i asked "surely you weren't trying to Brasso this?"
And she said no, but some others were trying to no avail. They had also tried toothpaste, and were going to try paint remover. I laughed, and said how silly. I then stole the wheel,
I phoned the store keeper, and he came to the keyshop. I borrowed some de-liming liquid from accomotation, and some wire wool and leather gloves. In half an hour of our work, it was shiny and brassy, so then then we Brasso'd it for another half hour or so, called the mates, and told them to come, and bring some Coke with them. On the way they told me on the phone that Coke has had it's recepe changed, and probably wouldnt work. I just told him to bring it. They turned up, saw the wheel and were VERY impressed.
Today was a very good day work wise.
I did my PR thing: I told them all, "if you need to know anything, or if you need something difficult done, just ask the Watermen how! they know everything!
They kept chuckling and saying well done boys, and how happy the captain will be and we will (hopefully) get a *real* wheel on Doulos again!
The Coke actually tasted quite nice....
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Dealing with the baggage locker isn't one of the most complex jobs, but it's kind of annoying and adds stress to the work: having request forms to do every day, extra responsibility and all. It only takes a few minutes a day, normally(up to half an hour or so) but it's just another thing to worry about.
Anyway. The firemen don't have so much work, unless they really want it (ie, go and look for things in a not-ideal state, and then fix them). But they don't do that (at least, not the current firemen).
So one day, I was carrying boxes up from the locker with the boatswain, who is Dutch, and mentioned to him an idea I'd had. Maybe the firemen should take over the baggage locker... ?
He stopped, put down the box he was holding and stared at me.
"That," he said, "is a bloody brilliant idea!"
So now the firemen do the baggage locker.
Delegation is so much fun when it works!!!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
The waterman job is so tiring for me at the moment. I enjoy it, it's interesting and fun, but so tiring, and such long, unpredictable hours. I don't even know the day before what hours I will be working on the tomorrow. I guess that's mostly because of the trucks, and once they are done, it may go back to normal again, I dunno.
The new group is settling in well... Even less guys than with ours. The ship is really short of guys! We have more girls in the deck dept, which I quite like, it kind of smoothes off the rougher edges of some of the guys.
Monday, February 19, 2007
This is the fire-escape ladder from the propellor shaft tunnel in the Engine Room. All of our Fresh water valves are situated in the tunnel, and our workshop is quite near the top of the escape, thus I climb up and down this ladder anything up to 30 or more times a day when very busy (when we have water trucks arriving, for instance). I think this could be one of the only things which keeps me slightly fit on board...
This second photo is incredibly unclear, and shows the new recruits crawling down the main corridor of the ship, in full Breathing Apparatus and fire suits. Fun. As I said, the photo is unclear, and there are much more clear understandable photos available, nevertheless I decided to post this one as I find it almost artistic, it has a certain visual interest, which most of the others don't. I mean, how interesting can a picture of a bunch of lemon suited unidentifiable personages with compressed air bottles on their backs crawling down a corridor be?
Quote for the day:
For no worldly thing, nor for the love of any man, is any evil to be done (Matt 18:8); but yet for the profit of one who stands in need, a good work is sometimes without any scruple to be left undone, or rather changed for a better. For by doing this, a good work is not lost, but changed into a better.
- Thomas à Kempis "The Imitation of Christ" Ch. 15
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I did 4 school visits, as a puppet, interacting with the MC for the whole 45 minute programme. So I had my arm up in the air for 3 whole hours. Very tiring.
Then After dinner I started work with loading water, we had 20 water trucks arrive, and so finished around 1.30am the next morning.
This morning I was up at 7am for music practice before the Sunday service, playing bass again... This is the second time this week I've played bass, and the second time ever I've performed with it. I feel so bad at it, I have no technique at all, and can "hear" in my head what the bassline should do, riffs, changes, and so on, but lack the practice and skill to play them yet... I need to find a "learn to play bass" book and spend a few hours practicing.
It's kinda fun though!
Monday, February 12, 2007
Here are some photos of my bathroom. The first is of after the plumbers started their invasion.
The thing on top of the toilet seat is a leather welding glove., in case you wondered.
The reason there is a toilet brush with a red ribbon on is because I helped the accommodation department with a video one time, and they gave me this as a present.
The light is hanging off the wall, yes. And the wooden fitting is all broken too.
This photo shows more clearly (perhaps) the underside of the sink.
Happily, now the sink has been repaired... with cement and heavy duty black scupper paint.
It looks like this:
Quite amazing, is it not?
For those observant readers (or photospotters), you may have noticed that the wall behind the sink is now white, not that rather ugly blue. If you noticed this, congratulations, take 10 points. I dont know where you can take them from, but I'm sure there is somewhere.
Anyway. The bathroom is currently being repainted, by yours truly and my new cabin-mate,
colleague, and friend Tomas, from Mexico. We're going to try and make it look quite appealing, but currently it just looks white.
So. That's all about the bathroom. Current news? Well...
I'm reading "Slaughterhouse 5" by Kurt Vonnegut. Now that is a strange book. Very interesting, witty, clever, rude in places, but thought-provoking. I have a friend in the Engine Room who recommended it. He loves Vonnegut, and I have another friend who works in AV (Audio-Visual for programmes, etc) who also enjoys his works. I'm still in two minds about it. Very clever... I like some of his ways of working with language, and with stories.
I was just phoned 11 seconds ago and asked to play drums for music tomorrow with some others.
It's dinner time, I'm going to go get some food...
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Here's the old one, which doesn't really say much:
- - common deck jobs
- - chipping rust
- - painting
- - rubbish
- - cargo handling
water trainee or waterman assistant
being taught waterman duties as
- - soundings, fresh and ballast water
- - greasing jobs
- - luggage storage
- - key cutting and lock maintenance
- - fixing shoes
- - improving and developing work procedures
- - teaching and passing on duties
- - leading the water department of about 2 personnel
- - continuing the regular duty of water supply- maintenance and learned duties
Here's my proposed replacement, which I think explains better what we actually do. There are two watermen at any point, one of whom is training the other.
- Making sure the ship has safe, clean, good drinking water. This involves:
- Loading water (sometimes by trucks, water barges, etc, which can come at any time of day or night, and take up to 13 or more hours to load the specified amount).
- Sounding all the water tanks every day, reading engine room gauges, and filling in log books.
- Making sure the ship’s stability as far as ballast tanks and water tanks are ready for voyages.
- Taking various chemical and bacteria tests on the water when loading and at other intervals.
- Having a good and thorough understanding of the ship’s freshwater system, including running all the freshwater pumps and valves in the Engine Room.
- Taking care that the ship does not list from side to side while working, and that the Engine Room watch-keepers are able to transfer water to correct list, that the ship’s draft and trim are good for sailing, and taking accurate readings of them.
- Preparing ballast and water tanks for inspection and maintenance work (emptying the tanks, opening manholes, maintaining the manhole covers, ventilating and inspecting tanks).
- Making keys for the ship, maintaining all the locks, taking them apart and cleaning them, etc.
- Greasing various pieces of deck machinery.
- Bringing up and down luggage when needed to the baggage locker, and keeping it in order.
- Mending shoes, belts, bags, etc.
- Attending deck department devotions at 0900h.
- Normal deck sea-watches and mooring stations.
- Some maintenance of valves, tanks, pumps, and pipes.
- Thinking of creative ways to do things, work around problems, and invent or establish new ways to get jobs done, and passing these on to the next watermen.
There are usually two watermen, one experienced who teaches/leads the new one.
There is very fine detail work (reassembling locks) and quite heavy work too (opening man-holes and floor-plates in the engine room, carrying bags, pumps, etc). A lot of the time is spent working alone, so self-motivation and taking ownership is important, but also a lot of the time communicating liaising and working with various departments and others (Chief Mate, Boatswain, Chief Engineer, Personnel Secretary, Purser, Engine Room Watch-keepers, local port workers (who may not speak English), the Shipping Agent, and so on.)
Many times there will be several jobs running at the same time, with pressure from many people to complete different jobs for them, while there are other responsibilities needed to be taken care of.
Thinking ahead and taking good care and responsibility are vital as failure to complete jobs or do them well can result in flooding sections of the ship, wasting tons of (expensive) water, breaking expensive deck and engine machinery, causing security and safety hazards, the ship having unsafe or contaminated drinking water, or even causing the ship to not be able to sail.
Sometimes the watermen need to work very long or strange hours, finishing jobs during the night, loading water, waiting for water barges, getting called down to the Engine Room at 0200h to help the watch-keeper, and so on.
All in all, one of the most fun and interesting jobs on board.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Got back to the ship, noticed the water hose had half fallen off the deck into the water (YUK!)
So I've had to go and rinse it out and start de-contaminating it. blah. Sea water here is revolting, around the port area.