19/04/2010 - rust busters

Average Temp. 5ºC


Today started off as most mornings here have over the last few days, stepping up the stairs from below to be greeted by a sky that is so grey it could give John Major a run for his money and drizzle that makes sure that everything is damp, yet not quite wet!


My morning ritual now begins with the “layering” ceremony.  This is a simple, yet necessary dawn-time procedure which consists of initially preparing the lower part of my body with socks, pants (that’s underwear for you north Americans), long johns (again long underwear for the NAs), and finally trousers (pants).  This is swiftly followed by the top half; short tight sports t-shirt, long sleeved thermal shirt, long sleeved t-shirt, jumper (sweater) and then fleece.  This part of the process is then topped off by the application of a woolly hat (toque for the canadians).  This morning, the foulies (waterproof foul weather gear) were also required, I feel I looked like a little like a Teletubby would do had he ever decided to go into space and with the mobility of a sea cucumber, but I am warm!


When you bear in mind that the average temperature that I indicate every day does not factor in the wind chill factor you will understand why all these layers are necessary!  Have a look at the photo of me below to see the effect of the wind!


The silver lining on the cloud that is getting up in the morning is Donald’s breakfast, the smell of fresh bread, porridge (I know it doesn’t really have a smell, but we can imagine that bit) and whatever other delicacies he has dreamt up waft through the drizzly morning air and into the salon.  This morning we were treated to “meat doughnuts”!  Now I had never even heard of these, but I can tell you that a corned beef doughnut is actually one of the most delicious breakfast foods I have ever tasted, dip it in porridge and we are looking at a dish that Egon Ronay (possibly even Jamie Oliver) would marvel at!


Breakfast was followed by a morning’s “green Knight” application on the rusty areas of the topside (top bit of the outside of the ship) by leaning over the rails,.. now this “miracle” formula is meant to be applied to rusty areas and within 5 minutes should allow the rust to be scrubbed off, this, however, is bollocks…. 2 hours into the task the rust was winning, the team was not convinced any rust had been removed at all and disheartened by our ability to make any headway we decided to clean the storage areas in the main hold. Picton Trainees 0 – Rust 1.


The afternoon however was a different story, 4 of us boarded the skiff (small boat) to apply the same miracle liquid to the lower half of the topside (that we couldn’t reach from the deck)… we were already disheartened at the thought of a 2-nil tournament, yet the first mate had told us to and as good trainees we were obliged to follow orders. As we neared one of the freeing ports (holes in the side of the ship that let the water out) with the bottle of this impotent liniment, Yohanna and I noticed a thick layer of rust along the bottom, “this will require rust hammers” we decided in unison, and began to slowly chip away.  Within hours we had decimated the red menace; oh how we grinned as satisfyingly large chunks of rust flew off our beloved ship, how we laughed as this ferrous foe broke down under our onslaught and how we guffawed from behind our safety glasses as the corroded steel tried in vain to attack us. We even had to stop and ask for permission to continue when Yohanna actually broke off a large piece of the boat,.. “good, keep hitting” was the Mate’s response, we gleefully followed his orders.

Exhausted, wet, cold, yet triumphant, we returned to clean off the skiff and reviewed our afternoon’s achievement; apart from having rust in places I didn’t even know I had places; in my ears, down my shirt (which bearing in mind the quantity of layers is quite an achievement),  I had learned 3 valuable lessons:

1)   Always keep your mouth closed whilst rust-busting

2)   When it’s raining, wear boots

3)   Rust CAN be beaten!

I have no doubt that rust will be an integral part of my life for the next 14 months, but with my rust hammer by my side together we can beat it!  I laugh in the face of this ferrous opponent,.. mwahahahahah (pron. á la comic book villain)


Picton Trainees 1 – Rust 1

(but a moral victory for us I think)


Flourescent Foulies

Rust Busting!

Coffee Break


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