04/05/2010 - Freeing ports

Today I have mostly been greasing freeing ports (ports with metal swinging gates to let the storm water off the deck),.. I know it seems like I’m elbow deep in grease on a regular basis, but ensuring the freeing ports are free and easily opened by water is pretty important and will be inspected tomorrow by the Transport Canada surveyor.  It was a great job as onboard jobs go and required the use of “man-tools” such as the crowbar, oil, large hammers and lots of general kicking and manhandling.  Bob (Kate) and I managed to smash open a few that were completely rusted shut.  We even had to inform Mike that one that was super rusted shut and really wasn’t going to move, to which he surprisingly replied “hit the crap out of it”,.. there is nothing more satisfying than smashing something open that is meant to be smashed open and after a few minutes dutifully hitting the crap out of it, the freeing port was duly freed!

The day was beautiful and warm with a warm wind, clear blue skies and piercing sun, more than a few people ended up looking a bit pink by the end.  Despite the heat above deck the salon remained chilly and surprisingly cool, we attributed this to the fact that we are essentially below the waterline and there is zero insulation!

We were informed that we’re going to be starting shifts on Thursday.  The journey is finally starting!!

As the weather improves and we begin to accustom ourselves to the hard work, people are recovering from their various illnesses and there is a respite in the nocturnal cacophony, this morning it was so silent I could hear the water lapping at the hull mere cm from my bunk!  I have been looking forward to that sound for months, there is little more relaxing than the quiet lap, lap, lap of water… does make you want to pee obviously, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad!

The captain confirmed today that all going well, we will be departing on Saturday at 14h, and we will receive a blessing by the mayor (who is also a chaplain – or something similar!).  I’m not entirely sure why we require a blessing before setting sail, but let’s face it, it can’t hurt!
Learnt today about the death of Jonathan Martin who appears to have died having fallen from the lowermost yard on the TS Royalist in Portsmouth.  It really brought home how easy it can be to make a fatal mistake on these ships.
Everyone Aloft (except me.. I'm taking the picture!)

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