04/06/2010 - Galley Day and the Sponge Fairy

Another Galley duty day and Tiina and I finally got to spend some time together!  We used to see each other a lot in Lunenburg, but since we were put on separate watches we hardly see each other and ironically she sleeps under me! (in the bunk below!).  We thanked god that it wasn’t a Sunday and we didn’t have to cook all the meals ourselves, but Donald still kept us busy.

Our task was to clean out the containers section of the scullery, however, the captain had noticed that the plastic scullery cutting board (which doubles as the top to the cooler) was grey and grimy and needed a serious clean so I was put in charge of making sure that it got a good scrubbing.  After 20 mins continuous scrubbing it became clear that this really wasn’t going to make any difference and so I tried bleach: no cleaner, then we decided on TSP an industrial cleaner from the carpenters workspace: no difference, sandpaper: nope, wire brushing: nothing, wire wool: no change,… eventually I discovered that the most effective manner of cleaning the board was to scrape off layers of the board and then clean out the cut marks with my knife and the industrial cleaner.  This process took a couple of hours and resulted in me being covered in plastic shavings, but the board was virtually unrecognizable from its previous self and everyone commented on how clean it had become,.. I wonder how long it will last!

Cleaning up after lunch it was noticed that there was a lack of 2 corner sponges and WT was brought in to organize a system to ensure that there were enough sponges to go round.  Now, the sponge system on the Picton Castle is as follows:

Full sponge: washing up dishes sponge

One corner (missing) sponge: eating surfaces

2 corner sponge: Non-eating surfaces

3 corner sponge: interior walls/bulkheads

4 corner sponge: Heads/toilets

The sponges move from one classification to the next based on how grotty they become until they are not even fit for use in the head and thrown out – mind you at that point they are little more that small pieces of yellow and green plastic and actually dirty things more than clean them!

Now no matter how many 2 corner sponges are created, there always seems to be a lack of them and we believe that this mystery has baffled some of the greatest minds for centuries (or at least since the Picton Castle was created in 1928!), along with the Bermuda triangle, the Marie Celeste and the whereabouts of Michael Jackson’s real nose.

Every location now has the correct sponge allocation and (gasp!) new sponges were even brought out of the hold! Which just goes to show how serious the situation had become!

We were advised of another splicing masterclass in the afternoon and so I decided to sharpen my, by now, very blunt rig knife.  As I was on the well deck and sharpening it on the block from the carpenter’s workspace I noticed the captain walk past and glance at me,.. a minute of so later he passed by again with his knife out and proceeded to explain how to sharpen my knife.  This lesson was greatly needed as I had heard a number of different versions of the best way to sharpen a rig knife, I could boil it down to 3 distinct elements 1) Use the whole grindstone so you don’t wear down any particular area, 2) if your knife ends up being sharp, then that’s a good way to do it! and 3) Don’t oversharpen your knife as it will become brittle.

His system definitely seemed to work and I turned up at the splicing masterclass feeling prepared!  We all hovered around the hatch in heightened anticipation as we noticed that there was an additional cutting block with 2 coconuts beside it.  The captain turned up with his normal unassuming aplomb and proceeded to give us a pre-workshop workshop on 2 different types of coconut and how to open them; the first was the coconut that I was used to from Ghana that the captain described as a “drinking coconut” or “waternut” and demonstrated his way of opening them, which was similar to the Ghanaian way, except using a sharp knife to carve off the outer husk instead of using the machete/cutlass to hack away at it.  He then showed us the hard coconut which he described as mature and how to open it with the machete/cutlass.  The splicing masterclass was fairly straightforward and I found splicing two ropes together easier than splicing the same rope back onto itself to create an eye.


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