08/06/2010 - The Yacht Club

Another day of monkey shining greeted us this morning and never has a monkey looked so shiny!  I spent the morning painting rusty bits of the quarterdeck yellow and was given a ladder to clean up and put grip tape on as apparently the Panamanian crew require certain criteria to be reached before they will set foot on a ladder.  Paula read the requirements and there are something like 17 pages of ladder requirements to be met!  I felt quite honoured to be given such an important task and I stuck the grippy tape on that ladder like my life depended on it!

As soon as I had lashed that ladder in place WT immediately gave me another to do,… the curse of a job well done on the ship is that you tend to get given the same job over and over if you do it well!!

Another prerequisite of the canal traverse is that all the boats had to be placed inboard (normally they sit on davits hanging off the side of the ship) and I was very interested to see how we were going to manage this.  It wasn’t without the odd panicked shout, but between 3 tackles and 50 crewmembers it went surprisingly smoothly and  the was fairly straightforward to lift the boat out of the water and place on top of the galley house and shouting was kept to a minimum as everyone followed their orders,..

We were moored off the XXXX yacht club and having been on duty all day, our watch was free to go ashore and make the most of the showers, pool, restaurant, and more importantly, bar that the yacht club had to offer.

As we walked into the bar the cold air conditioned hit us in the face like a cold wet fish, refreshing, cooling, yet at the same time a little disconcerting and initially uncomfortable,.. it was so cold it actually hurt our throats as we inhaled!  It didn’t take long to get used to the cool air though and the ice cold beers slipped down our necks like the drips of condensation on the bottles.

I stepped outside to see some of the crew who had gone for a swim and as the sweat erupted instantly on my skin I decided a swim was definitely in order,..  the water was great and I spent a good 15 minutes pleasantly soaking and chatting neck deep in it (although mostly because if I stood up I would just start sweating again!).  Swimming was one thing, but I felt like a freshwater shower would really wake me up and make me feel a 100 times better and found a small shower just by the pool, only the cold water worked, which was fine, the door didn’t close (which was also fine except someone walked in and went to the loo whilst I was showering!).  I shaved, washed and saw myself in a mirror for the first time in about a month,.. holy crap, I really have lost weight,.. damn love handles are still there, but I am generally looking a lot thinner.  Donald’s food is not the healthiest and the carb content  is up there with a big mac meal, but we are obviously burning it all up… interested to know how much I actually weigh now,.. I was 74 kg or 165 pounds when we left Lunenburg,.. will try and weigh myself in Panama.

After the shower and recognition of weight loss I immediately decided I would try and reverse it by having the chicken wing special and yet more beers.  Since we were moving off early the next morning and the bar shut at 9 we all assembled outside on the dock to await Nadja and the 21.30 skiff run.  Myself, Joanie, Michael, Niko and Katie were sat waiting on a small balcony with the security guards office just behind us.  At one point I noticed the TV was on and glanced in, looked away and had a comedic second take, I needed verification;  “Michael”, I asked “Is that hardcore porn they are watching in there?”. “Yep”, he said succinctly after glancing over my shoulder…  Once we had got over the initial shock we found it quite amusing and we were making enough noise about it that the guards obviously overheard, and instead of turning it off, they just knocked on the window, I assume to get us to be quiet, maybe they were having difficulty following the plot!!! 


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