17/06/2010 - First day on the four to eight!

My first 4am wakeup,.. not too bad as I slept really well last night.  The sea temp has cooled down and with it the temperature of the salon has dropped.
The first couple of hours of the 4-8 watch are pretty quiet as it is pitch black,.. sunrise was at 05.58 this morning and luckily I was sent aloft to loose the t’gallant, quite an experience watching the sun come up over the horizon from a vantage point of 30 metres up, dammit,.. forgot the camera on deck!  Once on deck again I encountered Brad who despite looking pretty chirpy informed me that he had yet again vomited, and this time he didn’t even make it to the side, but upchucked on deck!  Days since Brad has vomited: 0 the countdown begins yet again!
I find that the first couple of days I feel a bit queasy in the evenings so take a tablet just until I get my legs back, but he didn’t seem to want to..
Once the sun comes up we have a number of different responsibilities on this watch, the most important one seems to be a full deckwash with salt water and a rinse down with fresh water (aka Sujeing), however another element is the “Holy Stoning”. Now Holy Stoning is basically the precursor to sandpaper and consists of throwing sand down on deck, covering the area with water, kneeling down and scraping a 2by4 covered in canvas across the deck.  The previous 4-8 watch managed 1m2 in a month,.. Hopefully we’ll do better! I have to be honest, we could be so much more effective with a scraper and some real sandpaper, or god forbid an electric sander, but on the plus side this is a fantastic way of getting my oblique’s and triceps trained up for surfing in Bali… positive mental attitude is mandatory on board, especially when manpower is so abundant and cash so scarce!
We went through man overboard procedures, abandon ship and fire drills with our new mate and professional crew and there weren’t many differences so that was good .
I was put on wakeups this morning, and was surprised to find that mate Mike needs at least 2 if not 3 wakeups at regular intervals,.. although I guess it’s easier for us to wake up given that there are others getting up all around us!
The new watch seems to be a good mix, there are always those who are more adept than others, but everyone appears to want to take part and jump in,.. so I think we’re good!
The Afternoon watch could be summed up by the word “Huge”, we discovered a huge moth in the scullery, a huge fish grabbed one of the lines, zig-zagged in the wake of the ship and then broke the hook and we had a huge squally bit (apparently I am the one who they follow as now the old 8-12 watch hasn’t had any!).  Now this was a squally bit to end all squally bits and the torrential downpour was associated with some pretty high winds.  We were worried the terrapins on the galley roof were going to drown, but luckily someone had put some canvas down over them.  Nadja suddenly ran past me and yelled to collect the rainwater,.. now since Chris the engineer had stated that we were using too much freshwater, this did not seem strange to me!  However when I was told it was purely for the 2 wooden barrels, I was a bit put out.  We had brought 2 wooden barrels from Lunenberg, but didn’t realise they had to be kept moist and so needed liquid in them otherwise the wood would begin to become permeable.  However, there was rain enough to fill the barrels and keep every other container on the ship full with water and could be used for washing, sujeing and showering if need be!
Even with the squall, we still had a significant amount of sail handling and it is clear that by the end of my time at this watch I’ll be a lot happier with my lines and a more competent crewmember.

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