The ship was listing badly but not damaged, so the task of rescue was fairly straightforward, though requiring much caution. We keep on our ship tires attached to short lines held in reserve for just this circumstance, and these were cast over the side after securing the free end of the line to the deck. Then we heaved our mooring lines over to the Spirit and heaved ourselves hull to hull. The lines holding the tires are rarely used, and in the moment of first contact half of them sheared right off, eliciting mild swearing, but we still had enough bumper for the maneuver at hand.
|Mackinac Island during a break in the rain. It really looks like a nice place, but the other sailors tell me it is unbelievably expensive.|
For all the complexity of the operation, everyone (except me) knew what to do and the whole thing went as uneventfully as a normal shore loading. We slid back and forth, starboard hull touching starboard hull, while thier crane dumped into the right hatches. I shoveled up behind all the iron pellets, dust, and mud that missed the hatch.
|We are the front ship, American Spirit is the one behind carefully unloading. The Sam Laud boom is raised right above my head.|
Of course, the entire thing was performed under heavy intermittent rain, with droplets thick enough that you could feel them individually striking beneath raincoat and denim, since it would not have been dramatic enough in calm seas under sunny skies.
I, of course, missed most of it, only coming in for the last two hours, since the bosun seems determined to keep me from getting any overtime and he had some painting jobs for me to round out the rest of my eight (and no more) hours.
We were only an hour away from the Soo locks en route to Silver Bay, but our course has shifted now to carry half of the Spirit's cargo. I am back on Lake Michigan, which I hadn't seen since setting out from Muskegon, on our way to some port near Chicago. Since it is only a partial load, I doubt there will be any opportunity to get off, not that they are likely to let me off, since I am part of the unloading team.
|Saved! Note that the Spirit didn't hit any obviously visible features. This is another reason why I want no part of being a navigator.|
As for photos, it is very hard to take many good ones, since whenever there is something interesting happening they have me working on that interesting thing (or kept well out of the way), so I am often too busy to take any.
As for the comments; GUDE stands for General Utility, Deck and Engine. It is technically an engine department job, the first rating on the path to QMED (Qualified Man of the Engine Department), but on this ship they use them as deck hands.