Sunday, September 14, 2014

Safety and Flowers

I feel like we got boarded by pirates or something. Not only did a safety guy come on to talk to us about new and improved company procedures, but also the coast guard was prancing about while we were docked for fuel. Fortunately, the safety guy was pretty nice and I was kept well away from the coast guard.
The bosun chair. Just a board and a metal rod. You tie the line through the eye at the end of the metal, sit on the board, and hold on tight. Or you fall off and prompt a company wide safety revamp.
The safety guy didn't say what incident in particular prompted his visit, but I feel like he would not have come out and shown us all the new equipment and procedures if some dumbass hadn't gotten himself hurt. The issue today was the use of the bosun's chair, a piece of equipment we use to get deckhands onto the dock while the ship is still moving or not quite stopped and close enough to use the ladder. Basically, it is a plank of wood tied a swing to a line that we sit on. Someone holds the line and lets it out slow(-ish) until we hit the ground all safe and alive. It seems risky, but the fact is that it is incredibly simple, so there are very few failure points and those failure points are reinforced more heavily than even a very fat man would require. It sounds like some damn fool fell off or got dropped on his ass, so now we have to go from that very simple system to a more complicated one with more failure points. Fortunately, it isn't being deployed yet, and some of the crew who saw the demonstration mumbled opposition once the safety guy was out of hearing range, so I expect not to have to deal with it on this ship, and only ever in a much more streamlined fashion anywhere else.

The building on the right sounds like it is crying. The dock as a whole crushes the limestone into powder, and one of the primary uses of the white powder from this plant is to dye toilet paper white.
The dock we stopped at for unloading, in Superior, Wisconsin, the south side of Duluth, had a bunch of wildflowers growing where we tied up. I said "Ooh! Look at all the pretty flowers!" And bosun laughed. Then he looked down. Then he looked back at me. Then he said, "Once we tie up, go down there and pick me a bunch of flowers." At first I thought he was joking, but went along with it, and continued to go along with the joke all the way down to the dock, looking back up at him to laugh and call me off, continuing with the joke as I pulled out the flowers, taking care to keep as much of the root as possible, continuing with the joke as I climbed the ladder, one hand full of yellow and a few thin white flowers, and presented them to bosun.
The dock, complete with flowers.

"What is all this?" He said, pointing at a few dead leaves and fruiting buds. "This doesn't look like the flowers you get at the store."

"Well, I haven't cleaned them up yet." I said.

The rec room table in the middle of clean up.
"Ok, do that."

My flowers. They look better in person
I almost said that I needed to help the other two deckhands with the loading prep work, but then I didn't say it and went into the rec room and cleaned off the flowers. One had enough root left to replant in a coffee can and leave in the rec room, one bundle went to bosun, I kept one bundle, and I suspect the last bundle will go to the captain or someone else important. One of the ABs came in and asked if we were doing flower arranging now and I said yes, this is precious cargo.

From a bit further out. That couch really is quite comfy, but decoration is otherwise sparse.
On another note, if anyone in my sister's family is still reading this, could you send me Sam's NFL picks next week? I entered the NFL pool this morning and called all but four games, one behind the Chief Engineer, picking mostly at random. I am the most poorly paid person on the ship, but hopefully Sam can help me remedy that situation.
The finished product. Bosun used skype to 'deliver' the flowers to his wife back home. We really do live in the future, using hyper advanced technology for such mundane and human purposes.

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