Monday, September 22, 2014

Shore Leave

Hmm... I will do a photo dump soon, once I figure out what the problem is.

We got off easy in Cleveland because we were having a problem with the stern thruster, so we had to hurry over to a shipyard in Toledo to get it fixed up. At first I was worried because something was broken, but then I was told that because we were docking for repairs, the deckhands would finally be able to get off the ship and get shore leave. Everyone else on the ship can get off and do minor shopping or go clubbing or whatever in any port they want after their working hours are up, but because unloading and loading is our specific job and we don't have watch rotations, we get stuck on the ship. Since I have only been on for just under a month, I am not bothered that much by shipboard life, but the other GUDEs were quite excited.

Obviously, it never goes that smoothly. Chief mate decided that this would be an excellent time to do a monotonous make work project that could just as easily have been done any other day and sent us an hour past our usual quitting time of 4PM. Then we had to go out and help the diving team by hoisting materials down to them. Then they wouldn't give us a sailing time (departure time) until the dive team diagnosed the problem. Finally, we had a chance to get off.

Four of us; me, a GUDE, the new apprentice who came on the day before, and the SA, split a cab out to the one place that everyone really wanted to go. Walmart. About five minutes after we left, the ship called the GUDE, who had left his number, and told us that the problem had been fixed and we were going to sail as soon as possible. Fortunately, as soon as possible still gave us an hour to get back, so we shopped quickly and returned.

We returned as the dive team was leaving and we could hear the engine room putting the thruster through the paces. I went for a snack expecting the call for departure at any time. As I waited I ate some, then waited some more, then ate a bit, then waited some more. At about 9PM, I learned that the thruster hadn't been fixed, that there had been some larger problem behind the one that had been corrected, so we were just sitting around figuring out what to do.

Eventually it was decided to take a load of coal from Toledo to Green Bay, where I am sailing right now, then stone from Port Inland to Superior, WI. At Superior, it sounds like we will be stopping into a more sophisticated shipyard for possibly five to seven days to get it fixed. Problem is, company policy says that that kind of lay-up for more than three days means they have to send all the deck crew and some of the engine room home, with no idea of what that will mean for my apprenticeship.

Fortunately, I am in galley now, and galley doesn't get sent home. Hopefully, my present galley status will exempt me from anything that might disrupt phase 2. But that is the future, and the future is nothing but imagination, so it may be different. Nothing bad ever happens.

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