Waterman’s job… So far, I quite like it. It seems like a good job, many things to keep busy with, but not too much stress, and quite a flexible schedule (will be more so, once I’ve got everything mastered). Sort of quite senior. Quite “elite” and all that (being only 2 of us, and no-one else actually knows what we do, how to do it, or anything. Apparently people get “chosen” for it rather than choosing it. Bit weird… one of the other ex-deckies came to me and told me “yeah, all the watermen just get chosen, no one actually ever wants the job. It’s totally unromantic, unlike “fireman” or “team leader” or something. But everyone who becomes waterman seems to really enjoy it.” And loads of other people keep saying stuff like “you’re the new waterman? oh good! It’s JUST the right job for you!!”. I feel like I’m missing something…)).

Strange thing is, a lot of knowledge about the job seems to be passed on by word of mouth, apprentice style, but then it looks like a lot of it has kind of disappeared in the last year or so. So like the lock situation, for instance. As far as I can tell, about 2 years ago they replaced the entire lock set on the whole ship, then about a year ago bought a whole load of new / replacement locks & padlocks. But they have *never* ordered any spare parts for them. Which means that about now, we are very short.

There is this stupid little brass bit right in the middle of *every* lock on the ship, which has the entire weight of the lock on it when it gets opened, and these snap quite frequently. So far, what the watermen have done is to swap the part for one in one of the unused locks, or swap out a lock from elsewhere, or something similar. We’re kind of short of spare locks now. So I’m trying to find solutions to this. They have been talking about ordering or even trying to order new parts for ages, but have never done it. So I keep reminding the other guy, and it looks like this week we should order them. But until they arrive (could be months away!!) we still need solutions.

So I first went to the engine room machinists, and asked if they could make replacement parts, with their lathes, etc. They said yes, but it could take a whole day just to make one! So that’s not really a solution. Then I thought about maybe glueing/ soldering a fix, (it’s far too small and delicate to weld). So I asked the electricians, and they gave me some very strong epoxy mixing glue stuff, which I tried out today on a part. (Today is my first day working alone…) So far it seems like it may work! Monday is our off-day, and then on Tuesday I will hopefully get some time to sand/buff off the excess epoxy cement stuff, and build a new lock to try it out with. I really hope it does work.

I really enjoy the working with locks, but SO much of it is trial and error. We only have maybe 3 booklets on basic lock picking, but no real books on lock maintainance, theory, or whatever. Some things I am just curious about. The way they “grease” the locks to keep them working smoothly is by adding graphite dust. Why? I don’t know! They don’t know either. It’s just the way they were taught. Sometimes the graphite dust gets too much and blocks up the lock, and it all needs taking apart. Why not use liquid wrench or something like that? Or some kind of oil?

Hopefully I will get a chance to go on the net sometime this week, and then I can look up this stuff. Also try and find spare parts. Part of the problem with the spare parts is we don’t even know what the correct technical term for the parts are! So some jobs I want to do is to (once I’ve got it all worked out), make proper drawings / blender diagrams of how all the locks work, how to build/ rebuild them, etc, and then to make a small manual. Like as far as the locks go, I know about as much as the other waterman now, because it was the OTHER waterman before him who always did the locks before, and he never really got a chance to learn it all (he only started the job himself about 4 months ago). Anyway, it’s all quite interesting.

The other waterman is a really nice guy, friendly, etc. It will be very fun working with him.

Fixing shoes is not particually interesting, but it’s a good way to make everyone love you. 🙂

We get our own “workshop”/office. Which is cool. And also access to the deck officers/workers computer, to which is quite nice. We have to fill in spreadsheets of all the water readings and so on every day.

About the Doulos intranet thing, apparently the other IT bloke who is coming back from furlough in a week or so wants to make it all with the microsoft groupware thingy so it all links in with our exchange system. So that means I don’t have to do any of it. Oh well.

So thats about all really.