The glued part I mentioned yesterday didn’t quite work. The glue seems to be strong enough, but unfortunately I didn’t quite check how it all fits and works before gluing it. I glued it as it is when you insert it into the lock… but once it’s in the lock part of it gets pushed into another position by a spring. So tomorrow or something I’ll try with another broken part and see if I can glue that into the already sprung position instead.
Yesterday I was in a programme as well in the evening, it was a programme for the local churches, to thank them for all their help this port, and show them what kinds of things the ship does. So
stories from one of the nurses, about her work with the ship in India at a leprosy home, and so on. I was asked to be part of the “parade of departments”.
Basically go up the front with my work clothes on, with people from the other departments, and they had to guess where we worked on board, and what we did. I don’t think the programme organiser thought about which people she asked though too much… or maybe she did. I was the last person in the line, and when we introduced ourselves, it sounded something like this:
“Hi, my name is Daniel, and I’m from Ireland.”
“Hi, my name is Danielle, and I come from Malaysia.”
“Hi, my name is Daniel, and I’m from Cyprus.”
So all I had to do was say my name, pause slightly and look ironic, and the whole audience burst into laughter. Nice. I dressed up for the occasion. I wore my normal work clothes, but raided the workshop, so had about 3 screwdrivers in a pocket, a tape measure on my belt, pliers, a sounding rope and weight on a nice harness thingy, and perhaps 80+ keys on various jangly rings.
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.
We’re in Port Klang, Malaysia now. Sabbath week has started, so no deck work – 8 hours watch tomorrow only, and that’s it! Probably that’s my last ever gangway watch. They still have me scheduled for watch with my team, but my new teamleader is trying hard to get me off that week of watch and straight into the job as waterman.
Sabbath week means we have seminars etc in the mornings, then afternoons are free. Monday is sports/general madness afternoon.
The speaker this morning gave away free books to everyone! He told us about the most important emphases in his life, then recommended about four books about each one . He had a table up the front where at the end each person could take any three they wanted. But there were quite a lot left over, so he said take as many more as we wanted. So I got 7!
I have the go-ahead to make the Doulos intranet website. We’re getting new computers soon, and one of the old ones will be converted to a Linux server.
Slightly weird news is that I’m going to be waterman. Means no more work outside really, hardly any physical work either. No more gangway watch either, mind you. I start right after sabbath week. It’s the job I didn’t want as it means being on call in evenings, but for the next lot of ports, as they are quite developed, we should always have water from a main, rather than trucks, which is better. So I won’t be on call all evening.
There are two watermen, the old one is leaving and I know the new one requested me about two months ago already. Then today I was told to work with him for the day, so I did, and then this evening the chief mate told me that as soon as sabbath week is over I will be the new waterman. It’s a job I know I can do, and some of it will be interesting. Like doing all the key-repair/locksmith stuff, but yeah. I dunno.
The chief mate knows I don’t really want to be waterman, and he knows I want to move to another department as well eventually. So he could have given me the job because they need someone, and it actually isn’t that hard, and I’ll be able to fill the second position until they find someone who wants the job. I’ll enjoy the locksmithing part, as long as I can find some good books about it, and can get enough work time to do it in. I’ll learn how to pick locks. And I’ll have a slightly more flexible schedule than now.
Also I have the go-ahead to make the Doulos intranet computer system, which should be a fun diversion. So I will kind of have full internet access sometimes for a while, to do research and get the software I need and stuff.
Oh, and I’m playing tambourine with the gospel choir. Kind of fun, but utterly exhausting in the right arm after playing solidly for six minutes straight.
As waterman, I’ll be able to play clarinet in my office, which is far away from everyone. I don’t like playing in my cabin, as there are always watchkeepers in next door cabins asleep, or in my cabin, and it’s hard to find other places which are free. I’m currently playing a lot in hold 1 which has so-so acoustics.
This is lovely lovely lovely Thai fruit, “rambutan”. Tastes kind of like grapes, but without skin (once youve taken the outer layer off). So peeled grapes. One huge seed, but you dont eat it.
I’m spending a lot of this week on watch using my swiss knife and some twine to whip and finish lots of the book-exhibition ropes. They are all in horrible condition, although some have been finished off with back-splices, but not beautifully. Since the ropes have to be pushed through small holes in the stanchions to make lines for the people to walk, having them all thicker at the ends doesn’t make it any easier… they look so much better whipped off. Some of the ropes have
frayed though some of the strands, so I’m having to re-lay them, and then perhaps tonight I’ll splice the frayed ends togeather. It’s something to do…
GREAT day 2 days ago… Plan was for morning planning/preparing, afternoon teaching drama and creative stuff to teenagers, a kids’ programme after, and then a café on board in the evening where we would be waitering and stuff.
The drama was really really good. I got to basically run the whole thing, teaching drama, basics, games, etc. Kids loved it, really joined in, did so well. I hadn’t realised how much I miss drama/theatre work though until then. I miss it a lot! Teaching drama is so wonderful.
Then the kids programme after that was v. disorganised, on a street corner. ok. kids enjoyed it, I think. Did the usual dramas, silly songs, etc.
Then as we got back to the ship to prepare for the café, (which I was not looking forward to. Normally I end up sitting at a table with two people who dont speak English, I don’t understand their names, music is too loud for me to concentrate or understand anyway, and when after half an hour or so we begin to get a conversation going, before I can say anything they both leave. I dont enjoy…) one of the line-up people said to me,
“Are you free to come out? I need musicians!”
I said I was in the cafe, he said no problem, went and got me out of the café, and told me to get my clarinet. So I did, and we went to a café run by some local people. They are trying to make a new safe cafe/restaurant, where it isn’t all cabaret and sex and stuff, but friendly, good music, and so on.
So we set up music stuff, and played for 2 or 3 hours. The other musicians were amazing too. One of them was a bassist who went to music college to study bass. Between sets, he started playing
“Amazing grace” … he’s THAT good! We did a bunch of Christian songs, English, French, etc. Then after that the bassist brought out “The jazz real book” and we played a few songs from that: Georgia on my mind, Moonriver, etc.
Lovely, lovely. Clarinet and bass go well togeather, I think. He said he may be able to teach me some jazz theory before he leaves (2 or 3 months!!), whcih would be really good. and also maybe I
should teach a standard music theory course, as many musicians on board have no theory at ALL.
So that was a really really really good day.
We’re in Phuket now (pronounced “poo-kett”, in case you were wondering). It is SO beautiful. Both ports in India were coal ports, so the ship got really dusty and black, but here it is a tourist berth, and the landscape is like a tropical paradise from some Caribbean movie or something. Lovely. The people are really friendly too. I have not had a chance to go out yet, being on duty and really busy with dance practices and so on.
Yesterday we had an actual fire! Someone left a laptop on their bed coverings, and it overheated and started smoking and sparking. She had left the cabin, but one of her cabin-mates woke up because of the smoke, grabbed it and threw it on the floor. Someone phoned the ship’s internal emergency number, and all of us in the control team came running to the firestation. We sent in the attack team dressed in full gear and everything. But thankfully someone had already put out the fire with an extinguisher. They reckon they may be able to rescue the hard disk, but I dunno.. We’re just glad they were not injured.
Today was a pretty good day.
Not many deckies working’; many people are seasick, and so extra deckies are taking on other’s seawatches, and so on, so not many day-workers. Tomorrow there are only 3 of us!
Anyway. The Bosun asked me to wirebrush/clean/paint one of the compass stands on the bridge, which was a good job. Went well too. Hopefully the rain the rest of the day wont have messed it up too much….
Then in the afternoon we had fire attack-team training. Which basically envolved learning about how the breathing-apperatus worked (BA-sets). Then putting them on, and going about the ship, all of us getting shut inside a small compartment/fan-room togeather (to make sure we could cope with such spaces, and not get claustrophobic), crawling along mainstreet (the main corridoor of the ship) using only hands and feet (knees not being protected enough) and then we went up to the funnel, climbing down through inside of the funnel structure inside the engine room, (very very hot! while wearing heavy BA-sets too…) to give us an idea of how it is like inside a fire, then we had to go out along the propellor tunnel shaft (small, hot, and with the propellor axel/pole spinning half a meter away from you the whole time) and climb up the emergency escape shaft.
Then our instructor (one of the ship’s firemen) went and lay down somewhere in the lower engine room, and we had to go in to find him, and carry him out as a casualty, the whole time wearing our BA-sets. The normal cylinders we are using here for air give about 45 minutes, so the whole thing didn’t take THAT long, but it sure felt like it, as it was so hot, and carrying a human body about while wearing a set is quite hard. One of the people on the training mis-attached his BA tube to his mask, and so had to stop half way through, and go on the rest of the time just breathing normal air, with his BA-set detatched, and one of the others ran out of air 10 minutes before then end, as he is less fit or something, and so was using up air faster. But we got out in the end.
I enjoyed it a lot. For some reason many of the others didn’t. Most of the others got burns on their hands while we were climbing down through the smokestack funnel, — it was that hot. I didn’t. Family asbestos fingers coming into play, I think. Anyway. They ended up walking around the rest of the day clutching plastic bags of icecubes. One of the others as well was feeling too sick to participate. But one of the other guys, from Germany, was really really good. Very competent, and good to work with. I’m sure he will be on the attack team soon, and good too.
We left India yesterday. Kind of sad. I will miss India a lot. A lot of people on board are glad to leave, as it has been very stressful for them, what with many of the visitors being so pushy and all. For me, I didn’t get so stressed by it, even when on gangway watch, with many people coming and asking for tours, and for permission to walk about the ship and stuff like that.
I was thinking about it, and many of the cultural traits which ship people were finding hard to deal with, and much of the culture are pretty similar to Cypriot culture…. just imagine a Cypriot culture that had continued for 3000 years without being invaded every 100 years like Cyprus has…. then imagine their religion teaching that they were spiritually better than others, and that the others were trash, lower than dogs, because of bad stuff they had done in previous lives, not even to be pitied. But the aspects of everyone being out for himself, but caring about his family, or family image. Not wanting to look bad, trying to get the best for himself out of every situation, thinking he knows best, and so on. Very similar to Cypriot culture. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have such a problem.
Two days ago we got the new deck schedule for this month. no news about jobs or anything, BUT, I found I had an extra 2 days of 12-4 gangway watch this week, as some people are on re-entry training. That’s not good news. So I did 12-4 today. I’m SO tired. I wasnt ready and so didnt get enough sleep or anything, and I still have tomorrow to do.
BUT the good news: one of the other blokes wandered into my cabin just now, we were chatting, and he said, “just 2 days of 12-4? That would totally wreck your whole sleeping pattern. 1 day is fine though. How about we swap tomorrow? I’ll do your 12-4 tonight and tomorrow afternoon, and you can do my cleaning team.” He just phoned to say he confirmed it with the bo’sun. COOL!!!!!
He said he quite likes gangway. So many people tell me that. I just dont get it.
Re-entry training is brief 2 day training about getting ready for going back home. We have about 8 or 9 deckies leaving in the next few months, so it may be quite unlikely that I leave deck any time soon. I hope I’ll get the lifeboat job and that it works out as well as I hope.
I spoke with the bosun, and he knows that Im quite practical and good with my hands and stuff, and so he would quite like me in lifeboats, but the watermen want me to join them too (specifically asked for me). And he knows I’d quite like the lifeboat job. I told him that I am interested in moving from deck into creative ministies or AV or videographer job in the future, so if it is better for the deck to get someone who doesn’t want to leave deck ever (which would be good if there was someone to do lifeboats for 1 and half years! very good for the department), then maybe is better I stay in normal deck work. He was happy I told him. unhappy that I may not stay a deckie, but he really appreciates openness.
Watermen job is (in my opinion) not fun. Others think it sounds great. Basically no hard physical work at all; they are in charge of the ship’s drinking water, so when trucks come, they have to come and get it attached and coming to the right tanks, moving water from one tank to another so the ship doesn’t get lopsided, checking the water making sure it’s OK, testing the depths of each tank. There’s also a bunch of other random jobs (like looking after the baggage locker, making the new keys for the ship, repairing shoes, etc) mostly it doesn’t require too much work, but not exciting.
AND… many times they end up being “on call” all evening, and having to rush off to do water trucks at all hours, which would be really really is bad for me, as I’d almost never be able to totally confirm with a programme organiser, “yes I can be in a programme to do a drama” so they would not want me in dramas at all, as I might have to keep rushing off. So you can see how some people like the job. No hard physical work.
Sometimes they don’t ask if you want a job, though, they just assign. It’s the chief mate’s decision in the end. Apparently what happens is that all the department heads meet up to discuss what people they want, and then negotiate it all out, and then after that each deparement head assigns jobs out within the department according to which people they have left, and so on.
According to the AV people I’m almost certainly on the list of people they will request, but because of me being quite strong and a guy, I will almost certainly stay in deck for the first year. The thing is, AV will be SO short staffed in the next few months. I know I could do the AV job, and many people could not, and so I dont want to commit to the deck department of getting the extra training and stuff of the lifeboat job, if I will then end up having to dump them in a few months if AV cannot find enough other people. Its not fair to the department. So it’s all quite complicated. That’s why I told the bosun.
At the moment, though, I’m just glad about not having 12 to 4 again tomorrow!
I missed lunch today as I had to give a tour for my “little brother”s family at 11:30. So I went and brought an icecream from the book-ex shop, then made a chocolate spread and jam sandwhich and put the icecream on top. Scrummy. Then I had some dinner too, but not much. I put the rest in the fridge for later. But i’f I’m not on watch I wont need it…
Gangway watch is so bad for eating too. You never feel hungry at normal times, and then need energy quickly at random times, and waking up at like 2 am, and so end up eating really bad stuff, chocolate spread sandwhiches, choclate bars, tea with loads of sugar,cereal with sugary squash juice stuff as the Doulos milk is not nice.
We were supposed to go on an extra trip on my off-day, all of our group, to do a special programme at an old peoples home. But the driver didn’t turn up, and so we were waiting for ages. Then when he did turn up, we got taken off to the wrong place – the same place where we did some building. They wanted us to start building again, but none of us were in building clothes. All the girls were in punjabis and all . I remembered the house of a local guy we had met before, so we went there, and phoned to the real guy, and explained the problem … and then it began to totally chuck it down with rain. So we hid under the veranda and played music and sang songs with the local slum kids, which was really cool. They sung us their Sunday school songs. Really nice.
Then somehow the guy turned up, found us a jeep, and drove us back to the ship. On the way we stopped at a really nice cheap Indian fast food/resurant place and had lovely lovely lovely Indian food. A whole huge meal. The whole meal, plus drinks and dessert, and auto ride home cost us 50 rupees each!!!! 50 rupees is about 50 CY cents [approx $1 US].
It was too late to go where we were supposed to go – everyone had gone home.