Spudwell S1

Tuesday 1/30/07

I’m feeling in the groove here, like I’m living up to John’s knickname for me, “Tanker Princess.”

Ernie and I are getting along like a house afire. I’m feeling on top of this project.

I go down to check status of the forward spudwell. I never feel too welcome with this team, Roach always has a way of keeping his head down, no eye contact. I don’t have a sense of the other guy; but, I’ve always loved the cavernous, moody spaces of the cargo tanks and so this spudwork is great to photograph.

I’m loving photography again. The camera that Erica delivered yesterday, the latest little Elph, is astounding. Auto mode can expose images in low light and high contrast, it has a wide lens, a view finder even, and makes a 20 meg file! This little $400 cigarette pack is out performing my “pro” Nikon D1X that only makes a 19 meg file. No, Canon is not a sponsor. Hmmm…Hello, Canon?

Then I look down near the spudwell, I see that the Whalen’s gangway pin, a 4’ steel rod, threaded at one end with an eye at the other, has been used to lever the spud in place. The threads are mashed.

Something blasts out of me. “Yo pago, yo mando” (I pay, I give orders) and continue to dictate in Spanish that they will not use parts of the boat as tools, they’ll go off the boat for tools. I steam up the ladder “joder.”

Straight to Ernie “I have my first close-to-complaint.” Ernie is back in a few with the rod. He’s smirking. “I took care of it.” He waves the rod. “Yes, Ernie, the threads look better in daylight, yes, they can be recut.” I mutter about Roach’s attitude. Ernie tactfully points out, “you have to understand, it’s a macho thing… and his relationship to women is that they put bills in his underwear.” I laugh. Good joke about Roach's former job as a stripper, but maybe very wise. I move on.

I check in on the laborers cleaning out the crawl space underneath the forward engine room floor. Because the forepeak was not pumped out promptly, and the bulkhead failed, the water ran back into the next space; and as it wasn’t pumped out of THERE promptly, there are cakes of rust ice in the bottom of this compartment. Ernie doesn’t want to use heat to melt it as that will ruin the paint, so a team of Hispanics is hunkered in there smashing ice.

Diligent Freddy continues working round the hull, washing of steel. He’s always alone, up high on scaffolding or a high reach. Burning open the bow steel leads to lots of smoke and lots of looking from below and from within, looking to understand the structure, the damage and to devise a plan.

After lunch, I go back into cargo tank S1 to make nice with Roach. He says “this must be a special project, they never put me on work like this." I don't really know what to say, but at least we're talking. The day concludes without episode. We're all in the groove.