Passage progress and the Dockyard Lament.

Aye Aye Landlubbers
What a difference a day makes eh? 24 hours of a steady 25 knots of North Easterly wind and our previously serene passage is now interspersed with regular slappings that shudder through the vessel every few minutes and leave us gently bouncing, as 26,000 ton of blunt bowed steel plods into what we would consider as only slight seas (say between 1.5 and 2 meters).
It is a mild irritant as opposed to anything to be really bothered about. I am keeping an eye on the main deck and the movement of the big crane in its boom rest because we have just had 900 ton of steel inserted into the hull as extra strengthening for when we fit the new 2200 ton crane and I need to make sure that our structural integrity is as good as it ever was and that our movement (flexing etc) is about the same as it was. It is the big rig (heavy lift crane) drivers (Jake and Dave) who often can provide invaluable feedback on that, because they see the deck from a different perspective to me on the bridge. They are also right astern so will detect any difference in her “movement” not usually noticeable to me, but I reckon we are more bouncy / bendy. The rig is in its rest now for the night so I will find out manyanna when they top the big rig again to see if they have detected any discernable change in her movements. We have ballasted her right down during the day to reduce the slapping but she feels more “lumbering” now. Less “hipster” and more “arthritic hip”
On ships that have a proper ship’s hull shape, that movement and slamming is hardly noticeable, but on this vessel, which has been designed more for keeping location rather than long passages, we often feel every wave.
It reminds me of about 5 years ago when we did a trip back from Papua New Guinea to Singapore that took us 31 days and we were badly beaten up by rough seas for over half of that. Day after day of slamming and bouncing was exhausting, as even when off watch there was little prospect of unbroken sleep. To give you a better idea, imagine every 3 or 4 minutes someone slamming you bedroom door and jumping up and down on your mattress over and over again all night. Sweet dreams eh?? arf arf
Please don’t misunderstand me as I am not moaning, and this is nowhere close to some of the 6 and 7 meter seas we encountered on that trip (the average roof height for a standard two story house is just over 7 meters to give you an idea), I am just reporting the day to day changes in conditions and allowing myself lyrical license to wander about within the realms of a life at sea.
The breeze is still lovely and warm the outside air temp is 28 degrees at midnight, so none too shabby it has to be said.
So our midnight position is 9* 28’N 110* 53’E we are heading NE the wind is NE 25 knots (don’t forget in nautical terms wind comes from and current flows to) seas are between 1.5 and 2 meters, Sky is part cloudy. The sea temp is 30 degrees and the air temp is 28. And we are in 3150 meters of water which is about 2 miles deep.

To make things easier I have now a chart for you to check progress and put things into perspective.

I hope this works ok

voyage 16

I am working on a short story for tomorrow so for today you will have to put up with a sad poem I wrote in the later part of the 70’s sat in Millwall docks, on one of the last proper commercial ships to use it before it closed to be redeveloped into the trendy gaff it now apparently is.
At that time the writing was on the wall for general cargo vessels and the docks that they used due to the onrush of containerisation. It wasn’t just in the UK and historic old docks like Millwall, but all over the world that shipping, and the dockyards they played their trade in, were being moved away from near the centers of the great cities of the world, and relocated in ugly desolate isolated industrial complexes miles from any gallivanting and seediness that were traditionally part of the seafarers life, and one that I had always embraced and enjoyed.
The once vibrant dockyards were dying and this was my lament.

Water dull green and unhappy.
Clouds form to reform and unleash rain.
The wind restless chasing.
Forever chasing a restless wind.
A face in a window looking,
but not seeing.
Not feeling.
Not knowing.
Not caring of the history lost.
A fish corpse among the oily flotsam.
Murky grey light dead in the water.
A ship sirens lonely blast.
The dockyard’s lament.

Love and Peace
Bentley

2 thoughts on “Passage progress and the Dockyard Lament.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *