About Me

A slightly over-educated sailor sharing the wet and dry sides of his life.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

More Catching Up: At Sea, Advancing the Clock, & Deck Work

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
12:24 AM
Advancing the Clock
Just got off watch. I haven't written anything over the past days, because of lack of sleep and fatigue. Two days ago, we advanced the clocks one hour. Last night (over the previous watches), we advanced the clock three hours, starting after Noon and finishing on my 8 to 12 evening watch. We do this changing of the clocks in order to keep ourselves synchronized with the local time zone. While it isn't like we are stopping anywhere between the East Coast of the United States and the Suez Canal, we will be crossing something like seven time zones by the time we reach Egypt and have to communicate with the local authorities. Moreover, it is, naturally, important to stay with the Sun. In order to do this, as we progress eastward, we have to shorten our days by advancing the ship's clocks. Conversely, when we return westward, we will retard our clocks and lengthen our days. Interestingly, it is convenient to advance the clocks three hours in one day, one hour per four hour watch, starting between Noon and 1600. We do this twice during the eastward leg of a voyage. In the case of a one-hour time change, the clock is moved twenty minutes per watch. When we sail westward, we only change the clocks one hour on a given day.

Such as it is with sailors, we always find a reason to complain. When we advance the clocks, we complain that we lose sleep. When we retard the clocks, we complain that our watches are longer. The only people who seem to have reason to be happy with the time changes are the day workers. With the advancing of the clocks, they only have to work seven hours during the day. When we retard the clocks, they gain an extra hour for sleep or recreation. Sometimes it seems that there is no group that can complain like sailors.

Work in General and The Bosun's Chair
So what has the deck gang been doing lately? Well, as usual, there is plenty of rust to chip. It was either yesterday or the day before that Danny Ycoy was put into a Bosun's chair and lowered down the port side of the ship's house to chip rust from around the stateroom windows. While that may not seem that much of a deal, that's a six-story drop down to the deck, with the man swinging away from the side when the ship rolls to port. Danny got stuck with that job, because he's one of the two day-working AB's. I suspect Chuck Maringer dodged the bullet because he's as old as he is. Greg has been high-pressure water-blasting rust from around the pool (Yes, we do have a pool, though it is small.), while Ray has been chipping rust somewhere else. Myself? Well, since I have some woodworking skills, I've been assisting the Bosun with some projects. One was repairing a chair and another is helping him with building a shelf extension in the paint locker. This is quite the project, as there is this reinforced section of the anchor housing that protrudes up from the deck inside the paint locker, which we have to build around. Talk about a custom fit!

Stormin' Norman
Since it was raining today, Danny's job was put on hold. I don't know what he was detailed to do, but I'm sure Bosun Norm had something up his sleeve. Norm Christiansen is, it can be said, is infamous for being a task master. He is also known for getting a lot of work out of his men. I do not dispute either of these claims, as I have worked with him in the past. Nonetheless, I have no complaints. I have made good money because of him and have learned some good skills to boot. Norm is one of the last ship's carpenters in the Sailors Union has--despite the position having been phased out with the arrival of the container ships. Up until then, he had shipped as a carpenter for 14 years straight. Nonetheless, most captains and chief mates like having him aboard. Lots of work gets done, and no one questions his integrity. "Stormin' Norman" may be a tough taskmaster, but I always end up going home with a bit of knowledge that will serve me around the house. More on that soon enough! It's past time for bed, and I still need to catch up on sleep. Lord knows when that will happen...

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