Day 11: Tuesday
Today we completed loading of the soda ash and prepared to sail from Portland and take the six-hour journey back down the Colombia River to the Astoria Pilot station.
We left Portland at 1600 hrs and had a pilot change at 2000 hrs from Colombia River Pilots to Colombia River Bar Pilots. At 2300 hrs, as we passed the last outbound pilot station at Astoria, a helicopter landed on the hatch cover to take the pilot ashore.
By this time it was quite windy. I actually enjoyed talking to the second pilot since he was a graduate of Annapolis Naval Academy, which is an institution I would also like to attend.
Day 10: Monday
Robert (the British cadet) and I took a taxi into town, to go eat at a burger place in Portland. I could not wait to eat a Burger after having had so much Indian food. I actually felt satisfied after the burger, which was a refreshing change.
The Seaman’s Centre gave us a ride back to the ship. The ship was still loading the soda ash.
Day 9: Sunday
I was again on gangway watch with my walkie talkie! I actually enjoyed gangway watch in Portland, as it was interesting to see the variety of characters who boarded the vessel! Someone who boarded the vessel seemed to know Dad, but I can’t remember his name.
The Third Officer and I were on discharge watch from 2400 to 0600. I was also shown how the gantry crane operates. It was like playing a massive video game, but with more risks.
While I was up on the gantry crane, I could also see the pilot ladder that is used to get the pilot on board the ships. Previously it had been dark when the pilot’s boarded.
Day 8: Saturday
Today we prepared to maneuver the ship from Vancouver, WA over to Portland, Oregon. The process only took about one hour.
Before sailing from Vancouver, two British Cadets joined the ship. The cadets initially thought I was one of the shore crew and were surprised to see me sailing with the ship to Portland. I got to know them quickly: Robert, one of the cadets, was sponsored by Denholms and Thomas, the other cadet was sponsored by Anglo Eastern.
Once alongside in Portland, we prepared the holds for loading soda ash. We put tarps over the slings and containers on deck so as to prevent the soda ash from getting into them. They started loading soda ash in number 10 hold and loaded number one hold.
Day 7: Friday
Today, I painted hold number five. I was amazed how quickly the crew were able to paint. The sheer size and scale of these holds clearly are not intimidating for the crew. They do, however, had to leave from time to time to allow ventilation of the holds from the paint fumes.
Must be something wrong with my senses, because I couldn’t smell a thing!
I was watching them paint the really hard-to-reach areas as the boat was rocking and I thought to myself, “I could never do that!”