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!”
Day 6: Thursday
The captain asked if I could be on gangway watch again as they were short-handed and I said, “Of course!” I am willing to do anything on the ship.
I later joined the Third Officer to make sure the discharge went smoothly. He then showed me various safety items such as the lifeboats and how they work. We then went forward to the focsle and he showed me a passage that ran the length of the ship.
Day 5: Wednesday
We finally arrived alongside in Vancouver, Washington in the wee hours of the morning. I remained on the bridge throughout the navigation up the Colombia River. I enjoyed being on the bridge when the ship was maneuvering in to or out of port. Like my father, I am more of a “Decky” rather than an engine room guy. I find the bridge fascinating. I am definitely not a morning person.
While in port, I went down onto the dock, but couldn’t really go too far due to security. I followed the Third Mate as we observed the discharge of the steel products/coils to make sure everything went smoothly. I asked to go on gangway watch again and took over from Sandeep.