Sunday, 28 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Yesterday (Sunday), after doing all the engine room morning routines and the ship familiarisation for our new engineer Maksim, I cycled into Bayonne with Rocha. First though, we had to do a bit of minor maintenance to the ship’s bikes to make them road worthy enough.
The centre of Bayonne was fantastic, and gave me a real feeling of freedom from the ship. I had run this far before, but at the time there wasn’t time enough to stop and see it all.
It was Sunday so all the shops were closed, bar a few little convenience stores. There were a few bars and restaurants open too. We alternated between wandering and cycling, me taking quite a few photos all the while.
We passed a beautiful park that looked very autumnal, although with quite a few leaves still on the trees. At one point we got to the Bayonne stadium – quite a minor stadium, but beautifully kept. We stood watching a women’s rugby team warming up for a game, but it didn’t look like they were starting soon enough to be worth waiting.
After about an hour or so we were pretty hungry for lunch so cycled back to the ship – probably only 3 or 4 miles, but typically the wind had been behind us on the way, and fairly strong, so cycling back was good exercise.
It was an amazing change from the normal, and made me feel invigorated and refreshed. For the remainder of the day I worked on my last report for this sea phase.
Oh, and one thing I didn’t realise until recently…bikes on the continent have their brakes the opposite way round to the English way. So, you have to be careful not to flip yourself over the handle bars if you stop quickly – not that the brakes were good enough to muster that in this case!
For today, I did all the normal duties and Monday bits, then began working my way through the minor electrical problems that need fixing on board – slow and methodical was the prescription for this. Hopefully I’ll get them all sorted, as it will give me a great deal of satisfaction.
Once I get internet again, I’ll put the photos up from Bayonne.
Today is Friday (19th November), and I’m enjoying having the afternoon off, due to working from 0800 yesterday until 0100 today.
Since Tuesday when we arrived in Bayonne, we’ve had a few extra people on board (although they left last night): the technical manager Simon, our superintendent Marius, and Puiu (pronounced Poy-o), who I’m told is our best electro technical officer. Simon was visiting as Andrea is one of the ships he looks after and he hasn’t been for a couple of years. Marius was here to assist us changing two of the hydraulic rams for the cargo hatch covers – these are the size of a person and heavy, so quite a big job. We’d also had a port state inspection (one of the days we had bad weather in Bayonne, when the six lines snapped) that had brought up some things that needed fixing, so they were partly here to assist with that.
With my growing interest in electronics, I was keen to learn as much as possible from Puiu while he was here. Lucky for me, I was allowed to work with him for the duration of his stay. For Wednesday and half of Thursday we were at sea heading towards La Coruna, and due to the weather being appalling none of the electrical work on deck we needed to do could be done. So, I didn’t learn much from him until yesterday afternoon, when the all the electrical faults had to be fixed at light speed as he was due to leave at 10:30pm.
We manoeuvred into Bayonne and tied up at about 2pm – up until then it had been a pretty normal day. I had just been working quickly to make sure I’d got everything done so I could work with Puiu without any other jobs outstanding. Oh, and we were taking bunkers of MGO (diesel) as soon as we arrived so I had to quickly sort out the bunker station too.
After preparing for bunkering I spent from about 2:30pm up until 9:45 rushing around with Puiu helping him and trying to memorise how to do everything he was doing . A lot of it wasn’t hugely tricky, but trying to remember it all while we moved from job to job and rushed around was – the man moves very quickly normally, so with him rushing it was a blur.
We stopped for a fifteen minute dinner at 6pm which helped the brain carry on working. Then, when we finished at 9:45pm, we had a break for about an hour (while Simon, Marius and Puiu got ready to leave the ship). They left at around 10:30pm and then Greg and I had to be back in the engine room for manoeuvring out of La Coruna. For some reason the manoeuvring took ages, meaning we didn’t get out of the engine room until gone 1am. I was pretty tired, and when I started work at 8am this morning I didn’t really feel like my brain was working at full speed. Anyway, I got all the tasks done quickly this morning, so once noon came I could eat and then just sort the cabin out and have a shower. I feel refreshed now, but still tired.
As a result of the weather we’ve had and Puiu having to leave the ship last night, quite a few problems are still outstanding. It is now up to the new sparky apprentice, “you’re hired”, a.k.a. moi, to fix them. Hopefully my one day training course should be sufficient! It did make me realise that I’m not as bad at electronics as I thought. However, I’d still like to become a lot more adept. Once you finish the cadetship I think you can study to get the ETO qualification too, so I’m interested in doing that.
Tomorrow and Sunday, we should be replacing the jacket cooling water sealing rings on the main engine. This will be a big job and involves removing the cylinder head and liner, which will be a great thing to be involved in.
Just found out we will not be going ahead with the main engine maintenance, as bad weather is on the way, and the officials in Bayonne don’t want us to be immobilised when we might need to move. We’ll arrive in Bayonne tomorrow at about 2pm, providing the weather is good enough for the pilot to come out to our ship. If not, who knows what we’ll do.