Friday June 4, 2010
A power shower, followed by part two of the splicing workshop, was the highlight of the afternoon for most of the crew. It’s really hot, hotter than usual at 33 degrees Celsius all day in the shade, and we’re all a bit on the sweaty side, so a power shower late in the afternoon was just the right thing. Logan and Meredith ran out the port fire hose, then rigged it up in the port shrouds so that it would spray down on deck. We use salt water in our fire hoses, so there’s no danger of running out of water and the shower can run until everyone has had their turn. Most people participated, putting on their bathing suits and bringing all sorts of different kinds of shampoos, soaps and scrubby things out on deck to bathe with. When we shower in our regular inboard showers on board we have to be careful about how much water we use because it’s fresh water and that we must conserve carefully. The way to do it is to turn on the water to rinse, then turn off the water while you lather up, then turn on the water again for a quick final rinse. The beauty of a power shower is that you can enjoy the almost endless sustained cool water battering down on you, as long as you make room for your shipmates every now and again.
The second part of the splicing workshop was on short splices today. Almost everyone had their homework done, having finished the two tapered eye splices in either end of their four fathoms of rope. After chopping their line apart, the next step was to splice the two parts together with a short splice. There are still more splices to learn, so there will most definitely be a part three to this workshop, and part four. We also had the first of several “Coconut-Nut Technology” demonstrations by the Captain, how to open a green drinking nut or crack a ripe eating nut. When sailing through the tropics it is important to know something about the almost ubiquitous and delightful coconut.
We’re still working on grommets on the mainsail for the Carriacou Sloop Mermaid, racing to be done this sail in time to deliver it to the boat and skipper John Smith in Panama. With an awning rigged up on the quarterdeck, there were as many as eight people sewing in grommets at the same time, including the chief engineer, medical officer and purser. The crew have really rallied around this project, and even now after supper I can hear someone tapping a brass liner into a freshly-sewn grommet. We usually finish ship’s work before supper, but some of the crew have asked if they can continue this evening.
There are plenty of other projects going on apart from sail-making. We’re slowly working our way through wire brushing all the shackles and turnbuckles on deck, then coating them with fresh black paint. The brackets which hold up the wooden steps from just outside the engine room to the quarterdeck were rustbusted and primed today. The ash capstan bars, which people have been working on scraping and sanding over the past few weeks, got a coat of varnish today. Everyone noticed the freshly-painted red trim around the sea sink – many folks have red stripes across their middles from leaning on the edge of the sink while they pre-washed their dishes (the sea sink attaches inboard of the rail on the aloha deck, it’s filled with salt water and dish soap before every meal so that each person can do a pre-wash of his or her own dish before stacking it up in the scullery for a proper full wash, rinse and dry).
Today’s menu included chocolate chip muffins, oatmeal and oranges for breakfast, pasta with tomato beef sauce and pineapple for lunch, and roast beef, roast potatoes, broccoli and cabbage and bean salad with pineapple and chocolate chip cake for supper.