Monday, August 6, 2012

It's 1am. Do you know where your oil is?

Well, your oil ain't here. Yet.

       Of all the frustrating days I've had, yesterday was by far the most...recent. A ship of fools, first. Starting before midnight yesterday, the first warning sign came when a cargo net full of sailors was lowered over the side of the anchored tanker as we were coming alongside her- literally, the assholes threw a bag of Indians between us and the ship as we were nosing up alongside. Turns out they weren't being used for bumpers, but rather that someone decided it would be a fine time to do a little last minute painting on the Plimsoll marks, which were pretty much right between our two hulls.
For those of you who are scratching your heads, these marks show the maximum loading draft that a ship may take, in order to not overload the vessel, something that is still practiced in places (like bulk shipping), but is highly illegal. Each mark means something. However, midnight, in New York, in a driving rain, is not a good time to be touching up the paint,especially when you're putting human bodies between two floating metal objects each the size of a large office building while they're trying to gently butt up against each other.

 So that was a hint of things to come. The 2-3 hour job turned into the 10 hour job. The very large container ship that was patiently waiting for us to finish so they could sail for China got tired of waiting. We were racing to the next ship, being 7 hours late for our meeting, when it left for sea, leaving us with about $1 million worth of oil cooling in our tanks. The ship agreed to anchor in NY harbor to meet us, so we turned around to follow them.  Then they said forget it, they weren't going to stop. So we turned around to go to the dock. Then they anchored. So we turned around again.
    Things straightened out after that, but in racing around, discharging the cargo and preparing for the next, I overexerted myself and the heat of the day got to me. Eh, it happens. By the end of the day, I was in a foul, foul mood, so after I showered and spoke with Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, I was feeling calm enough to sleep...
      which brings me to the point of inspiration tonight. When I woke up at midnight, we were moored in NY harbor ourselves, about 1 mile from the Statue of Liberty. It is cooler, far less humid and there's a lovely breeze outside. A truly gorgeous night, and the New York skyline is actually very beautiful. Sometimes all I need to recover from a truly shit day is 30 seconds of peace, and everything is OK again. Also, I cooked a steak almost the exact size of a dinner plate, with a grapefruit-sized baked potato, so by the time the food coma wears off, I'll be ready for the next cargo.

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