I really can't bitch about the perfectly average amount of snowfall we've gotten while I'm at work here in NY. They're getting bombed back in Boston. We got a little under 6" of powder overnight, which made shoveling easier.
It's time for our Internal Structure Exam tomorrow, when Uncle Sugar's Sea Fencibles go and take a gander at the framing here at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/ workhouse. That means opening up all the flush deck hatches in the wings and double-bottoms.
The 'Q's double bottom/wings/ballast tanks aren't used to carry water ballast. As such, they're in good shape, but the access hatches are Mark 1 old school Bomar specials. Dollar store aluminum flush-mounted hatches.
So, it's February. Below freezing. Recent snows, aluminum and steel side by side... equals some frigging hard-to open hatches. We maxed out our deck crane trying to pry one particularly stubborn hatch out of the deck... when I heaved up on the crane and redlined the #1 runner, an engineer beat the hatch with a sledge for 10 minutes, it finally popped up, ah, energetically... about 10 feet up. Pretty good, considering that it took a 100lb crane hook with it. Had it not still been attached to the crane, I'm pretty sure that hatch would have achieved orbital velocity.
We exercise those hatches regularly. Even so, they get to sticking pretty regularly too, but not like that, and we don't open every single hatch every week. There are 20 of the damn things for the wing tanks.
But we got 'em, and tomorrow I get to tank dive with the surveyors and the Coasties, see how we're holding up inside. The 'Q is 8 years old. I'm assuming that, based on the degree of abuse she takes from certain tugboat operators who navigate by the braille method, there will be some broken welds to find. We've got a pool going. I chose the high number, 26. The lowest quess is 9. The 'Q's built ruggedand built well, but it's not built for ocean crossing.
On the upside, we're about done with all the prep, and we're at my company's NY regional HQ, and close to a grocery store, so we took the opportunity to skip lunch and load up on heavy goods- cases of water, canned goods. With easy shore access, it was the work of a short minute to load up our crane basket (a cubic yard, 3x3x3 feet) and slingshot our stores from dock to deck.
Tonight's a free night. I foresee going to bed early. My ass is beat.