Sunday, February 5, 2023

A near-run thing and a minty fresh booty

 Dear Diary, 

   Today I  We dodged a bullet here on the HQ. 

    Yesterday's cargo had sat in our unheated tanks a little too long after a ship dragged their feet and lingered in port for 2 days longer than expected .This coincided with a VERY nasty cold snap that saw our mild winter temps from from the 30's and 40's to 5 damn degrees, along with hard gales that gave a -40 windchill supposedly. 

 Whatever it was, it sucked hard. 

 So I was all bundled up, and miserable; hell we all were. But the oil in the tanks was losing heat much faster than normal- the volume was split between two tanks, and since the volume in each tank was very low, the oil was exposed to cold across a wide area. It took me 20 minutes to catch prime in the cargo pump, because the fuel in the pipelines had gelled into a molasses-like consistency. Churning the semi-solid oil in the pump heated it up through friction, and so after about 10 mintues the pressure built on the 150-foot Tootsie Roll in the pipeline, and I let the pump run up to 100psi before the gelled oil started moving. Even so, once I had gotten the liquid fuel moving, it was only slightly above the pour point (the temp at which it turns solid), so what should have been a 1-hour pumpoff took 6. Once the heavy old was done, I had a large batch of diesel oil to transfer, but since the pour point of that particular diesel is well below -30, that went off well. 

 Naturally we had no running water during all this. The HQ, for all her qualities, does not have working insulation around her potable water system. There is a bunch of cladding and old insulation, but it is so supersaturated with water from over the years, it turns into a block of ice, and acts to chill our water down. And also the heating coil in the tank died a month ago and the parts haven't arrived apparently. 

 So, yeah, no running water for me. We were camping out for about 36 hours. Luckily, this cold snap, intense as it was, was incredibly short lived. 

 The whole thing was intense and short. When we got to the ship where we had that cold oil, it was blowing 40 steady, gusting higher as we got the first lines over. By the time we got the last line on, just 15 minutes later, the wind had dropped to almost nothing and the sun was peeking out. I've never seen the weather change so fast outside of a thundersquall. 20 minutes after I was miserable and suffering, I had my winter hat and coat off and was in a heavy sweatshirt out on deck. 

 We got the water running today. It was really nice to have a hot shower. I smell much better. 


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