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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: April 1, 2017, 9:31 am 
Capt.

Your musings would be very popular if you ever decided to put them in book form. I want the first copy - signed of course.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 10:17 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Much had changed in this place, a frequent port of call when I was an apprentice but we were not there long enough that I could go exploring.
When finished we sailed rod the coast and into Port Adelaide to load a cargo of iron concentrate under charter to a business man who had bought this cargo that had been lying there for years. Fund a buyer in Chiba Japan where we were to take it. Our noble master told him we would load as much as possible and when I heard this tonnage I questioned his figures telling him that it was not possible allowing for the fuel and water. We will only carry the minimum water and fuel. The chief engineer and the captain who had frosty now it was definitely icey .He cut back the c/e’s stem and did not make any allowances for delays etc.. As he had the final say there was no argument.
So we sailed and as the days went by it was becoming obvious o that parties concerned that it was going to be tight. The rain make (our name fro the desalination gadget in the engine room that had been giving loyal service for so long quit needing parts we did not have on boards.
The captain instructed the mates to log adverse weather when it was flat calm. There was no way not to do so but not being fools were kept a separate log of true conditions should there be any questions at a later date. A wise decision as it transpired. We could see he was getting more agitated as he daily run and fuel figures were presented to him and it became apparent that we were going to run out of fuel .
Three days short of our destination we came to a halt reserving the little diesel fuel for the generators. The company had been informed of our predicament and arranged for us to be towed to port.
A message from the tug asked us to remove the port anchor as they wanted to use the anchor cable during the tow. AS no one on board ever had done this we put our heads together and devised a plan ( I told the captain to keep out of the way or the crew would not work with him around.) we lowered the anchor and a brave sol was lowered on a bosuns chair to attach a short wire strop through the joining shackle. With the port # 1 hatch derrick swung out the runner was shackled on to the strop. Slowly lowering the anchor and hauling on the runner winch we manager to get the anchor level with the fore deck then swung it inboard. Securing it on deck we with a lot of cursing, heat and big hammers got the joining shackle free. We were fortunate that it was flat calm. Two days later this gigantic Japanese tug came close and a boat with several men boarded and using a painter we hauled a long nylon rope on board. Then a thick wire which as shackled by the Japanese crew to the anchor cable. This was paid out and then the tug started to tow us to our destination. We on board only had to steer keeping the tug ahead. It was very slick and only took about a couple of hours. We were towed just below our speed when sailing. Again the sight of Mount Fuji indicated that our voyage was nearing its end. They anchored us just off Chiba port and a fueling barge came alongside immediately. Alas things on this ill fated ship ever went according to plan as strong winds came up and the barge started to make it surge up and down. This was too much for the hose connection and it parted and fuel oil sprayed all over the front of the wheelhouse which had recently been painted and all over the deck getting covered before it could be shut down.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 2:29 pm 
thanks for taking the time for these stories there great!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 1:20 pm 
Hi Lakercapt! Thank you for taking the time to share your stories with us. Do not worry that there are not a lot of comments, some people just don't. Look at how many views you post has received, that is a better indicator of our interest. I look forward to seeing more of your travels on here. Again Thank You for sharing these with everyone. RN


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 1:08 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Pete in Holland MI wrote:
Very cool stories from your past. I enjoy reading them, but ask a few favors to help enhance the reading:

1) Approximate year of the story.

2) More details about the boat (steam or diesel, approximate age or year built, approximate size, etc).

3) More details of where in the world you are at, for those of us who are geographically challenged. Some stories, I have know idea where they originate from.

These details will help better understand your experiences.

Thanks again !

Pete

Glad you are enjoying the rambling of my life as a sailor.
All the ships were motor except the first two and the tankers (T2 and turbine)
All carried about 10,000 /12500 tons except the coaster.
First stories Australian coast, second North America, Italy, Tunisia, Venezuela, British Guyana, Canada.
Date wise firsts stories from 1953, West Coast (Africa) 1958/1962
Masters certificate 1962
Lasts tales 1963/4.
Except for WWII built were fairly modern and to go back for each one too much.
Hope hat helps but I will try and include the detail in future.
I am now up to 1964 so a few more stories to come should the moderators allow.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 12:03 pm 
Very cool stories from your past. I enjoy reading them, but ask a few favors to help enhance the reading:

1) Approximate year of the story.

2) More details about the boat (steam or diesel, approximate age or year built, approximate size, etc).

3) More details of where in the world you are at, for those of us who are geographically challenged. Some stories, I have know idea where they originate from.

These details will help better understand your experiences.

Thanks again !

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 31, 2017, 10:24 am 
Captain. I have just finished reading your posts and found them most interesting. Your work in producing them is most appreciated by me.
In an earlier post you mentioned the smell of Braso.
That brought back so many memories for me.
My uncle was captain of the SSMantadoc and I spent an overnight with him when they were docked at the a Dominion Coal docks in Toronto.
Throughout the night, I polished brass in the wheelhouse. Quite an adventure for a 10 year old!
That was 57 years ago.
I too can still smell the stuff.
A great memory.
Thank you so much.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 30, 2017, 4:09 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
The passage to Tokyo was nearly the same as the previous and I managed with the aid of two cadets and the rest of the deck crew to get much needed maintenance done. The approach to the capital of Japan from the sea is impressive as Mount Fuji the sacred mountain is observed a long way off. It was snow covered and just like a picture postcard. Pilotage though Tokyo bay is like playing chicken with traffic going in all directions. We were to discharge at anchor using the ships equipment so we were in for at least ten days stay.
All made the most of our time there to explore and there were many strange things, alien to our Caucasian eyes in this very congested and busy city with the subway being no exception as they had staff that did nothing but push the last passengers before the doors closed.
When we sailed the third engineer was missing,we thought that he had overslept with a young lady. Alas this was not the case as his body was recovered as we proceeded to our next port, Miike which was in the Inland sea. That put a real downer on everyone as he was a popular guy.
The inland sea was like a trip you wish you could make every day as it was very scenic and bustling with craft of all makes and sizes and the pilots took it all in their stride. We arrived at this port and I believe we were the first European to have been there since the end of WWII. Walking up the town would attract a bunch of kids that followed you about and the black 4th engineer was a major draw. He was is a bar where the ladies asked him a very embarrassing question. They were led to believe that blacks had three testicles and he willingly showed them that was not true.
On deck on the afternoon of 9th November 1963 I heard a massive bang and a short time later a mushroom cloud was observed over the town. I rushed to get a picture with my camera that I had just purchased. We were soon to find out that there had been a violent underground explosion it the coal mine. It was to be one of the most serious disasters in history and 458 miners were killed. My photograph alas was on a transparency and was not suitable for the newspaper as a reporter came to see me. A fund was started for the survivors and families and when the crew heard of this we contributed a not insignificant amount of cash. When the captain gave it to the ships agent he was overwhelmed and would not accept but asked if the captain would hand it to the mayor. This was arranged with much publicity and dignity. The towns people were very touched that these foreigners had shared their grief and from there on during our stay our money was not accepted at any bar or eating place.
Prior to our sailing a grand picnic and outing was arranged for all the crew and people all dressed in traditional clothes and hosted the crew to a fantastic outing. The day we sailed all crew members were given a bunch of flowers and a keepsake. Hundreds came down to the quay and wished us sayonara and many tears were shed waving us off. A very touching experience for all.
We went to Mackay in Queensland to discharge this fertilizer for the sugar cane fields, which I found out later was used as an explosive in the Oklahoma bombing and by the IRA and even in mining. Ammonium nitrate is very dangerous stuff when mixed with fuel oil. We had enough on board to make the town of Mackay disappear off the map had it been used for that purpose. Again we had a fairly long enjoyable stay. One evening I noticed a wrought metal chair on the patio of one houses that served alcoholic beverages and mentioned it to someone and next morning I woke to find it in my cabin. I still have it to this day and it has been a world wide traveller.
Next we sailed to the port of Numea in the New Hebrides Islands to load Iron ore but as it was Christmas we tied up at the town and celebrated in fine style. This although the name suggests otherwise was under French governance and as in all paces ruled by them very French in style. It took several days out in the back of beyond to load and then it was away to an old haunt of mine, Port Kembla in NSW.

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 28, 2017, 10:08 pm 
Great reading capt please continue


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 28, 2017, 5:31 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Should the readers wonder how I remember all these ships etc. I have a record of every ship I ever sailed on and a photograph of these vessels except one that sank (not whilst I sailed her) The internet helped with the later as I thought it would be of interest to my grandchildren as my children had more sense than I and did not opt for a seagoing career.
As my fiancée and I decided that I needed to go back deep sea I got the offer of a job as mate on a ship that was loading in Durban S.A. so packed my gear and off I went. That taxi from the airport deposited me, to my horror at the bottom of the gangway of a rusty looking wreck. Oh no what have I let myself in for and although many first impressions turn out to be wrong this one was spot on and my misfortunes and horrible experiences came true. I can safely say this was the worst ship I ever sailed on. There were some good points but they were far outweighed by the bad. There was no way to get off and I was destined to be on her for nearly ten months.
When I introduced myself to the captain I thought right away he was a strange guy and this was proven on many occasions in the coming months and I do believe that he was later on taken away by two large gentlemen in white cloths!
The ship was loading sugar for Japan. I was looking forward to that as I had never been there before and it was a first of many times I was to visit that fascinating country.
Bags of sugar were loaded on to the tops of the hatches and cut open and dumped into the hold. This ship had old fashioned beams and hatch boards but made of metal instead of wood that I had laboured over a few years back. It was a slow process but no-one complained as Durban at that time was a great run ashore for sailors.
My first disagreement with the captain was about how much fresh water we were to carry for the passage as he had reduced my order considerably and his words were that water could be made on route and more cargo paid the wages. That I know is true but these fresh water desalination plants that ran off the waste engine heat were particularly unreliable (reverse osmosis was not available then). He got away with it on that occasion but it came to haunt him later.
We sailed and were destined for Kobe with a stop for bunkers at Singapore which was another first for me. And there was time to do some shopping and buy stuff you would throw away later. The trip was fairly routine except one early morning watch I heard a weird noice from the engine room and sparks and flames spewed from the funnel. Not to worry I was informed as it was one of many scavange fires that that engine was prone to.
Kobe was a sailor’s paradise with the fantastic shopping in the famous Moto Machi and the ladies very accommodating!! With the rate of exchange them it allowed me to purchase many electronic marvels that were just coming on the market and a very good run ashore all together. This was in 1963 and things changes when I visited years later.
We were ordered to return to Durban that pleased many of the crew who had made friends there. The return voyage was a repeat with nothing of note.
Loading in Durban was at the same slow pace and most of the crew though sad to leave were broke and needed the trip to Japan to save up again. I don’t recall any untoward happenings but the Sunday inspections were a trial. These were conducted by the captain, myself, the chief engineer and the chief steward and the bosun, when doing the deck. Nothing would please the captain and fault was found at every place. Afterward we were invited (summonded) to the captains quarters to discus the affairs and me to sign the official log.
To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 7:35 pm 
Captain, I second what Hugh3 posted previously! I imagine there are many who read your writings, electing not to comment, anxiously waiting for the next venture you take us on.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 5:02 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
In my previous post I mentioned that I had met the woman i was going to marry. I thought I would not like to go away for any extended time, so I got a job as relieving mate on a coaster that had a regular run between Leith and the near continental ports. This was a weekly service sailing on Saturday and being back on Thursday. That was great so I went done and joined the ship and found out that there were only two mates so it would be watch and watch.
Loading was going on and as this was a regular service I did not have much say in the loading as it seldom varied. The cargo was a very mixed one what with this being Scotland we were loading plenty of whisky in large barrels. There were stalls in the tween deck for livestock and the last thing loaded were the livestock, horses, cows,(bulls) and sheep. If there were going to be a lot of them we carried a stockman to look after them but not enough this trip so I was presented with a humane killer should it be necessary put any of the animals down!! I was given a quick demonstration on how to use it and I was happy that I never had to use it. When I say the last cargo I should say that the passengers were the last cargo as we carried 12 on several trips.
I knew things were different than deep sea but was I in for a learning experience. Here I was with the ink on my Masters Certificate barely dry and I felt like a spare appendage. The captain came on board and of we sailed. He did his own pilotage as he had a certificate. When we cleared the piers he said to me “carry on mate”. I was at a loss as I had never been in this part before so turned to the AB on the wheel and asked if he knew the next course while I hastened to the chartroom to figure it out. Gazing at wonder at the chart which looked as if it had never been corrected I saw the courses penciled in. Alas they were not in degrees but compass readings. I got the parallel rules out to measure it but found it way off. So I told the AB to steer the course (with compass correction) and he looked at me and said “mate I don’t know what you are talking about as we only use compass courses down to quarter points” Now I had to get that nautical almanac to convert the degree to quarter points Talk about being a rookie! When the second mate came to relieve me I asked him about the courses laid out on the chart he told me they were the courses to steer and not the true courses!!! I was in for a completely new way of doing things and every day was something different.
There were no uniforms and all dressed in normal clothes except the engineers who wore their boilersuits (Coveralls to us in North America). We did not eat with the passengers and had much different fare. We were paid weekly when we arrived back in Leith and the first in line was the steward as we had to pay for our meals Athough we did not want rough weather when we did experience it and the unfortunate passengers got mal de mare we were served their meals which were far superior that what we were served!
The captain and crew were all coaster men never having sailed deep sea and I learned many things that were to stand me in good stead in my career.
One day I decided to take a compass error and went on the monkey island to check it and discovered the binnacle painted with many coats of paint and had never been opened for year.
Decca navigator was used exclusively to obtain the ships position as no one used the azimuth ring and I too followed suit.
Getting home each week was great except I was very tired and often to my girlfriends dismay would fall asleep. Two watch system played havoc on your body at first but eventually you got used to it.
Every time we got back the customs rummage squad would board as the crew to supplement their ages were passed masters at getting duty free items etc. hidden away. One time the guy came to my cabin and asked if I had any watches and as I said no he proceeded to take out a screw driver and remove the panel on my cabin door and I was surprised to see rows of hooks crewed in to hang watches!!
My time there made me aware of sailing close to the land where as a deep sea sailor I was taught to keep well off!!
When the relief was over my now fiancé and I decided we needed to save up and get married and the only way to do that was to return to deep sea sailing but that is the next episode in this saga.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 4:59 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Darryl wrote:
You got me interested, Cap. I'm wondering about stuff, like how you transition from salt to The Lakes, did you work as a Master or pilot, worst storm, etc..


That dear sir will be divulged as I continue with my narratives and like the old serials at the movies you will have to come back to find out LOL


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 3:58 pm 
You got me interested, Cap. I'm wondering about stuff, like how you transition from salt to The Lakes, did you work as a Master or pilot, worst storm, etc..


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 2:36 pm 

Joined: March 4, 2011, 8:51 am
Posts: 56
It is very good of you to share your experiences. You have the skill to put the facts into an interesting plot which adds to the reading pleasure. Please keep them coming. I say the same about the stories from Capt. Metz.

The first person accounts are rare and this is one way of preserving a vital part of maritime history.


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