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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 6:00 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Daleby

“ With only a short few weeks to complete my time I did not fancy another extended voyage. If I was away during that time I would have had to sign on the ship as an AB and be paid at that rate. Just wanted it to end. Fortunately Ropners had four ships on a regular run to the 'Gulf' ports in the USA on a short liner basis. They carried twelve passengers and there was a massive difference from their other ships. I was sent to join Daleby and told to take my white kit with me. Still had it from my few days on Swiftpool and it was still unworn. Joined her in Liverpool where she was loading for Miami, New Orleans, Galveston and Mobile. Round to London to finish and off we set.

Daleby
Daleby - the date and location is unknown. [1]

Note: A history of Daleby can be found on the Benjidog Ships Histories website HERE.

“ I was the only apprentice and for once was not on a deck watch but on day work doing what the mate wanted and not doing as the bosun wanted. Not only that, I ate in the officers dining room - the first time since I started my time. The only other time I had eaten in the saloon was on the Christmas Day dinner. Wore my white for the first time and even the #10's for dinner at night. As we had passengers the food was exceptional and I had to shake myself a couple of times to remind myself that this was the same company I had been inflicted with near starvation and the most miserable of food. I was on cargo watch during the loading of whisky in London but the stevedores were past masters at stealing the stuff and I never saw half of what was being squirreled away. It was the same in the US ports and I just resigned myself to keeping a low profile and just a token guard.

On this Trip I was told to go on watch with the Second mate and was really only a extra lookout as he was not feeling well and spent his time in the chartroom. Was a novelty to be on a ship that had a gyro compass and an automatic pilot plus a radar that was operational. A change from being on the bridge polishing the brass and cleaning. Did not learn much about being a navigating officer but by now all I wanted was to be done. It was great going ashore in these ports as the berths were comparatively clean and not miles from town. All the tales I heard about these ports were right as we were treated very well by the locals and invited to do tours etc. One time I was walking back in the evening when a police car pulled me over and gave me a lift back to the ship as they thought I was crazy walking in that neighbourhood at night.

We loaded corn and cotton and some machinery for the trip back to Liverpool and I kept a navigational watch with the mate homeward bound.

Indentured at Last

“ There was no celebration when we arrived there but that for me was the end of my indentures. I received a bonus of 25 pounds (on satisfactory completion) and my indentures were endorsed. Free to do as I wished. I attended Leith Nautical College to study for my second mates foreign certificate. Remember when I sat the exam the examiner who had been taking other candidates into the seamanship room and had them rigging stages and splicing wires etc., looked at my application and told me that I would have had done enough sailing with Ropners that we bypassed that and went right into 'rules of the road' etc. After the signals and the written I passed and was duly awarded my certificate.

Now I having completed my indentures I was a qualified sailor.

Should I relate some of my adventures when I sailed down the West African coast or maybe the times I spent on what was called a short sea trader where I got my first command. As Boatnerds we all know that the captain is referred to as "The Old Man" and I was the youngest crew member ?
I will see how the mood takes me a \s I note there has been quite an interest in my ramblings up till now.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 5:18 am 
Captain, you have me on the edge of my seat and I started on the Great Lakes in 1956 and sailed all my life. You at an excellent story teller. Keep 'em com'n...


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 9:44 pm 
Captain, how can we be bored with what you write? Please continue sharing.

Alex


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 8:42 pm 

Joined: March 16, 2010, 2:03 pm
Posts: 280
Laker Captain, I think what you have written is outstanding! It is an up close and personal view of an age and a caree gone bye. The "human interest" part of it, for example t going to work on one hours sleep, despite the mate, that fascinates me. Well done! I am not bored and am very much looking forward to a few more tales! Mike


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 6:38 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Guest wrote:
Lakercapt - looking forward to stories from your Misener days



I have not long to go in the series about my apprenticeship and might relate some other tales about my other seagoing "Adventures" if the viewers are not bored by me by now.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 5:23 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
To save going out into the Atlantic again, we sailed through the Chesapeake and Delaware canal which was a very scenic run, and duly docked at a coal loading facility. There too it was fairly fast and I was fascinated by them tipping the railroad wagons upside down and dumping them and then they went off on a ramp back to the marshaling yard without anyone tending them. The trip to Savona across the Atlantic was typical for the winter and we did not break any records getting there.

Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar was an impressive sight with many ships doing their own thing as that was before the routing system came into force. Course as we were to learn during the busy spell, the signal station on Gib would call us up on the Morse lamp asking if we wished to be reported. Savona was the normal discharge and the coal was loaded into large buckets and went on a trip by cable to I know not where. This was the first time in Italy and, although I was to call in this port many times later on when I was with Gem Line, the first time is always the most exciting.

On completion we were to proceed to Tunisia and load (what else) iron ore at a place called La Golette. Another first for me and I was fascinated by the culture and the market where everything was on sale - even some persistent guys trying to sell their sisters 'very clean'.
Ingleby's Crew

I have not mentioned any of the crew on Ingleby as to be honest there were no personalities that stuck out. The second mate I remember as being what was called 'a professional second mate'. The first mate married a rich widow in the States and left the ship to live with her. The Captain I sailed with when I did my first trip as third mate after getting my second mates FG certificate. The other apprentice was doing his first and last trip came from what was then Southern Rhodesia and often commented on the fact that, as apprentices, we were treated worse that the 'kaffirs' in his country (his words not mine). One time I bet him that he could not eat a whole ship's duff at one sitting and I lost the bet.

The other one that I remember is the chief steward as he was one of these persons that did his best to see that we did not gain weight and the food was just above the BOT standards. On one occasion he short-listed the stores required as we were going to the US where we could store cheaper. Got a change of plans and were diverted to a place called Puerto Ordaz on the Orinoco River (to load what else but iron ore). This was in 1955 when the place had not long opened and there were no facilities other than the loading berth. Navigation up the river was in daylight only. As a result we were just about out of food when we finally got to the discharge port. The crew were very anti by this time and refused to open up until they had a decent meal. It was with some foresight that the captain had 'Sparkie' radio ahead a store list and the truck was waiting on the dock for our arrival.

The cooks got supplies out, enough to give us a meal of steak egg and chips plus some canned fruit and 'shaky' milk (evaporated milk) after which the crew opened up and got the ship ready for discharge. During that time the C/S kept a very low profile as he was not a popular person.
Paid Off

After eight months and some other cargoes of coal and iron ore we went to Hull to pay off. I was glad to see the end of that ship and, counting my time, realized that I had just over two months to complete my indentures. I wrote to Ropners and told them this and hoped that I could complete it asap.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 4:29 pm 
Lakercapt - looking forward to stories from your Misener days


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 21, 2017, 1:38 pm 
Chaguaramas! Wow, that's a blast from the past! Some years, ok - a lot of years ago I worked for a company called Sugar Line and the ship I was on at the time (Sugar Carrier) was chartered to Saguenay Shipping and we ran from Trinidad, Chaguaramas Bay, to Port Alfred in the spring to fall, and between Surinam and Trinidad in the winter when Port Alfred was frozen in! Bauxite was a nasty cargo indeed and we had to try and seal everything up when loading and unloading.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 20, 2017, 5:32 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Darryl wrote:
LakerCapt.? Maybe you'll cover this, but was an apprentice like a cadet is today? Where with schooling a person can get an officer's license quicker, then climbing the hawespipe? And is this strictly a British procedure?



As an apprentice I signed indentures and was committed to that company for the duration i.e. 4 years with a reduction of six months for the time I spent at a nautical college.
A cadet can work for any company and signed on the ships articles of agreement (apprentices did not).
No matter what direction you go , through the hawse pipe, apprentice or cadet you are still required to complete the required amount of sea time. There are no short cuts to obtaining your certificate of competency.
Canada follow a system similar to UK as does may countries.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 20, 2017, 5:21 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Guest wrote:
Lakercapt - You must mean Port Alfred in Saguenay not Port Arthur


Thanks I stand corrected as I wrote of these tales a long while ago.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 20, 2017, 8:44 am 
Lakercapt - You must mean Port Alfred in Saguenay not Port Arthur


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 20, 2017, 6:38 am 
LakerCapt.? Maybe you'll cover this, but was an apprentice like a cadet is today? Where with schooling a person can get an officer's license quicker, then climbing the hawespipe? And is this strictly a British procedure?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 20, 2017, 6:36 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Ingleby

“ Bags packed and down to Dover where I met the agent and the carpenter who was also to join the ship. Put us up in a hotel as the ship had been delayed and they would come and get us when she was close.

Second night we were wakened at about 2 am and taken down to the harbour. Sat in an office for ages and then boarded a motor launch and proceeded out to the Straits of Dover and waited until the ship came closer. Was ages waiting and eventually this green rust covered apparition appeared out of the gloom. The boat manouvered alongside and a heaving line sent down and our bags hoisted on board.


A Lukewarm Welcome

“ I went to the bridge to report on board and was met by a person wearing a long coat, a trilby and smoking a pipe. 'Where is the Old Man?' I asked, not knowing who this person was. 'I am the old man and you should get your working gear unpacked as you will be on watch soon'. I knew where to go as the arrangements were the same as Firby. There was another apprentice in the cabin sound asleep so he was wakened when I went in and started to change into my working gear. Asked him what was going on and found out that a couple of the crew members had been paid off sick in Hamburg and we were the replacements. As I had the sea time in I was to be included as part of the deck crew as an EDH. (without that rate of pay!!).

Got my seven bell breakfast and the bosun put me to work with the rest of the deck crew. We were to rig stages under the deck in the holds and clean off all the ledges on the beams. Quite a dangerous procedure and one that would not be allowed today. The easiest way would have been to wash them off with hoses but the mate did not want to do that as the tank top ceiling might have lifted and they were not sure if the bilge pumps could cope. Just as well we didn't hole and had water pouring in. Ship was on its way to Cuba to load sugar and the holds were to be spotless when we arrived.

At twelve I finished my watch, had lunch and went to bed as I had been up since the early hours of the morning. One o'clock the bosun was shouting at me to get up as I was required to work overtime down the holds. 'No way' I told him as I was going to sleep as I had been up hours waiting for the ship to appear and I was on watch again that night. Next to appear was the mate and I told him the same which enraged him no end. Stuck to my guns and would not get up for the overtime down the holds. Needless to say I was hauled before the captain and, when I explained to him the circumstances, he concurred with me. My relationship with the mate was somewhat frosty after that!!!

The job of cleaning the beams and ledges in the holds continued and it was fortunate that we did not get too much heavy weather. When it was deemed unsafe (sic) to go on the staging and clamber about under the decks, we were down in the holds taking up the limber boards and cleaning out the bilges. It must have been a long time since that miserable chore was done as the remnants of many cargoes were scooped out. Doing the beams we found out that there must have been a cargo of sulphur at one time as sweeping that caused the dust to fly about and we breathed it in; the worst was the effect it had on your eyes as they were watering constantly.

The only respite from this work was when you had to do your trick on the wheel. That was a job I did not care for but I used to look forward to doing it during the hold cleaning. Eventually, in spite of all deckies going on a go-slow for a day in protest, the job was completed and we felt certain that we would pass inspection and be able to load sugar.

Chopping and Changing

“ Alas that was not to happen as we got a change of orders and were now to proceed to Georgetown in British Guyana (now Guyana) and load bauxite. All that for nothing. Were we a little upset at that. Before we arrived in Georgetown it was noticed that there was some damage to the tank tops that must have happened during discharge in Germany. That had to be repaired and as there was fuel oil in these tanks they had to be gas free before welding - Ingleby had been converted to an oil burner about a couple of years previously.

We tied up at a layby berth right in downtown Georgetown and steam hoses were taped into the steam lines on deck that were for the winches. It took several days to do that so we had a few runs ashore. This place was famous for rum - the famous ships rum 'Four Bells' came from here - and I must admit I did sample a few. Never was a bad one but some were better than others.

On completion of the repairs we steamed up the river to load at a place called McKenzie (I believe it has had a name change). This was a dusty loading and we were covered in bauxite dust. One redeeming feature of this place was that the local club had a swimming pool and we were permitted to use it. On finishing loading it was down river to go to anchor awaiting the tide to cross the bar. We were heading for Trinidad and a place called Chaguaramas - supposedly to complete loading and head for Port Arthur up the Sageneuy in Canada. Again that was changed and instead of loading we discharged and were sent back to McKenzie for another load. It turned out to be more than once as we did four trips before finally setting off for Canada.

The trip up to Port Arthur was one where it progressively got cooler until in the St.Lawrence where it was bloody freezing. Went ashore one evening to the movies and came out and found it had snowed heavily during the time we were inside. Although the scenery in the Saguenay region was very pretty, we were all glad to see the back of that place. Now we were heading to Norfolk/Newport News to load coal for Savona in Italy. A quick clean up in the hold was all that was required.

Once again we had a change of orders and were now to go to Seven Islands (Sept Iles) and load ore for Morrisville near Philadelphia. We arrived there and berthed the ship and the bosun told us to get a smoke and cup of tea. Had hardly sat down when we were summoned to start battening down #3 hatch as they had finished loading that hold already. After being used to the fairly leisurely loading in Whyalla, this came as a surprise and there was more to come. Just finished that and another hatch was ready for battening down. I can relate to the seamen of old when in freezing conditions they had to climb up the masts to work the sails in horrible conditions. The tarpaulins were stiff as boards and getting them to tuck or fold was extremely difficult. The ends of our fingers were sore and very cold by the time we had one hatch done and the rest were following in quick time. Eventually we had completed loading and were told to get off the berth as another ship was to come alongside. We were towed out to the anchorage to finish pumping out the ballast and battening down. Have been there many times since on 'Lakers' and it was a breeze with the easy hatches to batten down and very quick de-ballasting. Morrisville was up past Philadelphia and as far as I can remember nothing worth noting. On completion it was to Newport News/Norfolk to load coal. Seems all my time I was carrying ore or coal.


to be contiued


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 19, 2017, 2:23 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 283
Just before my leave was finished I received a letter telling me my next appointment would be to join M.V. Swiftpool in Liverpool. Wow - they had kept their promises and I was to join one of the new ships that was on a regular run to the US gulf ports etc. I joined as they said as she arrived and found out that I was to be the 'senior' apprentice with all the power that that position held!!!


“ This ship carried 12 passengers and was sheer luxuary compared to Firby the last ship I was on. Discharge was completed and we sailed for London to finish discharge. I was on daywork, something that I only experienced for a week on my first ship. The ship had all the modern navigational equipment, Radar, Decca, automatic pilot etc. which were all new to me. Nirvana and I was happy to be there. The captain was a very pleasant gentleman and even spoke to me and inquired about the Aussie coast. Him having his wife and three daughters aboard made for very pleasant conditions. We even ate in the Officer's dining room which was a change.

I had not been in London long when I was asked to visit the captain. "Bad news I am afraid" he said. "You are to go to Dover and join S.S. Ingleby as she sails past Dover". Was I ever pissed off about that as that ship was the sister ship of the one I had spent over two years on the Auusie coast on and I knew what to expect.

on to my next ship:


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 19, 2017, 8:29 am 
Great read. My grand father sailed the same seas as a ships engineer.
He died as a young man a long time ago, so not so many storeys survived. Your stories have helped to give me a little colour to his adventures. One of the few I have was that they raced against sail ships with the new wheat crop from Australia to London UK. Some times the sail ships won.


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