Friday, March 8, 2013

Boat stuff

So, just to give you a little background, I am the engineer on this mighty tugboat. And because of that, I am responsible for various things on the boat, one of which is to keep the lights on.
The Captain hates it when we loose power.

Anyway, thankfully we have been docked for 2 days and not underway pushing or pulling this football field sized barge filled with oil.

My "watch" or work hours on the boat are normally noon till midnight. My trusty assistant keeps an eye on the engine room when I am off watch, so he works midnight to noon.  Last night I got off watch at midnight, did some catching up on email and blogs and headed for the shower.

Even at the dock, a boat constantly has "white noise" in the background. As I write this I can hear the hum of our generators from 2 story's below me and the change in pitch of those generators when an air compressor or water pump automatically kicks on. After a time you don't even notice the background noise, that is until the noise suddenly stops because the generator unexpectedly shut down.

Yep, that's exactly what happened the moment I closed the shower curtain and stepped under the shower head.
BOOM. Dead quiet. Deep deep darkness. Alarms start to sound throughout the boat notifying us that there has been a problem. I'm stumbling out of the shower, dripping wet, feeling around the head like Helen Keller...where did I put that damn towel?

You don't know black unless you've been in a steel room with no windows...and the lights go out.
I found my towel, found the door and walked out into, guess what? More blackness. I walk to where I think my room is, arms out stretched, feeling the air like a kid playing pin the tail on the donkey.
I locate a bulkhead...I know my room is to the right......I feel....there. My doorknob. Wew, ok, I'm good now.Relieved, I open the door. Why was I momentarily relieved? It's blacker than black in my room too!
I'm wondering why the emergency generator hasn't kicked on yet as I search blindly in my room for my flashlight. ( this is why every crew member always carries a flashlight in his or her back pocket, but they don't usually TAKE IT TO THE SHOWER!)

Once I have my flashlight, I quickly go back to the bathroom to retrieve my flip flops. With wet hair and water dripping off me, I shuffle down the stairs, heading for the generator room to see what the issue is. When I hit the main deck, the emergency generator miraculously starts up, the boat comes to life again. Suddenly the lights are on and I find myself 5 feet from 2 other crew members.

I'm standing there with wet shower hair and Irish Spring soap suds on my body, my towel is almost falling off and I'm holding a flash light I no longer need.

Suffice is to say, I have not lived that down yet. I heard about it from the crew all day.

From now on....the flashlight comes with me to the shower.


Jerral Miles said...

You guys seem to have forgotten the importance and value of candles. Take candles when you go shower. Leave the matches as far away from the door as possible because they won't light if they get wet... and can't you get some of those magic lights the flight attendants tell us are in the floor if there's an emergency at 35,000 feet. About where to get candles... I'll bet there are churches somewhere around Houston if that's where you are, and they have candles. Ask to borrow some until you can get your own. After you get those magic lights for your floor you probably won't need the candles. It's just a thought.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Well that sucked for figures it went out when you were in the shower. Sheesh!
I figured the lights would come on and you would see yourself surrounded with fellow crew members in the mess hall!


Formerly known as Frau said...

This story could have really taken a worse least you are laughing too! Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Might be time to sew a pocket on your bath towel so that your flashlight is always handy. LOL Bet you looked funny.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Well now, that's something most of us have never experienced. You definitely need another flashlight that doesn't mind getting wet. That kind of darkness would freak me out.

Karen said...

Hmmm... I'm thinking there's a very good reason why you don't want to use candles. Being a boat person once myself.

Pocket flashlight, it's the way to go. Always, apparently!

andy said...

Hi Mark i am your newest follower i found you over at karens this old house too . Ok i got you added cant wait to follow you at sea sounds very interesting. Have a good rest of the weekend

beth said...

ohhhh, that was a great story and yes, it'd be hard to not tease you about that one !!

well, everything happens for a reason, or so they for some reason, you're supposed to have that flashlight with you 24/7 no matter what....and we know now, that you will :)

although, a candle for ambiance would be nice, too :)