Amazing trip * Bahamas and Panama Canal

Panama Canal – New Years Day – Click photo for more information on Canal history.

So, what I thought was going to be a relaxing job going between Louisiana and Florida turned out to be quite an adventure. This is the first time I have boarded a ship in my home port (Fort Lauderdale). Usually, I fly somewhere to meet the ship. That was nice but I totally over packed because I got greedy because I was not flying. We went to Louisiana to pick up cargo and came back to Fort Lauderdale and I was able to GO HOME for 2 evenings, that was a luxury. I was kind of liking that and could see why people like to work on tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. We left and that was when things got exciting. We hit some rough weather which ok, its winter, but this was a little extreme for the Gulf and lasted longer than usual. When the weather is rough the ship rocks and it is impossible to sleep and twice as hard to work. But that is what it is and does not last forever. Next, we got word that we would be going to the Bahamas to the shipyard for 10 days. Most people I work with do not like the shipyard. It means lots of noise, dirt, and extra work. For me I like it because it is a break from the everyday and it is fascinating to see what goes on there. The ship needed the hull cleaned and painted, among other thing, for which they must take it out of the water. It is amazing to me that they can get such a large vessel out of the water by “resting it on wood and concrete supports, backing it in just right to the dock and then raising dock up so it is above the water line. I was fortunate enough to be able to go down into the dry dock and see the underside of the ship. The engineering and expense of these ships is amazing. The cost of 10 days in the shipyard is over a million dollars. See the process of dry docking by following link below. I like this video because it shows the process from the start and I like the music.

Covid Ruins Everything!

Again “COVID-19 ruins everything” and we were restricted to the shipyard and could not get out and see the island. But for me I ‘m just glad I am working and know that it will not always be like this. Last year I came home from overseas (Asia) a week before all the lock downs and the freeze on crew changes. It was and still is very difficult to get to and from a ship overseas. Some seafarers have been stuck on ships for months after their tour is over because they cannot get home because of COVID-19 restriction and governments that are not prioritizing this crisis. Find out more by linking to the link below.

https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/32-crew-change-UNGA.aspx

During our stay in the shipyard, we learned we would be taking the ship to the west coast via the Panama Canal. That was unexpected but great news. It added time to my stay on the ship, but it is always fun to go through the canal. At first, we thought we were going to stop in Fort Lauderdale then be on our way to Panama. My thoughts were “oh good then I can get some warmer clothes”. But as always plans change and we went to Corpus Christy instead. We went through the canal New Years day and it took 15 days from there to reach our destination in Washington state. The ocean was calm until we got up to Oregon but overall, it was a good trip. We left the ship for Seattle to fly home, without a warm jacket between us.

Beautiful Weather in the Bahamas

 

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