Hello my friends,
I was emailing my cat about the flying fish out here when I realized...Hey! Two weeks left!
We are well into our weird new habits like sleeping between shifts rather than all night, using sunscreen for perfume, and using carbs to get us through the day. Other than being a little stir crazy, constantly tired and lathered in deodorant, we are holding up just fine.
Parents, consider this my only warning. DO NOT share a load of laundry with your cadet's boiler suits. I'm going to do you a favor by sparing the details. Just take my word for it.
Maintenance was a force. We spent 0800-1600 in the Cuban sun doing oil changes. In landlubber language, it's our version of changing the ships diaper; we gotta take the dirty one off and put the new one on. It's a full day, but it's a satisfying job. If Miss Kennedy stays clean, she sails happy. And that means I won't be late to dinner with my cat.
Things like the winches, accommodation ladder, and the anchor windless all need oil changes. And different equipment requires different oil.
For example we use fuel, lube, and hydraulic oil depending on the machine. Today, we were changing gear oil in the cargo gear that control the port and starboard vengs. The vengs's job is to allow us to swing one boom, while the other stays in place. They work together to hold the booms in position during operation. To make sure the gears and guts inside the equipment don't get too hot or lazy, we have to put fresh gear oil in the chambers. Leaving dirty oil is dangerous, and bad for the machine's efficiency.
We do this annually, so you can imagine how lovely the oil must look after a year of service.
I'll tell you what it looks like: vampire throw up.
Once we open up the gear, we drain the dirty oil into buckets. Then, we use a vacuum pump to suck out any remaining bad oil. Because no one like vampire throw up. There are two chambers inside the gear that take a certain amount of oil. One of them takes 2.25 gallons, and the other takes 1.50 gallons of oil. We measure the amount we need, one gallon at a time, and carefully pour the clean oil.
Incase you're wondering, the clean oil looks like your cooking oil at home. But don't use ours to make your French fries...it's for Miss Kennedy only.
We had a total of four units to change, and it took the entire day. Covered in grease, oil, gear guts, rust, and sweat, I gave myself a cloth bath before entering the hold. My boiler suit looked like an oil rag, and my boots were shiny with grime. My hair sun bleached from the rays, with a kiss of blush to my nose to go with it. Fumes of mystery chemicals, fresh sweat and hard work followed my tracks. Believe me, I looked rougher than Cinderella on her worst day.
But if Cinderella managed to work her butt off, meet a Fairy Godmother, dance with her prince AND still make it back home before midnight...there's no reason to believe I can't do the same.
Except my Fairy Godmother is Bosun Tom and my prince is a cat.
Dreams do come true.