Today is three weeks in and I have four weeks to go in my hitch. I usually only do four, so my task today is to start the hitch over from zero – hit the reset button in my mind, somehow trick myself into believing I just got here and it’s a normal hitch, no big deal. It can’t be too tough to do: the hard part of settling in is behind me now. It feels weird to think that I would otherwise be going home in a week.
We’ve gotten a few things done so far this hitch – we got a new socket poured on our port tow wire. “Pouring a socket” means they actually mix up some molten zinc and essentially glue the D-socket onto the tow wire. There’s a whole process of making a fresh cut on the wire, putting it through the collar on the socket, unlaying the wire so it forms a nice little birds nest, etching the wire with acid, and then pouring the zinc. Once that cools, you can tow a barge with that wire and the wire will shatter before the socket comes undone from the wire. They also use epoxy for this application rather than zinc. I don’t know which one is stronger; I’m assuming zinc. Anyone know?
We were in town for a short period and while there we did a few dockings. I got what will probably be my last chance to run a set of ship lines with the line boat – the Alyeska oil terminal is finally tying up ships the way the rest of the world ties up ships: using tag lines and capstans, and running the lines from one dolphin to the next. Some say they’re phasing out the line boats because Chouest, our presumed successor, will not be using line boats to tie up ships.
The weather was amazing for a few days there and made it easy to take beautiful pictures of the mighty vessels (the Overseas ships are small and mighty; the Polar tankers are pretty huge).
Now we are in Outside Bay, or as I often refer to it, Never Land. Naked Island even looks like the Never Land from the fairy tales, with all the little coves and the mountains in the middle. It’s the perfect setting for a bunch of pirates and lost boys to battle and cavort.
We’ll see how this whole “reset” endeavor goes. As I’ve said before, I’ve done longer hitches, it’s not a big deal. It is just so quiet. At least we get a stores delivery today! Looking forward to a couple of my favorite things (sweet potatoes, almond butter) that were left off the food order twice before I finally wrote up a wish list for the cook. And I’ve settled well into the routine of watches, meals, tv shows and naps. There’s not much going on out here, but we Lost Boys are doing fine.