Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Twist Lock

So, twist locks, eh? They're fun. Oh wait. NO THEY'RE NOT.

The ship had a load of inventory to get done today, so Ian and I were taken off our respective watches and both worked the whole day with the bosun and the ABs. Our first task - to count all of the twist locks we had in stores. For those who don't know, a twist lock is a contraption that secures containers onto the deck (or onto the spreaders, which manoeuvre them in port, or onto whatever else you like) by way of a couple of different pieces of metal, one of which twists when in place. There are a few different types - the ones we have on board are semi automatic (which twist by themselves but still need a cord to be pulled to be fully locked) and hanging locks, which... oh, this explanation is boring me already. You can guess how hanging locks work.

Anyway, so throwing hundreds and hundreds of heavy bits of metal around wooden bins for a few hours wasn't really my ideal way to start the day. We were under the fo'c'sle, which is the front top part of the deck, and so could really feel all the pitching and rolling in this mental ocean. Add heat and tiredness to that (had a really bad dream last night) and you've got the start of what I suspected to be seasickness. I felt faint and dizzy, and from the looks of him Ian felt the same, but the ABs assured us that all we needed to do was rest more. We worked too fast, they said. If we did all the work before morning coffee we'd have nothing to do this afternoon! So we slowed down a bit, brought some kind of power fan contraption down to where we were working, and spent the rest of the morning in pleasant (well, cooler) conditions. This afternoon we counted all the fallen and spare locks around the deck and the containers, and then practised our knot tying, which apparently we had both completely forgotten. We were shown how to cut rope using a hammer, which was cool.

Days like this are completely expected and actually provide a welcome relief from mathematical navigation. You realise how hard the crew work and the physical activity cheers you up, although at the same time wears you out so you end up sitting in silence for a while afterwards examining your blisters and bruises. I think I might try to watch a movie from the ship's library later to unwind. Back on watch in the morning, and we hit Durban the next day!

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