10.12.2007

Transit to Kaoh-siung

We said our final good-byes to Sasebo and the SSK shipyard yesterday. Little sad. I really liked that port and I am quite bummed to leave. I could really spend some time in Japan especially out here in the smaller towns. Though I never did find a yarn shop and I am disappointed I am walking away without any vacation yarn.

So a little bit about life at sea. The dynamics on these research vessels is a little odd. There are three different sets of people on board, the ship crew, the technicians and the science party (currently not on board). The ship crew are responsible for the health of the ship. They keep necessities for life at sea functional, things like engines, water purification, food preparation and all the other little things I can't see. They sign on to stay with a ship for several continuous months of the year sometimes spending as much as 8 months a year on the same ship. And because the 3rd Engineer (no matter who that is) always has the same room, they always stay in the same place on board the ship.

As a result, they develop habits and the ship becomes their home. They sit in the same place in the mess, they watch movies in the lounge at a particular time and they have a favorite condiment. Sometimes they can be really great about being change which is important because the science crew and technicians can change as often as weekly, bringing aboard a ship full of folks unaware which chair belongs to the wiper or if you use the last of the tabasco the chief engineer might never speak to you again. The ship crew usually blame any and all problems on the new science party. They complain about the deck operations interfering with their movie or internet access forgetting that their job is to keep the ship afloat so that the science operations can happen.

The science is the reason for the ship. It is the source of the ship crew's paychecks and without the science, they would not be here. It is often completely ignored by them when science interferes with their personal plans. The technicians are officially a part of the science party. We work intimately with them to get the data that they need from our equipment they borrow. Because there is no official science party on board we are taking the blame.

Now this whole long explanation is the result of a teeny tiny comment made in jest last night. Something I was not offended by at all but is just a small sample of the constant friction on board the ship. The ship just got out of drydock. It was being repaired and out of water for two months. As a result some technicians (including me) are here to see that all the science equipment is operational when the next cruise starts up on the 17th. The computer techs turned on the pump (overseen by the chief engineer mind you) for the uncontaminated sea water which goes through a fancy set up and collects data for the Meteorological system, things like salinity, sea surface temperature, etc.

Somewhere in the plumbing something went horribly wrong and a drain in the mess (dining room) began to flood right before dinner. Everyone on board helped clean up the mess, and the chief engineer muttered "Damn Science". Like I said, it was small and inoffensive at the time, but it is a constant battle between the two parts of the ship. Sometimes it can get pretty bad. Many times as a result of crew mutterings, scientists have come to me and asked if "Scientists are usually that bad?"

Anyway, enough of the glimpse into life at sea and on to knitting.


The picture above was taking at Hanamaru, a fast food noodle and tempura joint right before I ripped them out completely.

The Pomatomus socks are progressing after I ripped them out completely. I rounded the heel and found I was missing 6 stitches in the lace pattern. Picking up that lace is a nightmare so I decided I would rather rip them out and hopefully correct some mistakes I was already unhappy with anyway. The second attempt was coming out pretty snug anyway so I added some stitches to the foot. They can always be removed in the heel construction if need be for the leg.

2 comments:

vagabond bettie said...

Great post. When are you getting back to San Diego? I read another post somewhere that someone had lost 6 stitches on that same sock....

shopgirl said...

Wow.
What an amazing look into your life! A life so foreign to me.