Today I sanded a deck chair. It took all day and it’s still not finished. The brass fittings are all covered with verdigris and each screw head has to be sanded back to shiny brightness.
I got to my cabin after work to find the hit squad (yes they’re actually called that) there sanitizing everything, they told me S had been taken ill earlier in the afternoon, which was the first I heard about it. Poor girl had been sick after lunch and got quarantined for 24 hours as a precaution.
Stations was after breakfast, which was very civilised for a change. After that I went to the boatswains daily briefing, where he hands out the day’s work to the deck crew, once again I was on the rails, painting this time.
After lunch we had shore leave scheduled, S had only just been let out of the medical centre and therefore had to go to work for the afternoon, so I trundled off into Hamburg on my own. I walked along the riverfront, through seething crowds of tourists all out for Queen Mary 2 Day. Hamburg goes nuts for the QM2, I saw so many postcards and pictures of her for sale and there were countless boats, barges and steamers offering rides up and down the river to see her. I found a bar with it’s own beach to sit in and had a coffee before wandering slowly back. I resisted the german sausages and pickled fish in a bun stalls and got back onboard in time for a lie down before supper and then stations, followed by a fabulous sailaway. Once again the city was out en-mass to see us off, the pontoons and banks of the river all crammed with people taking photos and waving. There were fires one the beaches further along and fireworks going off as we passed, one hotel even had a person in every room window, flapping sheets at us. The party carried on downstairs in the bar when the music on the passenger deck finished, and I was sad to have to go to bed before midnight.
Study day, which meant being on the bridge for 0800 in whites to be grilled by N, (Chief Officer) I was doing alright until I made a stupid mistake, saying I’d make one short blast before altering course to port… Doh!
We had safety induction no 3 at 1000, and then had to attend the interdenominational church service at 1100. I had trouble not laughing during the second hymn; an elderly lady had come in late and sat behind us, she managed to get about two beats behind the piano and quavered everything, all at top volume, I couldn’t look at S…
After lunch we went back up to the bridge to get information and signatures for our training books, and Staff came and chatted to us about how to learn the rules, there’s a method, which makes a lot of sense and makes it all seem a little less scary.
After we were done for the day we decided to check out the spa, as officers (albeit trainee ones) we’re allowed to use it between 1800 and 2000 if there’s not too many guests, so we asked very nicely at the reception and were allowed in… to heavan! Started in the whirlpool spa Jacuzzi, then into the bubble pool, which has different areas, including a high pressure jet that looks a bit like a kitchen sink tap- perfect angle for pummelling out those knots in the shoulders and back… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! There’s also a finnish sauna, a steam room, a herbal steam room, reflexology tubs for feet and a monsoon shower… and I get it for free! Will be going there fairly regularly methinks!!
We didn’t have to do stations in the morning, or at least it wasn’t on our itinerary so we presumed we didn’t have to go. Back in jolly old Southampton, we had the MCA surveyors coming on for zone surveying- every ship has to be surveyed every year but as this grand lady is so big and only spends one day in port each time, they break it down so each time she comes in they do one zone (there are 9 zones in total). We were doing zone 8 this morning, my job was to follow the inspector and Safety Officer, carrying a smoke detector tester (a long pole with a cup arrangement on the end that encloses the smoke detector and squirts fake smoke at it. A little light then goes on and the bridge calls up saying “We have a smoke detector going off at ….. location” and we reply “ Yes that’s us”) What was much more interesting was watching the inspector and asking him questions about what he was looking for. He was very nice and explained lots to me as we went around.
This afternoon I had a visitor booked in, my boyfriend P, I showed him around the ship, learning a few things about where things were as we went round! His comment on the bridge was “Mmm it’s a bit bigger than ones I’ve been on before!” He was later than expected (due to my shopping requests- how was I to know that white socks would be so hard to find?) but it was wonderful to see him for a couple of hours. After that I went up to the bridge to find out what I was supposed to be doing, they were doing all the pre-departure checks so I stayed up there learning about what goes on and then S and I went down to stations for unmooring. We are now heading for New York, and the best thing is, 4 days with no stations!!