Posted by: Craig | May 7, 2008

Ashore in Halifax

The North Atlantic passage came to an end, and today we arrived in Halifax. Despite the detour we had to do caused by the icebergs we managed to make it in time, even having to slow down the last 12 hours. The pilot was delayed and didn’t come until 0630. Before that I got a chance to say hello over the radio to my old ship the Atlantic Companion who was outbound.

Preparation for an arrival on the bridge is quite fun after a sea voyage. The navigation can be quite intense at the same time as you have to talk to the Pilots, VTS (Vessel Traffic Service), wake up people, start an extra steering gear pump and bow thruster, advise the AB in his task etc. This morning we also had dense fog to consider but it cleared up when we came closer to land.

The mooring operation was very calm this morning. Captain advised us to not send any heaving lines before 8 o’clock. This because the linesmen didn’t start work until 0800 and if we had sent the heaving lines too early they would charge us extra. So we came alongside calm and smooth and then waited for 10-15 minutes with two tugs pushing on the side before we sent the lines. Sometimes you wonder were this world is heading with all it’s bureaucracy.

 

I actually had a chance to go ashore today, totally unexpected but therefore more appreciated. We headed in to the town, about 15-20 minutes away with car. Strolled around, had lunch in a restaurant, looked in some shops, nothing special but very relaxing. Sometimes it’s really good to get away from the ship and the work. When you live at your working place it can sometimes be very tiring, all you think of is work.

I also made some reflections, as I’ve done so many times before when I’ve went ashore. First of all it’s quite scary, you are used to have the same twenty or so people around you and you are in the same well defined area for weeks. Suddenly when you go ashore there are so many people everywhere, cars, dogs and all sort of things going on. It’s far from the predictable life onboard. The second thing is that we again are “locked in” in our ship for weeks and when we finally get out we can once be in Canada, next time in Japan or South Africa or somewhere else in the world. It’s quite confusing if you think of it, in just a few hours you have to quickly adapt to a new country and culture and before you know it you are back on the ship again.

 

When I came back to Fidelio I did some work on the bridge. The watch started at 1600 as usual so I completed the discharging and loading in the cargo hold closed all the watertight doors including the stern ramp, and made it down to aft station just in time for departure. Now we are out at sea again, the fog is dense like this morning but there was no traffic when I came down from the bridge at 2000. Next port is New York where we will be on Thursday. Hopefully will I have some time to go ashore there as well to do some shopping…..

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