Thursday, October 29, 2009

            Hmmm, so now, still could'nt stop wondering what i am here for!!  Hmm, Well, yep, i do understand  what my lcd is displaying.....  its a goddammed blog! so what space do i share in it? who is gonna read it? and why am gonna write here in the first place??   Now again, to think, have i ever had a reason for anything i do!  so why wonder??

            But what to write of?? . . . . . . again look at mah lcd! there!! it reads my blog name "Roughseas!".
So now there,  there can be no other word on this planet that could pump my adrenaline as much as this one. coz., in it is all the ingredients that define the limits of human endurance! its, for me, like the shiva's Ruthrathandava! and indeed  so am i blessed to have caught the glimpses of  that phenomenon in my very beginning years at sea!

         So why not illustrate my understanding of "roughseas"  to those that happen to step in here(if at all!), and  pen down(Aye,only wish i had a better lang skill!! lol)  that experience of mine.

Having phased out of my apprenticeship years, after having served  on  two container vessels(that took me to distant shores! and strange new experiences)as cadet, it was my very first ship, M.V.Msc Hailey, that confronted me to such close proximity with the high seas!

          I remember that day, still fresh(will be so for ever!), when we sailed out  of  Adelaide, Australia, with me no idea of what was in store for us. Ofcourse, to all those veteran sailors and senior officers i sailed with, it was nothing more than an another trivial mishap, to which their abundance of experience and skill came handy, and managed it all with so easy an air of professionalism  that taught a great deal of lessons to me!.     

       . . . . just two days later to the above day(Now its just the antonym of flashback!, ha ha! i told you pardon my sense of  litrary!), It was my ipod that i was hunting, the one i recently bought to gift my dad, in the whirling pool of  gadgets. Tools, stationery, crockery, luggage, ashtray, dead cigarettes(though am a strict nonsmoker!), toiletries, books, cabin garbage, oh! what not! Damn! the whole of my cabin's inmates(now, that's my belongings! and were my only cabinmates! ) all  were running hither thither, rolling, jumping, swirling, yawing, . . . . from one side to other on the floor,  hitting the bulkheads,  drowning my eardrums with their screeching, banging, God! never heard such a mixed blend of  chaotic noise in my life before! but all with an slow unusual rythm! sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr DAM! sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrDAM! sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrDAM! sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrDAMDAMAADAM! thats how a ship rolls!! port to stbd, stbd to port, and so on & on & on & o......... never ending!!!!!  and so how about me? Yes, me too!!!! slipping slowly, slanting to almost 30-45degrees either side in an monotonous rythm. Of all the articles running past mah feet(or did I too join them?), also there was this big Bully(My cabin sofa!) whose ass was lifted off from its base and let loose! . . as if threatening to run over me, was accelerating from side to side!

          Now, if at all anybody is reading this, no doubt, ur annoyed!, irritated!, gone crzy! and wanna knock down my nose for scribbling this rubbish!  . . . now multiply your that emotion with 10times ur age, to the power of  our indian population. . .. .. you know exactly how i was feeling then.

         Finally, alas! found it! that white ipod case, suffocating under the cabin carpet! save for few scratches(DAMN IT!) it was healthy(?) now having rescued it, my next hunt was for my cabin phone's handset! last I remembered seeing it was thrown across my stooped body when the whole ship jerked as if  thrown on a rock (should have been a massive swell!) Halloa! now I found the handset too! caught it when trying to sneak between my foot. Now connecting it back with the phone(which flung across the bulkhead threatening to break off its wire anytime!) I realised it was 2230hrs.

       Hell! Was left only with 5 ½ hrs to sleep!!! (all after slogging one whole day! To hell with apprenticeship!!) Wish I returned to my cabin early from the ship’s lounge!!

           Determined to sleep, sweeped all that was on the floor, forgetting any segregation! And stuffed it all in the wardrobe(whose doors never tired themselves banging!) it was socialism in the air!! Soaps, detergents, my files, certificates, spanners, wrenches, dollors, euros, Egyptian articrafts picked in suez transit, toothbrushes, razors, all!! cuddled themselves together as I shoved them in my wardrobe! Threw off the mattress, stuffed all that remained underneath and buried  them with pillows.  It was all like Hitler’s Blietzkrieg!
Made sure to leave no thug(rascala! Those things on the floor!) to annoy my sleep ahead.  Damn it was 2315 when I was done with it all! The last one to be tackled was the rolling sofa!! Only means to secure it. . . . . . . . . . . Me sleeping on it!! So finally lights off! .

        Oh! I was on this boat, which was hanging from eternal sky above! And Swinging  like a pendulum up and down! Stopping with a thug(?) at either ends! And I saw those faces in dark black robes! stooping over me! With dark bluish&black coloured clouds in back ground,  alas! I recognize those faces! My Chief officer, captian, bosun,. . ?????!. . . . . . . … . . . . .kreeeeeccchhhhh DAM! Something fell on me!!   . . . . . . . . . . . .grrrrrhhh well whats happening?
             Damn! I dozed off! And my sofa(on which i laid!) was still sliding from side to side carrying me along!! Dashing the bulk heads with a thug!(?????!!!), and this time it landed on the cabin wardrobe!! Breaking the knob hinges! . . .  and there!! As the ship rolled over the other side! The doors threw themselves open & Down came from wardrobe, all  that i shoved in, back on the floor!! singing at me  “ . . bring down! Bring down! And move it all around!” hoof! Saw my watch! fu@#! I slept only 10 minutes!!

          It was all again…. sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrDAM, sarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr DAM!  Holys#it !! no sleep for more than 19 hours! And here I was amidst this chaos!!! I yelled ! Oye seas!! PLEASE stop! Calm down!! Pleasse for few minutes!!!! . . .. . . . .. the answer?-SarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrDUM! Okay, well! With all the energy that was left(if any!), I gathered it all, back in wardrobe, (damn, when just managed half things in to the robe, and turn for the rest, ship rolls, and again everything around my foot!), when finally done with it, how secure?? Was holding the doors shut with my hand, so how move to get anything??? Even if I was free, what I will I get at this time of the hour?? And what was the time? 0000hrs! GOD! Only 4 hours before I will be beckoned for the next day!

        EUREKA!!! My shoe lace!! Yes, my shoe just within my reach! So there, ripped one lace out, and tied the doors together!

             Once again peace! Except for the constant physical rolling and soft noise from within the wardrobe! Now back to sleep! it was only 3 hours that was between me and another 18 hours of grueling day waiting ahead! No wonder I was desperate to close my lids!

              Just 10 minutes,. . . . . . .  PAT! the lace gave up! And there! Back to square one! Well couldnt help, but cry(not in the sense that I shed tears! its not seamanlike! lol). Someone knocked my door. And who was it? The Captain Himself! (My unfortunate alleyway neighbour!) 
         He asked “what's up? What's all this noise?”, peeped over my shoulder and saw the mess on the floor! Annoyed, “get It cleared at once!(as if I never wished!)” was all he said.

      Too tired to think anything, just ripped off the other lace(lol!) and once again repeated the game!

          Well, this time It was bit longer, some 30 odd minutes before the lace gave up againL

           So, there was I, miles away from the civilian world, on the high seas, gazing at those tiny devils dancing on the floor, as the ship rolled port to stbd, stbd to port. . . . and so on!

         Still reading this?(Pity you!) Well, if “exaggeration” is the word that is popping in your head, fine, I could only curse ‘you were a sailor yourself!’

STORY abhi bakhi hai!

      Aye, did I say all the above commotion happened some two days later?(Yes, I believe so!)

 If those sleepless nights were en route Fremantle to Singapore, what happened two days earlier??

                                                       Fremantle port . . . . 

       Well, simple, we were en route Adelaide to fremantle ! but if that was it all, what made me fumble over this blog post? Well. . . .

      Though seas had been rough through  the entire voyage from mauritus to Australia earlier, departure adelaide had in stock something  to show me how is life like in adverse weather.

      Around 2100hrs I was knocked off my sleep by the call from my second officer summoning me to bridge at once! I was aware that weather had worsened as we rolled steep and there were those occasional jerks as we pitched too. Fortunately all of my cabin was in control(????)! As I pulled myself and made it to bridge, I stumbled over my fellow cadet who too was in haste making it to bridge. So what was it? As we entered the darkness of bridge, were quickly greeted with a sharp “Stop!”. It was the Captain himself, and before his words sunk in us, there was this odd huge irregular figure that rolled past us with huge noise. It was later identified to be the printer! Sure if not for his call, either of  us would have been hurt !

      In a short while we woke up to reality, and understood what demanded our presence there. It was not just printer that was rumbling the bridge deck, but a fridge, a cpu, water heaters and two more printers too were happily accompanying the orgy(a odd one though!). Whole of the place were scattered with papers, inverted files, stationeries, publications,tea cups etc.,. There was one monitor hanging off the cabinet and we knew exactly the purpose of us there(lol!).  

Huge swells, steep rolling, with captain over the radar, helmsman struggling at the wheel, second officer over the charts, chief officer, third officer and us were setting up the bridge.

       It was then that there was a thud heard, too mild to be noticed(in this sort of chos,hardly noticed!), but captain had too sharp an ears(or instincts?)   and was quick to reciprocate. Soon flood lights came to life, and we were all scanning the entire length of the ship for any ugly sight. Bow was shipping more and more seas, the deck wash was shining under flood lights, the fresh foam from violent wave splashes reminded diwali flower pots,sprays filling the bridge windows, drenched containers glistening under lime light, the whole scene was entertaining. Wish I had some snap shots to illustrate but here check some similar(exactly the same phenomenon as I witnessed. Nothing short!) ones.

  It was feared that some container slackened its lashings and was chafing its neighbors. But the thuds became a sort of roaring, and guided us to stern of accommodation.  

      There was this enormous iron giant, let loose, rejoicing its freedom by rolling over all the available room, making more damage as it strode the entire breadth of the deck.  It was the spare mainengine piston cylinder, estimated at around 8 – 9 tns (1t=1000kgs).  The whole crew was called to muster. Now I restrict myself in getting into details as it may require extensive explaining(just a bit lazy!!) After exercising all that expertise and skills of ships engineers and officers and gallant hardships of all sailors aboard in those adverse weather conditions,we finally brought the giant to rest, all amidst that rolling and pitching as seas never calm themselves for sake of mortal’s plight. I was more than happy to be any part of it.

Got it chained! Ha ha!!

Luck had it that the cylinder got stuck, enabling us secure it safe!

Well, same as i began, still wondering why am blogging here, who will read this and why i write this all? whatsoever i really feel glad ruminating them all! I truly dont know if all this will bring any change in me as a sailor, but as a sailor, I understand the depth in what that follows,

"When anyone asks me how best i can describe my experience in nearly forty years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog alike. But in all experience, I have never been in any accident . . of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort."
Edward J.Smith,1907
Captain, RMS Titanic
(struck iceberg and went to the bottom
  just five years later)