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I leave my house for work and get called over by two village women awaiting their chance to do business with the chief. The first smiles...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Manual Labor

Yesterday I finally broke free from the office and did some good old-fashioned manual labor on the ship. Things have really picked up in the past week. I've made some friends outside of work, found a church I really like, and finally moved aboard the ship. No more moving from house to house to hotel room.

Of course, living on the ship is kind of like camping at the moment. Ben, the second mate, took me through the ship last night showing me what works and, more importantly, what doesn't work. One of three heads, one of three showers, the refrigerator, and a few other small things don't yet work. The stove works, however, we are trying to avoid using it so the protective plastic coating can stay on until the work is done.

What is really exciting about the past week on the Spirit of South Carolina, is that the masts went in! We finally look like the schooner we are. We had assistance from a crane in putting the masts on, however, not so yesterday with the main boom. It took us over two hours to get the boom from the pier to its place on the mainmast. During the process, I somehow managed to be at whichever throat halyard needed the most hauling and sweating.

For those of you unfamiliar with sweating a line, there is a reason it has that name. It is truly a full-body workout. You grab the line with both hands about shoulder height, throwing your entire body back like your trying to land on your butt with incredible bruising strength. Then, you use your abs and arms to push all that line toward the pin the line is wrapped around (someone else is holding onto the end of the line, taking any rope that you push towards the pin) before standing up and doing it again. It is seriously tough work, even for the folks in supreme shape, which I am not.

While we were working on moving the main boom around, we did get a nice break for reptile viewing. An 8-10 foot alligator was chilling about 50 feet from the schooner! He hung around for about an hour. That was pretty cool. Later, after we'd gotten done working, I saw two dolphins swimming nearby too. Supposedly, there are some otters that play in that area too, assuming the gator didn't enjoy them for dinner last night.

It was great to sleep aboard last night. I got back from hanging out with some of the crew pretty late last night and the hot SC weather had cooled off into a beautiful night, so I slept on deck only moving to my bunk after the sun rose. Stupid sun!

1 comment:

Dawnie said...

Sweating a line sounds a lot like rope pull :-)