Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cleaning Stations

A clean ship is a happy ship, and a how lot less smelly. Try living in the same room with 50 other guys and you will know what I mean.
Every morning at 0800 the pipe rings out
"Out Pipes, hands to cleaning stations, morning watchmen to breakfast"
Every freaking morning its the same damn thing, you get up, you shit/shower/shave, make your rack, have some breakfast and then put your feet up and wait for that faithful pipe. I would be waiting there, baited breath, waiting to see where I would get to clean this morning. It was a pain in the butt job, but it needed to be done every morning. Flats, heads, mess decks and your work space. Hands and knees, buckets of soapy water and a bit of elbow grease for 90 minutes. As I said, a pain in the ass but considering the alternatives, not a bad way to start the morning.
The Canadian Navy does not run the cleanest ships in the world but we are pretty close - I think the Japanese beat us out on that. From what I have seen, they actually have teams that all they do for the day is move from bow to stern cleaning. They actually go and polish individual brass screws. The one time I was aboard one of their ships, I was pretty impressed.
On the other end of the scale I have been on a few US ships and was glad I never had to sail on one. The idea of cleaning on the ship I was on seemed to be push the dust bunnies into the corner., but I digress..

Sitting on the deck, brasso in hand and making the valve cover gleam. One of the better parts of doing cleaning stations, you got to sit down and look like you were doing some serious work. I was in love with brass, I love making it gleam. I can't tell you why, only that it makes my heart go pitter patter. One of the worse days in my career happened when I was told to paint a brass fitting on the bridge - my soul was ripped from me and tossed over the side that morning.

Ah well, such is the way of the world.


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