Friday, 4 May 2012

Never On A Sunday

There are those people out there who are sure that us sailor types are godless heathens, that we do not believe in a God of any flavour. This is not an accurate thought, we all believe in a higher power when we set sail and every once in a while our belief is reinforced for us.

It was Sunday. Bright, beautiful, clear sky (above us) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship I was on was en route to the Red Sea to begin operations. Now, normally a Sunday routine aboard ship means that after cleaning stations, there is no extra work done on the ship. A day off so to speak. Today was not to be one of those days.
The Commanding Officer decided that he wanted his ship to look shiney and clean when it hit port in a few days so he told the buffer (man in charge of ships husbandry) to have the color topping on the deck redone.
Color topping is a thin black paint that is put on the walk ways of the upper deck. Properly done, it makes the ship look that much nicer.
Properly done does not mean going across the Atlantic at 15 knots, with a 20 knot cross wind ON A SUNDAY (you know, that day we are supposed to keep holy?)

The CO told the buffer - paint the ship
The buffer said - Sir, Sunday routine Sir?

Buffer, paint the ship
Errr, Sir, there are rain clouds behind us

Aye Aye Sir

So, all hands turn out to colour top the deck. Wind and all.
We painted
We swore when the wind blew paint streaks here and there
We painted some more.
Finally we finished and started securing the gear

Do you remember that cloud the buffer mentioned?
Do you know that clouds are very patient?
They are.
That cloud waited for us to finish
Then it started chasing us
And it was doing a good job of catching up
The CO ordered Full Speed
And that didn't help

The cloud moved right up over us and cried
It cried because we had had to work on Sunday
It cried and cried, and every tear drop that hit the deck slashed
that colour topping up from where it was carefully placed

There was runs and streaks of this black stuff everywhere,
including down the hull of the ship
And then we all cried
Except for the CO
He went to his cabin and stayed there for a couple of days

That was the last time we painted that ship on a Sunday

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