Life at the end of the road

October 30, 2014

Busy busy

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:50 pm

Almost 21:30 and that’s me just settling down after being ‘tired and shagged out after a long squawk’.

Yes, I really can remember seeing that sketch when it was first aired some forty or more years ago. It has been a busy, busy day at the dry dock with representatives from Voith, Lloyd’s, CMAL, Imtech and more. As is often the case at the annual overhaul it takes a day or two for things to ‘come together’, the initial manic docking and preliminaries are sorted, work starts in earnest and only then do you realize the full enormity of the task ahead.

Last night I barely managed 21:00 before drifting off into the ‘land of nod’ and awakening after midnight to some pish on the TV called ‘Through the keyhole’. Who really gives a fig how many pairs of shoes two dudes from a ‘boy band’ own? Is it me or do people really watch this carp? Anyway, after turning off both TV and lights I settled down to the best sleep in days,


awakening at 6:30 to a grey dawn over Troon and the promise of the warmest October in centuries. Not that that was of much consolation to wife, friends and family ‘oop north’ who were getting drowned in a deluge and hampered by floods and landslides.

Anyway, after a fine breakfast that didn’t involve extortionately priced kippers my captain and I headed for the dry dock at Troon just a mile or two away. After unlocking the ship and restoring all the usual services the guys got on with the many tasks appointed them. Here we have ‘Tibi’, Joe and another skilled engineer doing some work outside the disabled toilets. All the while keeping me busy by setting off fire alarms and generally making a mess Smile In all seriousness they’re very accommodating and do their best in difficult circumstances. Time is money and we only have a limited number of days in dock.



My most important task of the day was to get to the bottom of snag that had plagued Hallaig since December.

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This would involve much paperwork, gas detectors and a spell inside the aft fuel tank whilst the captain ‘stood by’ at the entrance. The ‘issue’ which was sorted by the Polish supervisor with a Swiss army penknife corkscrew, left me thinking ‘I wish I’d have thought of that’ and ‘feck Nigel Farrage’. The Poles were well and truly screwed at Yalta and we owe them as much as the Yanks for saving our arse in WW2. How quickly memories fade and ‘history is always written by the winning side’.



A spell assisting the Voith engineer as he loaded up the five blades to check for oil leakage. All of which is really a formality after such a short period in service but my employer operates to stringent safety standards.


Whilst in the dock bottom with Marc I’d time to survey the very expensive ‘box cooler’ anodes


or what was left of them. At around £1000 each these ‘impressed current anti fouling anodes’

prevent the growth of marine organisms like barnacles and mussels by ensuring a copper rich solution in the ‘box coolers’ that inhibits marine growth. They certainly seemed to be working as the heat exchangers were all free of fouling and growth.



Other tasks today included lowering anchors and cleaning strainers



but I’m getting far too tired for blogging.


So, I’ll just leave you with some images found on my camera from the trip south. This will be MV Loch Tarbert at Lochranza where we called in for ‘berthing trials’


No problems on Arran then Smile


This will be us a few hours later heading into Largs just as another Ferguson’s ship, the MV Loch Shira leaves.


She really does have much in common with Hallaig.


This is where the crew removed their cars


prior to steaming for Troon


by Hunterston


and meeting ‘Caley Isles’ on the way.

A late one

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:05 am

Well, that’ll be us in the hotel a little earlier tonight and a table booked for 19:10, a far more civilized booking than the previous two evenings. Eight ten, which in reality is well after nine PM is far too late to be munching cod or pheasant, however on Monday and Tuesday we couldn’t really have eaten any earlier due to late finishes at the dock.

I had fully intended scribing a few lines last night but it was after nine when I’d finished the baked cod, chick peas, chorizo and salad!! yes really. I gotta admit to being a bit dubious about ordering it but Victoria, who must be six feet tall assured me it was delicious. Not wishing to argue I took her advice and had it for dinner, my compatriot and captain choosing the sea bass. Now I have to admit at being a little dischuffed with the breakfast here at and my captain also was less than impressed. He and the rest of the ‘Raasay crew’ having been spoilt in the ‘Isle of Mull’ at Craignure and the ‘Royal’ in Cambeltown.

The Marine is just fine by my standards but I was severely pi55ed off at the £4.25 surcharge for two measly kippers at breakfast. Being sick of eggs and dead pig for a while, I thought I’d pick a healthier option yesterday, only to be handed two small and very salty herring on a plate. Nay egg, nay parsley, not a sign of a decent bit of bread and hardly any of the buttery sauce promised Sad smile

It’s 20:24 now and the Marine has just redeemed itself.

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A spectacular smoked mackerel starter followed by pumpkin tortellini for myself and scullen skink plus a beef slice for the skipper has just forgiven the Marine’s shortcomings in the breakfast department.


Oh dear, that didn’t go to well, I fell asleep and didn’t surface until 6:30!! So just before I do my ablutions I’ll stick some carpy phone pictures of progress so far.


Dock dry just prior to our inspection,



opening up the double bottom prior to inspection,



Voith blade inspection,


box coolers for engine 1 and 2 plus forward drive.


The dock gates holding back the sea


and the pumps that keep it empty.




Modifications to the sewage plant piping,


work starting on the aft ramp


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RL Engineering removing the clevis pins,





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