Home at last. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started a post with that phrase, but there really is no place like Arnish. Even the south easterly gale and torrential rain was unable to dampen my spirits today, for it really felt like the teeth of a full blown west coast winter today.
Tuesday, the last time I posted turned into a ‘bit of an epic’ and was only arrested from the jaws of chaos by the early arrival of our ‘back to back’ crew. Quite how we’d have managed without them I don’t know. As is normal for the last day ‘on shift’ and the flooding of the dock there was much to do.
All the sea valves had to be closed, the ramps housed, hull penetrations checked and of course the yard’s ‘cheery pickers’ removed from the basin.
Now that must have cost an ‘arm and a leg’ to get that crane in, methinks that the yards trusty Coles jobby had a problem Now, I can’t pretend that it all went as smoothly as I’d have liked because there was a little hiccup or two along the way
However, once that was sorted and the Voith units tested
the dock was flooded. That will be the MV Loch Striven’s unit’s at Ardmaleish a few years ago, Hallaig has five blades made of phosphor bronze but it gives you the idea.
Once the water levels either side of the dock had equalized and all the valves and systems checked Hallaig was eased out of the dock on her capstans.
The forward crew gradually hardening up the two bow ropes whilst the aft crew paid out the rear, all the time balancing the four lines so as to keep Hallaig central in the dock. The Hybrid craft running purely on batteries made the operation silent and communication easy. It’s not possible to exit the dock under your own power until the propellers are well clear of of all the keel blocks and timbers.
You really do not want one of those in yer propeller, that could really ruin your day!
As we cleared the blocks, first the forward, then the aft units were started and eventually Hallaig was berthed near the ice plant in the harbour at Troon.
And yes, I know the photograph is carp but I refuse to buy yet another camera!!!
Once safely berthed most of the crew departed for home or a hotel leaving the captain and I to wait for the Volvo engineer from Fettes and Rankine to finish his tests on the main DG’s.
All the alarms and ‘shutdowns’ needed testing on the three Volvo D13 engines that take it in turn to provide around 80% of Hallaig’s energy. The rest of it coming form the 216 LiFePO4 batteries that are usually charged overnight on Raasay.
Hallaig was designed to be supplemented with 20% of her energy needs from the lithium iron battery bank, but that is actually a little misleading for the ‘serial hybrid’ system developed by Alexander Breijs of Imtech saves much more than 20% fuel and CO2 emissions. This is because of the requirement for at least two DG’s to be running the whole time that the ship is in ‘DG mode’. When the vessel is in ‘hybrid mode’ only one generator is required and that is kept ‘optimally loaded’ by the ‘energy management system’. The ‘serial hybrid system’ can not only reduce fuel and emissions but it reduces repair and maintenance on the DG’s.
It must be me
After a late finish we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner with the rest of the crew, or at least that was the plan.
Me, I was left for the fourth time in a week locked out of my room!!!! I dunno what it is but ‘touch screens’ and electronic keys just don’t seem to like me. I can barely work my phone and am at times left bashing an iPad furiously trying to get a response. Sure the first night it was because I had the card in the same pocket as my phone, and sure I should have known that from my experience in Rotterdam. However there was no excuse for it during the rest of the week. Am I really the only person that this happens to?
Eventually I managed to get access to room 124, have a shower and meet the rest of the crew for a Czech lager prior to dinner at ‘the two fat ladies’. A relatively early night followed and by 7:30am on Wednesday morning I turned my back on the golf course and headed home. Sorry guys, I know golf is very popular but I just don’t get it!
I can think of far better things to be doing at 7:45 on a windy November morning
The beautiful drive north up Loch Lomond
was in sharp contrast to what greeted me today at Arnish.
Today a south easterly gale and pishing rain was what met me as I eased myself out of bed, the ferry wasn’t running and the hens were drowning
I spent most of the morning clearing a blocked drain up at the hen shed.
Anyway I did do much more but it’s 22:30 now and I’ll finish this tomorrow