Last port (Pohang, South Korea), I went with a team to stay away from the ship for almost 2 weeks, living with local families, and working with them (doing programmes at schools, church meetings, etc, etc).

During a 2 year stay on Doulos, most people will go out for 3 teams like this. Some, like here, being very civilised, others (say in PNG or parts of North Africa), being much more out-back “jungle teams”. I was staying on my own with a family of four, and every day going to work with my team from 9am until late at night. I really enjoyed living with a family, again. They were so hospitable to me, and looked after me so well, also, they were very relaxed and friendly.
I was introduced to the father like this:

“Daniel, This is Elder Shim. You will be staying at his house.”

So I was a bit worried about how formal I would have to be. We’d been warned that Korean culture is very formal, and that on past visits of the ship, many westerners had caused problems, and had problems, due to the very low-context, low formal nature of the west, and also of the ship.

But I found it totally the opposite. Very easy to get along with, very friendly, very family. The parents sitting on my bed talking (even though I don’t speak Korean, and they don’t speak English!!), and the kids running around, doing a bit of puppetry with them.

It was one of the kids birthday while I was there, here is a photo.

As you can see, a nice cake (for breakfast!) and also much traditional Korean food. My hostess cooked amazing food every breakfast. I was so well fed. Lovely. Kimchi and rice for breakfast,
with rice and soup. Mmmmmmm.

One day she made kim-pap, kind of rolled seaweed paper with rice and crab and carrots and cucumber inside. I’d wondered how it was made. Now I know. They treated us so well, we went out for Korean barbecue 3 or 4 times, had much traditional food. So good. SOOO good! Anyway. A really good time. Really nice people.

Now I’m back on the ship, and have been for a week or two. Usual stressful running around, busy life.

I’ve been waterman for more than a year. Almost 13 months now. Amazing. It’s gone so fast. And I still quite enjoy it. I’m also really tired of it, though. Firstly the long days, and always
thinking ahead and being on-call whenever I’m on board, but also it’s not something I’m especially interested in, water tanks, locks, and all. I’m able to do it, and quite well, I think, and have learned a lot, and enjoyed it a lot. But I really want to change my job.

My first love work wise is still theatre and performance/art. I’ve been working with the videographer on board quite a bit, recently in my spare time, and also helping some with the AV/technical/sound/video people in our on board programmes team. I’ve applied for a couple of different jobs, on board, but at the moment it looks like I’ll probably be staying in the deck department for a while.

I may be changing jobs within the department (maybe going to work on the lifeboats for a bit, do some maintenance there), or something else. The second waterman knows everything now, and it’s time for him to take charge, and have someone for him to teach. Time for me to step down.

I have a kind of dilemma, in that I enjoy the practical work in the deck department, I enjoy many of the people. The chief mates, bosun, and many of my friends. I also know quite well the work, and can do it competently, and seriously. Many of the more experienced people in the
deck department are leaving in September, and many other people want to leave. So Deck needs people who are serious about work, and can work well and enjoy it.

On the second horn, I want to do something more creative. To spend my time making and exploring, which currently I just don’t have time for. I really want to help the ship make quality videos and programmes and present a high standard to visitors and others. We’re using video and multimedia presentations quite a lot, and I can see even more potential in it, and there is a need for creative people who know video and are technical enough.

A lot of the current team dynamics on Deck I find really hard as well right now. Many people not taking the jobs seriously, or getting angry, not caring about the work they do, etc. Many of us still acting like boys, not like men. So many things I find really hard to work and live with, that I’d really be happy to not have to worry about.

I feel as if there is not enough strength of experience and caring about the jobs and the people, so new people join, and when they do, they inherit the old habits and attitudes of the previous people, most of whom are already tired of the work and want to leave.


Do I try to move away from it all and start doing my preferred type of work as soon as I can? Or do I try to stay and be a positive influence, and try and encourage the new people to find interest and joy within their work? Maybe it’s my home-educated mind-set, or maybe grace, or something else, that lets me work with this attitude.

Life is complex, sometimes.

Greetings, Gentle reader, and welcome to the latest episode of [email protected]

Before we get much further, here is a photo of yours truly:

Taken in Fukuoka, Japan. Nice place. Very clean, efficient, tidy, quiet. Kind of reminded me of some of the more sane and modern parts of London (not that there are too many parts which combine both of those adjectives).

We’re now actually in Kanazawa, which is further north.

I’ve been quite busy this port, as the second waterman has been on a team staying and working off the ship for the whole port. I was also learning a lot about the audio-visual stuff on board the ship, how to use Final Cut Pro, sound balancing, and so on. Fun stuff. We had some of the people from our company’s technical/production side out for a week or so, and doing some training for us.

Since then I’ve been working on the ship’s edit suite making a couple of video projects (a Taiwan report video, and a video about the work the ship did in Philippines to show in Korea).. Final Cut Pro is very very nice software.

Especially once you get rid of the silly one button mac mouse, and put a proper 2 button+scrollwheel on the beast.

I’ve also been working quite a lot on just refilling up the ship with water. We had to pretty much replace all our water with Japanese water, due to strange regulations here, and that was all a bit complex.

I stayed up quite late one night running around the ship with the I.T. guys, when they re-built the network system, rebooting and reconnecting the DHCP client sessions on every computer… We now have internet web access on every ship-computer (not personal laptops). That is really cool.

I am probably going to be changing jobs fairly soon, I don’t know where yet. Possibly into I.T and Videographer, or something like that. Maybe working with the Audio-Visual team running the sound and stuff programmes on board. I’ve been working as a waterman for almost a year now. On Doulos that’s a long time. I just looked in our logbook the other day, which I started us keeping. The first entries are from August last year. Amazing.

I applied for the job of Technical Administrator. It would be quite interesting, and a big challenge too. A more technical ship work, and I could learn a lot of administration skills that would be useful in whatever job I end up doing in the future.

Doing all the video and all that these last two weeks, and hanging around with the IT guys a bit, I know that that is where I enjoy working most. I love doing video editing, and IT configuring and installing and all that work is so much more satisfying than water stuff. I miss programming a lot.

I miss linux, actually. Now THAT’s a geeky comment.

But whatever job I end up doing here, it’ll be useful, and also a good change. I’m really tired of the waterman’s job. It’s a great job, you can learn sooo much. And it’s very interesting, very much responsibility, very much independence. More independence than any other job on the ship, probably. Still. It’s time for a change. I’m tired of the midnight phone calls, of thinking about the ship’s water and list and draft 24/7. Of being “on call” whenever I’m on the ship. Of working alone, truely alone. Even working with the other waterman, I still miss being part of a team. I don’t much enjoy being a leader. I prefer to be a team player. Able to relax with others who know as much or more than I do, and able to pass the ball around, rather than just holding it myself, or watch my partner/assistant run with it the whole time.

Anyway. It’s late. Past 10. I need to sleep. goodnight.

This has been a fun week… most of it. Exciting, and all, anyway. We had a damage control drill, in which the fire attack team had a chance to play with our big emergency submersible pump (big blue thing, about the size of a child and the weight of a man) which had to be carried down to the engine room, and dropped into a tank of water, and then they had the fun of emptying a few tons out of the porthole, and then the rest we transferred into another tank. Great fun for them, very good that they finally get a chance to work with that pump (it’s a monster!). And the tanks, of course, mean work for the watermen! 🙂

We had two tanks which were on schedule for being worked in (we emptied out one of them a month or so ago, and had deck teams in there scraping off the old dead cement, and we last week got the new cement on all the walls.

So we had to open up this empty tank again, and open up the other tank, and get everything ready for that. This meant the usual sitting for a few hours in a bilge/tanktop covered in slime and grease and oil with various sizes of wrenches/spanners getting the manhole open.. This one also created a few more problems though, as some of the nuts were really old and totally seized up.

I had to find out how to get them off. I tried everything I knew how to do (various lubricants, hammers, spanners with extensions, and so on). My next and final option was to grind the thing off. As this is in a bilge, with oil and all about, it’s quite dangerous to do grinding, as you have sparks all over the place. So you need “Hot Work permits” which are paperwork to make sure you follow all safety procedures, have another guy on firewatch while you work, have fire extinguishers ready, etc… The chief mate suggested I try using just a oil burner/torch and heating up the nut around the edges, to try and expand it and so free it up. This would also require Hot Work permits, but would be safer, and also a lot easier, if it worked.

As I was getting ready for this (with the deadline being the drill the day after), the chief engineer suggested just using a “Nut splitter”, a really cool tool I’d never seen before. Basically it’s a chisel with a threaded end, a bolt on the end, and a case to drive it through the nut, as you tighten the bolt. Very cool indeed. So I found this device, and amazingly, it worked! Very nice indeed. I was chatting with the Engine Foreman afterwards, and he suggested a few other ideas involving chisels (and hitting the bolt in the right places to expand the right parts). So I have lots of new stuff learned. Cool. I’ll put it all in the “Waterman’s Bible.”

Have I mentioned the “Waterman’s Bible“?

It’s our source of all knowledge and wisdom, concerning the job. When I joined, it was about 4 pages long, very hastily put togeather, and with confusing notes, and about as comprehensive as “Spot the Dog” is as a guide to the English language.

So myself and the former watermen began to add to it, and since I took over as head waterman, I’ve added diagrams of valves, information about the “Free Surface Effect” and other important things we really need to know, but were always handed on (getting more and more incorrect over time) by word of mouth, or just totally ignored, and other interesting information (such as “Where to find people to hang out with on the ship at 2 in the morning when you’re waiting for the final water truck to arrive” and “Where can I get new hose-clips?” and “Where can I find good coffee?” or even “How can I get these wretched rusted nuts off the manhole-cover!?” for instance.

Currently the “Waterman’s Bible: Nearly Accurate Simplified Version (NASV) April 2007 Edition” is around 50 pages long.

So, back to my week. Three days ago we had to move the ship a few hundred meters down the quayside, so a container ship could come in… the next morning we moved her back again. Then we have have 3 containers of food/books/supplies/chemicals arrive in (including 2 new waterhoses I ordered 3 months ago!).

And most recently, yesterday.

Yesterday was International Night (I-night). Our big festival of songs and dances and dramas from around the world! We’re having two this port, for different audiences, and I am on the “I-night Crew” now, doing the multimedia (videos, cameras, projectors, etc). Yesterday was my first time doing that, always before I’ve been on stage performing. It was so much fun! So good to do theatrey work again. I love the energy and excitement of it. I was sitting on my own with a laptop, projector and camera (and camera person for a while) with a headset on listening to the stage director and back stage crew, and most things went pretty well.

At the beginning of this I-night we had a local Christian band playing, and then we went into 2 movies/video clips, and then the show proper. 5 minutes before the local band started their sound check, the singer came up to me with a USB stick and said “Hey, can you show this powerpoint, it’s the lyrics of our 3 songs, while we sing…”

Yeah, no worries… Except, it’s all in Mandarin! And I don’t really speak any Mandarin at all!

He told me. “OK, these are my hand signals I use with the band, ‘this’ means ‘Chorus’ and ‘this’ means ‘from the top’. We have 3 songs in this powerpoint, the first one is slides 1-3, slide 3 is the chorus…”

Woah! Cool! Bring it on! In the end, we did find one of our translators who could run the lyrics with me, which helped, rather.

After the local band, we had those two video clips. The first one for some reason was not on the laptop (someone else had set up the laptop and files on the ship before the day), and it only arrived 10 minutes before the performance! Still, I had them ready. Then, just as I started the clips, the sound came on, but no video on the projector! This was crazy! I’d just been showing lyrics on them! We’d managed to get a flatscreen monitor from the venue to use as a second monitor display by me, so I could set up the videos on the screen before switching the video-switch to display the computer, and the video was playing fine on my monitor.

So I switched off the video and began checking cables, while the whole audience was sitting there… and I found the projector had switched itself off! So I turned it on again, and reset my videos and got it going again. The whole time (probably only 15-20 seconds at the most, from when the sound came on without visuals to when it started working properly) with the stage director and everyone worried in the headset, and me on my first time with multimedia i-night. It was great! I love theatre.

Everything else went pretty smoothly. It was a long day, we started at 6.30am (after getting to bed around midnight the night before because of the container arrivals, that was a 14 hour work day), and then finished de-briefing after the I-night around half past midnight, and then eating dinner til past 1am, (So about 18 work hours…) Then I was up again this morning at 6.30 to get ready for a study group. I don’t think I’ll work too hard today, except I have my normal work to do, after church, then 2 Irish dance performances later in the afternoon, I need to do my work appraisal with the chief mate, and also a sermon review with the study group coordinator about 5pm…

[Ding Dong, Ding Dong…]

OK, just to add to the fun, the fire alarm just went off. Some kind of electrical fault in one of the wires, they guess. I was at the firestation with the others for about 10 minutes, they couldn’t find anything in the whole zone where the alarm went off, so they’ve isolated the alarm, and check again in an hour.

Yeah. Fun week.

I’m typing this from the dry food store, miles and miles down in the depthful belly of the ship. I don’t know if depthful is a real word, but if not, I have just coined it. Please pay all royalties to me, chocolate is the preferred currency.

OK, so what am I doing in this previously mentioned food store…? Well, we’ve been having a few problems on the job.

Over the last few months we’ve been emptying out ballast tanks, (the water tanks down at the bottom of the ship which keep her stable) one at a time, and then sending a deck team in there to do routine maintenance (routine, as in, once every 4 years or so per tank).

Anyway. We just got to the last tank in the series, and so needed to fill it up with water. For some reason though, every time we tried to use the pipe to send water to the tank, the pump would get very hot and trip the electrics. We could see a very high pressure build up in the pipe by the pump, so it looked as if there was some kind of blockage in the pipe, which was not allowing water through it. We went into the tank last week or so, and looked around for any obvious problems, feeling inside the pipes as far as fingers would go to make sure they had not got cemeted over in the maintenance. No problems found though…

So we asked the engine room guys to have a look at it, and they sent a very professional welder/plumber. He took a “snake” (high pressure hose with a thing on the end which bounces around and smashes to bits any kind of blockage or rust.
Anyway… it got stuck in the pipe. So he called me, and then he went into the tank to take the pipe off and look for his snake. BUT… forgot to check which pipe. The wrong pipe got taken off…. So he took off the other one. Not his fault, he didn’t know the tank had two pipes leading into it. We couldn’t see any problems, so he put them back.

Presumably the problem was further up the pipe, closer to the engine room.

Presumably so was his ‘snake’.

So, we opened up the other tank, brought a HUGE emergency submersible pump and attached it up to transfer between the two tanks. This pump is a very serious pump. It’s designed to be hooked up, and chucked down a staircase into a flooded hold to pump it out, kind of thing. It took 3 of us to carry down to the food store here where the tank manholes are to put the pump into. We had to use all kinds of ropes and stuff to hoist the thing down. We attached it, and set it going. It was a bit complicated, as we had to have one guy at the suction end of the pump, to make sure it was OK, one guy at the discharge end to make sure it didn’t swing around and kill someone, one guy running between to make sure the hose was OK and didn’t explode, and one guy 3 decks up with a radio to switch the electricity for the pump on and off (there are only 3 connection points on the whole ship for this creature).

So… First when we switched it on, we found a hole in the hose. We found it as it started shooting water the pressure of a fire-hose all over the place in the book-hold where the discharge tank manhole is. So we stopped the pump, pushed more of the hose into the tank so the leak was inside the tank, and tried again. This time, the pressure of the pump pushed the hose into a crack under the flange of two pipes, and then ripped the whole hose open as the pressure was too high for the squashed position. I got totally soaked by this.

So we stopped the pump, got a new hose, and tried again. This time was OK… for about 4 minutes. But the pressure of the pump started pushing the discharge end of the hose back out of the tank! So we stopped the pump, tied the hose down, and started again. 2 hours later, nothing more had gone wrong, and 60 tons of water had been moved. That is, 30 tons an hour. 500 litres a minute, in other words. Quite fast.

So in went our bold intrepid welder/plumber guy to the now empty tank, and he took off the pipes and all, found the ‘snake’ in a “omega” shaped bend in the pipe (the chief mate says this is to allow for expansion and contraction of in the ship’s shape… if he had asked the C/M before sending his ‘snake’ in, it would have saved a lot of problems…) anyway. He got his snake out, closed up the pipes again, and declared the pipes probably useable… at least, no problems found in them. (These are probably original 1914 pipes, brass (I think) and still in amazingly good condition…)

Yesterday was spent with myself and another guy (possibly the next waterman? Who knows…) down here with a smaller more sociable submersible pump moving the last of the water across. (When they had opened up the pipes, about 20 tons of water drained back across to the other tank we had just moved it from.)

So. Now what…

The tank we are moving from (where the snake was stuck) is smaller than the tank we are moving the water into.

By about 10 tons.

So I still have 10 or so tons of water to move across. I tried this morning using the probably OK pipe system, and the engine room pump. I did this very slowly, checking everything, slowly allowing pressure to build up, etc, so as not to overflow anything, or trip the electricity on the pump, or any of that. Strangely, although water was leaving the pump, the water level didn’t go up in the tank. I checked after lunch, and the level was exactly the same…. So I stopped the whole thing, and started checking my tank levels, sounding everything I could think of. About 40 tons of water had left the freshwater tank I was pumping from, and 0 had arrived in the ballast tanks. And it had not arrived anywhere else either.

About this time, I was expecting my name on the paging system any second, to find 40 tons of water had turned up in someone’s cabin…

Luckily it didn’t

Unluckily (or possibly not) It didn’t turn up anywhere else, either.

Anyway. We sail tomorrow, and this tank must be full when we leave. So I decided to ignore the whole missing water problem, and spent the last part of this afternoon moving water from the engine room into the empty small tank, (these pipes still work…) and then am myself down here in the dry food store, miles and miles down in the depthful belly of the ship moving the water from the small tank into the big one with the sociable submersible pump. It’s very slow.

And quite scary too. Last time the other waterman did something like this, he managed to flood the book-hold, and it caused some huge amount of damage, something in the thousands of euros range. So that’s why this entry is so disjointed, I keep running off to check everything. Yesterday I started at 6.30am, and finished at 10pm, and today I started at the more reasonable hour of 9.30am, and hope to be finished before the same numbers reappear with another suffix (or the same. That would be worse…). We shall see.

The reason it is so much work for just me, is that the other senior waterman is leaving, and changing jobs (I may have mentioned this before). And is doing training all this week. It’s all really tiring, anyway.

This is a photo of the inside of one of the tanks, including the “omega” bends. The tank is 1 metre 33 cm high.

The waterman job continues quite busy. The last two days we have been moving an awful lot of water from one ballast tank to another, as the deck team have finished cleaning/maintaining the one, and need to work on the other. The only way to do this directly is by opening up the manholes of those tanks (both in inconvenient places down in the food store), and sticking a pump into the full one, and a long waterhose (firehose thickness) between the two tanks.

So the first problem is getting the manhole covers off. These are large heavy metal plates with a rubber seal and 18 nut/bolt s on each one. We have a nice electric wrench thingy which gets them off quite quickly. We started opening the starboard tank manhole, but water came gushing out around the edges, meaning the tank is very full. There is a bilge entrance right next to the manhole, so we figured we could just drain the water into there, and then have the Engine Room pump out the bilge into the main bilge and then into the sea next time we sail.

But they told us that their main bilge that they would pump into is already pretty full and they didn’t need another ton or two of water in it from us. so we got a small emergency pump and used that to pump from the small bilge into another spare bilge. This was taking forever though, as it’s
quite a small pump.

Then we checked the plans, and saw that the other manhole for this tank is further forward in the ship, and the bow of the ship is really quite high at the moment, and so that manhole would probably not be overflowing if we opened it. But… that manhole is at the bottom of the lift shaft in Hold Two… So we went though to there, and got it open. Indeed it is fine! So we had to get the watertight door between the food store and hold two open, put a safety chain from the lift to the crane deck and then get the electricians to isolate the lift so no one else tried to use it and drop the lift on us. Then we rigged up the hose between the two tanks and started the pump. It went quite well but SO slowly.

The book-exhibition teams needed the lift to take the day’s books up (it was about 3.30pm by then). We had moved enough water that the other manhole was free from overflowing, so we opened that one again, moved the pump across, and started pumping again. Then we had to close up the manhole in the lift shaft again, and get the electricians to restart it, and remove the safety chain from the crane deck. All this time we were moving the ballast water, it made the ship list to Starboard, so we were having to use the freshwater transfer pump to move fresh water about and correct the list with freshwater. Most of the day I had to spend down in the food store to keep watch on the pumps and all while the other waterman was doing other stuff about the ship. While | was down there I extended a watch strap by a few notches for someone as well, and started work on updating the “Waterman’s Bible”, our handbook for all things watery (last updated 3 years ago). So quite busy.

Yesterday again we were doing more pumping all day, and also had to close up the manholes at the end. Because of the shape of the tanks, and where the water is, we actually have to list the ship a bit in order to get the last of the water in the tank we are emptying to run down to where the pump is (as we can only lower the pump to directly below the manhole, and cannot move the pump without ourselves going into the tank, and that requires a “Enclosed Space Entry Permit” and mountains of safety checks and paperwork.

Another problem yesterday we went through was that the nice big fast pump we have requires itself to be actually submerged in the water to keep itself cool while pumping. So when the water level fell below the height of the pump, we would have to switch to a slower smaller pump. But I managed to rig up the smaller pump without a hose so it would be hanging at an angle constantly splashing water all over the big pump, and keeping it cool. So all quite complex and fun. We were finished at about 10.30 pm. Very long day.

Today is my off-day, but I am taking a few hours of watch for my former deck-team leader, as she is going out today, or something like that. The schedule today is even more complex than the water situation! One of the watchmen is going out to play football, and so she is taking some hours for him, and so on. I was also invited out for lunch with some of the Indians on the ship, to a local family. Apparently Indian food!! Very exciting. I miss the food from India so much. It was SO lovely there. If anyone feels like opening an inexpensive vegetarian Indian restaurant in Larnaka in a few years whenever I go back you will have one regular customer for sure!

I’m going on A-team next port!! Yes! Another Doulish word with an unintelligible prefixial letter. In this case “A” stands for “Action”. Which gives absolutely no help in understanding what an “A-team” actually is. What is an A-team?

*Open “Unauthorised Revised Doulos Dictionary.” *

A-team – Noun. Abr. “Action Team”. C 1980-1990AD (Origin unknown). A short (1 to 3 weeks) land based team, leaving from the ship for however long to be involved in any number of different projects. Some do building work for a local charity or children’s home, some travel a lot, visiting a different village every night putting on a short programme, possibly taking a video projector along. Some run a youthgroup’s summer camp, and so on. Most Douloi guys go on 2 or 3 “A- teams” during their 2 years on board. Most Douloi girls go on 2 “A- teams”, and during the two dry-docks go on “Land Teams” which are basically the same as an “A-team”, but only girls, and during dry- dock. Some people go on up to 5 “A-teams” during 2 years.

So. Cool, eh? My a-team is comprised of all drama-ish creative people, and we are going to be mostly doing drama/dance/creative workshops for a local church/youthgroup. I will probably be speaking at one or two church services. So all in all quite interesting.

OK. “Quite interesting” is a bit of an understatement.


Very exciting!!

So if you want to pray for me (us!) until about the 15th or so of August it would be really nice. One or two very strong willed (lovely!) people on the team. And a LOT of time together, so pray that we will be able to work together, and help the people we meet.

So yeah. By the way, my “boss” the senior waterman just told me yesterday while we were chatting about books how he hates “chatty” books that are written in spoken English style (many modern books), rather than written English (like C.S. Lewis). It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t read this blog. I think he may find it too much spoken English.

We did our crane training yesterday. Which pretty much completes the basic deck training. Now only advanced lifeboat/firefighting/etc training to go (I think). We do training so sporadically though for these sorts of things. Drills every week though. I think I must be OK with the crane, as the teacher (my ex-teamleader) told me I was pretty good and she may even change my mooring station to the “standby” team (who start the unloading first), presumably as they need a crane driver. Pretty cool! Then again, standby team is quite boring most of the time. I’m currently in the forward mooring party, which is the nicest, I think so far. It’s a big open deck, with lots of space, and you get to watch the port and everything really easily.

That’s about it so far! Watermanning is going well. I haven’t flooded anything else yet. I greased the crane though. Tomorrow probably I’ll grease the main windlass. Huge, ugly, with about 100 points to find and squirt grease. And the grease gun is about empty, so I’ll have to fill it again, which is quite complicated and very very messy.

I ought to go now though; It’s dinner time.

I’ve been on e-day/overnight for the last three or four days. When I got back, people told me that the entire section 6 (girls) had been truly flooded! Like a foot of water in some cabins. But that wasn’t me, it was the other (senior) waterman. He was filling up one of the ballast tanks (from empty) which has no pumpconnection, so we have to fill it up byusing a couple of hoses and the ventilation pipe, and a tiny little domestic pump. Takes about three days.

Anyway, he set it going, checked it the next day and it was fine. Next day he was out, then came back and heard himself being paged… there was water all down the steps! It was Monday, so most people were off the ship and no one had noticed it all day.

We think the water must have got to the top, and while slowly filling up the ventilation pipe found a crack in the pipe which happens to fun through section 6. We don’t really know, though.

It’s been a cool weekend. On Saturday I worked until 1pm, and then went and showered, and went to do a ‘mini inight’ programme all afternoon, and got back at about 1am. One of the benefits of the waterman’s job: I can take time off like that.

On Sunday we left at 6.45am for my kgroup brother’s church, with our whole kgroup. We did a simple programme, and then went to a shopping mall in KL [Kuala Lumpur], then stayed overnight in an apartment rented for us by his dad. We spent the day chilling out in KL. Then today was another e-day, painting panels/walls for a Sunday School in a new church.

KL is about an hour’s drive from where our port is. Even the city to which our port is attached is about 30 minutes’ drive, so it’s really hard to get out at all here. You have to hitchhike to the train station (about 10 minutes’ drive) and then get a 30+ minute train to Klang (this town), and then from there it’s another half hour or 45 minutes to KL. And we’re at this port for 5 weeks! It’s so long.

For the weekend, the brother from Klang has his own car and we borrowed a Doulos van. Then as some people had to go back to work, the rest of us just piled into his car or took the trains about KL.

People visiting the Doulos here come in cars. We get about 18,000 at weekends. It’s amazing.

Slightly weird news is that I’m going to be waterman. Means no more work outside really, hardly any physical work either. No more gangway watch either, mind you. I start right after sabbath week. It’s the job I didn’t want as it means being on call in evenings, but for the next lot of ports, as they are quite developed, we should always have water from a main, rather than trucks, which is better. So I won’t be on call all evening.

There are two watermen, the old one is leaving and I know the new one requested me about two months ago already. Then today I was told to work with him for the day, so I did, and then this evening the chief mate told me that as soon as sabbath week is over I will be the new waterman. It’s a job I know I can do, and some of it will be interesting. Like doing all the key-repair/locksmith stuff, but yeah. I dunno.

The chief mate knows I don’t really want to be waterman, and he knows I want to move to another department as well eventually. So he could have given me the job because they need someone, and it actually isn’t that hard, and I’ll be able to fill the second position until they find someone who wants the job. I’ll enjoy the locksmithing part, as long as I can find some good books about it, and can get enough work time to do it in. I’ll learn how to pick locks. And I’ll have a slightly more flexible schedule than now.

Also I have the go-ahead to make the Doulos intranet computer system, which should be a fun diversion. So I will kind of have full internet access sometimes for a while, to do research and get the software I need and stuff.

Oh, and I’m playing tambourine with the gospel choir. Kind of fun, but utterly exhausting in the right arm after playing solidly for six minutes straight.

As waterman, I’ll be able to play clarinet in my office, which is far away from everyone. I don’t like playing in my cabin, as there are always watchkeepers in next door cabins asleep, or in my cabin, and it’s hard to find other places which are free. I’m currently playing a lot in hold 1 which has so-so acoustics.