Thursday, 22 November 2007

Near drowning incident


A few weeks ago I went out for my morning walk with my colleague Wendy. She had been hankering for days to walk on the beach and the idea was cool to me too, so we took our rubber dinghy and drove to the closest beach near the shipyard which is Woodman's point.

We beached the dinghy and started walking, we reached the end of the beach in abt half an hour and turned back, after walking 10 minutes I saw a boat and wondered whether it is our boat, to our relief it wasn't. Just a local angler. Another 10 minutes of walking and we saw another boat floating around and, I'll be damned, it was ours.

After a short deliberation with Wendy I stripped to my budgie smugglers and started swimming for the dinghy, it wasn't far, maybe 300meters away. As I was swimming the boat floated further away because the wind was from shore. I swam and I swam and then I realized I was not going to catch the dinghy and also saw that if I don't turn back I won't make it either.

I turned back there and then. I must've been out 300-400 meters, by this time I was starting to get short of breath. I swam towards shore and I was running out of energy, more and more. I tried swimming on my back to conserve energy but as I had no pointers to aim for I was afraid of swimming in circles so I turned on my belly and continued in a half frog style. I was panting and my body was burning of acid in the muscles, I was getting fatigued. I was maybe 50 meters from shore and I shouted for Wendy to help me. She was just talking on her mobile phone. I thought that I'll be damned if I drown here so close to shore so I bit my teeth together for a last effort and swam some more, everything was pure agony. I was trying to get bottom touch now and then and abt 7meters from shore I could finally stand and stagger ashore.

Wendy had called the ship to come and get us and the dinghy, what an embarrassment. I was sitting on the beach just panting, my heart was pounding like a rabbit on speed, I thought I was going to faint. Eventually I calmed down and I told Wendy that Mats, the Captain, would be very pissed at me if I drowned today as he would then have to postpone his vacation (he was flying this very day). Wendy told me off that how could I think of such things when I had nearly become a casualty.

After awhile the Captain came with our car and Wendy told me to act half dead as she had said on the phone I was having a cardiac arrest :) . Oh well, I guess I'm not an actor but Mats saw that I was dead tired. Our deckboys had lowered the rescue boat and they went to recover the dinghy, which by now was a few kilometers away. We all went back to the ship, but Mats made me go to the local hospital to check out my heart (that's an order!). I went and the Doc's verdict was that I was fit as a fiddle.

In the end I can just imagine that death by drowning must be the most horrible experience one can have (not to say the last). Picture shipwrecked people in the middle of the Ocean with nowhere to go, just mile after mile watery expanse. Nothing to grab for, maybe not even a lifejacket. The thought makes me shudder...
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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Shakedown cruise on Silver

Silver

Been awhile since the last time but I've been really busy starting up this yacht I'm working on. Currently we are doing a "shakedown" cruise to find all faulty systems and to see that everything is working properly. It has not been a walk in the park and is not ready yet, we still have the other part Owner onboard. It's difficult. One would think today people learn to give constructive criticism, but no. The motivation is not the best at the moment.

Anyway, the Australian outback has loads of animals in the sea. During last week I've seen humpback whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, lizard fish, sea snakes, sting rays, squids, dugongs. It is really amazing how much life there is in the sea. The scenery is really deserted and desolate but beautiful. What else can I say?

I hope this job works out or at least I get a few more salaries before moving on...
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Friday, 14 September 2007

Burglary


Damn, last nite we had burglars in the house. One of my flatmates, Wendy, forgot to lock the doors and they had been marching right in the door and took the closest thing available - her laptop. Luckily they did not take the other 3 laptops in the house, her jewellery, portable hard drives, my beers in the fridge...

We went to copper station 5.40am instead for our morning walk. How's that for a change? All in all an unfortunate situation. Our friend lost years of photos and her yesterdays work. Thank universe Wendy has backups. Well, gotta run off to work now. Have a freaking photo shoot to prepare, bleah.
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Monday, 10 September 2007

Cancelled internet bill


Been too busy at work so this blog has taken it's time to get posted. Recently I wrote abt the 5000ozzie dollar internet bill we got and last week, I think it was thursday morning that I got better news. When at breakfast the Captain told me that the landlord had called him the previous evening and told him that they had sent a letter complaining abt their poor policy regarding going over the cap and the circumstances that we were in so the ISP came back and cancelled the whole bill. What can I say? Thank you universe, best news I've had in weeks!!!

Gotta run again.
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Don't drink and drive, not even for the boss


Last week and this has not been good for our team here in Australia. Our Captain who was on a wine tasting session with our boss got nipped by the coppers on a DUI (just over the limit) and today our landlord called us that we have exceeded our internet cap by the double and the bill is 4200 ozzie dollars.

Holy s*it was our reaction. It seems that here in Oz they don't warn you if you exceeded your cap, they just open the throttle fully and laugh all the way to bank after they have presented the bill. Quite the different in other countries I've been to, there's a fixed rate and you can d/l as much as you like. Feels very ugly.

Oh well, the coppers came by today and gave our Old man a 500 ozzie dollars fine and banned him from driving in Australia for 3mths. We called our landlord and we promised to pay the bill. Easy come easy go, you could call it the revenge of Hollywood, but fear not, I am not on the negative side yet. So, there you see, keep the positive thinking up, use cosmic ordering and believe in the secret, all will come to you eventually despite some hiccups on the way.

Did I tell our Boss is changing route plans, we are skipping autumn/ winter in Europe for a better alternative. We plan to go east instead, our initial plan is something like Bali-Lombok-Great Barrier reef-Tonga Is, Tahiti, Galapagos, Panama, Cayman Is, Ft Lauderdale and Bahamas. By this time we should be in April 2008 and then we are heading over the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A millionaire's dinner


Yesterday our Boss came to inspect the ship he is building here in Australia. He had loads a meetings and finally settled down to discuss matters with the Captain.

I let him be as I saw it was gonna be a long time so I said to him to call me when he's ready and I'd pick him up as we have only one car to use. At around 6.30pm the Old man called and asked whats for dinner and I replied that we have that pot roast to put into the oven. Then he asked how long it'll take, so I replied 1.5hrs at most. Well, then he said cook for 4 as the Boss is coming for dinner as well.

Ok, I replied. The man wants to risk his health by eating my cooking, so be it. So, back to the stove I went, threw the roast in a baking bag together with some tomatoes, onions and garlic. Close the bag and shoved the whole thing into the oven in 170deg. Then I boiled some potatoes and grated some carrots. When the potatoes had boiled I peeled them and put them in a bowl where I added melted butter and started to mash them. When I had a somewhat consistent mash I added whipping cream (unwhipped) and also dry dill. On I mixed and mixed until it was ready. Then I prepared some brown gravy.

Dinner was ready and there the Boss came with the Captain. The Hotel Manager who also lives in the same house as we, was quite surprised, I did not tell him as I was afraid he'd mix with my cooking effort. Well, we sat down had dinner with some wine and surprise surprise the Boss went for seconds. First time ever I cooked for a millionaire. Maybe my cooking is not bad after all...
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Sunday, 29 July 2007

Outback Wallaby


The weather has been awful for the last week, rain, rain and more rain. Haven't seen raining men but it sure is close. Well, enuff of that stuff. Yesterday we went out cruising east on the intention of seeing wild kangaroos or skippies as they call 'em here down under.

And so we went, me driving, Captain Mats as co-pilot and our new 2nd Engineer Petrica and 2nd Mate Tapani in the back. Tapani was piloting me with the local map and we headed out towards Albany, some 350k's from Fremantle. When we had cleared all signs of inhabitation we entered a forested area and I switched on the cruise control (nice thing that 1, never had one before on any of my cars).

After I think abt 75k's on the road we stopped and turned into a dirt track that ran off the highway. We went along various dirt tracks and we soon lost ourselves in a maze of them when suddenly a rabbit ran across the road. Well, at least not a lost cause, one vabbit seen. On we went and as it was already getting dark we decided to turn back and then it happened.

A live kangaroo jumed out of the bushes on the road in front of us and then he/ she stopped and looked us. We also stopped and gazed at the live kangaroo or I think rather a wallaby. Small thing maybe 1m high he sat there staring at us, I managed to squeeze off one shot from my camera when he thought enuff is enuff and skipped off into the forest. Mission accomplished and we could head back home, I crisscrossed many dirt tracks and finally we ended back on the highway. So, total trip was around 150km's and a bonged a vabbit and a kangaroo. Now I can say that I have not only eaten skippy but also seen him.
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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Night out in Freo


Greetings from Australia once more. Have been down under in Oz for a couple weeks now. Last Saturday I volunteered to be the designated driver for my colleagues. Ah, need to back track some more. We live in a 3 bedroom (3-story) house that is near the center of Fremantle.

Very convenient spot, the center is like 5 blocks away and the cathouse only 3. Including me it is the Captain, a Swedish guy and the Hotel Manager, a Swiss guy, that lives in the house. It is almost like Big Brother but we don't have any chicks which makes it rather boring. We only work, work and work. Well, I been cooking dinners almost every night more or less. And so it goes.

Well, to come to the point of the story we went out on the Saturday night for dinner and beers to Northbridge, Perth where the meat vats are supposedly bigger and better. As I said I was driving and we headed for Perth and ended up in a restaurant called the Brass Monkey. Didn't see and monkeys though. We enter the restaurant and the waitress that comes to take our order has a name tag on her chest and I read a Finnish name, so I ask her do you come from Finland? The girl replies yes and continues in clear Finnish. As it happens she had just finished her studies and was backpacking around the world and had stopped to work some cash for her next leg of the voyage. It is just amazing how a nation of just 5mil people spread out. There you go walking into a restaurant practically on the opposite side of the world and you bump into a fellow country man. How weird is that?

Anyway, I had quesadillas for starters and a 300g kangaroo steak for main course. Man, I was stuffed, I couldn't have even forced myself to drink beer after this, so I was quite content to be the designated driver. After dinner we went around and looked into various venues but the area we were in was just too rough. Teenage guys in T-shirts and jeans, ratarsed and full of adrenalin, coppers everywhere ready to contain any arising situation. It was almost like being in Finland, just a bit warmer. So, we went back to the car and headed for Subiaco, another nightlife spot in Perth. Down in Subiaco bars were closing and nightclubs had queues of people lining up.

I haven't lined into a venue since I was in my twenties and I guess it was the same as with my colleagues. Then we bump into this Aussie guy who starts talking and it turns out he had been living a short while in Sweden and he wanted to guide us to another venue with no queues, so we hop into our car and drive on somewhere near Cottesloe which is almost Fremantle. We end up in a seedy disco with a clientele about 10-15yrs younger than us. Oh well... After a while looking at all the youngsters getting bombed out of their heads we decided it is time to head home for a good nights sleep. When we arrive home I chat on DC++ until 4.30am, so much for the nights sleep. At least I woke up without a hangover.
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Monday, 9 July 2007

Fremantle, Australia


Been now almost a week in Oz and seen and experienced a lot.

I already had kangaroo on skewers (or skippy in Oz) the other night, it tasted a little bit like lamb. Meat was very dark and tasty. I can recommend it. :)

Last weekend we (the present ships crew) was invited to an outing on Saturday visiting some of Fremantles bars and discoes. Surprisingly there are a number of good ales in Oz, ranging from pale to black as Guinness. Even local breweries has sprung up here and there. So, for those who think Australian beer is only Fosters, it is not so. I also stand corrected and man, did I taste a lot of different beers.

On Sunday we visited the old Fremantle prison that ceased operations in 1991. It first housed convicts from UK and later on was turned into a prison. Pretty austere conditions they were living in as well as violent. Until closing the prison wasn't even fitted with plumbing so the inmates carried their droppings in metal buckets and sometimes they threw the contents around if they were displeased.

Other than that I've been working. The ship is not nearly as finished as I'd thought it would be. If this was the first time I saw a shipyard I would have been probably shocked by the late appearance in schedule but it is not so this is no surprise for me. But, eventually when she is finished she will be a state of the art yacht which will raise a not a few eye brows. So, my days goes on wrapping my brain around the ship and visualizing how the operation will be, what tools and materials do I need. Planning the trip to Europe and so forth. Millions of things to do and time is running out . . . fast. Hopefully we will make it to the Monaco yacht show.

Well, this is all for now, hopefully soon I will get some decent piccies to post. Until then, ta-ta..
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