Light, Shade, and Ghosts

After the horizon gazing of yesterday, I spent time today looking inward.

As part of my regular inspection routine, I usually check the aft- and forepeak areas and the pump room. Confession time…I’ve been lazy and have neglected the forepeak and pump room for a while. Bad, really, as they should be checked every week for any changes. There’s no excuse for not doing it, as it just involves opening the forward hatch cover or connecting an extension cord from the outlet in the boiler room to the string of lights in the area above the pump room to provide light.

The string of lights illuminates the tween deck level and forepeak, but not the pump room. The hatch provides general illumination on the tween deck level and down into the pump room, but the forepeak is usually pitch black and requires a flashlight to see anything.

I chose the hatch option today and got a surprise when I went below.

bow ports

Normally hidden and unnoticed in the dark, the upper bow ports were lit by the sunlight that was streaming down through the hatch and was being reflected forward by the bulkhead separating the upper pump room area from the boiler room. It was a Newgrange moment!

Here is a shot of the entire area taken later on in the day for comparison:

forward part of tween deck

The bow ports are back in shadow again.

More details.

Deck (needs sweeping):


I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this before, but these marks are something Brush noticed during the last survey:

marks on plate

So far, they’ve only been found on plates along one particular strake on the starboard side. No idea what they mean, if anything.

I figure I should mention the ghost(s). Oooooooo. Some time ago, I was talking to someone who had volunteered on board in the past and he told me of spooky things (voices, touch) he and someone else had experienced while working in this area at night.

At one point, some people scouting locations for a ghost hunter program visited the ship. Oddly enough, from what I understand, they said they picked up voices in the same area. Oooooooo.

I also heard that ice used to be kept in the forepeak during the ship’s sailing days and sometimes bodies would be stored there. Now, I’m not so sure about that. I guess a body could be kept, if it was someone really important. Otherwise, why not just a burial at sea?

I have had a couple of strange experiences, but they are things I can explain away. The ship has a very light and benign air…at least during the day. I’m a chicken when it comes to the dark, so I don’t think I’ll be spending any time here alone at night.

Leaving the pump room area, a valve handle on the boiler room side of the bulkhead:

valve handle

I hadn’t noticed the black mark above the handle before. Caused by steam escaping a long time ago?

I made up a new ullage form, which I think works quite well:

new ullage form

Oops, I wrote down the wrong date.

Some life at Aloha Tower Marketplace!

Challenge Nation participants

It turns out that it was the people who had participated in the Challenge Nation urban scavenger race. Looks like fun!


Once More Into the Tanks, Dear Friends…

FOC sunny morning

I took time off from “real life” to help out on board the ship for three days this past week. Representatives from JMS Naval Architects were in town to do a survey and meet with the shipyard. This survey covered the same areas (tanks, forepeak, aftpeak, pump room) as the past two done by Chris Jannini, so I felt quite comfortable with what needed to be done.

The aftpeak has remained dry since summer of last year when we pumped the water that was in it, forward into the tanks:

dry aftpeak

The numbers we put up to label the frames were still there:

frame numbers

Looking into port tank #3:

Port Tank #3

Water in the pump room:

water in pump room

Pump room looking aft toward the forward bulkhead of the first set of tanks:

in the pump room

I was pleased that I was able to get a decent photo of the inside (port side) of the chain locker by sticking my fancy phone into a hole:

port side of chain locker

It looks like a wooden bulkhead dividing the space, but I have no idea what the dark sheet-like stuff is.

I had a couple of small scares while down in the pump room. I was standing on a board that worked loose and dropped a few inches and then had a ladder slip a bit as I climbed up it (so much for thinking it was secure all this time).

On Thursday, we were able to give our visitors a closer look at part of the exterior of the hull thanks to Captain Ed Enos, who very kindly made arrangements for use of one of the pilot boats:

checking out the stern draftmarks

We also did a bit of recon (wink, wink):

checking out dry dock

Back at Pier 19:

back at pier 19

L to R: Bruce McEwan (Friends of Falls of Clyde), Jack Ringelberg (JMS Naval Architects), David Forrest (JMS Naval Architects), Captain Ed Enos (Hawaii Pilots Association)

Mahalo to Herbie!

My post wouldn’t be complete without some ship spotting!

Horizon Spirit:

Horizon Spirit

Mokihana without containers:

Mokihana without containers

Container detail:


Not the sharpest photo, but it shows Mikioi with the Foss logo:

Mikioi with Foss logo

Pi‘ilani also bears the Foss logo now. Kind of sad. The end of an era.

Celebrity Century with a few lifeboats lowered into the water:

Celebrity Century lifeboats

Back to FOC, the birds continue to leave gifts in the form of seeds. There was also some weird stuff on the deck:

ants on unknown weird stuff

Not sure what it was, but obviously the ants liked it.

FOC at sunset


Ooo scary! Explanation to come later on in this post.

I spent Wednesday morning at the ship for a meeting related to the mooring lines. While there, I learned some disturbing news. The guy who was arrested for trespassing and stealing stuff from the ship is out of jail. So soon? What’s up with that?

Needless to say, I was really alert when I went aboard the ship this morning. I kept my eyes open for anything that seemed out of place and my phone at the ready. There was nothing out of the ordinary, as far as I could tell. A relief.

I took a few minutes to watch the arrival of Shinkai Maru:

Shinkai Maru

Nice to see a woman handling the line from the ship:

line handling

I found another weed:

another weed

And more bird gifts:

bird gifts

Today was spent helping to prep the ship for the arrival of reps from JMS Naval Architects and taking apart a wood ramp that was built for the old gangway.

Ladders ready:

ladders ready

I took a look at the pump room, which I haven’t done in a while. I noticed that a piece of something had fallen from somewhere, but it was good to see that the water level was still below the top of the keelson:

pump room

Tween deck above the pump room looking aft:

toward the light

Speaking of pumps…
[cue spooky music]

The pump that was dead is alive! :O

Paul stopped by give it a final check. He plugged it in and…it worked!

A friend had joked about it coming back to life…seems it is a zombie pump.

Zombie pump (left) and twin:

zombie pump and twin

Thanks to Paul for putting it back together and fixing the cord. Yes, Paul is awesome.

It had been raining on and off during the course of the morning and it looked like it was going to get worse.


I was tired and not feeling 100%, so I decided to call it a day.

rain again

“We Never Shall Build Their Likes Again”

I arrived at the harbor just a few minutes too late to get good photos of MELL Stamford:

MELL Stamford

The naupaka (Scaevola sericea) by the ship looked pretty:


I did my usual tasks on board the ship, but, again, my heart wasn’t in it. The only thing that cheered me up was seeing a pair of mejiro at the same line as before.

I guess I have a lot to think about.

A monkey fist attached to one of Star of Honolulu’s lines:

Star of Hon monkey fist

Robert C. Seamans back in the harbor at Pier 9:

Robert C Seamans

Since I returned home rather early, I decided to make a real push to finish the photo survey work I had to do:

photo survey


Still feel rather melancholy.

I’ll sign off now with part of a poem by Cicely Fox Smith:

“These are the men that sailed and manned,
Worked her and drove her from land to land,
Most of ’em gone, as the ships are gone,
For times must change, as the old words run,
And men change with ’em, we know full well;
For worse or for better? Time will tell.
This only is certain, ships and men,
We never shall build their likes again.”


Right Time, Right Place

One of the tasks on the list today was taking the borrowed ship lei off the ship. While I was standing on the area (starboard side) next to the bowsprit near where it enters the hull, I happened to look down. I was amazed and delighted to see a honu (green sea turtle) swimming around the bow of the ship. How awesome is that? Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera at hand, so no photo. 😦

Since I started spending time on the ship, I’ve seen some pretty cool sea creatures: large needlefish and porcupine fish, spotted eagle rays, a small whitetip reef shark, a pod of dolphins, and two humpback whales. Now a turtle. What next? Monk seal?

Two of the sounding poles I made up were installed—one in the pump room and the other in the aftpeak.

Pole attached to a stanchion just aft of the jigger mast:

pole in aftpeak

The foot of the pole is resting on the keelson. There’s nearly six inches of sediment covering it at the moment.*

I didn’t get a photo of the pole in the pump room. Perhaps next time. While attaching it to the stanchion just aft of the fore mast, I got to stand on the keelson. That was quite neat. I wonder when was the last time someone got to do that? Attaching the second, shorter pole in the pump room is proving to be more difficult. I will have to work out something.

*The pole is marked in three-inch increments.


I get concerned when I hear new/different sounds coming from the ship.

I was in the pump room looking for an area to attach a pole, when I heard a strange gurgling. After carefully examining the location the sound was coming from, I found the source.

gurgle pipe

The pipe at the left side of the photo was close enough to the surface that water sloshing in and out of it when the ship rolled made the noise.

In addition to strange sounds, there are also strange sights.

I have no idea what sort of growth this is:

weird stuff

It looks like some bizarre alien seaweed.

Stages of my PVC pole project (for the pump room):





Outside of the ship, the world goes on.

Mahi leaving the harbor:


Crystal Symphony rat guards:

Crystal Symphony rat guards