Plans Go Awry

Despite a forecast of nasty weather (rain, strong wind), I decided to go to the harbor to catch the arrival of the tanker Valrossa.

rough weather

While waiting, I wandered along Pier 9.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was at Pier 10/11.

Spray from the swells beating against her stern:

surge Queen Elizabeth

Mat protecting the hull of Hokuho Maru:

Hokuho Maru mat

Hoku Ke‘a:

Hoku Ke‘a

Honolulu taking the pilot out to Valrossa:

Honolulu headed out

I watched Falls of Clyde rolling at her berth at Pier 7.

Port side of the ship:

FOC port side swell

Sigh. Poor girl.

Large swell hitting the wall at the end of Pier 7:

wave makai side Pier 7

Valrossa was approaching the harbor, when I heard a loud “bang” from FOC. Oh-oh. That didn’t sound good. I hurried over to the ship.

Oh great. Problem with the gangway. Again.

FOC gangway problem

Although I haven’t had much to do with the ship (by choice) since I resigned from the organization, I notified the board members and waited until one of them showed up. I could have left then, but I stayed to help.* So much for photos of Valrossa.

The weather improved over the course of the afternoon. I was pleased to get some nice shots of Queen Elizabeth as she left the harbor.

Queen Elizabeth detail

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth bow

Mikioi assisting:

Mikioi Queen Elizabeth

passenger silhouette

Blocky stern!

Queen Elizabeth stern

The Star of Honolulu and Navatek I were floating around in the harbor. I assume this was because it was too rough for them to do their normal off-shore dinner cruises?

Star of Honolulu:

Star of Honolulu

With Queen Elizabeth gone, Hokuho Maru was preparing to shift to Pier 10.

Getting ready to remove gangway:

Hokuho Maru gangway


Hokuho Maru fender

Pulling away from Pier 9:

Hokuho Maru pulling away from pier

*Big mahalo to Rick Wilson and the crew of Pi‘ilani (Captain Jeff Page, Chris Vincent, and Bruno Fonoti-Ulufale) for answering the call. You guys are awesome!


Rainy Days and…Saturdays

Hanging around…but not frowning.

A quick look around the ship before heading to Pier 9 to get pics of USCGC Polar Star:

USCGC Polar Star

Earlier in the year, the icebreaker was asked to aid in operations to free the ice-bound ships Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long before conditions improved and they managed to free themselves.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star stands down from Antarctic rescue

Satsumaseiun Maru crew looking on:

Satsumaseiun Maru crew looking on

Mikioi assisting:

Mikioi at bow Polar Star

Back on the ship, I spent part of the time tidying up the fo’c’sle.

There was dirt and debris from the fo’c’sle head plywood project that hadn’t been cleaned up. 😦

fo'c'sle dirt

Like the muck in the waterways, it was bothering me.

Soooo…I took care of it:

fo'c'sle cleaned 1

fo'c'sle cleaned 2

As usual, there was the temptation to have a closer look at things in the area.

One of the port hawseholes:

port hawsehole

Got some different views of things by sticking my fancy phone out through the hawsehole.

Bottom edge of trailboard with the part of the “D” and the “E” in “Clyde”:


Part of the hull and the towing cable:

hull and towing cable

Draft marks:

hull draft marks

After measuring the ullages, I was ready to go, but it started raining. I decided to stay on the pier and wait until the rain abated a bit.

Mokihana was turning off of Pier 7.

Rain water pouring from a scupper:

water from scupper

(The pic looks grainy because of the rain.)

Mokihana’s stern looking rather ghostly as she headed out of the harbor, and a fishing boat, less so:

ghostly Mokihana and fishing boat

The rain eventually stopped and it was time to go.


Rain. 😦

Although it was already 0800, it was dark enough for the Aloha Tower lights to remain on:

what happened to the sun

I took advantage of the water on deck and did a bit of…er…swabbing. 😉 I also did the usual rainy day drill of checking and moving buckets around.

A bit of news early in the week disturbed me. I still feel uneasy about it, but there’s nothing I can do…except spend time with the ship.

Yes, I talk to the ship and to those who have gone before. My non-ship friends will think it’s crazy, but those of you who love and care about old ships will understand.


Shifting a pile of dirt and rust in the lazarette, I found these old-style square nuts (nod of thanks to my FB friends):

square nuts

Better lighting from hatch:

square nuts better lighting

One of the things I love about working on the ship is that I am always learning new things. I never really noticed the square nuts before, but there are a lot of them.

In situ on a frame:

nut on frame FOC

Just for the heck of it, I took a look at some of my pics from Balclutha. What do you know…

nuts on frame Balclutha

For attaching the cargo battens, I assume?

Looking up at the deckhead:

more square nuts FOC

And on Balclutha for comparison (with lovely COATS mark):

more square nuts Balclutha

Frames on the starboard side:

starboard frames

Planking cut away near the aft bulkhead of starboard tank #5:

tween deck planks cut

Ends of planking:

ends of planks

Moving forward, just aft of the mizzen mast:

where pumps used to be

I’d seen these holes before, of course. However, the lightbulb went on this time.

Were the pumps located on the weather deck above, before the ship was converted into a tanker?

Again, going to a photo taken on board Balclutha:

Balclutha pumps

Something that may be unique to FOC, one of the pipes leading to the mizzen mast:

pipe into mizzen mast

Forward to the main mast and its spigot:

spigot in main mast

Quite odd.

Looking aft along the tween deck, with the main mast at left and a water tank at right:

looking aft

The deck under the water tank is really dodgy. There are holes, through which you can see into port tank #2:

port tank #2

Our lovely ballast water…sediments stirred up a bit.

Forward to the boiler room.

Rivet detail from another water tank:

water tank rivets

A peek into the Scotch boiler:

boiler interior

As the day went on, the weather improved.

On the weather deck, I took this photo of what was left of one of the yard arms that had been sawed off:

yard arm

Okay, back to the world outside…

Lost hardhat floating by:

lost hardhat

Hachinohe Maru, the wood chip ship, still at Pier 1:

Hachinohe Maru

By coincidence, the home port of Aomori Maru, the Japanese ship that was at Pier 8, is Hachinohe.

Aomori Maru

I was surprised to see a red pencil urchin in the water at the end of the pier:

red pencil urchin

New Sailing Star, winner of the unique ship name of the day contest, was leaving the harbor:

New Sailing Star

New Sailing Star leaving

The Navatek got stuck behind New Sailing Star:

Navatek behind New Sailing Star

It was like watching a sporty car following a slow moving truck.

heading out

This made me laugh:

anole on skull

I guess the silly skull thing is good for something after all.

My usual stroll around Aloha Tower…

Aomori Maru chafing gear:

Aomori Maru chafing gear

Not unexpected, but still a bummer…the sundry store is gone:

sundry store gone

Falkor at Pier 11:


American Contender detail:

American Contender detail

Almost a Week Late…

Life’s been a bit busy, so I’m only getting to last Saturday’s post now.

Rain means very little work on deck:


So…it was time for dancing around to 80s music on the tween deck.

Ha ha! No.

Found some new leaks and moved buckets around:

leak at main mast

It feels like a losing battle sometimes.

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with Rosie and Joe. Rosie had an injury to her leg. I’m glad to see she’s better.

Here they are inspecting a small leak:

Rosie and Joe inspect leak



Light from a hole in the deck illuminates a small part of starboard tank #4:

let there be light

It wasn’t all fun and games. I did do some work. Really.

The zombie pump needed a line attached to it.

Whipping the ends:


Done. Zombie pump (left) and its twin:

pump with line

Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon.

There always seems to be something new at the pier. I think this is some sort of bug trap?

insect trap

When I arrived in the morning and saw it at a distance, I thought someone had put a lantern up.

Wonder if there will be something new this coming Saturday?

Rain / Mission at Kewalo Basin

The forecast for Saturday: Rain. At the harbor, it looked like a typical sunny day.

nice morning

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the pier was that a few things belonging to the ship had been returned:

forward hatch cover


small skylight

The plywood cover for the fo’c’sle head is done:

plywood done

Unhappy cockroach:


We started painting the plywood:


Unfortunately, the rain showed up after all. Bummer.

Since I was returning to the ship on Sunday to help work on the pumping system, I decided to call it a day

Earlier on, a friend had called and asked me if I would go on a recon mission at Kewalo Basin. It was a good opportunity to test out my new toy (camera).

Artwork on the Fisherman’s Wharf building. Old salt at the helm:

at the helm

The mysterious Berth X:

Berth X

Fishing boat charter sign:

Sashimi II sign

Female star-eye parrotfish:

parrotfish thing


catamaran light and dark

Treasure Seeker returning to Kewalo Basin:

Treasure Seeker

Gloomy skies:

gloomy weather

Find the Leaks

FOC rainbow

A rainy Saturday morning is a good time to find leaks. I walked around the ship and moved buckets around.

By the time the rain stopped, I was feeling a bit under the weather and called it a day.

Work started on plywood cover on deck to keep water out of fo’c’sle area:

work on fo'c'sle head

This was supposed to be done when the main deck was done, but… 😦

Wet deck:

rain on deck

Not much going on in the harbor.

VOC Rose

VOC Rose

Young Brothers tugs Hoku Loa and Moana Holo:

Hoku Loa

Moana Holo

Maintenance with a Twist

Saturday was a quiet day. I like quiet days. I can think about things while doing stuff on the ship.

Based on the severity of the thunderstorm and accompanying rain that hit the island on the previous Sunday, I had expected that I would be lugging around a lot of full rain buckets. To my delight, I found that most of them were empty. (Another board member beat me to it.)

I did find a few with water in them. The one in the lazarette had the most:

water bucket

Before leaving the area, I took a self-portrait:

in the lazarette

Not sure why…I usually try to avoid cameras. Just amusing myself, I guess.

On deck, there were a few new things to deal with.

I found a rock on the starboard side near the ladder up to the poop deck. I don’t remember seeing it there before, so someone must have thrown it aboard recently. It wasn’t a very happy rock, as it had split into two pieces. The smaller piece was a few feet away.

rock on deck

The weed that was growing on the fo’c’sle head was bothering me, so I tried to remove it. It was too tough to pull out, so I just cut it. It will sprout up again, no doubt. The one in the fo’c’sle was easier to handle.

weeds from deck

Another day, a new set of measurements. Six points this time—three on each side of the ship.

While looking for good locations to take the measurements from, I noticed that the electrical cable supplying power to the ship, was getting a little chafed where it crossed the top of the bulwark. Note to self: Work on chafing gear if Paul approves.

The view from the fo’c’sle head is great. I saw a bunch of police cars and officers:


My first thought was that they were filming an episode of Hawaii Five-O (they’ve filmed in the area before), but they were the real deal. I don’t know what was going on.

After the police left, I was sitting on the anchor, minding my own business and contemplating life, when I saw a gentleman and a very young girl feeding fish. What’s wrong with that you ask? They were standing in a rather dangerous area between a set of the ship’s mooring lines and a metal barricade (visible in the photo above). There are barricades there for a reason.

I got a chance to use my hailing voice (ha!) and politely asked them not to stand there.

Here’s another view:

don't stand here

They were standing just to the left of the lines, at the edge of the concrete. It wasn’t a rough day, so the lines weren’t moving a whole lot. Still…

The rest of the day was uneventful.

Shonan Maru’s chafing gear and rat guards:

Shonan Maru chafing gear

Shonan Maru chafing gear bollard

Shonan Maru rat guards

Manoa turning in front of Aloha Tower: