Sunday, February 25, 2007

Today Lyon Shipyard, Tomorrow the World

It has been brought to my attention that I have been slacking on my blog updates, and for this I apologize. I am writing from our cozy galley, on yet another dark and stormy Norfolk night. Peter, an old GREENPEACE buddy of Michael’s, arrived on the boat this afternoon. The two of them have been regaling us with their many dangerous and colorful stories of environmental warfare out on the high seas. Peter has been a captain on most of the GREENPEACE ships, including the Rainbow Warrior II, and has a weight of authority which can only be garnered from years of experience. Needless to say, he has faced some pretty big adversaries while pressuring for important environmental causes. He is going to remain onboard the ship for several days to help us get her seaworthy. Many more people are going to start arriving over the next few days, so we need to start preparing for some solid entertaining.
We have launched into crunch week and things are starting to get a little busy around here. One car was just not enough for all the errands we need to do, so I had to purchase a rental car for the week. Don and I spent all morning zipping around the coast, picking up rope and other necessary implements for our trip to D.C. (which is approaching incredibly fast.) But we are putting the petal to the metal, and expect to be ready for departure on Sunday. Melodie and I are really looking forward to seeing more of the world. Still, I’m sure we are going to miss Lyon Shipyard, and the crazy and endearing old men who fish these polluted industrial waters.

Boat Mom!

So Dave has been slacking on his posts. He says mine are better, so he doesn't want to compete. The title "Boat Mom" has begun to flow around the boat and is slowly developing into my identity. Although ironically the boat is around my age as with dave, and Mike and Don are older that me, I am taking on my first role as mother (not counting the motherly role of raising my puppy Angel when I was 10). Speaking of boat mom duties, it's starting to rain and I must go to the rescue of securing the plastic bags covering the hydraulic controls outside. Bye Ya'll.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Mornin' from the East Coast

Things are finally starting to shape up around here. Fire systems are checked and done, life rafts are being serviced, the winches and the crane are welded on and hydraulics are getting worked on. It was windy last night and the boat was rocking and creeking, but I slept like a baby. I heard the news about Discovery coming onboard for the D.C. trip, awesome! We almost went crazy this morning when we realized there was no coffee onboard, but TJ came to the rescue (he had backup in his car). So all is well, just wanted to give you guys a quick status update, and wish ya'll a good mornin'!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

春節 - Happy Chinese New Year!

So David and I are just sitting here, thinking "We haven't composed a blog in a while, so we are making a combined one." And so it goes: Russ just left for the airport, to continue to create experiences for his autobiography. We have two new crew on board, Nancy and Don who are a couple who just arrived from Guatemala. They are interesting and colorful people, with many stories. Oh! We had our first injury, I closed David's finger in the car door. He forgives me, I think. But all is well, he found TJ's private stash of "Winnie the Pooh" band-aids. We have been doing research, and our boat really does look like the one from "The Life Aquatic." Russ took a picture of David wearing all the firefighting gear, including the air mask, while holding a french maid feather duster. David and I also had our first encounter with the locals on Friday, hustling a couple pool sharks. We are celebrating Chinese New Year on the boat, and have considered lighting our many expired flares. We finally have a stereo and are thinking about hosting a shipyard dance. All of the shipyard folk love their country music. We had some Tibetan SInging Bowl music playing and TJ got quiet, a weird and almost scary expression overcame him, and he walked away, backwards. We have moved the boat 90 degrees counter-clockwise from where it was, the view is much better here, and some of us almost got seasick. We are all looking forward to the sunny tropics, I think we all need tans! David just agreed, "We DO!!!!!!" We will put more pictures up later this week, for now...春節 and ALOHA from Norfolk!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lunar Madness

We had a strange night aboard the Weatherbird II. I awoke with a start at 4:30am and could hear something rattling away up on the bridge. My first instinct was that it was someone trying to break in to the ship. I jumped out of bed, and ran upstairs, hoping to startle the would be intruder. But instead of some big scary man in a mask, I saw Michael working away. Apparently, the tide had risen unusually high, and he was fixing some of our tire fittings. Melodie had some quirky experiences as well, and wondered into the fridge in the middle of the night. Its a good thing she didn't fall asleep in there. Meanwhile, Outside the ship its freezing cold, with possible snow on the forecast!
TJ thinks our strange interrelated events were the result of the moon cycles.

Boat Bonding!

Last night was interesting. At around 4:30 am I woke up burning hot so I threw my covers off and turned off my heater. Then I had a sudden thirst, so I decided to go downstairs to get a bottle of water, I downed one bottle and put a couple in the walk in fridge, it felt nice and cold in there so I stood in the fridge for about a minute, then headed upstairs. I laid down and then could not fall asleep due to some weird banging noise I heard. I decided to check it out, so I crept up to the bridge, the windows were foggy, so I used my shirt to wipe one down and was peering out side. I got kind of creeped out so I went back into my room, and finally went to bed. I woke up this morning and found out that everyone had got up some point at night, and wandered around the boat hearing noises. Weird! But anyways, i'm in the process of making the downstairs bathroom look pretty, painting and cleaning, etc. We are cleaning the rooms and getting them suitable for the people comming on board. Also, David confessed to me today that he felt guilty because I guess he was preping my room before I arrived and he noticed that my pillow was way better than his, he told me that he was in the process of switching my good pillow for his not-so-good one, and that while he was doing this, he realized that he was wrong and that he didn't want to be that person! I'm glad that David is openning up to me and he feels that he can tell me his secrets! I thought I should return the gesture, so I confessed that last night when I went down to the fridge I drinked from the orange juice container, because I was too thirsty to get a glass.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

bits and pieces

Hi Everyone-

Michael Bailey convinced me to cancel my flight home, so I will be in Norfolk for a little while longer. Melodie has been a great addition to the team and things are progressing as usual.
Tomorrow morning I am going to rent a truck and load it with a 600lb plate, which will be galvanized in Richmond.
We are also doing a thorough safety inspection for the exposure suits, vests and life rafts. We need to take the rafts to a specialist for inspection, repair and certification.
We are thinking about moving the ship to a different location. The idea was to move it to Nauticus, which is a tourist hot spot, but we will probably need a more industrial site for continued ship work.
Since we are outfitting the boat from the bottom-up, we have had to do a lot of shopping. Basically, we are ship workers by day and shoppers by night. Slowly but surely, the place is starting to look like home.
It looks like were starting to make it to the big time.
Congratulations everyone!

Foggy Day

It's a rainy, foggy day here in Norfolk. Dave got up at 5:30 this morning to drive the base of the crane over past Richmond to get it galvinized. The winches are being installed as I type. We enjoyed our first dinner onboard the Weatherbird last night. Keeping busy, lots of stuff going on, and we are making progress!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Life Aquatic

Onboard the R/V Weatherbird II. I am impressed with the amount of room inside, and the boat (I mean yacht) is overall larger that I expected. The vessel makes me feel like I’m in the movie “The Life Aquatic”, minus the Jacuzzi, hot-air balloon, and Filipino pirates. Although, we did see nice jacuzzi at home depot today. My sleep last night was surprisingly good, although it took me a while to actually fall asleep due to some minor jet lag and pondering the black sharpie message in the wood right above my bunk that reads, “Hi Rob, Have fun! Hayden.” I wonder who Rob and Hayden are? Well I’m hoping Hayden had fun, as I am sleeping in his once upon-a-time bunk and following his legacy of crewing the great Weatherbird II.
Today, David and I, worked on sorting out safety equipment, We went through and checked the “Harvey Suits” (which are basically survival suits, you only wear if you're in big trouble, and when activated look surprisingly similar to a bright red version of the “marshmallow man” off “Ghost Busters.” We also checked the life vests and work jackets all of which need their strobe lights replaced, due to expiration dates. We are also replacing all of the batteries in the “E” (Emergency lights), which are located all over the boat. Locating these “E” lights reminded me of a “Where’s Waldo” puzzle, these suckers were hidden everywhere from the corner of the galley to the room behind the room of the engine room, which you can barely fit in. The time not spent checking, noting, and organizing safety stuff was spent cleaning and filling up my cup of coffee. Overall there’s lots of work to be done, but it was a good day and I feel optimistic that the boat will be ready by the end of the month.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

news from the (water)front

Hello Everyone-

Everything is still going well on-board and off. The ship is no longer dry-docked, and it has been moved across the water, where it should be parked for a while. The weather is still cold, and they expect a little snow tonight. We picked up a couple of space heaters and sleeping bags to fight the chill. We figured that the folks on winter detail could be allowed to have some warmer bedding, which won't be necessary for our adventure on the Pacific. The ship is cozier now, and the state rooms are comfortable. As far as deck work goes, the crane is being readied for installation. Right now, they are cutting a giant slab of steel that will be placed under the base. The shipyard workers are also starting to remove some metal from the back deck, to get it ready for the vans. In other news, TJ the engineer enjoyed his first burrito today. I hope all is well, and I will send more updates soon. -Dave