Posted by: adorsk | February 13, 2008

Ninjas, Alligators, & Lethargy

I’m off the ship, back home for a few weeks.

The Shipyard…Beware the Ninjas

I left just as the ship was going into shipyard. We arrived at Charleston, South Carolina at 4:00 AM on the third. The day before, we were still in the warm, clear waters of the Gulf Stream. But at the mouth of Charleston harbor the air was chilly and the sky was still dark. A brisk return to winter. As the sun rose we cruised up the river to Detyens shipyard.

Charleston Sunrise

The yard looks like an industrial wasteland scene from a movie. I kept expecting teams of ninjas to leap out from the shadows and start fighting. But there are threats far more dangerous than Ninjas. All around the yard there are piles of old wire, heaps of metal and broken engine parts. Towering cranes on rails track back and forth along the docks, emitting thunderous beeps. The roar of power-washers echo up from the depths of dry-docks. The yard is dangerous, ugly, and loud.

There are some enormous ships in the yard. The Knorr’s neighbor at the dock was a Monrovian car-carrier. It’s basically a giant floating blue bathtub. But instead of bubbles, it’s got cars. Hmm. For scale, try to see the man rolling a bike up the ramp.

Blue Bathtub

Here’s a big ship in the dry dock. Do you see the man in the white suit in this picture?

Big Boat

Charleston…Beware the Alligators

I had the good fortune to stay with fellow Oliner AM & her fiance J. We went out to sample the local cuisine at Hyman’s Seafood and then I crashed for the night in their guest room. Charleston seems like a nice place, but I was a little worried when I saw a sign with “Do not feed the alligators” in their parking lot. J told me that the gators only come in the summer. Phew! It was a real treat to stay with them.

Shore Leave…Beware the Lethargy

Now I’m at home on shore leave for a few weeks. I’ll be going down to WHOI for a week at the end of February, and then I will probably be in Maine until April. After that it’s back on the Oceanus for a series of shorter cruises until the summer.

I have to be careful not to become lethargic when I’m at home. It’s an easy trap to fall into after crashing for the first few days back home. The transition days are always the hardest. While I’m home I plan to read, work on my 中文,go to concerts, do some camera work, hear authors speak at the library, swim, cook, and visit with my friends. That should keep me busy.

I feel like this break marks the end of my first phase of being an at-sea technician. I can hardly believe that nearly eight months have gone by already…time has literally gone sailing by. I have seen a lot of science, from robots to Red Tide. I have sailed all over the Atlantic, from Iceland to Brazil. And I have met many incredible people. I think I have been very fortunate.

Check back in a couple months to find out how the next phase goes.

Thanks for reading.

Miscellaneous Photos

Gulf Stream Sunrise

Gulf Stream Sunrise

You’re Welcome


There are all sorts of nuts & bolts around the shipyard…

Shipyard Nuts & Bolts


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