JAPAN-27

Through the Juan De fuca Strait, then up the Strait of Georgia. Finally we spotted the Lion’s Gate Bridge. Almost home. Apparently the Port Moody dock was crowded so the captain elected to dock in the Burrard Inlet. The docks were at the foot of Main street (Skid Road). I’m not sure if they’re still there.
Ron and I joined a few of the crew in the beer parlour that was at the bottom of Main Street and usually frequented by the various ocean sailing crews and guys who worked the tugboats as well as anyone who happened to work in the area.
The city hadn’t changed but we had. I think we had kind of grown up. We were no longer kids.We had no problem ordering and drinking beer although we were 17 and 18. (the minimum age was 21)
Except of course Midge. She wasn’t into loyalty much and told me that she’d taken up with a neighbour.

We stayed great friends for the rest of her life. She was Dick Dunne’s girlfriend for a while. I introduced her to my new girlfriend, Jo, and they hit it off. (Enough for the two of them to travel to England). I chased Jo, married her , then bought an old car and toured Europe with them (another story).
Many years later I tried to contact her and learned she’d committed suicide.
That’s enough! I’m having trouble with WordPress. Sometimes I see the picture and sometimes I don’t. I’ve learned that other people are having the same problem.
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Japan-26


So…Weather-beaten we sighted the BC coast. Our days were now filled with repairing the damage the storm had done. Lots of broken railings in our quarters. Dishes needed replacing. Cookware needed fixing.
Remember how I told you that we had to get into clean clothes every time we went for a meal? We got pretty good at that. One lunch were sitting waiting for grub when ‘slop, slop’ one of the engine room young boys came into the eating room. He’d forgotten to change! Every step he had made from the engine room to the restaurant was marked with a black greasy footprint! Needless to say, the bosun was apoplectic. The poor kid was made to go back to his room, change his clothes, then take a bucket of warm water, a brush, and a rag and clean up every step he’d made before he could eat.
We had to go down into the forecastle hawser rooms and fix whatever damage the storm had done. Not too bad. The holes in the hull for the ropes had been sealed up before we left Japan. Not perfectly! There was about 6 inches of water on the floor and we took mops and cleaned it out. We also had to make the hawsers ready for docking. This didn’t take long as we’d done that in the last port.(listen to me, talking like a sailor)
We were now heading along the Vancouver Island coast. Tomorrow we would dock and the trip would be over! Not yet, though, The 2nd mate came into the commons room with a handful of papers. He was renewing the jobs of crewmen. Not you, he pointed at me. I said, for the first and only time ever, “You can’t fire me, I’ve quit!”.
-to be continued…

Japan-25


We could see the British Columbia Coast and what was most important the radio stations were coming in.

“So…Red Robinson is retiring. Again!
In 1961, the year my friend Ron and I signed onto a Norwegian freighter and sailed to Japan. (another story) Red was DJing at a local radio staiton (CFUN, I think). He was definitely the Rock and Roll champ and catered to teenagers.
As we neared the BC coast on our return trip the radio in the workers lounge began to pick up Vancouver radio stations. Red was on one night and part of his program was helping High School students with their homework. The phone in discussion was about salt (nacl). One caller yelled into the phone “Hey Red, what about the salt on the end of your cock? How does that taste?”
Dead silence. This was before radio stations introduced delayed broadcasting. It might have been this call that started it. Red went to some music and never mentioned the call.
A few years later I was into photography and my good friend Diana Tchakalian who was working public relations at Red’s latest radio station hired me to shoot a promo shot of Red embracing something or somebody. Unfortunately by this time Red was cleverly conscious of Self promotion and required me to give up the negatives. So, I have no proof of my brush with fame and Red doesn’t have to worry about anyone else publishing his photo or asking about salt.”

On one of these late days Ron and I told the foreman that we were quitting. …

…to be continued

Japan-24


Sleep was impossible. Not only would my head roll back and forth but my whole body would shift from side to side in the bunk. I couldn’t stuff enough stuff between me and the walls to stop the movement. Finally I got up, went down to the common room, and joined the other crewmen who couldn’t sleep either. And the room was full!!.
The ship was still headed directly into the waves (the shortest way to Vancouver!!). When the bow went into a wave it would submerge then come back up. We could feel it in the common room. The floor would tilt forward and you could feel distinct bumps as the bow tried to recover. The bumps became more powerful as the ship attempted to get through the waves. Down…bump, bump, BUMP!. The wait for the bow to come up again seemed eternal. “Jesus Christ” yelled the Frenchman. What was most bothersome was that the old seasoned guys were looking very worried.
This was crazy! We were in the middle of the Pacific ocean heading directly into a Typhoon! Finally the captain relented and we headed north to skirt the storm.
The ship was still rolling (perhaps a little more) but it wasn’t bending anymore and taking the waves on the side. Still we couldn’t sleep and weren’t able to do our work We hung out in our rooms or in the cook’s domain (where the clashing of pans was a testament) or in the commons room.
Lots of sitting around and cursing. As we neared the BC coast the going got easier and we were able to return to normal. Now we could get the local radio and regularly went to the commons room after work to tune into what was happening and what had happened after we had left…

to be continued…

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