Japan-23


The farther we went from the harbour the stormier it got. We didn’t know what we were heading into. Had trouble with getting around the empty ship. kept banging into walls and railings.I’ll quote from an earlier post.
“I was told that we were going to work up in the forecastle that day and consequently had to run up the full length of a wet, windy, slippery deck with the ship alternately seeming to roll over to 45 degrees from port to starboard. Well it’s obvious that I made it was, beyond a doubt, the most frightening experience of my life. I was forced to run a few feet when the ship seemed level and then grab frantically onto a hatch when the ship heeled over, tending to throw me over the rail and into the mad sea, and then, when she came back, to rush into the wind swept spray, trying hard to keep my balance on the slippery deck. When I reached the bow I was shaking from head to toe in exhaustion and fright.”
The captain relented and we were allowed to put walkways to the front. These went right on top of the closed hatches with bridges between. We now could walk (run?) from the back to the front in the full force of the wind.
Not much fun but when we got there we were able to do our work, re-stacking the hawsers, which didn’t take long then we could relax as the bosun was busy drunk in his cabin.
This was the way we spent the first couple of days. The weather was getting rougher and we learned that we were headed into a typhoon!!! Apparently the captain would get a bonus for every trip he exceeded the standard of one a month. We weren’t going into the center of the storm but just brushing it’s northern edge on the way to Vancouver.
After work I decided to visit Ron on the bridge. An ordinary seaman could get there by climbing the steps on the outside of the structure. I remember looking back as I climbed. There were two or three crew on the deck mesmerized by the sea behind us. As we went through each wave the sea would tower behind us. It was higher than my vantage point I swear! Pretty scary! I got inside the bridge, the Captain wasn’t there, it was just Ron and a mate. I had trouble understanding what I was looking at. As the bow went into a wave it would flex!. The ship was bending! Enough! I was out of there. Went down to dinner. No dinner. You could hear the dishes crashing and breaking in the kitchen. We managed to grab some sandwiches and coffee. Then it was off to bed and attempt to sleep…

-to be continued…

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