Chipping and painting took on a new dimension. Now we were stable in the water it was possible to paint the outside of the ship. Out came the planks and ropes; Ron and I were lowered over the side with buckets of paint and rollers. (In port there was no need for most of the watch crew so Ron was downgraded to deck crew again) Painting was easy if there was no wind that could take the colour right of your roller and drape it across the nearest porthole. This was a pleasant job on a sunny day. After finishing as much of a section we could reach we would have to wait for the boson to move the scaffold from above.
Once, hanging over the side, and finished, we couldn’t get anyone’s attention no matter how much we hollered. Finally, a porthole opened and the boson stuck his head out. He was quite drunk, as he had finally replenished his liquor supply. Inebriation was his element; he was polite and happy and told us he’d be right with us if we wouldn’t mind waiting. He also wanted to introduce us to his friend and immediately a beautiful Japanese girls’ head appeared! She chatted to us in Pigeon English while the boson went on deck to change our stage.
Ron and I hadn’t been allowed to go to shore yet and this only increased our yearning. The weekend came; the second mate chose the crewmembers allowed to disembark and this was when my shoddy work record caught up to me.