Saturday, October 10, 2015


We returned to homeport (RTHP) today. It was about a week earlier than we had originally planned because our NR1 SSDG (ship's service diesel generator on the starboard side) tried to eat itself a little more than a week ago...catastrophic failure that we could not have predicted or really done much about. I'm a pretty shitty engineer, but I walked by the generator on one of my trips through the engine room, and it was pretty obvious that it wasn't going to work again without a lot of work.

It was an early morning; reveille was at 0515. For some reason, I woke up at 0415 and couldn't go back to sleep. After a quick breakfast, I headed up to the bridge. The first part of our transit up the river was going to be in the dark, so I wanted to make sure my eyes were adjusted, and I had plenty of time to figure out what all the lights were -- background lights on shore, buoys or navigation aids, or other vessels. Reveille was so early because it's a huge risk mitigator for us to moor at slack water. If we miss it, we have the possibility of facing a multi-knot current. And the general rule is that one know of current acts on the ship like 30 knots of wind. So, it's best for us if we get to the pier when the river is not trying to have her way with us.

Another risk mitigator we used this morning was to have a tug on standby for our transit up the river. If we had lost our NR2 SSDG when we were within 100 yards of shoal water on either side, it could have been a pretty bad scene. We have an emergency generator, but it can't power everything we usually have online. So, having the tug nearby made it a little less risky to not have the redundancy of two SSDGs.

For all our planning, we had a pleasant transit up the river, with the barest of floods pushing us along. OPS timed our arrival perfectly, and we made our approach right at slack water. ENS J.B. and OPS did an amazing job of mooring us up with grace and skill. All the entering port chores were taken care of in fairly short order, we had quarters, and liberty was granted by about 1020.

I'm always a little nervous returning. What has changed while we've been gone? Will my car start? Did the house flood?

My car did start, though OS3 J.S. and MK3 J.B. both had difficulties picking their vehicles up from long-term parking. The house wasn't flooded, but the circuit breaker had flipped off in the garage, so the chest freezer didn't have power for an unknown length of time. I lost about 1/2 a gallon of strawberries and four cups of sour milk I use for pancakes. My smart tv had a lobotomy -- I can't use the apps on it for some reason now, despite having reset all the programming. I picked the Black and White up from the vet. Lucy was in a cat fight while I was gone, and my roommate had to take her to the vet about two weeks ago because she wouldn't take her pills. The vets and techs all love her, but it was time for her to come home, stitches and all. And my car tires all had low air pressure.

It took me about 45 minutes to go through all my mail. I finally got my merchant mariner's license renewal. And lots of credit card advertisements.

I did laundry. And took a nap on my couch. And went out for an amazing dinner at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the area. Here shortly, I'm going to go to sleep in my very own bed, that doesn't move around on me, in a room that is blessedly quiet.

Underway is exciting and fun. But I'm pretty glad to be home too.


Aunt Linda said...

Postcard from the vet here: it's time for Lucy's shots and exam. Maybe they took care of that while she was in residence?
My friend Richard always posts on FB when Dili is back in port. Hugs, Linda

Uncle Heathen said...

Glad you're back safe and sound. I'm also glad you are back to posting your blog. I did enjoy being the first to read them, making sure they were posted on the right day was sometimes challenging. Sorry about the strawberries.