Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dry Dock

Diamond Head at dusk.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my job isn't all snorkeling with dolphins and handing out cookies to hotties.  Sometimes, like last's tough hard work.
Waikiki coastline.
Every two years we are required by the coast guard to haul each boat out of the water for hull inspections.  And last week was Kaulana's time to travel to the dry dock on Oahu.  So, being first mate on Kaulana, it was off to Oahu for me!  We left Maui at 11pm on Friday night.  There were three of us on the boat and we took turns driving the boat in two hour shifts.  I was up first.  That night there was no moon and the stars out on the open sea
Flying boat!
were just beautiful.  I had 4 methods for navigation.  The old school compass built into the boats dashboard, the new school gps, the few navigation lights visible on the surrounding islands, and my favorite...the stars.  I got sick of keeping the right compass reading lined up on the little line so I picked out a few stars and
Hauling out.
kept the boat going in the right direction by keeping the bow between the stars.  It was pretty cool.  Luckily we had a relatively calm night.  The passing was completely uneventful.  In the morning we cleared all the flying fish that had landed on our decks off, and waited for light so we could maneuver into the harbor and haul the boat out of the water by 8 am.  Drive a boat from Maui to Oahu...check.

The first day there I got off on account of having not slept, but instead of sleeping I went to meet my friend Traci!  She happened to be staying on the North shore the same time I was there.  So we went to the beach house she was staying at.  That beach was gorgeous!  Then we went to the Haunted Lagoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center which was really good, I dare say the best haunted anything I have ever
With Traci at the PCC.
been too!  It was really fun.  The next night after work I met Traci again.  This time we met at the UH football game.  I arrived at the stadium at half time and as I was walking around the building to buy a ticket, a heard an angry voice start yelling from behind.  I turned around to see a large drunk white guy wearing a certain type of shirt that implies violence towards ones spouse...  I ignored his drunken, vulgar threats and kept walking.  Before I knew what was happening
At the UH game.  Notice I'm NOT wearing a hat...
though this drunken idiot had grabbed me from behind and started throwing punches at my face!  I managed to get my hands up in time to block his blows and I quickly slipped away and ran.  I turned around after getting behind a car to get ready for another attack but the moron was stumbling away already.  Yeah, I totally got jumped in the parking lot.  I was fine, he never really hit me, but the jerk somehow managed to steal my hat!  I loved that hat, and ask me how I feel about my reaction of hiding behind a car, because I feel just fine about it.  More fun drunk stories to come too.  After that mayhem I got into the game.  Hawaii won, yay!  Seeing Traci made all the other lousiness completely worth it...

Yeah, that's a tank full of poop.
So working at dry dock isn't easy.  First of all, the boat is sectioned off into several different compartments and it's a catamaran so there are five compartments on each side.  Which means the Coast Guard has to inspect all the hulls in each of these rooms.  Which means we
LOTS of tools...
have to slither and climb into all these tiny tight spaces and scrub and scrape and suck all sorts of disgusting, oily, poopy, sludge!  We start by sucking all the liquid out with wet vacs.  Then wiping and scraping by hand, then grinding and sanding, and then in some cases...painting.  Not with a sprayer...but by hand.  Don't forget these things are tiny cramped little boiling hot rooms, at one point I was lying under a several ton engine with Jesse holding my legs upside down so I could reach the bottom
How many times did I fall off that scaffolding?
and not get stuck.  After all these bilges are cleaned we have to turn our attention to the outside of the hull.  The whole thing has to get sanded, wiped, primed, sanded, wiped, painted, and painted again.  Most of which is all overhead.  My arms are still sore from holding those sanders above my head and pushing as
Bottom paint done.  Taping for top coats.
hard as I could.  I went through a respirator a day, and even with the goggles, I'm pretty sure I got more paint dust in my eye than the surgeon general recommends.  Then of course, there is all the mechanical stuff that has to be done too.'s a lot of hard work.
To cap it off, I shared a hotel room with an interesting guy, one of the company's maintenance staff.  One  night,  at  4:30 a.m.,  he  came
At least the sunsets were good!
stumbling into my room, looked around then went back out, so I got up to see what was going on, just to see him draining his bladder all over the kitchen floor.  Hooray for drunk people!  Ugh, gross...
Staying in Honolulu is always a big change.  I got completely lost trying to find my hotel after being on the North Shore with Traci.  The
Building a wave breaker.
traffic, the hookers, the homeless people everywhere, the lack of street signs, the annoying one way roads everywhere, the huge buildings everywhere...I am not a fan.  I'm very glad to be back home on my chill, low key, relaxed little island of Maui!  There is one great thing about Honolulu and dry dock though, all the FOOD!  The boss takes us out to breakfast and lunch everyday and it's always delicious.  We have to take care of ourselves for dinner but luckily there is a tiny little delicious Korean Shrimp joint with the best kimchi EVER just across the street!  Mmmmm, Korean shrimp, nothing beats popping heads off little creatures then eating them!

Things I learned: I don't like drunk people, I don't like Honolulu, except the restaurants, I don't like painting poop tank voids, but I do like Traci, and collecting sea glass, and kids as actors in haunted lagoons!  And you've got to get the epoxy/hardener ratio mix just right or it doesn't work well...  Goooo dry dock!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Work Day.

On a normal day in the work life of Dallon, I will wake up here. This is my bedroom where I sleep, and where I'm sitting now, my kitchen where I eat my cinnamon toast crunch, my house. It's a cozy little abode that I enjoy. Lived here last year too.

After my yummy breakfast I hop on one of these. These are my three modes of transport. I just repainted the bike. It's white and black now and pretty pimpin. The skateboard is good on days when there's no surf. And I only payed $67 for the car and I've had it over a year, so that's awesome.

No matter which ride I take, this is where I go. It's Lahaina Harbor and it's where I work. One of the boats I work on stays parked right here in the harbor. The other boats are on moorings out on the roadstead. We have to drive this little dinghy out to the other boats. This is the harbor during the day, behind me in dinghy, and at dawn when I first get there.

These are the boats that I work on. The first one is the Maui Princess. This is the dinner cruise boat that goes out every night. I avoid stepping foot on this boat unless it's to get some leftovers. But when I do have to work on the Maui Princess I pretty much only tend the bar. The second boat is the Kaulana (it's in the foreground, the background is just some random cruise ship) it's my favorite. Every Mon. Wed. Fri. we do a snorkel trip to the island of Lanai and to Mala pier on Maui, then at night time we do a cocktail cruise. The last one is the Island Princess. On this boat we go to Molokini and Olowalu Bay every Tues. Thurs. Sat.  In this photo we picked up our passengers right off their cruise ship.

So on Mon. Wed. Fri. we go here. Lanai is one of the best places in Maui County to snorkel. There is never anyone else there and the water and coral are beautiful. After Lanai we head back to Maui and cook some lunch. The second spot is Mala pier. This pier collapsed in a hurricane in 1992. Lots of turtles there. It's pretty awesome too. Kaulana has a pretty wicked slide that everyone loves...even Reed! Here's the trip!

When we have dropped everyone off at the loading dock, and cleaned the boat. I usually get about an hour off until I have to come back and get ready for the cocktail cruise. It's only a two hour trip. There are some light snacks but pretty much it's just a booze cruise. We got a funky entertainer on board and this is where most of my crazy stories come from.  Useless life accomplishments: In the state of Hawaii I am now a licensed bar manager.  Mormon bartender, it still makes me laugh too.

On the other days we go to Molokini.  Molokini is an ancient volcanic crater that over time has sunk and been eroded down by wind and waves so that it now looks like a half moon.  The island itself is a a marine bird sanctuary and the water is a marine reserve.  So we have to have special permits to go there.  It's famous for is calm and very clear water.  When we get there we have to secure a bow line and a stern line to keep the ship from swinging.  It's a pretty intense process of free diving, line tying, and swim sprinting.  It's a pretty exhausting process that not everyone can do.  After Molokini we go to a place called Olowalu Bay.  This is where all the turtles are!  There is a turtle cleaning station where the fish and turtles get together so the fish can have a meal and the turtles get their shells cleaned!  The Island Princess has the water trampoline that is always a big hit!  So during the trips I have to cook and serve and clean, give swim and snorkel lessons, lifeguard, dump heads, clean puke, etc.  And I'm the first mate on both boats so if anything goes wrong it's my fault...yay.

On some days though...I have to do some non fun stuff.  Boat maintenance is a bummer.  How you ever sucked sludge out of a bilge tank, or painted a holding tank?  I have, it isn't fun.  It's so not fun, I don't really have any pictures of it, except these from when we were at dry dock.  Sometimes I just put the paint on me, and roll around the boat.  Somedays I get to do other random things like scuba dive the moorings to replace shackles, or build new cabinets.  Next week for example, I get to drive Kaulana from Maui to Oahu.  Yes, drive.  Hope I can stay on the road!  Oh wait....

So that's what I do for work!  I pretty much love it.