Sailing off Brazil

Monday, February 12th, 2007 at 23:21 | by Alistair Baillie

Hello and greetings from sunny Brazil! My flight out went smoothly and my entire luggage surprisingly made it to Sao Paulo along with me. When we landed in Sao Paulo the port agent was waiting for us, and took us through customs out to collect our baggage and through to their car. We then drove to Santos getting to our hotel at around 2300.

They came back for us the next day at 0900 and took us to the ship – or tried to, the place was at a standstill but we did eventually get here about 1030 (we could see the ship from about 0930 but couldn’t get near to it).

We dropped our baggage off and they tagged it as crew baggage, and we went with them and 3 other crew members through and onto a coach which took us down to the terminal that the ship was at. After getting forms and our immigration cards stamped by immigration we boarded the ship and were taken to the crew purser. We were given lots of forms to fill in and sign, then given our cabins. We both have separate cabins at the moment, until the other cadet that is joining us arrives.

We then met with our DSTO, in our case the Safety Officer, and were given a brief tour of the ship and collected our uniforms. We then got to go for lunch and met back with the Safety Officer at 1515 for the first of three safety inductions. After we had been told about the emergency procedures, and where we had to go, as well as being shown how to operate the watertight doors we both went to the bridge where we split up and went with different officers to see how the passenger muster drill is carried out. After which the ship sailed from Santos at 1700 and we watched it leave from the bridge.

Monday was a day at sea, we both spent the morning working with the Second Bosun cleaning and replacing grease on the forward winches and anchors. In the afternoon we had the second safety induction, some time off, and then followed the fire patrol around before going for dinner and to bed.

I was up on the bridge at 0630 for our arrival into Buzios and then went forward with the 1st officer to watch the procedure for dropping anchor. After which I spent the morning on the ships pontoon assisting passengers into the tenders and observing how the tenders were tied to the pontoon. In the afternoon I was with the security officers on the gangway watching how to scan passengers and crew on/off the ship. An hour before departure I went up to the bridge and was shown how to complete the departure checklist. That evening at 2300 was a crew party which Marc and I both went to for a while, but left early as we were too tired.

Wednesday morning I was again on the bridge at 0630 for arrival into Cabo Frio where I completed the arrival checklist. I then went to meet the Safety Officer at the gangway and went ashore on the first tender along with the shore party to see how it was set up. I then returned to the ship and spent the morning on the gangway assisting passengers into tenders, and the afternoon was spent chipping and painting on the deck with one of the AB’s. For departure I went with the 1st officer to watch how the anchor is raised. This evening Marc & I had to go to the officers mess at 2300 to ‘rehearse’ the dance routine that the officers need to do for passengers, then went up on deck at 2330 to do it.

On Thursday I was with the 1st officer for our arrival into Ilha Grande watching how the anchor is lowered, and then was at the gangway assisting passengers into the tenders. I got to go in the tenders to observe how they are driven, and got a chance to drive an empty one back – coming alongside is rather confusing, as they are twin engine / ruddered and the engines need to be put into opposite directions from each other to bring them alongside. By the end of the morning I was just as confused as I was to start with. Both Marc & I had some time off in the afternoon so got to go ashore, where after wondering around a bit we bumped into some of the crew and sat in a bar on the beach with them until we had to go back to the ship. I continued to help at the gangway before going to the bridge to do the departure checklist.

On Friday I was on the bridge until the pilot boarded for our arrival into Ilhabela, then I went to watch how the tenders are prepared and lowered. I wasn’t allowed to go down in them though, so had to watch from the embarkation deck. I then went and watched the AB’s perform maintenance on one of the lifeboats, again I wasn’t allowed to go up onto them, so had to watch them from the deck. Later in the afternoon I had some time off and went ashore for around 40 minutes to see what was there, and then returned to the ship. I then did the departure checklist for our departure.

On Saturday I was up at 0430 to be on the bridge for our arrival into Santos. I completed the arrival checklist and watched the mooring arrangements from the bridge windows, before going to work with the AB’s performing maintenance on another lifeboat. At 1630 was the passengers muster drill so I followed the Safety Officer around as he checked everything was going smoothly. For departure I went to the aft mooring deck with the 1st officer and watched the procedures for un-tying the ship.

On Sunday we arrived in Buzios, the only port stop on this short 3 night cruise. We didn’t arrive until 1000, so I was working with the AB’s from 0800 to 0930 cleaning the aft crew deck for a party this evening. I was then up front with the Environmental Officer as we anchored, and he had me tell him the position of the anchor regularly (eg: 2 cables, 2 points port bow, medium stay) to check if I understood it correctly. I was then on the gangway until 1500 assisting passengers into and out of the tenders, and going back and forward with one of the tenders watching how to manoeuvre it for coming alongside. We sailed out of Buzios at 2030 when I was on the bridge doing the departure checklists, then went to the deck & engineering department party / BBQ.

Today is a “study day”, a sea day, and the last day of our short cruise, tomorrow we start it again, as its such a short distance we’re only sailing at 7 knots but it is rather windy and you can really feel the ship moving up and down and side to side but so far I haven’t been sick – yet, although I have realised that the further forward you are, the worse it is – right where my cabin is.

On the college front I have just found out that I have passed everything with; 93% for chart work, 88% for stability (and dry/wet cargo), 86% for navigation aids and 92% for terrestrial, celestial and tides.

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