Friday, February 27, 2009

I have left the Bounty and I don't like it on land!

So I left the Bounty Thursday morning. Caleb drove me to the Clearwater airport where I picked up a rent-a-car which I drove to Orlando. I caught a flight to Seattle and my Sister, Terae picked me up and took me to our parents house. In the morning, my stepmother, Teresa, and good Aunt Corina piled into the mercedes and we three drove out to downtown Seattle to hunt down that Custom Ford LTD, in the hopes of making an offer on it. After driving around a while, we found the house and unfortunately, no owner home. I did get more photos of the car, though. Enjoy the 4 switches, hydros, Daytons, detailed frame, and I even saw a plaque on the dash for the 35th L.A. Roadster Show Entry. This car is the bomb but is slowly being lost to the elements. I also saw a 65 micro deluxe vw bus one block away in another driveway rusting. Great neighborhood! 
I need to rent my two empty rooms back at home before I can sign myself away for the trip across the Atlantic. It's odd just dropping into what amounts to a tiny apartment with 10 people you don't know to learn a trade that nobody else but you and this group cares to keep alive. As difficult as it might be, you get used to the rhythm of the ship and the characters you see 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You get attached to the same faces you know will be in the galley looking for a chess game or to another one late for the morning capstan meeting without shoes...again. I can count the number of times on my hand that I left the St. Petersburg pier during the three weeks aboard and while away, I was usually trying to think of reasons to go back on board. I know that I need more work up on the yards and although I read about the rigging and lines till my head just about exploded, I really can't get it right unless I have my hands physically on the rigging and am pointing out where lines go while standing on deck trying to shake the right line to knock off the noisy birds. I guess I had better post photos of my rooms on Craigslist and get these people paying rent so I can get back to my friends in Florida...Viva Le Swamp, Eh?

painting the ship

Here's some footage of me hanging off the side of the ship painting more red. Two days straight. 

Detail on the use of oakum, cotton, and sealant from Dan and Adam

This is on the port side of the ship at the waterline with Adam and Dan. They describe in detail how to correctly seal between the ships planking with oakum, cotton, and sealant. This is an old method and was taught to me by Caleb, the ship guru, mate, officer, and bosun. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

this deadly spider was in the galley (kitchen)

Oh for christ's sake. Look at the this spider!!! It is deadly, that is obvious. It's also huge and jumps.

describing a task

Our Bulgarian friend Svetta with a little help from Dan describe a task on board The Bounty.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doing this takes some nerve, let me tell ya....

Adam, Sarah, and I were out working on the lowest fore yard today, which is what the lowest and largest sail hangs off of on the forward mast. We were all over it. Sitting, crawling all around. I gotta say that it takes balls to do this tied to a dock at the lowest height. I still can't fathom being at the topmost yard like the topgallant or royal during a storm at night in heavy seas. In the dark. What the hell? Here's a video of us on the fore yard today. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Working up in the rigging.

Here's a video I shot of me up in the rigging adding tar to the braces of the mizzenmast (the rearmost mast)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A short video of the deck of the ship and the cabins we sleep in.

This is a video showing the top deck at dusk, the capstan, wheel, binnacle, down the aft hatch, thru the great cabin and into the crew quarters on the lowest deck. We also get to see our Bulgarian friend Svetta doing a traditional dance on the 'tweendecks. Life could be worse.

I called Joe and Pokey today and got to talk to them for a second. That was fun. I miss seeing them and going out to the shop. Most of my time is taken up by ship-related duties so it is nice to get away and talk to friends. I also miss riding my motorcycle. I can't stop thinking about my panhead and getting it completed. I catch myself daydreaming constantly about engraving, paint panel patterns and what to polish and chrome. I want to be splitting lanes again! I know Drews is in the wind every night in my place.

The morning routine in detail and some working photos.

The mornings start at 7am. All hands report to the galley (kitchen) where we either make a breakfast dish that is shared or every man or woman for themselves. 8am we meet at the capstan on deck for our duties for the day, which may change depending on the needs of the ship. After the 5 minutes or so discussing the days duties, we either stay on deck to do a deckwash or go to the 'tweendecks to sweep and mop stem to stern (galley to great cabin). After that is all done we usually pick up on the job from the day before. Yesterday I painted cabins on the lowest deck and today I laid tar upon the bracing which supports the masts. I used a paintbrush to cover all areas on the bracing where it was not black. That took most of the day. I also made it up to the main topgallants (the top of the second of three sets of rope ladders leading to the top of the mast) today but didn't venture further. It is VERY high! Sheesh. I was freaked out to think I may be up there in a storm, heeled over with the wind and rain trying to pull me out and drop me in the drink!! It is really nuts to think that people in the past did all of this with NO safety gear whatsoever. Jesus, they were tough guys.
The white dog was being walked past the ship so I jumped off to take a photo of this poor beast. There is another photo of Sara and Svetta repairing sails. That was fun to learn. I'll have to take some detailed photos of this process later. We're being taught the same techniques used over a hundred years ago to repair sails! There are a couple of photos of the deckwash in action. We spray the whole top-deck down and scrub it with coarse brushes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

adam painting

Here is a photo of adam painting the stern scrollwork. He left this morning to make his court date. It seems he participated in a swamp protest/sit-in a few months back and when the police moved in to disperse the peace-loving crowd, he broke out a bike lock and locked himself to some other dude's neck. Viva Le Swamp!

great cabin and sailors chest

Here are some photos of the great cabin at the stern of the ship. Also, there is a photo of a sailors chest, with a painting of a ship on it's top.

the days are blending together

The last two days were spent repairing sails and pounding oakum. Two new crewmembers came aboard and one departed. Here is a photo of my favorite tattoo done by my friend Tim Hendricks, a view of the ship from the great cabin forward, and a book I am reading titled 'The Age of Sail'.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

some photos from the ship

Here are a few photos. One shows the ship the first day I walked up, one shows my bunk pre and post paint, and possibly a photo of me up in the rigging.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oh jesus look at this car. FULL show and hidden in Seattle, WA

This is the 1970's Ford LTD that I was talking about. I saw it while driving with my sister in Seattle. I went back twice and will return in March to try and buy it. Wow. The paint is incredible. Can Harpoon relate? Does Candy dig? Is Trevelen misting up? This is the real deal.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wow. This is really something else.

Unfortunately I am unable to upload any photos yet but must share what I have done up to now. On my last night, The Heathens played an incredible show at The Avalon Bar in Costa Mesa, where I have been helping out. So many people showed up and I was so flattered. There were so many incredible motorcycles out in front and along the side of the bar. We played what felt like a blistering set, precluded by Mr. Ryan Ritchie and his public address, which was a great success and great to hear. We also were able to play a Naked Soul cover which is one of my favorite songs that Mike Conley, who built the Avalon Bar, wrote during his time in that band. It felt good to play that one as a thank you to him and to Sid, who has been such a very good friend to me and has been so supportive during this transition. I had only a few hours of sleep before driving 100 miles-an-hour to LAX to make my flight to Seattle, Alaska Airlines hub and home of my sister, Terae. She picked me up on the 1st of February and we drove around Seattle, where I saw the most incredible 1970's Ford LTD full show custom that had been put out in a driveway to rot. I took video and when you see it, you will die. Drews will die. Trevelen will die. Harpoon will have a stroke. This is the real deal. I can't wait to post it up for everyone. The 34 Ford is now officially up for sale.

I flew into Orlando on the second of February and rented a car from National. Since my flight landed at 9:30pm, it was drive the two hours to St. Petersburg, where the ship is docked, or sleep there at the airport. I chose to drive and aside from having to run an unmanned tollbooth for lack of exact change, there were no problems all the way to the St. Petersburg Pier. I did stop at the tollbooth and wrote a note with a dollar attached to it. I tried to stuff it under a door but they make it so you can't do anything like that...presumably so they can say you didn't try to pay after going thru so they can charge you 40 dollars penalty. Frustrating but I still left the note and dollar at the toll door. So on to the pier. I arrived about midnight and parked on the Pier. Walking up was odd. The ship was silent and is docked right at the end. I didn't dare to get too close. It was dark and what an interesting feeling to think I am going to be on that old ship for a month. I wondered if back when the original bounty was in Florida in the 1800s', was there a guy looking at her docked at midnight before boarding the next day thinking and feeling the same way I was. Interesting mix of emotions but as excited as I was, I was certainly tired and knew that I needed to get some sleep before showing up the next day. Off I went to find the Clearwater Airport. The closest and only National Rent a Car in the area. I found the airport about 20 minutes away after driving lost for two hours, pulled behind a Motel 6 and slept uncomfortably until 8:30am, February 3rd. After dropping the car off, I proceeded to walk a mile to find 49th Street, where I caught a bus to the St. Petersburg Pier. A short walk and I was standing on the gangplank looking onto the ship and a blonde guy and a shaggy, dark haired guy working on lines. I hailed and the blonde guy looked up and asked if I was Gabriel. I said I was and he said he was also. Neat. He was working with Adam, securing rigging. Much of what they were working with I was lost on but recognized the masts, some rigging and some other details I had drilled into my head over the last month or so. They welcomed me aboard and sent me to the tween'decks, which is below the top deck or the middledeck to find Rebecca, who is the girl I met when Rodney and I first saw the ship in San Pedro, California at the Tall Ships Festival. We were out for a fun drive in the 1967 International Scout I had just finished dialing in and came across the festival. Rodney and I went aboard and I asked some questions of Rebecca. She told me to take a brochure and send a resume if I wanted to work aboard ship. I sent the resume as soon as I got home. She and her husband Caleb have been aboard for the last 5 years and were tween'decks to greet me as I came down. She introduced me to the Captain, who happened to be aboard at the time and to her husband, who she had previously spoke about. They were all very nice. As far as the Captain goes, all my reading up to now has said that only Officers can speak to the Captain unless he speaks directly to you. I don't think it is as strict as that here but just to be on the safe side... I put my bags down and asked Rebecca to put me right to work. She had shown me the crew quarters, which were on the lowest level of the ship and would have been storage originally. One level below tween'deck. There was a four-bunk room that was primered but not painted. There are four-four bunk rooms in all in the cabin area, no more than two sets of bunks, upper and lower, facing each other. Think two bunk-beds with 12 inches of space between them and that's it. I asked if I could paint on of the rooms to start and Rebecca had no problem with that. It actually took me two days to complete but everyone was so nice up to this point that I figured that I would haze myself and take a crappy job to start it all off. Before I cornered Caleb to show me the 'bosuns area, where the paint and tools are stored, Rebecca took me up into the rigging for the first time. I'll be honest. That is a crazy feeling to be so high up and just hanging on by a net. I later went up with Gabe the Younger and he's all over, crawling WAY up, finding holds where I don't even see them to pull himself up. I am sure this all comes from experience but he says he has only been on this particular ship a month. I hope that I can become more confident climbing around. It is still nerve-wracking up there.

I finished the painting project Thursday night after dinner and turned in. During the day, the crew members give guided tours of the ship on the half-hour from 11am to 4:30pm. At the end of Wednesday, I gave my first tour. Trial by fire, I guess. I had followed a couple of them on their own tours to see exactly what they said and maybe copy a bit of it but you get your own rhythm and after a while, the 30 minutes seems like 5 minutes. Thursday I helped Adam and Gabe the Younger to secure some lines and ran a few tours. Today, Friday, the 6th of February, Caleb and I attached a plywood bench off of the side of the ship and from a foot off of the water, proceeded to hammer a large chizzle between the planking along the length of the ship, near the fore, or front. Into this space we will be laying oakum, a thready substance which looks like dirty cotton and smells like tobacco along the seam and hammering it into the seam to keep out water. That, I think, is a priority.
Since my motorcycle accident, my shoulder muscle isn't what it used to be. With my broken scapula, the nerves have been blocked which allow the shoulder muscle to regenerate. I was worried about my strength and notice it is slightly weaker than my right arm but really feel it in my elbow after pulling myself up twelve feet by rope to get from the platform back to the deck of the ship. I'll survive and hope the flexion and extension I am putting it thru will help it to become stronger. I also dove off of the ship into the water after we stopped working. My right eardrum blew out when I hit the water and when I came up for air, I was noticeably out of it, almost like vertigo. I could also taste the saltwater coming thru my ear canal, which I didn't like. I swam back to the ship and swore off the water until I can have that looked at.

We have been eating very well, Caleb and Rebecca cooking large dinners for the five of us. I have not really had time for anything but eating, sleeping, reading up on lines and the ship, and work. I miss talking to all of my friends but know that I will be back in March, where I can spend some quality time with my friends, get some projects completed and hopefully get my rooms rented and come back for the Atlantic crossing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

taking off with my friends from the Avalon Bar after the show

The Heathens played the Avalon Bar tonight and I am very proud that so  many of my friends showed up riding their motorcycles. Here is a shot of us riding off after the show. Too cool. I got two rooms for rent...anyone interested?

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