Monday, March 14, 2011

Manta, Ecuador - Seeing the Light

Engineers don’t get enough sunlight. It’s a known fact. So on sunny days we tend to select deck machinery that’s a pending disaster. Deck officers run their winches until they combust, which is also a known fact, so this morning I decided to pull Ludin out of the filters and took him along overhauling a winch.

A sunny day in Ecuador might get a bit toasty so we brought water, tied bandana’s around our heads and labored in the sweat of our brow, whilst singing engineering songs and telling engineering tales. Engineers are known for their narrative qualities, and work is usually conducted in environments too noisy to outshout, so when the weather permits and the job is on deck, we lavishly review the digest of our lives and recount the heroisms of those who went before us.

Next to us a reefer is loading tuna from smaller fisher vessels. No doubt they’ll take them on transport to Japan or even Europe. Two decades ago I was an apprentice on a reefer. We ran bananas from South and Central America to Europe mostly. As I stare across the concrete dock and recall my early days I see the crew and recognize them. Ben the Cook, who died. Captain Sherby who excelled in creating Caribbean cocktails. Frowning Willy. Simon Suddenly.  And Ludin! For crying out loud! In an unguarded moment, Ludin must have snuck off, got his Canon and stands yapping with the neighboring crew, shooting pictures of the fish while I’m standing with half a winch in my hands!

Then I see the light. It’s too warm to be carrying on with winches. I’ll go up to the bridge to inform the Chief Officer that he broke his winch and that it won’t work for a while.
Fisher ships at anchor
The cruise ship discovery at Manta, Ecuador
Fishermen everywhere
More fisher boats
A reefer vessel at Manta, Ecuador
One of Ludin's photos of the reefer
One of the holds of the reefer

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