The propellor system was fixed after many flushings through and emptying and refilling. This took us to to gone midnight and I had probably managed 3 hours sleep in 36. My body was ready for bed.
A quick beer ,bed and 5 hours later it was a new working day. Every limb was aching.
The ship was continuing its loading operation. we were carrying general supplies, food, beer, a helicopter, fire engine, cars , Martell surface to air missiles and most importantly The Christmas presents for all in Ascension and the Falklands.
Our own food turned up and it was every one to the task. Customs were suspicious that 300 cases of beer for 8 men on a 3 month round trip to the Falklands was a bit steep but the Captain informed them it would all go. Not knowing, but a cold beer was going to be our salvation. Oh we had a couple of kennels on board as we carried sheepdogs down to the Falklands and Jack Russell terrier who was soon snapped up by one of the crew.
So when all was done we slipped our moorings (all the trapped oil spread across the dock and in went a pollution prevention vessel) and were on our way to the Falklands. We sailed mid afternoon and by 6pm were under full steam to the Falklands with me taking the me on duty. On the Barbara E (sister vessel) the Chief did a duty but this Chief didnt so it was duty everyother night which can get tiring.
With all settled down I put the engine room to unmanned and retired for something to eat , a quick beer and some sleep.
I managed the eating and a beer but sleep evaded me as engine room alarms started to ring.
The weather was really rough in the Channel and all sorts of level alarms were going off. Some I managed to stop by adjusting the delay time but when you get a high exhaust temperature and the turbocharger barking at you its serious . The weather meant we just had to slow down a tad to reduce the high temperature until it was safe to stop. A cylinder head change was due and this takes around 2-3 hours.
Due the lack of sleep of all the personnel it was decided that the 2nd engineer and I would do watches of 6 hours on 6 off with the Chief looking after the refrigerated containers on deck. I couldnt wait, 5 hours straight sleep.
We anchored in Torbay to change the cylinder head which is a routine operation but on leaving the Chief Officer hauled the anchor in but there was nothing on the end. The anchor had dropped of and wanted to stay in British waters. Oh so I wished for that as well although they couldnt imprison us in the middle of the Ocean. We achieved that ourselves.
What else could go wrong!