I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska , 2:33 AM GMT on September 26, 2012
Still have not had a day off since June, but I did take off a half day yesterday and another half day today. Better than nothing. There are periods of very little going on right now, but we still get the rushes. Most of the big boats are southbound. Arctic Fjord left today.
This past weekend we only had a couple of vans. You would have thought no problem. That sir, would be incorrect. Shell had a boat heading north to the fleet, so all the orders started coming in. All at the last minute, all needing to be filled and catching that boat Saturday AM early.
As usual, the Friday boat was late, so our window was pretty tight. We were supposed to see the first container show up around dinner time. So we spent all day pulling what we could, but we always wait for the fresh produce to arrive so we can give that to the customers. This is the same dance we have been dancing the last few weekends but it is hard to get used to. Everyone just goes into marathon mode and kicks ass. The faster we work, the quicker we leave.
But we HAVE to get the product, unload it, put it away, then pull the order. No product, no pull.
We got the call from the freight company unloading the vessel somewhere around 4 PM. Something new. There was a problem with the crane unloading the ship. THAT is not unusual. I thought the wind was the problem, as it was really starting to blow. There are wind alarms that will go off and the crane shuts down for safety reasons. But not this time.
The crane drops down to pick up 40 foot containers, with four locking devices connecting at each corner on top of the container. It then lifts the container off the vessel. But this particular time when the crane swooped down and locked in, it was not a 40 foot container it was grabbing. Rather two 20 foot containers sitting end to end. So as it lifted up, the two containers fell open like a jack knife from the unsupported middle. One of the locks broke, and now there were two containers flopping around against each other. Nobody was hurt, but when everything settled the two containers were stuck in the way of everything coming off the boat. Like our stuff.
Long night was getting longer. We went home not knowing when we could re-start. It was a couple hours.
We went back and it was raining hard and blowing pretty well. I was surprised they got it all straightened out with the wind like it was.
We got it all done eventually, but it was midnight before we left. Now we have a 6 AM delivery set up for every Saturday to one good customer, so these late boats are a killer. That driver was able to go home early, about 11:30.
The Shell orders were all finished, but that strong wind slowed down the loading of product on that outbound vessel on Saturday.
When we headed to work next morning, it was SLEETING.
There are still a lonely whale or two hanging around in the bay.
I am impressed as usual with the solo travels of UK. I thought I was the only one who did that. I am not sure I would have crossed that stream, though. Twelve inches of water puts out a lot of force with any current at all. Having lived in Arizona I have seen plenty of flash floods, usually on the TV news where a vehicle tried to cross a wash that was flooded. You know the rest of the story. Grandma being winched out of car in a torrent by a helicopter. It is why they have THE STUPID MOTORIST LAW, where the motorist is liable for the expense of any rescue (IF they drive around a barrier set up to stop them...).
Obviously UK knew what she was doing, and I am glad she got across. When I suggested she try that cruise I did not know nothing about no creek crossing! Boy that would have been a guilt trip.
I hope she keeps us informed about her ongoing vacation. AND I want to see a picture of her view from her place. Royal Dornoch is on my bucket list of courses to play.
In three weeks I will be on the second day of my vacation. This vacation I have made too many plans for, where normally I wing it. There will always be some changes, gotta keep flexible.
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