PDA

View Full Version : Initiation ceremonies



Patricia Hosie
17th June 2011, 06:57 AM
Hello Merchant Navy Boys,

I've been reading Louis Zurcher's study of The Sailor Aboard Ship and would be really interested to hear of your experiences as a new recruit.

Zurcher includes the following:-

You've got the mail buoy watch, sailor (There are, he is told, 'mail buoys' scattered about the ocean which contain mail for the personnel aboard. The victim is given a boat hook, and stands watch, scanning the horizon for the appearance of such a buoy.)
Run down to the post office, lad, and get me half a dollars worth of sea-stamps. (Sea stamps are said to be necessary for letters mailed from ship to shore.)
Go down to the paint locker and get some striped paint (or white lampblack, numeral paint, red oil for the port running light, a bucket of steam etc.)
If you have been following the 'Seamen's Mission' thread you will be familiar with my 'requests' for information and I thank you in anticipation of your comments.

Patricia :)

Captain Kong
17th June 2011, 07:26 AM
Like collecting bread for the `MULES` that pull the ship through the Panama Canal.
Go down the engine room for a `Long Stand`,

Ivan Cloherty
17th June 2011, 07:36 AM
Go ask the Chief if you can borrow a " metric shifting spanner"

Cap'n Kong beat me to the other two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, does he never sleep ?

Ivan

Captain Kong
17th June 2011, 08:03 AM
Sorry about that Ivan
Cheers
BRIAN

John Albert Evans
17th June 2011, 09:27 AM
Me. First deep sea trip, galley boy.
Ships Cook 8.00am first sunday at sea."Galley go find the First Mate and get the key for the organ room for Sunday Service"
I went.
Need say more.

John Albert Evans

Patricia Hosie
17th June 2011, 10:38 AM
I'm female. Could you please explain this one?!

Many thanks

Patricia

alf corbyn
17th June 2011, 10:44 AM
on the llandovery castle the watertight door had a very large spanner to shut the door manually if neccersary. we used to tell the bloods, especially old dears that we had to wind the engine up every night. another one was to tell them we kept cows on board for fresh mil, and chickens for eggs. alf

Ivan Cloherty
17th June 2011, 10:53 AM
I'm female. Could you please explain this one?!

Many thanks

Patricia

Eh Patricia

You'll be opening a can of worms with this one and others

Ivan

Jim Brady
17th June 2011, 12:34 PM
Two I remember that ended with dire consequence.
I was bell boy on the Emp.of Britain(four bell boys)We decided to get the kid doing his first trip and give him a seeing to.On the night we mixed in a bowl cranberry sauce ,mayonaise and jam.Stripped the kid debagged him covered him in boot polish (everywhere)then poured the mixture into his hair down his ears etc.We dragged him to the showers and proceeded to scrub him down with scrubbing brushes.What came next was bad.One of the boys spotted a bucket of red liquid carbolic soap"This'l get it off"threw it over the kid unfortunately it went right into his eyes (imagine when you get a bit of soap in your eye whilst having a shower)you can imagine the kid was screaming.I filled a wash basin with cold water and managed to get his head down in it.His eyes were quite sore for a few days.
Another time on the Oregis two catering boys doing their first trip we decided to give them the boot polish treatment.The galley boy put himself forward here I am do what you've got todo,without the fight and the struggle the enjoyment is taken out of it.On the other hand the pantry boy decided we were'nt going to get him and did a runner.We searched everywhere and could'nt find him,as time went by it gave us grave concern it was no longer a joke but became serious that we find him.We searched everywhere shouting his name to show himself the game was over.I had looked in our messroom a few times,not there,finally I decided to open this small cupboard in the messroom there he was nearly suffocated but also he had been leaning on a red hot pipe and had a bad burn mark on his arm.He got in there the catch went on he was that confined that he could'nt get movement to smash the door open.
I never bothered with any initiations after that.
Regards.
Jim.B.

Michael Lawrence
17th June 2011, 12:49 PM
First ship and first day aboard sent by Chief to see Bos'un and ask for a longstand and report back to chief later. Found Bos'un in frd paint locker gave him Chiefs request and I believe I'm still there!!!!!!:p;):D

robpage
17th June 2011, 01:38 PM
A certain mate was irritating with hs " Wind ups" on cadets . We got a first tripper down the Engine room one day asking for the navigation lamp oil , Red , Green and White . The mate did not think it so funny when with a bit of food colouring and three old chemical bottles the lad returned with the oil in the correct colours . Sort of runed teh joke a bit :p

Patricia Hosie
17th June 2011, 02:00 PM
Hi Ivan,

Yes, I seem to have a talent for it! They have really made me chuckle but the mother in me thinks, 'how cruel'.

Patricia

Gulliver
17th June 2011, 02:36 PM
You might like this.

I’ll never forget my first Electricity Bill aboard m.v.Derbyshire-first trip cadet.
(Must explain that because there were 4 of us Deck cadets,my cabin was in one of the spare Eng.Cadets cabins)

I got a bit of a shock(:D) at first…how could I afford it on £30 a month,andstill go ashore in Hamburg!
Note the pre-decimal 'proper' money.
It was even counter-initialled by the C/O .


Happy Days!
Gulliver
 
 

Duke Drennan
17th June 2011, 03:42 PM
Like collecting bread for the `MULES` that pull the ship through the Panama Canal.
Go down the engine room for a `Long Stand`,

Hey Captain, I got that job to do my first time through the canal. You telling me now that they were'nt REAL mules ??????

Captain Kong
17th June 2011, 04:21 PM
Hey Captain, I got that job to do my first time through the canal. You telling me now that they were'nt REAL mules ??????


They were then Duky but technology has taken over since you were there.
The new ones look like this in 2008 when I was there. I had two thousand passengers on QE2 saving all their rolls for them.
Here is the replacement at Gatun Locks. all the real Mules have been pensioned off

Duke Drennan
17th June 2011, 06:48 PM
Hey Captain, I got that job to do my first time through the canal. You telling me now that they were'nt REAL mules ??????


They were then Duky but technology has taken over since you were there.
The new ones look like this in 2008 when I was there. I had two thousand passengers on QE2 saving all their rolls for them.
Here is the replacement at Gatun Locks. all the real Mules have been pensioned off

I'm in Panama just now and took several pics over the last couple of months from the restaurant at the Miraflores locks but I'm not too well versed in uploading them. But the mules are just as you saw them in '08. I'm told by a "local" colleague that they cost $7m each. Throw in the potatoes (or the rolls) and that's a lot of dough for a donkey.

Duke Drennan
17th June 2011, 07:29 PM
Here ya go, figured it out.4845

Captain Kong
17th June 2011, 08:08 PM
Good one Duke.
I look in quite often at the Web cam that is on top of the observation deck at Mira Flores, good for ship spotting.
The trip through the canal in 2008 was the last one for QE2. I had told the family I would be on deck with a banner and an aproximate time, I waved it at the Camera and before we got to Gatun Lake I had an email with an attachment showing me waving the banner. Magic, the picture had gone to England and then sent back to Panama where I could see myself.
50 odd years ago that really would have been Magic if we could have done that then.
Cheers.
Brian.

Duke Drennan
17th June 2011, 08:33 PM
It's not only the mules that have changed over the years, just look at what they call boats these days!!

4846

4847

Captain Kong
17th June 2011, 08:43 PM
It looks like an upended milk bottle. I wonder how they would handle in a North Atlantic winter storm.

Cheers
Brian.

Neil Morton
18th June 2011, 01:31 AM
Dare I mention the Golden Rivet, supposedly somewhere in the bowels of the ship.For you eddification Patricia it was placed in tha hull during construction and first trippers were asked go down a find it.:eek:

Lou Barron
18th June 2011, 02:36 AM
as a young deck boy on the duchess of bedford i was sitting in the messroom when i was of watch and one of the abs said to me do want play some games i said ok he said that i would get the key to the fog locker and the chief steward as the key so off iwent got to the chief stewards cabin he looked at me and said he gave the key to the bosun so of to see the bosun he gave a grin and said its hanging up in the chart room on the bridge and of i went to the bridge went to go in the chartroom and then the dirt it the fan i was told in no uncertain manner to get of the bridge back to the messroom and all the guys had a good laugh but it gave me a chance to get one back on this ab in capetown he went ashore with some of the crew while was getting a skin full of booze with the help of my mate we fixed his bunk so that he would have job getting into it with a few empty beer bottles init to thats another story what happened after it

happy daze john in oz
18th June 2011, 05:12 AM
For a young bell boy in the dining saloon of a Lavender lady it wasa quite common for a winger to ask a first tripper to go and get the left handed soup spoons, or left handed tea cups. But the best I saw was in the galley with a first year apprentice. The chef gave him a pound of flour and told him to chop it finer. After half an hour of doing so the chef then told him it was now too fine and chucked it in the rosie.
The same chef had a habit of telling the meat larder cooks to prepare any pork dishes in the Kosher section of the galley. Yes there was a specail section for this.

Patricia Hosie
18th June 2011, 08:46 AM
Hi Guys,

Thank you so much for all of these posts. They are hilaious. I am enjoying every one of them.

Patricia

alf corbyn
18th June 2011, 09:24 AM
sometimes on the UCL we had a job getting bloods to leave the saloon when we wanted to finish and go to our cabins. they would be sitting and smoking. one of us would look out of a porthole and say "look at the sea plane" they would get up and rush to see it and we would quickly clear awaythe tables. they would ask where it was and we would say its plain to sea haha. alf

Ivan Cloherty
18th June 2011, 09:53 AM
It's not only the mules that have changed over the years, just look at what they call boats these days!!

4846

4847

Thank you Duke and Kong for the photos, they only make me glad I sailed when I did, when ships were ships and not boxes with a sharp end, when you could tell where a ship had been built by the rake of her mast or funnel, or by the shape of the mast table etc, each yard both foreign and UK seemed to have a favourite shape of mast tree, some with a central rail, some with rails all around, UK ships always seem to make it difficult to get from the mast ladder on to the table, on some you had to be a contortionist, as well as having to go sideways, the German built ships made it easier you seemed to be able tp step off the mast ladder onto the table no problem, probably their logical thinking trait.

I liked the old mules with the wire drum on top, but suppose health and safety stopped that as broken wire ensured decapitation of heaving line men who used to ride them

Memories aren't they great, gone off thread a little, but we did in the messroom and saloon also didn't we

Ivan

Duke Drennan
18th June 2011, 12:26 PM
On any given day in Panama, if you look out from the bay on the Pacific side, you'll see a mininmum of 20 - 25 boats waiting their turn to enter the canal. A few weeks ago, I was surprised to see an old tramp anchored among the big box boats. I was more surprised to see that she even had derricks. I got a special twitch looking at her. There can't be many of them left, I'd imagine.

Captain Kong
18th June 2011, 01:53 PM
Hi Duke,

I was in Papeete in Tahiti on 23 March this year, I saw this cargo ship arrive and moor opposite our berth.
DERRIKS ON , not seen those for years. just had to take a photo.
She was either Chinese or Japanese, she had a name followed by` Number 10`.
She had something then 3CT on her side, The photo shows thr Yokohama fenders along side and then a large fishing vessel moored along side. I didnt see any transferr of cargo or stores while we were in Tahiti.
But interesting to see a ship with derricks again.
Cheers
Brian.

Duke Drennan
18th June 2011, 03:30 PM
......Schooner guys an' all !! Takes you back. eh Brian.

Captain Kong
18th June 2011, 03:56 PM
Yes it sure does Duke. That ship, I think it is Japanese, it has a red funnel with two white stripes on.I have seen that funnel before , somewhere.

Jim Brady
18th June 2011, 06:02 PM
I hope I can get this right as Iv'e had about one over the 8.As it is Fathers Day tomorrow my son plays golf on sunday so he decided to give me a good day out today.Beeing a greedy get I asked to be dropped off at my local for one for the road.Anyway there was a guy there (now about 69) he did his first trip with me a galley boy on the Crystal Sapphire.I was messman and they were all in my messroom having breakfast on St.Patricks Day when I declared"Has anybody ever heard that story that on St.Patricks a white hand appears on the porthole not everybody see's it but those that do die" All hands passed it of but the galley boy insisted to knowing the full story.I went down to the fridge and got the wire off the egg crate and made a shape in the form of a hand,I lashed this to a brush pole,went into the rag bag and made a big white hand.
We were having a few beers and the guitar going,I positioned the galley boy opposite the port hole I told the boys if a white hand appears they did'nt see it.As it happens the port holes were on the skin of the ship so I made an excuse to go to the toilet,I leaned out my port hole and placed the hand on the port hole where the boys were.The galley boy was screaming out "Look at that hand" all hands said they could'nt see it,I came back into the cabin the galley boy said "Jim I've just seen a hand on the port hole" dont be stupid I saidit's just one of those old sea tales.I caught him in a few diferent places.We all turned in and there was a knock on my door,the kid came in and he was crying he was still seeing the hand when in fact it was in my wardrobe( that sounds posh from locker but it was a good ship).Jim can I sleep on your daybed I'm scared,look son if I get caught letting you sleep in here I'm in trouble.Eventually I jumped out of my bunk grabbed the hand out of my locker and threw it threw the port hole and told the kid to go and get his head down.
It's funny you know if I go into this pub and try and raise the subject this guy is not amused,you would think he would have a laugh and say Jim got me on that one.
Regards.
Jim.B.

Paul Steel
25th August 2011, 08:58 AM
You might like this.

I’ll never forget my first Electricity Bill aboard m.v.Derbyshire-first trip cadet.
(Must explain that because there were 4 of us Deck cadets,my cabin was in one of the spare Eng.Cadets cabins)

I got a bit of a shock(:D) at first…how could I afford it on £30 a month,andstill go ashore in Hamburg!
Note the pre-decimal 'proper' money.
It was even counter-initialled by the C/O .


Happy Days!
Gulliver
 
 

That reminds me of the time we did that to two fiirst time at sea engineering cadets, with me having only just finished my cadetship.

I used to help them with their correspondence course as I had only just completed mine.

Frank wanted to learn everything, the other cadet was a bit of a knowitall. When they had their electricity bills, the other cadet was dismissive of the bill. He asked me how much mine was, and as we had been primed by the Lecky I explained it was calculated on how many units you used and your rank, so I would pay a little more than they would for the same units as I earned a little more.

Still not convinced the cadet was saying 'bull**it'.

Now in my cabin I hardly ever had the main light on, just the bed and sink lights, nicer atmosphere/ambience. :-)

So the conversation went like this.

Me: You know when you come down to my cabin for the correspondence course?
Cadet: Yes
Me: Did you not notice that I never have the main light on, just the small strip lights over the bed and sink?
Cadet: Yes
Me: Well that is why, I try and save on my electricity bill.
Cadet thinks for a minute, is this plausible?

Cadet: Bloody hell, I've left all the lights on in the cabin

and disappeared out of the bar. Hook, Line and Sinker. :)

Louis the Amigo
25th August 2011, 01:51 PM
Hi shipmates, how come no one has said anything about crossing the line? or the bosuns' can of stripe paint and on some ships the elbow grease? and the pink red lead for the bridge?:D

John Arton
26th August 2011, 07:22 PM
Whilst exactly an initiation ceremony, whilst a very Junior Officer having to conducy bridge tours etc. some of the questions we were asked by the passengers were often beyond belief and our replies they all believed, after all we were all very responsible officers, werent we.
Asked by one passenger "whats the name of those birds (sh*te hawks) following down the Mersey one crossing, the reply was , "see the one with the black mark on its right wing, thats harles, the one with one leg longer than the other is Mary" etc. etc. Passenger says how do you know yhat, I reply the same birds follow us every trip, passenger goes away believing this young Officer is telling the absolute truth and is next seen pointing out a sh*te hawk to another passenger and saying "that one is called charles and follows the ship everywhere".
Another classic regarding passenger was told to me by one of the Rotterdam pilots when he was taking my ship in. He had served as Mate on one of the smaller cruise boats, that catered for, lets say, the more refined (expensive) passengers. On one of the cruises they were visiting London and the ship was small enough to actually berth in the Pool of London but had to anchor off Southend to wait for tide and Thames Barrier. Apparentley he was quietly minding his own business having a nice quiet anchor watch when an irate American passenger burst onto the bridge (it was that sort of cruise line that allowed passenger to go virtually anywhere on the ship at any time) demanding to know why the ship was at anchor. When told they were waiting for the tide he refused to believe the Mate and started getting very agitated and claimed that he knew something was seriously wrong and had the ship been hijacked ot halted because there was a bomb on board. Whatever my pilot friend said to him he refused to believe getting more agitated anfd coming out with more outlandish reasons for the reason why the ship was anchored. In the end, to shut him up the Mate said he would tell him the truth, that being that as all the electric plugs and supply was different in the UK to anywhere else, that at this very instant there were divers down changing the plug and socket on the long electric cable down which the ships electricity came in order that they could get there electricity in the UK. Believe it or not, the passenger actually believed him and went away to relay this info to all his buddies.
Passengers eh!!!!, hardest cargo you will ever carry.

rgds
Capt. John Arton (retd)