Paige Jehnke is a student at NMC’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy. She is completing a sea project for the fall semester of her junior year in the engine room of the M/V Taku, a ferry which travels the Alaska Marine Highway. Paige is blogging about her adventures and has graciously allowed us to share her updates.
I have met a very memorable human being: Jerry. Jerry is 60 years old. He knows the engine room like the back of his hand. He is the oiler or qualified member of the engine department. The first thing Jerry told me was that if there was a fire get in front of him because he only has one speed: slow. Jerry is a great teacher. His slow pace and thorough feedback really allows me to grasp many engineering concepts.
It is hard to believe that just a week ago I was in Homer, living the life. No responsibilities. No engine room to report to, with daylight all around me. But I am on the Taku now and there is engine stuff to do.
Oiler Jerry and I also started and tested the fire pumps. We lined them up and started them. We were slightly confused, because it didn’t feel like we had circulation. Usually the pipes felt cool with the cool ocean water coming in from the sea chest. Well, we finally called Odie (nicknamed after the dog on Garfield), the engineer on watch, to take a look at it. We found that we needed to vent the centrifugal pump to get the air out of the casing.
In other news…I had the pleasure of getting off the ship for ONE WHOLE HOUR! I had the joy of perusing the streets of Skagway, AK, a small Alaskan town with a road that leads only to Canada, where cruise ships flood the town with people in shorts, parkas, and sandals and socks. Skagway, or as the crew calls it Skag-town has many jewelry stores, a few t-shirt shops and a hardware store. The walk to the bank and post office is short and I get to see daylight, so I am going to try to make this a part of my normal routine…a daily hour in Skag-town.