Unloading the sugar took about 3-4 days this time; it all depends upon the volume of product and how many hands were present for any specific ship. Once the ship is cleaned, the lumber gets loaded.
Man I tell you, when I see how hard those guys worked, I was so glad that this process wasn’t part of my job. I don’t mind saying that I was young and having fun! In order for things to run smoothly and safely it’s common sense that everyone should have their specific duties, doing exactly what you’ve been hired for; nothing more, nothing less.
I now give a moment’s thought to fact of the United States being just within reach across a border that-a-way, and so myself and a few of the guys decided we would rent a car and cross the border for the day just so we could encounter a taste of the USA.
We departed Vancouver 🇨🇦 in the early morning, marveled by pine tree inspired wonderment throughout the scenic drive, spent the day people watching, eating, and just the basic looky-loo stuff, making our way back by about midnight. Chalk mark my first American experience.
That next morning I saw on the planner that our ship would be making an additional pick up of lumber as there was just enough room on board; the load would come from Coos Bay, Oregon. How about that? back into the USA and this time by way of ship!
This detour would take us nearly three days. Now I refer to this stop as a detour because as the normal route spelled out for the SS Lakemba and its sister ships; SS Suva & SS Lautoka, they do not stop in American ports at all. 🚢 The posted route was Suva to Honolulu to Vancouver and back to to Honolulu, Suva and the various Australian ports.
In fact this stop was quite significant in that it was actually the very first time this ship touched an American port at all, ever. That’s what I heard, it was all over the crew’s conversations – it would seem I lucked out!
⚓️ The loaders worked ‘round-the-clock, 24 hours a day; one shift ended, another took over. The expense is great when a ship is docked in any port and so the faster the ship can be loaded/unloaded, the better for the shipping company.
When my duties were complete I would venture into the port town, in this case it is Coos Bay, and of course some of the guys would tag alongside for a sampling of the local cuisine and well, maybe a beer or two.
I can still taste the deliciously fresh, steaming clam chowder and oh yes, the hot and crispy fish & chips too, which we obtained from a food stall on the nearby pier – sensational!
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