02 April 2010

Chipping, grinding & painting - Dry-docking the Steve Irwin

"LUNCH TIME!!" Brent's head emerges out of the chain locker hatch, spatted with brown drips and chips of rust, dripping wet, with a big grin.  He'd been busy blasting away layers of thirty years of rust and mud from ocean bottoms worldwide from the walls of the chain locker.

Out on deck Tor, James and Elle were tiptoeing on clean grey primer in socks, painting a coat of black topcoat and scattering grit to anti-slip the deck. Brushes were quickly wrapped and paint capped to rush below, as the smells drifting up through the vents from the galley had been getting stomachs grumbling for hours since the 7am start. The smell of evaporating thinners almost indistinguishable into the background through familiarity.  "Pies, its totally pies!" "Nah Pizza" "Just you wait, Pies ".

Heading down the weatherdecks for the Aft hatch a shower of sparks  from the monkey deck above dodged and a wave yo to Rich grinding away at the radar platform.."Lunch!" is mimed and eh sets down his grinder and starts to clamber down.

Still the whole ship vibrates, the noise is grating and you can hear it in every cabin, every hold, Ear defenders are needed to even approach the aft deck, as Dan oblivious in his ear defenders  and protective gear ,had his head down with the Needle gun chipping away old paint and rust on the aft deck. I crouch in front of him and wave, and he stops and the whole ship sighs in relief.

Hands and faces washed, overalls and boots off and a hungry bunch of deckhands pile into the mess to see what Laura had for us. Its Pies!

The Steve Irwin was up out the water at Brisbane slipways getting overhauled and repaired. The Biggest repair being the huge gash in the hull from the collision with the Yusshin Maru no3.

Between the campaigns we had a core team of 10-15 folks grinding, chipping, waterblasting, scrubbing, welding, painting and cooking to get the ship fixed and ready for the next campagain.

This is a slideshow of some of the work done on the ship. Its much better to music (but that infringes copyright) Play some in the background (I'd recommend Morcheba 'The sea' and then The Rolling stones 'Paint it black' for the boat-deck section.


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