12.14.1991 Part Two

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Adam and I stayed up the latest out of all four of us on board. I think we finally crashed out around two in the morning. Fred crashed around midnight and Shaun went to sleep around one. The last hour Adam and I were up we played a game of chess. It was so damn cold while we were playing I put an electric heater on the table aimed at the game board so my fingers would stay warm.

We got to stay onboard the ship for the night because Fred had us sign some paper saying we were volunteers working on the restoration of the boat. Now that we signed it we can go back anytime to hang out or help out. Either way works. Next time I go though I want to stay on the other ship docked there. It’s another restoration project, a lumber ship also from the early 1900s. It carried timber along the west coast as well as some passengers. I guess it’s the last of it’s kind in the world. It’s huge when you’re standing next to it on the pier. They put it on a floating dry dock so the entire wooden hull is well above the bay. The bow and upper deck are really fucked up. Apparently in 1941 this ship hit something big. It tweaked the bow to one side and gave the rest of the boat a permanent bend. The closer you get to the stern the hull is in better condition. The passenger cabins are actually pretty nice. A few of them were plush in a quaint sort of way but still fairly small. The largest of the cabins was the Captain’s. It had it’s own bathroom, office, and a bedroom with a beautiful wood desk and bench seat.

I got to check all of this out before we left Sausalito the next morning. I wanted to explore it the night before but Fred didn’t open up the stairwell that goes up to the main deck from the floating dry dock. Bob was the last person to use the electric lift to get up there and he didn’t send the lift back down once he got on deck. Punk. The hull of the lumber ship is in such bad shape that it would sink in minutes as soon as it hit water. Walking around the hull looking up at it from dockside you can see all sorts of rot in the planks of wood. Many of the planks are buckled outward, or missing. When I went onboard today I used that electric lift and I didn’t enjoy the ride. It’s sketchy. All the way up it rocked in the wind. It’s a few stories up alongside the hull and it has some extra sway because of the swells hitting the floating drydock. I’m afraid of heights.

Fred and Bob tell me the lumber ship is haunted. I don’t believe in that junk. One of the supposed lumber ship ghosts is the first engineers’ assistant. He hung himself in the engine room because he had a fling with the engineer. Apparently the engineer was killed and his assistant couldn’t live without him. I was surprised at the story because I never thought there were that many fags running around loose on ships. In that day and age things like that surely must have been frowned down upon. I wonder if back then the rest of the crew knew what these two guys were up to.

Adam and I went to the store to get some cigarettes. On the way back we stopped into the Bay Model building. We went up a series of ramps and ran smack dab into a bunch of self-guided tour demonstrations. From there we hit a six minute film all about the Bay Model. It explained why it had been built and what they use it for. Basically it’s a working scale model of the entire San Francisco Bay. Scientists use it to study tides, pollution, salinity, and erosion. We walked through some of the model and I was impressed with the size of it all. Really fucking boring though. All I kept thinking of was how cool it would be to bring in a bunch of bathtub toys and let them loose in the Bay Model. Some of those battery powered plastic speedboats, yellow plastic scuba divers with those pellets that make them bob to the surface and then dive to the bottom again, and some battery powered toy submarines would be killer. I’d have to throw in a few rubber ducks for good measure too. I’m sure the geeks in labcoats would freak real bad if they saw a plastic speedboat cruise peacefully by but the Japanese tourists there would fuckin’ dig it.

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~ by factorypeasant on August 15, 2004.

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