Sunday, July 17, 2005

And he still has energy to blog?

From Citizen Chris:

Last Night in the Darkness

At the moment I am working nights on the Port of Oakland Deepening Project. Last night was one of those nights where nothing goes right and the whole crew was sort of sent through the proverbial meat grinder. The dredge is plugged into this giant shore cable that feeds electricity to it from shore. The cable lies underwater and if it gets the tiniest pinhole in it,*poof* cable blows underwater (probably killing a nearby fish) and then the dredge is down for 8-24 hours. The engineers then must reel up the cable on a large spool sitting on a relatively small barge. Once these highly skilled Operating Engineers find where the cable blew they cut it and spend endless hours splicing one of the electrical legs.

Meanwhile the deck crew spent the night on a couple of tugboats assembling three miles or so of floating pipe line so that when the dredge got back online it could dig. I should go into more details on slamming the 37” pipe together so that a ball joint would fit into a giant socket and then we would manually turn a large 600lb. ring to lock the ball and joint thus two 500ft. sections of pipe together. The art of throwing a line on a cleat or bit is key to almost everything we were doing when fitting pipe on the water. Frankly I am too exhausted to really explain what a grind last night was on the dark murky waters of Oakland’s Middle Harbor. Lets just say-muscles were strained, curses were uttered and teeth were gnashed…but when the sun came up the job was done.