Friday, June 23, 2006

Destroy Almost Everything Else. Or 'What’s this? I dunno..'

August 2005. All the big lumps of crap were still on board after our first destructive missions, for the simple reason that we found things like the engine block hard to lift. We needed to strip the boat entirely, and it took weeks of heaving lumps of weird shaped metal over the side before we were in a position to call the crane in and finally lose the really huge stuff. Of the myriad machine parts we eventually salvaged only: Donkey engine (it works), Day Fuel tank (ditto), Water tanks, forward compartment floor, hydraulic pump and huge Selfchange hydraulic gearbox. And the toilet. Ah, the toilet- it’s still a good source of argument between B and I, eventually she’ll probably win and before long it too will join the scrapheap.. The entire main engine was definitely destined for the scrappies. Before freaking out- remember that this was not the original engine, nor was it fitted and was in a million pieces, a lot of which were broken, bent or very rusty indeed. So having tried in vain to find it an enthusiast type home even for giveaway we eventually waved goodbye to a Rolls Royce Eagle 280 engine with a certain sense of relief. What we actually said was ‘thank fuck we’re finally rid of that pile of shit.’
One thing that I’d have liked to witness but unfortunately missed due to having a job was the day they pulled the two exhausts out of the funnel. These eight foot long tubes had developed huge rusty holes in the wrong places and were about to follow the engine parts to metal heaven- aka. China.
It wasn’t all without profit, Wendy’s previous owner had optimistically installed a domestic washing machine and fridge, neither of which worked, not wanting to waste valuable crane time in removing these I set about dismantling them instead. I only removed the doors of the smelly old fridge to render it disposable, but I had rather more fun cheerfully kicking the washing machine up and down the engine room before taking a crowbar and sledgehammer to the stupid thing. And finally found treasure! Ok- it was only three discoloured pound coins lodged in the drum housing, but it made my day, and later contributed the local pub’s takings for the evening.
Up came the floor plates and over the side they went as well, although we did keep them to one side, stashed underneath in the greasy muck was the other piece of treasure, a whopping great big heat exchanger. So we haven’t got an engine but we do have the best part of seawater cooling. Well you can’t have everything can you?
We did however have the filthy bilge water. Actually water isn’t correct. Just the filthy bilge. Amongst the more unidentifiable objects the mire contained old engine blocks, rusting snakes of chain and even a dozen bags of very wet clay- all weakly intended to contribute in some vain way to ballasting. It took some time to deal with it, we tried pumping the liquid stuff out by hand, we really couldn’t afford to get the pump out firm to come around, having instead agreed to separate our grease and oil from water as best we could and store the former in oil drums for proper disposal later. An octopus of diaphram pumps and massive 2” bore hoses developed. Everything got very dirty and more than a bit silly. In the end a strange inspiration drove us to dump 75 kilos of wood shavings (horse bedding, B works with horses see), leave it for a week then shovel up the resulting sludge into bags and take them to an incinerator (nice one Supersam, thanks for your cheerful assistance!). Would you believe it worked a treat and for a blissful moment the inside of Wendy Ann smelt more of fresh cut pine than stinky old ship.
Beneath the filth the concrete laid in wait. I think it was deliberately trying to look menacing.


Blogger Tim Zim said...

Good stuff.

Keep taking pictures and, above all else, keep posting on the blog.

It really is worth it, for all sorts of reasons!

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I'll second that. Very interesting reading. As a famous US news commentator use to say, "and now for the rest of the story".

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