For those of you that don't know or remember, three years ago I got injured and was unable to work for a long time as a result. I'm better now and back to work and have done a number of jobs since coming back to Halifax in November, but even so last night was special for me.
I used to do a lot of work for a company called ACL, who had three vessels- the Companion, the Compass and the Conveyor, and I have spent so much time on these ships that I know my way around them blindfolded. These vessels were pretty amazing- not only did they have RoRo (Roll On, Roll Off) decks for heavy equipment, trailers, vehicles etc, they also carried a lot of containers. I can't tell you what the TEU (Twenty Foot Equivelant, the standard measurement for container ships) was without looking it up, but these vessels were amazing for more than that- see the coolness of the container ship that turns into an aircraft carrier here
. With history like that I always loved these ships.
But, they were being retired when I got hurt, and the new vessels started to replace them. The first of the new vessels was in port about a week before I got hurt, but I hadn't had a chance to go and see it before I broke my ankle.
Now there are five replacement vessels in service, and last night was my first chance to get on board one, the Atlantic Sail, which is the second of the five.
She's bigger than the vessels she is replacing, and a very different design, although the configuration is similar- containers up front, RoRo in the stern, and of course she's the same colors.
This is the massive ramp coming down- I don't know how much the ramp itself weighs, but I know they are generally good to support over 100 tonnes. They are HUGE. And yet, when one of the old ones wasn't behaving, one of the vessel crew went out to the end of the ramp and started jumping up and down to try and make it work!
Like I said, I have spent a lot of time on these vessels- I probably have more time on the old three ACL vessels than I do on any other boat.
Even though the Sail is brand new (only a couple of years old) she still felt like coming home. She may be newer, but she has the same feel
as the old vessels. Sure she has a fresh paint smell and the bulkheads are hinged on the side instead of the top like they were on the older ones, but she still has positive pressure in all the holds, so when you open a door you walk into a small localized hurricane.... and I have to say I was smiling like s little kid at a carnival the whole damned time.
They say you can't go home again, but they also say that home is what you make of it. For me, the Sail was like visiting the kid you never met of a long gone friend- the body language is familiar, they know all the old stories, and there are enough of the old mannerisms that the one that's gone will live on, even if it is in a new shell.
How's that for silly sentimentalism?