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Copra ships , bugs, and memories...

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  #1  
Old 7th May 2010, 08:27
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline
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Copra ships , bugs, and memories...

Of all the Bankline memories, loading copra ( and coconut oil) homeward from the islands, left many memories, pleasant and otherwise. We have discussed the music, magic, some characters in the ports, ship losses, smells, and what have you. However, I think the bugs deserve more recognition!


Does anyone recall doing a ' round turn ' at sea to let all the clouds of bugs to get blown away?

On the Ernebank heading for Suez, in the Red Sea with a following breeze, the air over the ship was quite still and the bugs swarmed in everywhere - worse than usual. This was solved by swinging round 360 degrees and a huge cloud of them disappearing astern as we came up into the wind.
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Old 7th May 2010, 09:33
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Quote "Does anyone recall doing a ' round turn ' at sea to let all the clouds of bugs to get blown away?"

No not bugs Alan, but sparrows.

This reminds me of the time we were berthed aft of a wheat ship unloading in Auckland and a million sparrows gorged themselves on the spilled grain.
Too fat to fly far they perched for the night anywhere adjacent to breakfast including a myriad of the little blighters in our rigging.
We sailed for the Pacific Islands that night but they did nor budge and in the morning we had confused birds out of sight of land flying in circles and landing again.
We did not want to import them to Suva but when the first lonely atoll appeared on the horizon after a couple of days they took of en-mass to a new home.
I often wonder how long they survived.

Bob
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  #3  
Old 7th May 2010, 10:13
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline
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birds ( feathered)

Quote:
Originally Posted by spongebob View Post
Quote "Does anyone recall doing a ' round turn ' at sea to let all the clouds of bugs to get blown away?"

No not bugs Alan, but sparrows.

This reminds me of the time we were berthed aft of a wheat ship unloading in Auckland and a million sparrows gorged themselves on the spilled grain.
Too fat to fly far they perched for the night anywhere adjacent to breakfast including a myriad of the little blighters in our rigging.
We sailed for the Pacific Islands that night but they did nor budge and in the morning we had confused birds out of sight of land flying in circles and landing again.
We did not want to import them to Suva but when the first lonely atoll appeared on the horizon after a couple of days they took of en-mass to a new home.
I often wonder how long they survived.

Bob
Hi Spongebob and greetings from Cornwall - (would rather be in Brissy!)

Talking about birds, I recall being in the Line Islands with the Southbank and the deck covered in completely fearless large birds that we had to wade through to get forward. Not sure what they were, but something like a pelican - I guess they were resting or sheltering, but we couldn't shoo them away.
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Old 7th May 2010, 10:58
Joe C Joe C is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Rawlinson View Post
Of all the Bankline memories, loading copra ( and coconut oil) homeward from the islands, left many memories, pleasant and otherwise. We have discussed the music, magic, some characters in the ports, ship losses, smells, and what have you. However, I think the bugs deserve more recognition!


Does anyone recall doing a ' round turn ' at sea to let all the clouds of bugs to get blown away?

On the Ernebank heading for Suez, in the Red Sea with a following breeze, the air over the ship was quite still and the bugs swarmed in everywhere - worse than usual. This was solved by swinging round 360 degrees and a huge cloud of them disappearing astern as we came up into the wind.
Very first job as a first tripper was an introduction to " Bombay Canaries", surprised to find that they were bloody enormous cockroaches and lived among the copra trapped in the box beams. Armed,inadequately,with a small hand brush in the hot, sweaty, dirty and dark lower hold,on top of the cargo it was an early warning of things things to come!
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Old 7th May 2010, 18:23
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Used to come home and spray insect killer into my suitcases before emptying the contents into the bath then putting it all through the washing machine. Made the mistake of leaving it one trip and almost had to fumigate the house to get rid of the blighters.

Happy days.

Peter Smith
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  #6  
Old 7th May 2010, 19:36
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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I had no problem with the friendly little copra bugs, baked in the bread etc, they reminded me I was Homeward bound. Cockroaches in the pantry? different story.
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Old 8th May 2010, 00:02
John Dryden John Dryden is offline  
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Didn,t do the copra run but the general cargo run twice so never saw the dreaded copra bugs.Plenty of cockroaches and giant flying beetles but can honestly say never got bitten once,must have been the curry I ate acting as a repellant!
However I recall a plague of flying beetles on passage from Rosario to BA.I,d been on the bridge all night and after we,d anchored at 6 in the morning I went to my cabin totally knackered to find everywhere covered in half dead black beetles.My porthole was open and the port boat deck was also thick with them,I guess a swarm had just landed there.Took me ages to clean them all up as they looked savage!
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Old 8th May 2010, 00:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Stitt View Post
I had no problem with the friendly little copra bugs, baked in the bread etc, they reminded me I was Homeward bound. Cockroaches in the pantry? different story.
Bugs in the bread always reminds me of raisin bread,thats why I never eat it,and the better half never understands why.

John.
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  #9  
Old 8th May 2010, 00:34
David E David E is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Stitt View Post
I had no problem with the friendly little copra bugs, baked in the bread etc, they reminded me I was Homeward bound. Cockroaches in the pantry? different story.
Charlie
Remember the frustration of the Homeward bound painting programme? As fast as you worked, a few hundred bugs would settle on the wet surface-entombed there for ever. In the pre-"modernised" Myrtlebank the roaches had migrated from the pantry to the Saloon-put a light on there after dark and you could see and hear them scuttling for cover under the sideboard.

David E

Last edited by David E; 8th May 2010 at 00:36.. Reason: missing word
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  #10  
Old 8th May 2010, 00:46
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Cockroaches were not a big problem on the NZ coast, as I remember, and the Union Co were pretty good at regular fumigation anyway.
The worst bug experience was when we were steaming up the East coast from Wellington to Auckland during mid summer and a swarm of locusts were carried out by an off shore breeze to land on our ship, exhausted.
Fire hoses swept many overboard but it was amazing to see how many got into the accommodation.
Roll over in the bunk a few times on a hot night and the sheets were full of squashed beasts.

Bob
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  #11  
Old 8th May 2010, 01:06
John Dryden John Dryden is offline  
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Maggots in the rice were no problem,cooked to perfection so why waste time looking for 'em.I remember one shipmate used to search his rice for ages before he,d eat it just in case there was one in it.As for me I just got on with it and ate the lot,after all they looked just like a rather large grain of rice and tasted quite nice with a dollop of curry.
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  #12  
Old 8th May 2010, 07:49
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crispy fried cockroaches

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Originally Posted by John Dryden View Post
Maggots in the rice were no problem,cooked to perfection so why waste time looking for 'em.I remember one shipmate used to search his rice for ages before he,d eat it just in case there was one in it.As for me I just got on with it and ate the lot,after all they looked just like a rather large grain of rice and tasted quite nice with a dollop of curry.
Can recall picking out the odd crispy fried cockroach from the chips on occasions..

Imagine the ' song and dance ' today if this happened in a fish and chip shop! Health and safety, or is it the ' Food standards Authority ' would be in business.
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  #13  
Old 8th May 2010, 11:11
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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My pet hate, BIG RATS. I never come across many on Bankboats, except as a first trip Apprentice on the old Myrtlebank.We were clearing everything out of the tonnage space, old rope, fenders etc that had been there for years, the senior Appy was up on deck of course, and I was down below, shifting the stuff out and making it fast to a heaving line. It still makes my skin crawl, when I remember bending over and putting my hands down to grab something, when at least six massive rats scurried out through my arms and close to my face. I broke all records getting out of there, traps were set for a couple of days, and rats caught, but when work resumed I suggested the other first tripper go below.
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Old 8th May 2010, 11:29
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Greetings,

We caried 2 cargoes of Copra from the Phillipines to Northern Europe in the Apsleyhall in 1965/66. It was disgusting and totally alive with two types of copra bugs, little black ones and slightly larger brown ones. By the time we arrived at the discharge port the colder weather had killed off the vast majority of them which lay in a 6 inch layer of dead bugs on the top of the cargo and throughout the rest of the hold. Elevators (suckers) were used to discharge the cargo taking copra and dead beasties at the same time. I am sure (yeaah) that they were carefully removed before the copra was pressed to obtain the coconut oil.
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  #15  
Old 8th May 2010, 17:54
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Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is offline  
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Bugs, etc....

Does anyone remember in the days before air conditioning the jute moths in Chalna? They used to swarm at certain times of the year, get caught in the punka louvre system and blown out as a fine dust over the bed covers. Worse than "itching powder"! After itching 'all over', only a very hot shower gave temporary relief. Mrs. Bowness, the stewardess, crocheted small 'baggies' to tie over the cabin louvres as filters but the dust still got through or the baggies got filled up and blew off. Never welcomed a monsoon deluge more to clean the air.
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Old 8th May 2010, 18:20
Joe C Joe C is offline  
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Prior to inspections on Sundays at sea,I think on the Moraybank, we had to set about the crews quarters with the dreaded Flit guns.To a chorus of "Oh Sahib"we sprayed every thing in sight until the chemical, with dead and nearly dead cockroaches was washing about the deck.It's a wonder we survived the toxic fumes, but next Sunday, same procedure,and just as many beasties.I think it only needed to miss two of them to repopulate the ship.(one of each of course)
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Old 8th May 2010, 18:44
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Joe, was that the old Moraybank or the later one, I sailed on the Moraybank in 1948, Galveston,Auckland,Wellington,Dunedin,Tonga Islands Fiji and back to Liverpool. Captain R.H.Haughton? was master at the time.

John.
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Old 8th May 2010, 19:31
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I had a massive cockroach battle on an eastern trader, took advice from the Japanese de-rat inspectors, won in the end.

But, seriously, the cockroach problem seemed to dissappear around 1990, or was I just on fortunate ships? I was always on warm weather, eastern trading and fairly unindustrialized trades. Surprising; anyone any ideas? I did do a fairly intensive research on the German cockroach, so I had a pretty good idea how to deal with the beastie.

If God in Heaven turns out to be a cockie when I get there, China hand is in DEEP SHITE.
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Old 9th May 2010, 00:18
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Bugs and rats ,part of life for a bank line boat.
does anyone remember fumigating in Durban?whilst on the isipingo we were fumigated twice and both times it was me as third mate and a junior engineer who had to sit on the quay all day whil the rest of the gang got their subsistance cash and went off to spend the day on the beach.
Always used to find that 24 hours after fumigation the cockroaches were out in force.

jim
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Old 9th May 2010, 00:45
David E David E is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimthehat View Post
Bugs and rats ,part of life for a bank line boat.
does anyone remember fumigating in Durban?whilst on the isipingo we were fumigated twice and both times it was me as third mate and a junior engineer who had to sit on the quay all day whil the rest of the gang got their subsistance cash and went off to spend the day on the beach.
Always used to find that 24 hours after fumigation the cockroaches were out in force.

jim
Remember it well in Inchanga-I think we used to get 5 subsistence for the day.Did'nt get caught for the quay watch-judged not competent as a U3M.In spite of the "strip and air bedding on deck" routine when I got back I was always uneasy as the stink of fumigant lingered.On one occasion three rats died above the false ceiling in the main saloon-obvious smell of decay after a couple of days-almost total strip down required to find them-Purser Johnson going spare as passenger boarding approached-just managed in time
Fifty nine years ago-where have the years gone !!!

David

Last edited by David E; 9th May 2010 at 00:50.. Reason: Spelling
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Old 9th May 2010, 10:50
Joe C Joe C is offline  
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Joe, was that the old Moraybank or the later one, I sailed on the Moraybank in 1948, Galveston,Auckland,Wellington,Dunedin,Tonga Islands Fiji and back to Liverpool. Captain R.H.Haughton? was master at the time.

John.
Greetings John,it was the Moraybank you sailed on.I joined her in Rotterdam in November 1954,Captain J Townsley was the master and we left for the Gulf in January.Only made it to Port Everglades as we had to bunker in order to make it to Galveston.Then the usual trip to Aussie,followed by a couple of phosphate runs to New Zealand and Aussie.After good times on the coasts there we chartered to Shaw Savill N Z to USA eastern seaboard,then coal from Newport News to Antwerp.That has got to be a good way to spend a year of your teenage life, all those street corners I didn't manage to hang around! Incidently,when on bug exterminating duties we removed some steel bulkheads in the crews accomodation and found the wartime gunners quarters
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:29
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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David E, Yes I remember how the copra bugs did little to enhance the fresh paint work, it's a wonder the Company did not complain about the paint wasted on painting bugs. I also remember, as a silly Apprentice on the Westbank, covering my body in coconut oil, lying down to get a tan, and within seconds, fighting off a cloud of copra bugs, then making a dash for the shower to the amusement of others who had been there, done that..
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Old 9th May 2010, 20:45
Andy Lavies Andy Lavies is offline  
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Alistair,
Did you have to remind me! My skin is crawling again at the memory of the jute moths at Chalna. Copra bugs were friendy little pets in comparison. Like Charlie, I was not fond of rats, particularly the one that tried to run up the leg of my shorts when I cornered it in the ships office.
Andy
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Old 10th May 2010, 12:21
johnb42 johnb42 is offline  
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As second Mate on the Beaverbank, I remember having a fan mounted on the bulkhead at the end of my bunk. The bugs would get caught in the jet stream and come at you like shrapnel when you were trying to get some sleep in a hot sweaty old cabin.
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Old 10th May 2010, 15:38
McMorine McMorine is offline  
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When I was on the Riverbank Oriental/Africa run for two years, we were in Mauritius and having a few beers in the mission, as you do. There was a cat wandering around and the Padre said we could take it back to the ship if we wanted to, so having had a few beers, it seemed like a good idea. We kept it hidden from view until we sailed, but when the Captain saw it, he wasn't too pleased and said it would have to go at the next port, but then he saw it catch a rat on the fore deck and the cat was definitley in favour. The cat was with us for about 18 months, but mysteriously disappeared when we were in Taiwan, I think it might have ended up in the cook pot somewhere. It was a damned good ships cat, but had a habit of bringing whatever it had caught, alive or dead into my cabin, which wasn't very pleasant at times.
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