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Hi,
no besserwisser but
the steam temperature 900gr F more likely ,some 480grC and 70 plus bar.
Old wrench as well,
regards
teop
 

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Great stuff Three-oh I so recall the systems we also followed. you gave me great pleasure just picturing the various steps as from the ten minute start.

I also found the firemen & donkeymen very enlightening from earlier days as I was a junior with BSL 1948 ....Steam of course Thanks AE
 

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I steamed 4 Babcock & Wilcox 450lb sectional header boilers with superheat. This was USN and our division (B) was always short staffed. This allowed us to be creative with our watch/duty sections. We NEVER stood 4/4, sometimes 4/8, most often 6/6.

The boiler room on Mispillion was rather cool as boiler rooms go. There were 4 large (3 ft?) fresh air vents and several smaller diameter (18 inch?) ones. It got warm on the check level up between the steam drums, but down on the boiler flat it was a very very consistent 100*F.

Here is a story from one night off the coast of North Vietnam in 1972. My sea stories are written for the non-seafaring readers among my family and friends.

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The Late Night Bells

One of the interesting effects of being at sea for long periods of time was that it was easy to lose track of what day it was. The repeated routine day after day led you to doing things on sort of an autopilot, never expecting variation.

At one of these times I was on watch in the fire room in the middle of the night. We were just station keeping, sailing in those big lazy circles, back and forth up and down the coast of North Vietnam.

Quite suddenly the engine-order telegraph rang. The engine-order telegraph is the thing you see in movies, the large dial that indicates what speed the Officer of The Deck wants the ship to go. We were cruising along at Ahead 1/3, then… RIIIING!!!! RIIIIING!!!, and it shows All Back Emergency.

Now that is a thrill, having those bells come out of nowhere in the middle of the night.

The engine room got the same signal and spun their throttles open to the reverse turbines. The props slowed rapidly, stopped for a moment and then started their run up to emergency reverse speed. The entire ship shook as the 18 foot propellers pounded the water against its forward momentum, and as we watched, the steam pressure in the boilers started to drop noticeably. This jolted us to action, a frantic rush to light off all burners and then start swapping out single burners in turn to replace the orifice plates with larger ones so the boilers would produce more steam.

Then, just as suddenly….RIIIIIING!!!! RIIIING!!! Another speed change! ALL STOP, then, AHEAD 1/3. Now as we started to make too much steam, we did our dance in reverse, cutting out burners in the hope that we were quick enough to prevent the safeties from lifting.

Another minute or two and things had quieted down. We all looked at each other in shock. "What the hell was that????" There was no call from the bridge that might explain the situation, no call from Main Control (the engine room) either.

As is my nature, that bothered me, and I was curious as to what had happened. I started asking around and finally got most of the story.

The forward part of Mispillion below the helo deck is the Aviation Gas tank. This was almost never used, although we did carry AvGas on one trip to the line. It is very dangerous stuff, and just not used much anymore, so the tank is kept empty.

There is, however, a pump that must be maintained and kept in operating condition. It is located forward far below the waterline, and is accessed by a steep stairway down a long, narrow tunnel that runs through the AvGas tank. The pump room is probably no bigger than 8'X8', cold and clammy, and houses a small 4 cylinder diesel engine that drives the pump.

The diesel was in need of repair or maintenance and two men had been assigned to the task. The workday ended, but the two decided that rather than quit and have to resume the job the next day, they would just continue to work until the job was done.

The men finally got the pump back together and started it to make sure it ran. This was the cause of all our excitement in the fire room.

Remember, this is during the time we were all on high alert and running blacked out at night because of the Eastertide Offensive of North Vietnam.

The exhaust for the diesel came out of the port bow about 20 feet above the water line and approximately 150 feet forward of the bridge. The bridge watch could not hear the diesel, but the port lookout caught a whiff of diesel exhaust and called out "Collision!", and the watch officer rang up Emergency Back.

The bridge watch did exactly what they should have done. The error was by the two mechanics. They should have called the bridge and asked permission to start the pump. I never found out who it was on the repair job, and to the best of my knowledge they didn't get much heat, just an admonition to request permission next time.
 

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Burials at Sea

Amazing how this link went from what engineers did on steam ships to burials at sea - with that in mind with your indulgence I will continue in similar vein.
I served on Elders & Fyffes CAMITO between 1969 to 1971 as 2nd Engineer.
She carried up to 100 passengers that could be categorised into two distinct groups 1- individuals, couples, families travelling out to Trinidad, Jamaica or Bermuda to start a new life. 2- round trip passengers, the latter as couples or individuals, invariably elderly people. Sometimes one of this latter group would not make it. In my 25 trips there were three occasions when we had a natural causes death on board and a "stop at sea". Always a great ceremony highlight of the voyage - for the surviving passengers that is. It is certainly true that the sale of film and cameras from the ship's shop would increase when the word got out that there would be a burial at sea in the offing.
The service would be held by the Master on the 4 to 8 afternoon watch and those off duty were expected to attend. Reverting to engineers mode now - with a ceremony set for 16.30 hrs, shortly after taking over the watch at 16.00hrs preparations would be taken to stop.CAMITO was a twin screw turbine steamer and speed would be gradually reduced until approaching the alloted time the propeller revs had been reduced from the normal 110 rpm to manoeuvring speed of 80 rpm. Astern guarding valves and turbine drains would be opened, bled steam shut off and live steam opened up to plant such as feed water heaters and distillation plant that might require it.
Normally the 3rd Engineer would return to assist and the daywork Donkeyman and Storekeeper would go to the boiler room to assist the watchkeeping fireman deal with the firing of the 3 Babcock boilers - each with 4 oil burners.
The telegraph would ring STOP and the engineers would bring the turbines to a stop using Astern steam and maintaining the use of astern steam to ensure that both propellers did not rotate (to prevent any unpleasant accident).
The Master would say a few words and the bosun and his AB's would lift the board containing the body to the ship's side and on the order tilt the board and let the body slide out from under the Red Ensign to the deep.
Soon Full Ahead would be rung - the bosun would receive the traditional bottle of rum, the spectating passengers would head to the bar to compare notes and toast the dear departed shipmate. The 2nd Eng. and his assistant would start restoring the plant to normal sea conditions and in the case of one of the 3rd Eng that I sailed with - depart the engine room to get showered into his uniform and see if there were any young females that might have been traumatised by the afternoon's events so that he might afford comfort.
I always kept a stock of diesel generator bottom end bolts (used), and some blank flanges to be used as weights by the bosun when doing his sewing up of the canvas shroud. I should add that CAMITO carried a doctor.
Have just signed up to Ships Nostalgia and this post brought back memories. In the 1960's I sailed as 2nd Engineer on Corinthic, which carried 85 passengers, usually elderly, and some didn't make the long haul across the Pacific!
Shaw Savill's procedure for these events was similar to that described, but as I remember it we stopped in the early morning rather than the afternoon.
The ballast for the canvas coffin was in the form of 'fire bars', these had to be re-ordered as required from the shore stores. They seemed to have a large stock of these items, left over from pre-war coal fired Scotch boilers. I wonder if they ever exhausted the stock of these otherwise useless lumps of cast iron?
Just in case our Doctor got it wrong, the Bosun put the final stitch through the deceased nose when sewing up the canvas!
 

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Have just signed up to Ships Nostalgia and this post brought back memories. In the 1960's I sailed as 2nd Engineer on Corinthic, which carried 85 passengers, usually elderly, and some didn't make the long haul across the Pacific!
Shaw Savill's procedure for these events was similar to that described, but as I remember it we stopped in the early morning rather than the afternoon.
The ballast for the canvas coffin was in the form of 'fire bars', these had to be re-ordered as required from the shore stores. They seemed to have a large stock of these items, left over from pre-war coal fired Scotch boilers. I wonder if they ever exhausted the stock of these otherwise useless lumps of cast iron?
Just in case our Doctor got it wrong, the Bosun put the final stitch through the deceased nose when sewing up the canvas!
"Firebar's useless lumps of Cast Iron", not on your Nelly(Jester), Scrapmen alway's gave a good price for them used or unused, they were sometime's used as the Fireman's bonus.
 

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Spongebob
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"Firebar's useless lumps of Cast Iron", not on your Nelly(Jester), Scrapmen alway's gave a good price for them used or unused, they were sometime's used as the Fireman's bonus.
You are right Chadburn, the "recipe" for these castings was usually a 'metallurgical mix' formulated by the maker to give longest possible service under extreme temperatures from the fire bed. Years ago the 'true' formula was as elusive as Grandma's recipe for her plum sauce and as with others there were many imitations but only one "Lea and Perrins".
We used to import Babcock chain grate stoker links, Proctor and Hodgkinson fire bars and Babcock PF coal E-mill grinding balls from the maker's foundries in the UK at a price that tempted local foundries to attempt to undercut us with their 'brew' of iron for the duty but often with adverse results as bars bent under firing conditions and balls wore away like dissolving black ball lollies.
They were not any old iron.

Bob
 

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Amazing how this link went from what engineers did on steam ships to burials at sea - with that in mind with your indulgence I will continue in similar vein.
I served on Elders & Fyffes CAMITO between 1969 to 1971 as 2nd Engineer.
She carried up to 100 passengers that could be categorised into two distinct groups 1- individuals, couples, families travelling out to Trinidad, Jamaica or Bermuda to start a new life. 2- round trip passengers, the latter as couples or individuals, invariably elderly people. Sometimes one of this latter group would not make it. In my 25 trips there were three occasions when we had a natural causes death on board and a "stop at sea". Always a great ceremony highlight of the voyage - for the surviving passengers that is. It is certainly true that the sale of film and cameras from the ship's shop would increase when the word got out that there would be a burial at sea in the offing.
The service would be held by the Master on the 4 to 8 afternoon watch and those off duty were expected to attend. Reverting to engineers mode now - with a ceremony set for 16.30 hrs, shortly after taking over the watch at 16.00hrs preparations would be taken to stop.CAMITO was a twin screw turbine steamer and speed would be gradually reduced until approaching the alloted time the propeller revs had been reduced from the normal 110 rpm to manoeuvring speed of 80 rpm. Astern guarding valves and turbine drains would be opened, bled steam shut off and live steam opened up to plant such as feed water heaters and distillation plant that might require it.
Normally the 3rd Engineer would return to assist and the daywork Donkeyman and Storekeeper would go to the boiler room to assist the watchkeeping fireman deal with the firing of the 3 Babcock boilers - each with 4 oil burners.
The telegraph would ring STOP and the engineers would bring the turbines to a stop using Astern steam and maintaining the use of astern steam to ensure that both propellers did not rotate (to prevent any unpleasant accident).
The Master would say a few words and the bosun and his AB's would lift the board containing the body to the ship's side and on the order tilt the board and let the body slide out from under the Red Ensign to the deep.
Soon Full Ahead would be rung - the bosun would receive the traditional bottle of rum, the spectating passengers would head to the bar to compare notes and toast the dear departed shipmate. The 2nd Eng. and his assistant would start restoring the plant to normal sea conditions and in the case of one of the 3rd Eng that I sailed with - depart the engine room to get showered into his uniform and see if there were any young females that might have been traumatised by the afternoon's events so that he might afford comfort.
I always kept a stock of diesel generator bottom end bolts (used), and some blank flanges to be used as weights by the bosun when doing his sewing up of the canvas shroud. I should add that CAMITO carried a doctor.
Hi There,

I served on the Camito 1963/64 and went through the situation of burial at sea, we had a passenger who had served on coal burning ships many years earlier and he knew he was dying. He had to leave the ship at Jamaica but returned to it and died after a few days. I believe that was the trip that one of the fuel oil lines ruptured and was repaired with turbine vent pipes, the repair got us home to Avonmouth where we changed the line and replaced the vent pipes. Having been covered in fuel oil I was taken topside and given a parafin
wipe down followed by a shower. I was so exausted I could not stand and I was put on my bunk. Some hours later I assisted Dusty Miller the donkeyman to land a shark which had been circling the ship. I still have one of it's teeth somewhere.
 

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You are right Chadburn, the "recipe" for these castings was usually a 'metallurgical mix' formulated by the maker to give longest possible service under extreme temperatures from the fire bed. Years ago the 'true' formula was as elusive as Grandma's recipe for her plum sauce and as with others there were many imitations but only one "Lea and Perrins".
We used to import Babcock chain grate stoker links, Proctor and Hodgkinson fire bars and Babcock PF coal E-mill grinding balls from the maker's foundries in the UK at a price that tempted local foundries to attempt to undercut us with their 'brew' of iron for the duty but often with adverse results as bars bent under firing conditions and balls wore away like dissolving black ball lollies.
They were not any old iron.

Bob
You and Chadburn have a point. But, in context, I stand by my original statement.
The fire-bars on Corinthic were ONLY on board because they were good ballast for the canvas coffins. The Yarrow 5 drum boilers were oil fired and did not require fire-bars.
 

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Spongebob
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Sure Alaric, the bars were past their use by date anyway and besides there is something to say about being held down by good quality heat resistant iron, especially if you were headed for the heat of Hades!!

Bob
 

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alaric, I have no doubt that what you say is correct, as you may be aware some boiler's could be adapted to burn either oil or coal but the boiler's you have now described could not. There was an invention (known as the turbine furnace) that sprayed steam under the firebar's to extend their life and improve combustion, that proved too expensive and it was changed to sprayed salt water, but like air lubricated Hull's (tried over 50 year's ago) the effort required did not meet expectation's and the project was abandoned.
 

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Your tip about dual fuel boilers reminds me of a channel pilot we often took on to do European coast and sometimes on, round to Greenock. Ted Iles, an old timer even in mid 70s. One of his non 'bedroom' reminiscences (and there were plenty of the other sort) was having sailed on a tween deck tanker. She burned coal out to the Gulf and oil back (in his time onboard) there was also a suit of sails and necessaries to sail her (not used in his time). Not sure I have spelled him correctly - if not apologies to what must now be his memory.
 

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I spent 4 months on an oldwartime Empire ship.Three oil fired Scotchn boilers ,converted from coal burner.I could never get the hang of controlling the water level with the ship rolling .The feed vales were situated near the gauge glasses and no extended spindles so it was up and down like a *****s drawers.
The trip from Jarrow to Norfolk VA.started off as the trip continued not very expeditiously.The auxiliary feed line ruptured so we had to stop at Cherbourg for repair.Three days later we lost the Steering with a large following sea.The quadrant was lashing from side to side and made a mess of the stops.The problem was the bolts securing the worm drive to the quadrant pinion gear.It had been worked on in Jarrow and the bolts renewed but they were not fitted bolts and had been inserted from below without lock nuts and apparently not properly tightened and so they all fell out with the vibbration.After much hard work by the deck crew trying to set up a jury rig to steer using the aft winches we took a chance and popped a bolt in as the pinion and worm wwheel passed each and it worked.Mechanical advantage is a great thing.
When we arrived at Norfolk we discovered that our Ballast pump couldn't keep up with the rate of coal coming in so the Chief decided to lengthen the stoke of the pump(Wiers).he was a bit too successful;the water piston went past the end of the cylinder and was unable to come back as the rings jammed under the cylinder.The chief got the shore gang and we engineers said nothing and kept well clear of the chief for the rest of the day.
It was verywarm in the cabins which we put down tothe hot weather,however we found the isolating valve to the accommodation had been left open.
After leaving Norfolk there was a request for steam on deck a certain engineer instead of routing the steam return to the aux condenser left in on the main condenser.(mea culpa).The second engineer came flying own the ladder and started opening drain cocks at a rapid rate.I think he had been alerted by the rather large knocking noise.I was sternly admonished and eventually forgiven as it was my first trip on a steamer.
We had an all Arab stokehold crew from Aden.They had been on the ship for 5 years and not been home.They were virtually sold with the ship and could only be discharged in Aden.They were a good crew who drank large quantities of this brew they made.It was a type of coffee made not from coffee beans but the husks of the beans which were discarded after roasting.It was very thirst quenching and I drank a lot of it.I've never seen or heard it since.Starbucks certainly don't stock it.
Manoeuvering was a nightmare after coming from Diesels;the control valve was above head high and parallel to the deck;You had to open and shut this bloody thing with your right hand above your head while controlling the reversing engine with your left hand.I was very glad I wasn't a southpaw.
After all this I swore off steamers and went to diesels and when I left the sea spent the next 30 years in steam power stations.
JIM GARNETT
 

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[Quite a good discription of being on stand bye on a steam ship. I remember it well having served on the Patonga as Junior Eng in 1974. I think the only thing you have forgotten to mention was the manual control of the oil temperature. Oh, and if the senior Eng on duty wanted to bee a b------ he would spin open the steam manouvering valve to tru and bugger up your careful balancing of all the processes that you mentioned, to try and encourage that case of beer.]On Maipura we had 3 Scotch Boilers supplying the steam Turbine . On ' Stand Bye and maouvering we had one e/r rating on each bolier watching the Gauge glass and adjusting the boiler feed valve which was manual additionaly we had the Tail Wahlla ( Oiler ) who stood handy to do any other chores as required by the engineeer who was on the control wheels . One for ahead and one for astern . On Maipura the contol wheels were about 3 to 4 ft in diameter and could be easily swung ( spunn ) I think it was about 20 turns from open to closed and of course we contoled the turbine / shaft revs by adjusting the number of turns open .
At the same time in the stokehold there was a fireman or Tidal at each boiler furnace front and he was resonsible for lighting or pulling ( shutting down ) the 4 separate fires in the boiler Maipuras boilers each had 4 furnaces .
The engineer would watch the telegraph and respond to orders at the same time as checking the water level in all boilers and watching the steam pressure ; trying to keep it as close to 250 PIS without lifting the saftey valves ( That cost a case of beer and a lot of ribbing by the rest of the crew )
The steam pressure was controlled by the engineer who who had three light panels ( one for each boiler )each with 4 switches ( one for each furnace in the boiler.)
In the stokehold each boiler had its panel with 4 lights ( each one a different color ) and the engineer would switch on which fires / furnaces he wanted lit and which shut off /Pulled .
At the same time the fireman had to watch his smoke and adjust the air supply to give good combustion and no smoke .
As apprentice I was on the telegraph and movemnt book as well as watching and adjusting the gland steam on the turbine. Also My duty was to ensure the feedwater heaters had about 6 " of water in the glass and also adjust the amount of extra feed to keep the main condenser glass at the correct level .
Everytime we were given a movement change all these parameters had to be adjusted .
After about 6 months on Maipura the 3rd Eng put me on the controls and I became quite adept . One had to be a bit of an octopus but after a while we could antisipate what was going to happen and all the adjustments became automatic without thinking exactly why we were making them .
While all this was going on we would be having a smoke / coffeee and talking about the last / next "run ashore "
Talk about Muti Tasking We had absolutly no automation at all with the exception of the steering gear telemotor.[/QUOTE]
 

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(#232) I could never get the hang of controlling the water level with the ship rolling .The feed vales were situated near the gauge glasses and no extended spindles so it was up and down like a *****s drawers.
My ship (a jumboized USN T3-S2-A3) steamed and road very well when full, with the caveat that the steam drums ran athwartships. The roll in heavy weather might be a bit sometimes, but it was slow with no surprises.

What this did though was make checking water next to impossible. Because of the roll, water cycled constantly out of sight high and out of sight low. You had to sort of take a mental snapshot when your body told you it was level. Kinda freaky, but we never had a casualty or had any carryover to the turbines.
 

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What did steam engineers do ?.

Guys, guys, guys, you all speak as though its something that is long gone. Take heart !!, I'm still doing steam ( since 1972 ). I have always told myself "when its no longer fun, I'll stop".
It is still fun, times change of course and most folk still wonder what we do......... ( unless you live on the coast, or in Newcastle, those people actually understand what it is like at sea ).
 

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I am not going to name the ship, for obvious reasons, but i'll tell the story. in the mid 1960's the master of a ship that I sailed on was murdered by the steward (knifed) whilst in his home port, Durban. His family had the body cremated and wanted the ashes scattered at sea. The company agreed and after discharging our cargo and before loading we put out from the dock with his wife, the minister and mourners. It was decided the burial service would be a short one held at the aft end of the bridge deck. We steamed to about 2 miles off shore, engines were stopped and the service read. the widow asked the minister to open the urn and scatter the ashes. He went to the bridge wing and held the urn over the side, then there was a backdraught and they all came floating back, settling over mourners, crew and minister. The old man had got his revenge! I realise this tale may be in questionable taste, but it did happen.
I too will not name the ship involved, or the deceased, or the Captain.But a marine reporter from a very well known Brit daily newspaper asked that his ashes be scattered at sea from our ship. They were happy to oblige, the reporter had been very kind to the ship and the company through many unhappy incidents.
All off duty Officers were instructed to attend. It was decided to do the scattering from a shell door on 2 deck, about 40 feet over the waterline. Ship changed direction to get the wind in the right place, Capt read the service...we now commit the ashes of our dear departed brother to the deep.....Wind changed...same effect!
 

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I too will not name the ship involved, or the deceased, or the Captain.But a marine reporter from a very well known Brit daily newspaper asked that his ashes be scattered at sea from our ship. They were happy to oblige, the reporter had been very kind to the ship and the company through many unhappy incidents.
All off duty Officers were instructed to attend. It was decided to do the scattering from a shell door on 2 deck, about 40 feet over the waterline. Ship changed direction to get the wind in the right place, Capt read the service...we now commit the ashes of our dear departed brother to the deep.....Wind changed...same effect!
And I too have seen that happen. Mid 1973, and we're the duty USN ship. We took aboard an old chief's ashes and went out for the service. The officer actually took the box to the windward side. Got a face full...
 

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Thank you Jim for your details of burial at sea when aboard the "Camito", I served on the "Camito" some years before you did under Chief Engineer Jock Burns. A perfect gentleman who could be strict but always very fair. On one New Years day celebration Mr. Burns went below to bring up the third engineer (another Scot) for a wee tot, He returned on his own in a fairly tetchy mood, he told us he had found the third in the fridge flat fast asleep. When the third came up to the chiefs cabin he told the chief that it could not possibly have been him. The chief responded by saying "I kicked you, with my foot", not me chief said the third, well were where you sleeping asked the chief, in the boiler room chief was the answer. Just a question of location I presume. We also had a burial at sea, a former seaman who knew he was dying and had booked a round trip as his last wish. There is a picture of the juniors on the Camito somewhere in this site, I am the one on the left.

Best wishes.

Howard.
 

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Pickley Heat

In the early 70s I was a Junior Engineer on ships running thru the Pacific. I suffered from PH until my first home leave and my grandfather (also an ex marine engineer) advised me to caerfully rinse my boiler suits after washing. He said that any soap left on the boiler suit would exacerbate the PH. I followed his advice and problem solved.
 

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***** heat

In a former post i referred to '*****ley heat ' but the system removes some letters as being sear words so I shall try to spell it another way so we can get a response . " Pr1kly Heat " Anyone who was in the Red Sea Gulf area knows of this . Not all got it but when you did it was not Fun .
Derek
Hi derek, in response to the above, I first experienced the "heat" problem on my first trip to the w.African coast and thereafter at various times,as you say it definitely wasn't fun. The only way to relieve it was a cold shower but it used to return straight away and seemed worse! A return to temperate climes was the only real cure. Curiously when the weather here, very rarely at the moment, gets reasonably hot I get a minor recurrence, this after some sixty years !!regards,roger--(Pint)
 
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