Be a Mule



Ships and wind-ups go together. Deck cadets are warned about some of it during their two-week induction course. To be fair, two weeks is nowhere near long enough to prepare a bunch of sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds for life at sea. Apart from the basics, which mainly focused on safety, we were advised that being sent to the engine room to ask for a long weight would result in a long wait. We were told that there was no such thing as a sky hook, striped paint, or left-handed screwdrivers. But we weren’t told about the mules in Panama.

Gatun Locks. I took this photograph in 1975 on the Stolt Sheaf when we were headed in the opposite direction (Pacific to Caribbean).

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