After loading coconut oil in the Philippines, the Stolt Sheaf sailed to Yokohama to load Ethylene Glycol. I don’t remember much about Yokohama from that visit. I was there again on the Dunstanburgh Castle for two weeks in drydock during January 1978, when I experienced an earthquake and several runs ashore. I don’t recall going ashore in Yokohama in 1975. After sailing from Yokohama on 21 June the Stolt Sheaf crossed the North Pacific Ocean, arriving in Portland, Oregon on 3 July. I still remember the beauty of the Columbia River as we headed from the ocean to Portland, a pilotage of roughly 100 miles.
We were due to discharge some of our palm oil in Portland. I was on cargo watch with one of our second mates. We had two second mates so that the chief officer did not have to keep watches, being permanently assigned to day work. This was particularly important in port with the complexity of loading and/or discharging more than one product at the same time.
The procedure before we started pumping cargo was for one person, usually the cadet, to remain at the manifold after hoses had been connected just in case something went wrong. Something did go wrong in Portland. For some reason the second mate, who was in the pump room (cargo control room), started two pumps simultaneously and took the pumps up to full speed immediately. He was supposed to start with one pump and gradually increase the speed of the pumps. The four-inch rubber cargo hose split, and a fountain of palm oil erupted through the gash in the hose covering me from head to foot. Although I quickly shut the valve at the manifold while radioing the second mate to shut the pumps down, it was too late and some of the palm oil ended up in the Columbia River. That resulted in the ship being fined for polluting the river. The US Coastguard watched us very carefully at every port thereafter.
It is a strange feeling being baptised in palm oil. I’m glad it was only palm oil not something unpleasant. It never happened to me again, although I was baptised in water at a Baptist Church in South Shields six weeks before I joined the Stolt Sheaf. That was a profession of faith. The palm oil baptism was a challenge to my faith in the second mate, who had obviously been distracted.
Two baptisms in six weeks. One in water, one in palm oil. One left me glowing with joy, the other left me orange. But there is another baptism that beats water and palm oil. It transformed a rag tag bunch of fishermen, tax collectors and the like from ordinary followers of Jesus into extraordinary individuals who were instrumental in establishing the early church. When I think about that baptism I find myself asking why it is that so much of the church today appears to think it acceptable to operate without it. Then I read about what is happening in Asbury in the USA and I long to see the same thing happen in the church I attend.
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (Acts 2:1-4 NLT)
Gary Fultz said:
I hope and pray that this is more and more a common longing around the world…enough to seek and find David. Becoming orange doesn’t sound pleasant. At least you could change back.
There were showers at the manifolds Gary so I managed to quickly wash most of the orange off. We did carry some very unpleasant chemicals on that ship but there was protective gear to wear when dealing with the dangerous stuff. I’m just glad the water baptism didn’t wear off.
Karla Jo Wasion said:
Good post! What is happening at Asbury is now spreading to other college campuses! Keep praying David! God is definitely doing something, and like you, I long for it in my church, my city, and especially in my own family!
Thank you Karla. Apparently it has crossed the Atlantic. It just hasn’t reached the Welsh Marches where I live! Still longing and praying.
Hello David – I’m curious about your baptism – was it a pleasant social occasion, dramatic Acts 2 type of experience or somewhere inbetween? Apart from the swans going by mine was disappointingly uneventful. Th spiritual baptism seemed to follow about 2 weeks later.
I happened to mention to my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to be baptised and she marched me round to the minister’s house. There was no time for any baptismal classes as I was due to go back to sea, so exceptionally for a Baptist church the minister just arranged it for the Sunday evening. I do remember it being a joyous occasion. It was another 27 years before I had a an Acts 2 experience – after several weeks of getting up early to pray when the rest of the family were still asleep. Not sure why I had to wait so long.