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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

A day on the Delta Queen

Posted 06-22-2015 at 09:02 PM by Capt Mike
A quick peak out my cabin door this morning revealed a calm, very foggy morning, a heavy wet, hot mist, that cloaked the Delta Queens' decks in a sullen gray veil. I hope for a rain free day but wish for an overcast sky to shield us from the oppressive heat of the sun, so that we can continue to patch the deck without baking....In the distance across the field the gravel trucks have already started moving, trundling dusty loads of gravel off to fill some unknown hole. The boats numerous moorings lines lie slack and as relaxed as a cow under a shade tree, and the complete absence of wind foretells of another humid scorcher on the way. I run the days goals through my head, to coat 2 sundeck repairs before the heat of the afternoon, to top of the sprinkler tanks and run the emergency generator, to haul off some trash, call the slip manager and check on the progress of getting our shore power hooked up, and on and on... As the morning fog begins to clear I get word that my 3 workmen wont be in today, each for various reasons, frustrating my plans for a productive day but freeing me to deviate to different inside projects. While we continue to make progress with our repairs, it will never be fast enough or quite right for me; even with the status of our project being promising and everyone hopeful, I still have a sense of urgency, not of fear but feeling compelled to keeping pushing on through the heat, and through the uncertainty of the future. I worry about this old boat, and at times feel powerless or hopelessly inadequate to give her the attention that she needs. She needs her young deckhands, mopping her decks, tightening her lines, sanding and painting her decks, she waits to hear the shouts of crew members in the holds, the scrape of tables across the dining room floor as our fabulous New Orleans staff tidies up after breakfast..I think she waits in hope for a sense of normalcy to return, where the stroke of the engines and the patting of the paddlewheel goes almost unnoticed by the crew, who have settled comfortably into the steamboat routine.
A fast moving thunderstorm rushes in from the south, surprising me with its sudden fury, gusting winds pushing the boat against the bank and flooding the decks with rain. The Delta Queen moves slowly forward against her lines, her gangway groaning as she slides ahead in the wind. As I stand in the bow doorway sheltered from the tempest, I ask her, "Where are you going, Delta Queen?" Her only reply is another screech and groan as she begins to slide back. I tell her, "Well, where ever it is, I'm going with you!" How I used to dread being out in the river when we were underway, and beset with heavy storms, a Captains concern for his passengers, crew and boat; now I wish we were out there on that wide muddy river in a storm....
The rain finally subsides after an hour, leaving the air much cooler, and river of water cascading down our newly repaired deck drains. I spent the rest of the evening far down below in the lower fire room and crew quarters, tracing pipes and electrical lines with a flashlight, looking ahead and planning of projects and tasks that will have to be done when we begin to reawaken and bring the Delta Queen back to life; and we shall, in due time, we shall...
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