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[ Future of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co Boats ]


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Date: August 13, 2002 at 18:46:32
From: Captain Mike, [user-119at1j.biz.mindspring.com]
Subject: The Captains Log


The Delta Queen rests uneasily at the wharf, her port side nestled in the soft quagmire of the rivers' bottom, her starboard side easily afloat. As I speak we are filling the forward tanks with diesel fuel, to power the generators, which, newly rebuilt, will be fired up and put on line soon. Fear not, I have not left the vessel unattended while fueling! Chief Dennis Shenk, Engineer John Kilbert, and port engineer Scott Fassler (Also licensed as a Chief) are all on hand as we fill the bow tanks. Actually, I really enjoy being there to assist in landing and securing the fuel boat, and helping getting the process going. Just us long time Delta Queen guys, taking on the first fuel of the season, it sounds silly, but it was special to me. As a navigation guy working with engineers, I have found that it is sometimes hard to gain the trust of the mechanical guys, but these guys are truly the best, and I would want to be with them on the river anywhere! We hear so much about Captains and pilots and such, but without the steamboat engineer, we wouldn't get very far! And in my opinion, the Delta Queen has the best! (As well she should!)
I personally had to put up the required fueling flag, which was quite a task because the rope lanyard had broken off and slid all the way to the top of the mast.I climbed the main mast support arms like a sailor going aloft to trim the sails, and soon had our solid red fueling flag fluttering in the breeze.
Today the wonderful hotel staff pulled all of the protective cardboard from the lounges and the passenger areas, and set about dusting, cleaning and setting up furniture. By the end of the day, I swear it looked like she was about to go out on a cruise! Man, it made me feel better right away! I know that it all relies on the mechanical pieces coming together, and they are, but just seeing the cabin lounge back in its slendor did wonders for my heart! To top it off, right at the end of the day, the Steamer Natchez came cruising slowly by and blew a salute on her magnificent steam whistle, while Captain Doc Hawley played on the calliope, "The Delta Queen Waltz", by the late great steamboater John Hartford. Sometimes, even with the struggles and the hard work, steamboatin' is grand! The grandest part is when we open the doors, strike up the band, and you folks walk back aboard and back into the heart of the Delta Queen, and she asks, with tears in her eyes, "Where have you been?"!


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