Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This was the Finn Leonhardt. It had it's own built in crane system so it could unload containers in the ports that were less equiped and didn't have the facilities to unload regular ships. This allowed them to go to the more out of the way, exotic ports. This was also the last ship dad worked on before he went back to school. Why did he decide to go back to school... Not for the main reasons you might think.
They had been at sea for some time and were trying to avoid a fairly rough storm by trying to steer around it. On the radar, the captain could see that the storm was growing bigger and gaining speed. Realizing that they couldn't out run the storm he needed to prepare the boat for the big waves and he sent a few men down to the cargo hold to make sure all the cargo was firmly tied down. "Batten down the hatches".
My father was one of the men that went down there and as he was securing the containers the waves had begun to pick up. The storm was gaining on them and they didn't have much time before they were right in the middle of it. The waves started getting bigger and bigger. Then finally a huge wave hit the ship. The containers, these are 20 foot long, 10 feet wide and 10 feet high containers, ended up flying around like cardboard boxes and almost came crashing down on my dad.
It was at this point, this near death experience, that made my father rethink his priorities. Having been recently married and with a child on the way he thought it might be best to stay close to home.
Even though there was phenomenal money to be made at the time and he truly enjoyed his life on the ship, he decided that his family needed him more.