After a few wonderful and relaxing days off, I was eager to get to work. I couldn’t wait to see what the summer would bring our way. After all those months of hard work and planning, we felt so close to that day when we would pull a platinum or gold bar from the bottom of the ocean. How it would change our lives! I would visualize it in my mind over and over again. My share would help so many people. However, this was still the beginning, there was a lot of hard work to be done and everyone was eager to get going.
I loved to walk out onto the deck and see everyone busy at work. Dave was a welder and could make just about anything out of metal. During our morning meetings, either Greg or Brian would discuss something that would help with the recovery or enhance the ship….. Dave would draw it up and show it to them. Sometimes there would be minor adjustments, but usually he was right on. He would dress in his protective gear, spark the welding rod and go to town. Before you know it, a piece of metal would turn into something of use. It always amazed me….. Saltwater can wreak havoc on metal, so you are constantly scraping and painting. Alex was an excellent painter. He was fast and meticulous. You had to be careful where you walked on the deck as something was always just painted. Alex also took pride in keeping the tool room and deck clean and organized. If you needed anything, ask Alex….. Matt was young and eager to help wherever needed. He would be painting alongside Alex, and Brian would need him to go pick something up at the store and without hesitation, off he would go. He was happy- go- lucky and fun to have around…. Brian (chief engineer) would give Shaun(2nd engineer) a specific job in the engine room and he would spend the day working on it. When he would come up for a break or lunch, he would be covered with grease and oil. At the end of each day, he took time to clean his area and paint some section of the walls and floors. His pride in the engine room showed. ….Gary was a skilled carpenter, which is great to have around, especially aboard a ship that size. He was one of the first ones in Houma when the ship was purchased, and quickly went to work tearing rooms apart and rebuilding them into nice livable quarters. He took pride in his work and there wasn’t any job he couldn’t do. Gary built desks in each of the bedrooms which added much-needed space. In a couple of the rooms (mine and Julia’s included) he added draws down the side of the desk. We loved it. What girl doesn’t need extra draws?
The Sea Hunter was docked at a busy marina, on the edge of the city. Portland has a thriving working waterfront and now I was part of it. First order of business for me was to replenish the food supply. This was no short order. It took some planning and at least a half a day’s work. I would shop at a national grocery chain for most of our staples. I would get our meats and vegetables from a local butcher shop. It was quite the production when I would pull up to the ship with the truck loaded down with food. The guys would drop what they were doing, form an assembly line from the truck all the way into the galley. It the tide wasn’t just right, you would have to climb either up or down to get onto the ship. A few items found their way into the water. Once this was done, I would separate the meats into specific portions according to meals. Next, I would organize the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry with older foods in front, newer in the back. From the time I started shopping in the morning until I was done putting everything away usually took 5-6 hours. It was then time to start lunch.
The first few weeks were busy tuning up the generators and making sure everything was working (remember, this was an old ship and had just taken a long journey). The crew was eager to pitch in where needed, and so, days were full. Greg was busy planning our first trip out to the site, talking to investors, and giving tours of the ship. He was also in negotiations with the Discovery Channel who was interested in doing a story on us. His phone rang constantly. It was almost impossible to have a conversation with him for more than a few minutes. Right in the middle of a conversation, his cell would ring and he would walk off to speak to whoever was on the other end. It was extremely frustrating, but there was nothing you could do but learn to deal with it
Realizing we would need additional deck hands for our project, Greg put an ad on the company website http://www.subsearesearch.com. Interviews would be held early Monday on the ship. The existing crew would conduct the interviews and ultimately agree on who would be hired. Like all working waterfronts, the information spread like wildfire. For the next few days, people were stopping by and talking with anyone on deck, hoping to get a foot in the door. I felt bad for them as we were only hiring four positions. It seemed like everyone wanted to be part of this, but then again, the richest shipwreck to date, who could blame them?