That reminds me of the time - weird things can happen in heavy weather

The story about the inadvertent release of CO2 reminds me of that time we towed a barge out of Yakutat in bad weather.

It was OK when we left the dock, there were signs of bad weather which I mentioned to the captain but he waved me off. He was the Captain McWhirr type, didn’t believe in avoiding bad weather.

When we got to the entrance of the Bay it was pitch dark and raining hard, strong gusty winds and steep rough seas from WNW greeted us part way out. Before we could get all the way out we stopped making progress, couldn’t pull the barge across the bar, wind holding us back and tug was pitching too much into the close together, steep-to waves to get a good bite with the props.

We going to have to let some wire out to get across.

When we turned the deck lights on to go out on deck we could see into the face of the seas when we were down in the trough and saw the seas were a weird greyish color lit up by our deck lights

We let out some wire, started making some progress, slowly made it across, pitching hard the whole time. Once we got in deeper water the pitching eased up a bit but we started rolling in a cross sea.

Once we got clear it was after midnight, I was on watch, things settled down a bit, still high winds and there was big steep sea from about WNW but from time to time some bigger sets from the SW or thereabouts. We weren’t making much speed, I was keeping the tug pointed into the WNW sea but when the bigger sets would come through I’d swing the tug to port some to take the big sets from more ahead. But no avoiding some quick heavy rolls from time to time.

A couple hours into this I didn’t get the tug swung quick enough into a big SW sea and we took the biggest roll of the whole adventure. At the deepest part of the roll I heard a loud bang and a loud high-pitched whistling sound from below.

I went down to the galley to see what happened, there was various small items banging about but first thing I noticed was a cloud of what looked like white smoke about waist deep in the galley, and the TV was missing. WTF?? Second thing I noticed was big CO2 extinguisher rolling around on the deck, That explains the white smoke. I corralled that and got it secured, noticed that the handle had been damaged which explained the CO2 release.

We had a big old-time TV set mounted in the bulkhead in the galley, and it was gone. That thing had been mounted solid, didn’t think that thing was ever going anywhere, but it was gone.

Aside from that mystery things seemed more or less under control so I headed back to the wheelhouse.

When I got off watch the AB showed me the TV, jammed under the galley table, that mystery solved, hadn’t seen it in the CO2 cloud. The TV had been mounted just above the extinguisher, when it broke loose it came down and smashed the release handle

When we got back to Seattle we found a lot of sand, trapped in various places on the deck of the barge, washed up from the bar at the entrance, which explained the color we could see in the waves when the deck lights were on, sand picked up off the bottom by the waves.