On April 21st #5 Main Engine started smoking a lot and had high exhaust temperatures. We secured it, pulled a ring check, and found rings missing off of #4, #5, and #6 lower pistons. We had completely overhauled it this summer and I hadn‘t expected any trouble out of it this cruise, but there it was. We pulled the pistons and found #5 liner gouged out beyond all use, so #5 Main Engine was placed OOC (Out of Commission). On April 21st of last year it was also placed OOC.
We are now running on two main engines, and our arrival in Baltimore is changed to May 7. We‘re also using sails that the deck force rigged up.
The helos are flying into Bermuda May 4th to get lube oil and mail, and we‘re supposed to get to Norfolk May 6.
28 April 1969
Today we started running #6 Main Engine and also started tearing down #5. I don‘t know why they waited this long to do it. We should have done it last week when it was calm and #6 wasn‘t running. I reckon it‘s just for general harassment.
We are now running with the forward gyro and the after gyro OOC. We lost the after gyro after we left Zanzibar, and the forward gyro about 3-days ago, so all we have now is magnetic compass, and we can only go up the Bay in the daytime.
29 April 1969
Today we are due east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. We‘re due to arrive off the coast of Bermuda early Sunday morning.
We‘re still tearing #5 Main Engine down, and should be ready to pull the crank tomorrow. After we pull the old liner out there won‘t be anything else we can do on it until we get in and get a new one. I should be gone by then, I hope.
30 April 1969
Today was payday so now I have some money in my pocket for when we pull in. We‘ve been in the Sea of Sargasso today. I always saw it on maps at school, but never thought I‘d be in it.
Each day that goes by seems slower and slower. Yesterday seems like it was a week ago. The whole cruise has been slow. We must have been out at least 2 years, instead of 7 months.
The flu bug has been going around the last couple of days. It finally hit Engineering. We‘re out of a lot of watch-standers. I haven‘t got it yet, but had a cold and just about to get over it. The guy that sleeps next to me has it, and the one underneath me.
1 May 1969
Not much happening today. They decided to secure #6 Main Engine after we‘ve got most of the work done on #5. That was real nice of them.
May 7 seems a long way off, but I reckon it will gradually get here. It will be hard to get used to the States again. Everything will be new.