This is a good point of how safety-minded the Coast Guard is. There is a big red sign on each main engine saying, ―WARNING, DISCONNECT GENERATOR BEFORE WORKING IN CRANKCASE.‖ As long as I‘ve been on here, and as many times as we‘ve torn these engines down, this has never been done. Luckily the only damage done was that about half the main and conrod (connecting rod) bearings were heated up.
6 May 1969
This morning we‘re running on two engines waiting to go into Norfolk. We only have one engine left on the starboard shaft because #1 Main Engine lost some rings last night. Seems like all our engine casualties have been after we left the ice, when the going is easy.
At 0915 we set the Special Sea Detail off of Thimble Shoals Light. The fog that was so thick earlier has lifted a little. At 1000 the Special Sea Detail was secured after dropping the hook off of NOB (Naval Operations Base) Norfolk. We‘re about 1,000 yards from the carrier USS Forrestal.
This is my 6th time anchored off NOB, and my last. I‘m glad I‘m getting off, but I‘m going to miss the ole ―Wind‖. This has been my life for the last two-and-a-half years, and with it came all the heartaches, joys, disappointments, and hard work. I‘ve learned a lot since I‘ve been on here about engines, people, and just how hard life can really be. Four years ago I didn‘t have a worry in the world, but I reckon everyone has to grow up sometimes and face life as it really is. This is the best experience for anyone to go through the way I did, and my fellow engineers. I say engineers because we get the biggest share of the letdowns and disappointments more than anyone on here. The rest are just along for the ride.
The Customs official came on and did his business, and the Navy‘s ammunition boat came and unloaded our ammo. All we had were 50 caliber ammo, hand grenades, blasting charges, etc.
At 1330 about 25 deck apes left to go on leave. They wouldn‘t let engineers off (the brass wouldn‘t). The Special Sea Detail was set and at 1430 we pulled the hook and started on our last leg of our voyage up the bay.
I‘m on watch now, and we have #6 Main Engine running. We‘re pretty well up the Bay, now running on 4 mains, 3 on the port shaft, and one on the starboard shaft.
7 May 1969
We made good time going up the bay, about 2100 we were off Patuxent Naval Station. At 0400 we dropped the hook in Baltimore Harbor.
It‘s 0800 now, and we‘re at Special Sea Detail, and are due in at 0900. They even have a band waiting for us. Big deal. All I want is to get off of here for a couple of days.