Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Africa Mercy Reports

This page from Mercy Ships has been forwarded to you by tyronebcookin:


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Africa Mercy - President of Liberia Visits

This page from Mercy Ships has been forwarded to you by tyronebcookin:


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Monday, March 19, 2007


Shameless link promotion:

Old tyronebcookin site
Tyrone and Stephanie

My Vista Problems

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


From the Mercy Ships Int'l Operations Center, Friday, Oct 6:
Dear Alumni

We have recieved the following update from Mercy Ships founder Don Stevens about the future of the Caribbean Mercy.


I am pleased to announce that Mercy Ships completed the sale of the Caribbean Mercy on Oct 5, 2006 to a family charitable trust who plans to lease the vessel to CME at Sea Ltd. I appreciate the work done by Jim Paterson and the marine operations department in facilitating this process and am thankful to God for providing a buyer.

CME at Sea Ltd plans to prepare the vessel for service in Central America by adding to the medical facility on board. In addition to offering medical care, they also intend to provide training and continuing education opportunities for US based physicians.

The company is currently in negotiations to keep the ship at its present location in Chickasaw to do their preparations.

I am reminded again of the thousands of people who were given hope and healing through this vessel and her dedicated crew.


*Ed. note--
for the curious....CME At Sea Ltd.
and for the rest....one last look.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A new development for an x - caretaker!

Friday, November 18, 2005

The End Of An Era

(link & source: Alicia's Porch Swing)

After a long and fruitful career of service to Central America, Asia, South America, and the United States, it has been decided that the Caribbean Mercy will at last be retired. The following is the official text of the final decision:

1. On April 6, 2006 Mercy Ships will commission the flagship of our future, the Africa Mercy. Due to a significant increase in the hospital and community development capacity, the Africa Mercy will double the amount of people served by the Anastasis and Caribbean Mercy combined.

2. It is our belief that the Africa Mercy will serve some of the region’s most needy for the next 30 years.

3. Both the Caribbean Mercy and Anastasis are over 50 years old. International maritime regulations indicate significant additional expense should the two ships remain in service. The Africa Mercy is the first ship of a new era of Mercy Ships hospital ships and part of the long range plan to bring hope and healing to the world’s poorest people.

4. The Anastasis and Caribbean Mercy are both to be retired after serving as effective tools in bringing hope and healing to countless of the world’s poor.

5. Many of the crew from the Anastasis and Caribbean Mercy are considering service on the Africa Mercy.

Thank you so much to all who have followed the news here, worked, and prayed along with the crew. Especial thanks and recognition are also due to the last of the faithful long-term caretakers: Maria Elena, Kathy, Tom, and Joyce. May God be with every one of the countless crewmembers who have served together on the CBM in years past as we all seek his dreams for the future.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today, I went to the Sea & Sky Spectacular Festival with Katie and Jeremy. It was sooo nice to just lay out on the beach. You've got to love Florida when you know that it's November and I got a little pink at the beach! Anyway, my favorite part was when the Stealth jet flew by, but he was so dang quiet, I think I missed most of his show. I tried to take pictures of the Blue Angels and was failing miserably. I got about 17 shots of sky. But, those 17 shots were worth it when I got one perfect shot...I couldn't have asked for a better shot.

Funny Stories...

I love the ship, but I love being home. Here is just a day in the life at my house.
So, yesterday was Saturday, my mom made some kind of mess for lunch in her favorite Pampered Chef dish. So, I was helping clean up and I was emptying the remaining contents of the dish in the garbage can when the garbage can slid and the pan was hot, so I dropped it and it made this cracking noise. I looked at my mom and was like, "Don't cry." She actually had a tear in her eye...really! I was thinking, "It's just a dish!" Well, it was broken. So, I thought, "sweet, at least it's one less thing I have to wash!" Well, I ended up having to wash it. So, it was just sitting in the sink. Well, my mom is in the kitchen and somehow knocks this vase over, into the sink, further breaking the dish I broke and breaking the vase. She thought my cousin had made the vase and was trying to find glue to glue it back together, but when I went in and saw what she had done, I told I had made the vase, so RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, she throws it in the garbage! About an hour later, she asked me to take this pile of left overs out to the dog. I was running late, so I couldn't. She calls me about 16 (because I don't like 0's and 5's) minutes later and tells me that my brother took the plate of left overs and accidently dropped it on the couch on his way out the back door. So, it was a really rough day for my mom...but, at least I know what to get her for Christmas...a new Pampered Chef baking dish.
Life is good.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This is ridiculous....

Why am I sitting in Jacksonville not knowing what's going on back at my home away from home...or is that here, at home? I don't know anymore. Kathy, figure out your password and get on here. You don't have to worry about cooking my dinner anymore, so you have time to write now! Maria Elena...how's watch going? I'm sorry I didn't get to say good bye. Captain Hook forced me to leave without getting to say all my goodbyes. Tyrone...hi, you aren't there anyway, but hi. Tom, you will always be Tom. Cait, I miss you my little lumberjack! Daniel, I hope things are working out for you. Dick, smile, I'm talking to you! Sue, I didn't get to say goodbye!!! Henry and Pearl...take care of that hot truck you've got, and grow some good stuff, because we all know I can't! Ciaran, congrats on the little girl! Bob, have fun...and get some rest! Marilyn, look in reception for the leis...in case you ever need one. Keeper, I miss you, thanks for being "my baby"! Mary...take care of my Kathy, I miss you! If I'm forgeting anyone else, I miss you, I really do. However, I've had to go to the tanning bed to get my tan on for this dang wedding and so (without going into too much detail) I must go because sitting too long is quite painful! I love you all! Even if your just reading this, I love you!
Tus pirata en Christo,
Missy <><

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Theories on datable, marriagable, and lustable trucks....

Many people have questioned my theory on datable, marriagable, and lustable trucks and so now I will explain it once and for all and you will all understand and applaud me for my brillance in compiling such an exquisite work.
The Dateable truck. Examples of the datable truck would be the Tacoma, an older Chevrolet truck (2 door, no extended cab), anything with monster tires...not like "I-need-a-ladder-to-get-in" tires, but just much larger than stock. A datable truck is just that, datable. Therefore it doesn't usually have a backseat for kids or groceries (because the guy is clearly just out having fun and not really planning ahead), but it has a big bed for 4 wheelers, kayaks, surfboards, and other fun things that you can do while your dating. Really any truck can be datable, but it takes effort to make a truck marriagable...just as effort is needed in marriage. (Exceptions to that rule, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER WILL THE CHEVROLET AVALANCHE BE CONSIDERED UNDER ANY OF THESE CATAGORIES.)
The marriagable truck. A marriagable truck is basically anything in the Ford F-series, but, let's face it, no one really needs an F350, and the dually of any kind is out completely, they just look like they have big butts, what's that all about? Also marriagable are Silverados...can we say HOT? The Tundra has also been catching my eye lately. But, here's what takes the truck from datable to marriagable. The accessories. See, for instance, the spray in bed liner...he likes to take care of his stuff, therefore, he's responsible. The grill guard, he's protective. Dual exhaust...he wants people to know he's coming (I would rather listen to the sound of dual exhaust than Mark Broussard!). The diamond-plated toolbox...he's practical. An SUV can get by with becoming marriagable with roof racks, but not ones for bikes. Then we get into colors...red is a no, it clashes with my hair and we can't possibly even date if your vehicle clashes with my hair, we'd just have to take my Jeep everywhere. Yellow is also a mistake, are we lifeguards? Black, dark blue, and hunter green are insanely hot, but undoubtedbly the best color for a truck is silver. Tan isn't so bad, it's just kind of boring, as is white. If you have a pink or purple truck, you should be arrested for being dumb.
The lustable truck. The only lustable truck that there is the the Landrover Defender 90. It's B-E-A-utiful. Yeah, sure, in the world where the cost of gas doesn't matter, it's a practical truck...but I like the old ones, as in pre-Ford takeover. Oh, wow, they are so hot.
So, now you know my views on what is datable, marriagable, and lustable. I wish I could show you my illustrations, but I haven't gotten that far in blogschool yet.
Disclaimer: These opinions expressed are opinions of this pirate only and not of others here on board who might think a Geo Metro is a fine ride...or that a "tricked out" 4 Runner is acceptable.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm no competition for Emeril...or Kathy...or Tyrone....

The Caretakers
It's 4:39 am and I can barely keep my eyes open. I attempted to make cookies earlier tonight. I made a few mistakes...probably the first being attempting to bake. The second was probably sometime around the "2 cups of flour" business where I couldn't find the flour, so I just used yellow cake mix. I like cake, I like cookies, it should work, right? I thought it was kind of runny, but it was going to be just fine, I knew it...they were going to be the best cookies ever! I found this great pan, you know, one of those industrial-cook-for-a-million kind of pans. I was able to put all of the cookies on it. Then, the oven beeped and it was now heated to 375 degrees...or maybe it was 365 degrees...my mom says it always matters, but to me, when it's less than like 50 degrees out, it's flippin' cold and when it's more than 90 degrees, it's flippin' hot...and if I can't tell the difference, neither can cookies...it's dough, what does it know? So, I went to put the industrial size pan into the kitchen size oven and found out why those pans looked un-used...because they don't fit in the oven we are now using. So, I had to transfer the dough onto another smaller pan, so I used a huge spatula thinking that that was a great idea. It kind of was, but it was so big that it kind of combined two cookies into one, but no one's ever complained about a cookie being too big, especially one of these amazing yellow cake chocolate chip cookies. I finally transferred about 24 puddles of dough into 12 piles on the new cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I went on a round. Ten minutes later, the buzzer went off and I was all excited about my cookies only to find that the 12 piles had become one big flat bleehhwe. (I don't really know what that last word was, but I don't really know how to explain the mess, so that works). What a big dissappointment! My amazing cookies are worthless...they aren't even cookies, they are more like a natural disaster that's not really natural, it's just me. Well, at least those who know me will know that I haven't changed much. I'll try to follow the recipe next time...no, I probably won't. So, you won't someday see me on the food network, but I'm pretty sure I can live with that.

Just alot of wind, no pirates....

It is seriously windy here right now. I'm sitting in reception on my watch and I just watched one of those plastic pool chairs slide across the breezeway. The STEEL building on the dock is making alot of noise and there are lights falling off the ship. They say that it's only gusts of about 25 mph. Only 25 mph! In a few short hours, Hurricane Wilma will hit Florida. Being here makes me know what I will see when I turn on the news tomorrow...it won't be pretty. But, enough about that because Fox News, CNN, and other newsy people will tell you more than you ever want to hear, so I will tell you what keeps blowing by the window here in reception...well, there goes Maria Elena...she didn't really blow by, but she did walk by...ok, we just went and secured some things here on the ship. Where the heck did this wind come from? Ok, yeah, I know about how the sun heats up the water which causes evaporation and heating and cooling processes cause wind because hot air rises and takes place of the cold air that rushes in only to be warmed by the water that the sun is heating...yeah, I majored in meteorology for a semester...don't look so suprised, I majored in about everything...holy crap, the wind is blowin the ship, I just felt it pitch...ahhhh! Why can't I be asleep for this! Ok, so I will tell you about..whoa...Keeper's (the ship dog) house just flew past the gangway security camera...what the heck is going on!!! Ok, so back to my original thought...must read blog to figure out what original thought was...oh, yeah, so I don't like the engine room much...I think it comes from the fact that I'm from Florida and never had to deal having a basement or cellar, so I never had to get over that whole being afraid of the basement thing. But, now, I have a basement...it's the biggest, scariest, loudest basement ever! I mean, there's this place that I go around on my round and it looks like there's someone standing there hiding around the corner! It's really just a bunch of rolled up coveralls that are strategically placed for a person's shoulder and leg. Then, there's this machine that kicks on everytime I walk by it. I even brace myself to walk by it and still it scares me. Then, there's this duct that blows some seriously cold air downward very fast and it messes up my hair...which never looks hot when I'm on watch. And then there's this other machine that hisses at me! And this is every hour!!! When something actually goes wrong down there, there's the most awful alarm. Well, I just went down there and saw that the wind has us pitched about 2 degrees. That's "out of control" as Caitlin would say. I will update you later on tonight as to other things that may be going on on the ship...but for now, I think I'm going to make some chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Yo quiero un pirata

T...You ARE a pirate, pirating onto this blog and all. And you cook, and you love Jesus. What are your thoughts on Chik-fil-a? Depending on your answer, I might just have to marry you!
I wish I had known there were suprises in the fridges, that might have made some of my watches more interesting. What kind of booty am I looking for? Gold? I'm really more partial to silver as I have orangy-gold hair, even pirates don't want to clash. Is the "treasure" bouncy balls...or even ice cream?
And had I known that there was Starbucks coffee onboard, the piliging would have begun long ago. What I wouldn't give for a decaf sumatra (grande in a venti cup with one splenda and filled to the top with half and half). Or maybe I'd splurge and go with a white chocolate mocha. Yeah, I think I just discredited all pirate aspects about myself in this last paragraph.
Anyway, onboard currently is Kathy, Maria Elana the Montavan, Tom, Ciaran, and Joyce...then some people you don't know.
I read your email of how you are eating your way across the States. You crack me up. Don't you know that there's super cool stuff to do all those places? Instead your like, "I went to the Cheesecake Factory and had shrimp appetisers, then went to Joe Schmo's for lasagne al a mode". You should come to Jacksonville sometime and eat at my favorite restuarant, Mojo's. Mmmm...it's soo good. I would offer to pay, but I'd just be lying to you.
We miss you! And Keeper (the sequel) is such a great dog, he just eats shoes, birds, fish, and he won't fetch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Real Pirate?

Like how I pirated my way back on this blog?

I have the record for 'bouncy-ball' score! 27!!! OK, ok, just kidding....I don't.

How much of the pork has been eaten up lately? And check around in all the freezers and refrigerators that are running...if you look real deep in each one, you may find some surprises hidden in them (unless Kathy has found all the good ones).

How many crew are still on board? I am assuming that you (the pirate) Missy, Kathy, and Tom...but who else?

If you need to get rid of the rest of the Starbucks Coffee in the hold have some one drop it off in Huntsville Alabama (or somewhere near by) and I will come get it all...we are a bunch of coffee-holics up here (although them nice Fu-Fu coffee drinks are getting expensive). Or if you would like to mail it to me a case at a time:

Tyrone B.
2640 Blue Springs Rd Apt E-1
Huntsville, AL 35810

But seriously, I will donate it to my church or ministries here that have taken a lot of the Hurricane Evacuees. (Besides, it went out of date the beginning of this year).

But enough about the coffee...this x-caretaker would like to see some more pictures, including the dumb dog (your words, not mine...or was it stupid?).


The Caretakers

The Caretakers
I was on watch last night until 6 AM this morning. I actually slept for 12 hours...which is amazing. I woke up to find this note on the message board, "Most wannabe pirates are from Jacksonville and are jealous of the Welsh maritime legacy." Now, what would cause such awful words to be written about me? Maybe the fact that before it said that, it said, "Most pirates are from Wales, but just because your Welsh and have done an 'armed boarding' does not make you a pirate." I wrote the second note, but the first was from the captain who left today.
When he was first asked if he was a pirate, he responded, "no". But, then, he somehow (it's blatantly obvious) caught onto my infatuation with pirates and decided that he was a pirate. However, if he was a pirate(which he's not!), he was the worst pirate ever. He actually once went to board a ship, fell overboard and caught onto the ship, asked the crew of the ship he was boarding to HOLD HIS MACHINE GUN while he dried off. Then, the crew of the ship gave him coffee while he waited for the rest of the British Navy to come onboard. Pirates don't have machine guns. Not fun ones anyway.
Because I'm so bored, I googled pirates and found a really funny article that was talking about the hardships of pirates being long days at sea, storms, starvation, mutiny, then it busts out with "no ice for cocktails, no air-conditioning, no showers, no clean sheets"...clean sheets? Pirates don't do laundry or take showers...maybe this captain was a real pirate. But, of all the bad things or things to write about being a pirate...clean sheets is just not that high on my list. That's what makes me a pirate. Arrrggg....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Pirate is Back...

Wow, how cool am I. I'm the newest little blogger in the CBM Caretakers...and I'm taking it over. Cause that's what pirates do.
It's quite strange living on a big ship with only a few people, but I've found it to be quite nice. I mean, now, there's no fear when walking into the pantry that one of those pesky pantry fairies will kill you for taking a piece of toast. And we have cake almost every night! We have a dog! He's the dumbest thing ever, but we're working on "fetch" and "sit", but it's been highly unsuccessful. My room is HUGE, I mean, I can almost stretch without touching a wall. And I don't have to wait in line for a shower.
And how crazy...I hated gangway watch when I was here in Belize, and now, I come back just to do 8-hour security rounds. What am I thinking? But, it's been pretty fun and I've only almost sunk the ship once.
Since I'm bored, I will compile a list of things to do on watch....
1) Write emails to all the people in your address book.
2) Check the weather.
3) Do your hourly rounds.
4) Write a song about how tired you are.
5) Make breakfast...because cereal is the worst stuff ever!
6) Remember that Jay Leno comes on at 3 and Conan on at 4.
7) Do laundry.
8) Clean your room.
9) Watch movies.
10) Chase Keeper on the dock.
11) Think of fun events for the ship.
12) Buy random things on Ebay.
13) Google people on the ship.
14) Make fun signs to stick on people's door.
15) Write real letters to people back at home.
16) Bounce bouncy balls down the aft staircase...give yourself one point for every step it hits from promenade deck to c-deck (current record, 23).
17) Moon security cameras and run back to reception to see if you can see yourself.
18) Do pilates.
19) Learn to knit.
20) Decide your awful at knitting.
21) Kill small fuzzy animal in Reception.
22) Realize small fuzzy animal WAS your knitting project and again reassure yourself you will never knit again.
23) Plan trips you'll never take.
24) Count the stars.
25) Try to figure out why cabins still smell like people who were in them years ago.
26) Think about what you'd like to dream about when you get off in 5 hours and 28 minutes.
27) Go do another round...which is what I'm going to do now.

Have fun,
The Pirate <><

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gone Fishing

Maria Elena decided to take her off and go fishing. She wanted to get away for work, relax, and spend some time outside. Since she doesn't drive and has a hard time getting away from the ship she did the next best thing. With tackle and bait in hand off she went. A long walk to the bow of the ship.

Community Meeting

Comunity Meeting is still a part of life on board the ship. Usually we view a video. But with the size of the doubling last week we had a guest speaker. A person we all know and love and someone who always speaks from his heart, Rob Miller. We called him Pastor Rob for the week.

Family Visit

It was really great having Ciaran, Lilian, Joy and Rob to spend a few days with us last week. We had a great time, well Maria Elean and Kathy did anyway. They were off the ship almost every day with Lilan. It was a real treat. Tom worked a lot harder the usual. He was helping Ciaran with the 6 week start up. Can't tell you how good it was to hear the engerators and the AC running. All those sounds we were so use to before and haven't heard for a long time. Of course Ciaran did give us a bit of a tease. He ran the AC for only a day and a half. Just about the time is started to cool off the whole ship, He turned it off. NOT FAIR.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I don't want to say Bill and Rebecca had a lot of stuff.
But a picture is worth a thousand words

One More Good-Bye

Once again we say good-bye to family. Bill and Rebecca left us on Monday morning.
They will leave a hugh empty place on the ship. We were really sad to see them leave.
I'd like to think they were sad about leaving too but from the look on their faces I wonder.
Good-Bye Bill and Rebecca we will miss you alot!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

And then Ther were Three

Well Bill and Rebecca left this morning. That leaves Tom, Maria Elena and Kathy. Not quit the Three Stooges or the Three Mustcateers. Huey, Duey and Luey? Maybe! We will continue to Guard and watch over our beloved ship. In only 2 months we have gone from 80 to 17 to 9 to 7 to 5 to 3. At this rate Tom will be very lonely here by himself in a couple of weeks. Just kidding!!!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A visit from Paul

A big thank you to Paul for driving over from Florida to fix the PA system. He is headed to the Africa Mercy on Monday. God speed, Paul!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A visit from our Safety Officer

Captain Jon Fadely came for a short visit. We especially are grateful for giving us the catch-up news of the goings on with the evaluation process for our little ship. We appreciate so much all the labor that our leadership and the CBM evaluation team are lovingly giving as they seek the Lord's will for the future.
Thank you, Capt Jon! Please come again soon!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bill "orientating" the newest Crew Member.

Whooah! It is Nellie!

A real treat for the Caribbean Mercy! Nellie Kloosterman's ship the Mighty Servant 3
is docked for a few days in Pascagoula, MS. Nellie gave us a call saying she had some time off, so we hopped in the car and picked her up. When she walked up the gangway, she said "Oh! It smells like the Caribbean Mercy!" (We think that means it smells like home) She spent one night with us then was able to attend church in Mobile - Living Word Christian Center - where she had been baptised. What a wonderful blessing for her! She was able to share how God has shown himself faithful since she has returned to commercial shipping. She is welcome to return to us anytime!


So, with this hot, humid weather we have taken to gardening. Yes, we are still harvesting peppers, 4 varieties (!) that Jeremy planted in a pot on the dock. Bill has been faithful in disposing of all of them.
We are also trying out hydroponic gardening, only we aren't sure what it is, exactly, that is growing on the bumper. Then, on Aft Deck, we have a couple of other items growing. We are considering getting a couple of chickens and housing them out there to keep the growth down and possibly provide us with fresh eggs every morning. Haven't run that one by Marine Ops, yet.

Good-by Keeper

Everyone knew that you needed to be careful around Keeper. She either loved you or hated you - and sometimes both. Tyrone dubbed her "schizophrenic" and now we think that may have been true. One minute you were her best friend and the next moment she would nip at you. When Rick and Britt were here, she did just that and nearly got a good piece of Rick's hand. So, sadly, we made the decision to return her to the Humane Society. We did not want to take the chance of her biting a visitor or any of the Crew. We miss her.

Keeper, the Sequel

OK, we did not expect this to happen. Uh, ummmm, well, see, this dog just showed up inside the gate. Tom put him out. Then the (smart) cute little thing started whinning and Tom, soft hearted bloke that he is, couldn't stand it and let him in. He has made himself comfortable on the dock, has taken over Keeper's harness and leash, has eaten the left-over hamburgers and has wheedled his way in to the Caretaker's hearts. So what are we suppose to do? He just showed up. Hey, whadya think - did God send him???

Monday, July 25, 2005


Well, we said good by to Jamie last Friday and to Tyrone on Saturday. We thought about tying them to the ship, but gave up the idea... We surely do miss them both! We had a treat, though, when Rick and Brittany Schommer stopped by for a visit. It was wonderful to catch up with them. They are on a fundraising tour then plan to head to Honduras for a new land-based adventure with Mercy Ships. We give them our blessings!
This week we are doing our check-offs, cleaning up the place (a never ending job!), and trying to stay cool in record temperatures and humidity. Friday the heat index was 110+.
Well, here's the latest scoop. Bill and I will be going home on August 8 for a leave. We have some family things to take care of. Please pray for us as we prepare to leave "home" to go "home." I know this sounds confusing to some of you, but those who are former Crew know EXACTLY how we feel. We will do some re-evaluating while home and make a decision later about returning. We really want to be here when she gets ready to sail out again!
Thanks for the encouraging emails you send us. We love hearing from you! You can email all of us at once at cbmcaretakers@mercyships.org.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This is the installation of the security fence around A-Deck. Note the pitiful faces of those who participated in the installation. We are trying to figure out if the fence is to keep intruders off or us on - what do you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Originally uploaded by Bill and Rebecca Long.
The new (??) float was installed so we are ready for any leaks / spills.

Float #2

Float #2
Originally uploaded by Bill and Rebecca Long.
Not too pretty to look at, but it will do the job!


Originally uploaded by Bill and Rebecca Long.
My only question is...
Is it gator proof?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Originally uploaded by Bill and Rebecca Long.


Originally uploaded by Bill and Rebecca Long.
New Crew member!

Tuesday Morning

OK, I don't like this at all. Yesterday we said good-by to Jeremy and Katie. While we are excited about their new adventures including the friend-family tour and a trip to Europe, we will miss them terribly. Jeremy's quiet, steadfast presence (and his amazing humor!), and Katie's enthusiasm and youthful energy have been a real blessing to us. We are looking forward to the day when Jeremy will remember his old ship buddies and provide free tickets to fly around the world! They leave with our blessings and prayers for a wonderful future - one filled with joy and peace, success and prospertity - the kind that only the Lord can give. We miss you, already, dear children! Go in the Lord!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hard work, but someone needs to do it

As we prepared for Dennis' arrival, some one was needed to do the hards tasks. And then we have the onlookers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Chickasaw Charlie, aka Albert Aligator

As promised, here he (she?) is!

As promised!

So, here is the picture of Charlie. He (she) finally came out of hiding and spent quite a long time checking us out as we were checking him (her) out. We think we may have seen one more gator over by the corner of the swamp, but we're not sure. Bill and Tom braved the waters (therefore, no picutres of the new Bosun - Kathy who is our OS in training!) and paddled over to the other side of the slip to bring back the lines that we set out for Hurricane Dennis. This is no easy task since it is the paint float they use for transportation, but they are getting pretty good at it! Charlie stayed in her corner of the water and watched as the boys were pulled back to the ship.
It has been raining - actually pouring outside with some thunder and lightning. The good news is that it has really cooled down and we are appreciating the nice little breeze that has come up. Tonite is "Community Meeting" and we plan to start the video series we found in the Chaplin's office: "The Five Love Languages." We are well and acclimating to the ship and the heat after the little jaunt to East Texas. It is good to be home.

Sugar and Gators...

The sugar is directly South of the salt, its in a plastic bin/container underneath the counter. Your choice of white or brown.

I think I would have better chances of petting the Gator and making friends. But Keeper seems to be a good dog for those of you that can interact with her. hahaha.

Some have implied that I don't like dogs, but thats not true...our family even had a big ole mongrel we loved to death for ten years. Keeper just seems to be overly suspicious of me (kinda like most people in Mercy Ships, just kidding!). Maybe I remind her of someone who used to abuse her?

You can quote me, 'I am not a dog hater' just ask Billy and Dancer!

Good luck with the cornbread, its needs all the help it can get straight out of the bag!


Return of the Prodigal!

Sighted: Chickasaw Charlie, aka Albert Aligator, was sighted this morning just aft of the mooring line to the other side of the slip. We tried to get a picture of him (her?) but all our stomping around caused him (her?) to submerge. We will keep an eye out and try to get a picture. This afternoon we will pull the lines away from the other side and it is rumored that Deck Hand Kathy will be on the paint float. For this we will definitely get pictures, so stay tuned!

Cornbread, anyone?

OK. So who knew?

The last time we had cornbread I thought it was not sweet enough. So yesterday, when it was my turn to cook I decided to bake some and add a little sugar to it. So – well – ummmm – I guess the plastic container on top of the shelf in the galley is NOT sugar. It is salt. Tom was the first to discover this and I have apologized all over myself to him. Bill thought it was a hoot because this has happened one other time with me – to lemon meringue pie - this was during a church campout and it was discovered before it was inflicted upon any innocent bystanders. I am humbled by the experience. And to think... the cornbread looked so pretty. Hmmmmm, there must be a sermon in here somewhere...

OK, so where IS the sugar in the galley, anyway?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hints from tyronebcookin

IF, a big if, you are refering to the tupperware container on top of the small frigerator in the galley on the counter by the radio...none of you, I repeat, none of you are tall enough to read that it is labeled salt on top of it unless you take it down. Or, you did not turn it around to read the labeling on the other side.

Next, taste! Always taste!

Lastly, if you read the bag of cornbread mix you will see that its made with honey already (yuck, thats Northern Style cornbread) so if you added any more sugar to it (Mrs. X) it would be corn cake!

BUT the fact is its an honest mistake and I can't hold my southern grudges against a premixed bag of cornbread...but rest assured if I was there the day that came in on the US Food truck I would have sent it back quicker than Tom spitting it out!!!

Don't let this discourage you from trying again Mrs. X!


Don't try the cornbread!

Dinner tonight provided much entertainment and laughs for all. A particular crew member, who we shall refer to from this point on as "Ms. X", made beans and cornbread for everyone. Tom grabbed a big hunk of cornbread and started in on it, when all of the sudden the color drained from his face and he made a mad dash to the garbage can and passionately spit out what was left of the cornbread. Now, for those of you who know Tom, he is not the drama queen that this incident would suggest. "Something wrong with the cornbread?" I asked. "Not if you like eating a salt lick," he answered. We decided that we'd try it on Bill, since he eats just about anything and enjoys it. Bill took only a few crumbs to taste, and the look on his face was priceless. Along with his comments afterward. It turns out that though the cornbread was from a box, Ms. X had decided to "sweeten" it with some of the white granules from the not-so-clearly labeled tupperware on top of the microwave. Oops! Bill took it outside and dumped the remains into the water. You know it's bad when he won't even give it to the dog!

Speaking of Keeper, her first bath today was very successful and uneventful. At first she tried to run away from the hose, but then resorted to standing still with her tail between her legs, all the while glaring at me as I soaped her up. We're still friends though, and now she smells of Pert Plus rather than dumpster drainage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

And we're back

Well, it turns out that Hurricane Dennis' bark was worse than his bite, at least for the Gulf States. The storm weakened to a category 3 hurricane when it hit land on Sunday, and wasn't nearly as destructive as his buddy Ivan from last year. Unfortunately Pensacola was in the direct line of this one as well. I think that if I own(ed) a home there, I'd seriously think about relocating.

The 6 of us (me, Jeremy, Bill, Rebecca, Jamie and Tom) enjoyed a long weekend at the IOC, visiting former crew members and trying not to speculate what shape we'd find the ship (or the freezers, which had been unplugged) in when we returned. Jeremy flew out to New Mexico to check out a flight school on Monday afternoon, and that night the 3 remaining guys drove back to Chickasaw. Rebecca and I left this morning (Tuesday) around 7:00 and made record time getting back. The ship looks about the same as we left her, aside from a few differences:

1. The dumpster, which hasn't been emptied in 7 weeks, STINKS! The heavy rain pounded on the garbage for awhile on Sunday, leaked out the bottom of the dumpster, and created a wide river on the dock that smells of wet dog and raw sewage. I nearly gagged when I stepped out of the car today.
2. Our pepper plants have suffered, probably from not receiving enough sunlight indoors. I watered them tonight and placed them back in their spot where they had been thriving. This spot, however, is in the path of the dumpster's river, so perhaps our fresh-picked peppers will be no more.
3. The pool is overflowing and leaning even more towards the edge of the dock. All I can think is that the day we finally get Tyrone in the pool will be the day our pool decides to become one with the larger body of water just a few feet away. People screaming, limbs flailing, Keeper biting the flowing water...it would not be pretty.

I am on night watch right now, at least for a few hours. Chief Officer Jamie drove all through the night, then worked all day putting the ship back together, and was scheduled for night watch. So he's catching a few much-needed winks. It's a little scary walking through B-deck late at night. I thought of taking Keeper with me, but she's even afraid of those mini crabs in the water here, so she wouldn't be much help or comfort.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: Keeper's First Bath.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Current Chickasaw Forecast: Direct Hit, Late Sunday Afternoon

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Evacuation from Mobile

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride out a Cat 4/5 hurricane on a 80m long vessel. That is what our merry little band of Caretakers had plan to do if "Dennis" had of take a more easterly route. But when the officials from the two counties Baldwin and Mobile were going to order a mandatory evacuation and the US Cost Guard recommend that we do the same. I figured that we should head to Texas to Mercy Ship's International Operations Center (IOC). I decided to leave Noon on Friday fun. We had to totally shutdown the M/V Caribbean Mercy, disconnect stom shore power, disconnect water & Sewage, all cables and shore connections. Putout additional lines, lower the anchor, secure the decks, lower the gangway and then disembark from the vessel- jumping about 5 feet from the pilot ladder to the dock. doing all this with a crew of 1 engr, 2 deck hands and 1 ordinary seaman. However the real fun will be reboarding, reconnecting, and restarting all of the systems on board.
After we left the ship a 7 PM on Friday night we were caught up with major traffic so I called my personal OnStar person, Cindi- my wife and she redirected us onto an alternate path. Where the road not so busy, just long. Our normally 9-10 hour trip was a mere 12 hours to drive. We arrived at the IOC at 8 AM after having Breakfast. Only to find out that the Cat 5 was now a 1. But, mandatory evacuations are still taking place and all roads into the area where converted to outbound so we missed the heavy traffic out.
We are now at the IOC and will contact the Chief of Police on Monday to determine when we will be returning to the Ship. As it looks we are planning to return Tuesday and start the process of reconnecting everything.
Keep us in your prayers.

IOC Edition

Every once in a while we like to shake things up a little, just for fun. This week we decided to change around our entertainment schedule a bit. Rather than knocking off an hour or two early on Friday and going to the movies, we threw our clothes into bags and evacuated the ship and drove all night for thirteen hours to get to Texas.

So we're at the IOC, except for Tyrone who's hoping his parents will take him in. Last we heard last night on our way out, the governor of Alabama has declared a state of emergency and ordered mandatory evacuations for all counties along the coast - including the whole city of Mobile - by six o'clock tonight. They said the state troopers were going to close down all the southbound interstate lanes and use them for northbound traffic (asTyrone apparently discovered this morning). We heard this just as we hit the solid wall of red taillights, an hour and a half north of the coast. Half a million people fleeing in Alabama alone. All night we saw fellow refugees straggling north. Families crammed in pickups, dogs in the back, rich and redneck alike standing bleary-eyed around fluorescent-lit gas stations at 2 a.m.. Kids little excited, adults a little lost.

It keeps you fresh, you know, this kind of thing. Don't want to get in a rut.

South I-65 closed from Montgomery down...

I left at 5am Saturday morning heading North on I-65. Traffic was slow here and there...but what was amazing the exits on the left side (going south side) were all full with State Troopers and all kind of state vehicles, EVERY EXIT!

I posted these pictures that were taken (about 7:30am) from the North side of Montgomery cars trying to go South or trying to turn around and find another way to go.

See ya on tha other side (of the Hurricane, not life)!


Friday, July 08, 2005

Current Pics & Ship Trivia

Trivia items for the week -
  1. Nice and sunny today. Very pleasant.
  2. According to Fox News, if Dennis hits with its current strength it will be the most catastrophic hurricane to strike the U.S. in thirteen years.
  3. Dennis will probably continue to strengthen tonight and tomorrow before it hits us.
Have a nice day!

Dennis Reaches Category 4

...and is only 6 mph from being a Category 5. If you don't hear from us for a while, we'll be on the beach.
In Bermuda.
Sipping cuba libres.