Ship's log 2011

(the) Past matters....


There were years that there was not much activity at the foundation during winter time. However, due to the fact that there is a multi-stoker stove in the "Heibok's" dayroom this has been changed.

As soon as it is not too cold, work is steady on by various volunteers in order to remove all insulation around the boiler of the Hercules in preparation of the 25-yearly survey.

All piping and valves must be removed as well and some do not have the intention to be beaten swiftly after all those years.


Most of the free time of this month is used at disassembling of pipe lines. And at cleaning of the boiler of the Hercules as well as of the one on the Heibok.

The organizer comes at place and one is looking when Lloyd's can visit for the surveys.

A new battery is installed in the "Argo" (our linesmen boat).


The galley is getting in shape steadily.

The fire extinguishers are inspected.

Lloyd's is visiting. The boilers of the Hercules and Heibok are examined. A start can be made with the enormous job of re-assembling, enabling pressure testing and "warm survey".

For pressure testing the boiler must be filled with water and be pressurized to 1.3 times its working pressure. The boiler (stil without insulation) is then examined by Lloyd's (the former "stoomwezen") again and checked for possible leakages of rivets, valves, piping and manholes. The "warm survey" follows up. This is checking under full pressure if the safety valve is opening as required.

Other fire bars placed in the piling boiler, with thanks to the Vasthout family of the ss Finland.


Valves are adjusted and the last valves are re-tightened for pressure testing.

The boiler is filled up with water completely, about 12.000 litres, and pressurized by a high-pressure pump to 15 atmosphere. The Lloyd's surveyor is visiting again to check if the boiler does not have any problems with this. Everything is found in good order.

A start can be made with the next big job, re-insulating the boiler. For this purpose new insulation was delivered on board by "Westland isolatie" earlier this month.


The boiler is coated with primer. And after two afternoons assisting herewith, deeply respect for the men who have to work regularly in, under and on the boiler. Next to this the insulation is put around it. Then the aluminium sheeting at last, ending with a properly covered boiler.

The foundation has become into possession of beautiful tall air tubes from the heritage of Kees Jongert. (These were on the list of queries for a while already). Roll bearings are fabricated for it by our fitter Jan, so that the air tubes can be directed to the wind. The tubes are provided with some paint and the day before departure to Maassluis they are ready.

The telegraph gets an overhaul. The galley equipped again. The whole boat is washed inside and outside. The men are "walking on their rubber boots" after months of hard and heavy work. During the outward voyage to Maassluis the "warm survey" is done at last. At the required pressure the safety valve is opening. The "Day of sea towing" can begin.


Early this month around 13 tonnes of coal are loaded. All is going into the coal bunkers directly this time with as a consequence that the Hercules is listing to port. This is because the weight of the condensor is already on the port side as well. But when the stokers are consuming for one day from port side only she'll be properly upright again.

Small doors are fabricated for under the work table in the engine room.

At the end of the month we are proceeding to the Port Days in Terneuzen. Since we are underway quite some hours we spend the night together with the Dockyard V in Hansweert. The next day we depart early and are arriving there timely. We do an attempt to remove the salt from the superstructure. All the brass-ware is polished. There is time to chat with the other crews. The Saturday begins rainy unfortunately and it is in the afternoon already before we are proceeding with the first passengers. The evenings are pleasant with performances of famous Dutch artists in the party tents and because of exchange of cheese, sausages and drinks with the neighbours. The Sunday is quite warm and is concluded with the fleet parade. We do let us hear loudly and our homebound voyage begins hereafter. After a very warm day again, as a result of which it was quite tough for the men in the engine room, we are back again in Schiedam on Monday afternoon around four.


For years already the Hercules is acting as start and finish ship during the "Van Loon Hardzeildagen" (regatta) in Veere. As always we are expected in Zierikzee on Thursday, where we usually are welcomed with a delicious mussel meal. This time we are heading for Zierikzee in the afternoon only because our captain has to do a morning shift for his employer first. Because of a cold boiler and engine the Hercules is barely proceeding ahead on "The Waterweg" due to the strong wind. But on the "Oosterschelde" the Hercules and her crew is really challenged. The waves are pounding to the new wavebreaker bow. The wheelhouse windows stay undamaged fortunately but this is not the case with the diner plates in the galley. Also the cutlery drawers are not praised. Life buoys are washed away from their supports, water and sand is ending up in the forward crew's quarters entrance. The Chief Engineer has a wet bunk in the evening. There's so much water washing over deck that the engine room crew cannot be relieved. Despite of all this a joyful singing is arising through the speech pipe. The youths do obviously still like it. The mussel meal is missed because of the late time of arrival but the boat is fortunately arriving undamaged.

The delivery voyage is on Friday and one is departing to Veere. Fortunately the weather is quite improving and this way the "hardzeildag" (regatta) can persist on Saturday and has the rough voyage not been for nothing. The crew is placing the benches against the "koelkast" (= upper boiler room) to sit warm and out of the wind. The sailing boats are flying by. It is a successful event after all.

Sunday morning early one is departing for the homebound voyage with a careful little sunshine and after a smooth voyage of around ten hours proceeding we are back again at our berth in the "Voorhaven".


Because of the extensive story about the Veere voyage last month, there was no space anymore to mention that we also have been to the "Spuidagen" in Oud Beijerland early July. The weather is superb and it is pleasantly busy around the port. We make small trips with passengers together with the Pieter Boele.

It is an uneventful holiday month wherein a lot of volunteers have a vacation but despite of that the "regular" maintenance continues. After the quite wet voyage to Veere it is necessary to check up the electrical wiring. Sandpapering, painting and cleaning is carried out here and there. The cover is taken off the funnel again end of the month for firing up in preparation of a voyage with a group of people during the World Port Days in Rotterdam.


With our group of people we experience the World Port Days from the water.

We are owning a very special steam whistle, namely the one of the tugboat "Drente". This tugboat ran aground on the coast of Egmond in 1935.

The boats "Kleppie" and "Argo" are joining as steering boat during the annual Canal Parade (Gondelvaart). The "Argo" is even assisting a yacht with engine troubles.

At the end of the month the boiler is fired up for the "Furieade". The weather is promising to become nice so the tent is removed. With superb nice weather we proceed to Maassluis. And after the "Furie" has opened the "Furieade", we are allowed to let Maassluis listen to the whistle of the "Drente". With great success.


During the Furieade we are berthed close to the local pub and unfortunately that’s resulting in quite a restless night, because drunk youngsters confusing the boat with a pissoir. But the Saturday is superb! Due to the nice weather there’s lots of visit and by time our volunteers are looking around at the other boats or market. We stay one more night and when our neighbour ahead of us is departing we shift a certain distance ahead, more far from the pub. The coming night stays quiet fortunately and we are departing smoothly back to Schiedam during the Sunday morning. The real fanatic ship lovers did wake up early for the departure parade and beautiful photos are taken.

The men do not like to make a fire during navigation only. Some try outs are done often. And by trial and error one is learning. Here is attempted to fabricate a round head for a davit.


Hard work is done to exchange an old light generator for a new one.

The boiler of the boat is fired and prepared for the inbound parade of Saint Nicolas. The day after it’s very busy in the engine room. Various instruments are attached to the main engine for taking performances. This is partly successful. We are returning the gangway and the pontoon and are using this opportunity to make nice photos out of the “Argo”. Despite the fog this is fairly successful and it results in a nice Christmas card.

The deck of the floating crane is cleaned up and old steel is carried away to the scrap yard. The winch astern is detached, enabling to be able to lower a compressor, generator, freshwater tanks and gasoil tank. Where after a new piece of deck is to be inserted. In short, one do not sit and wait. To be continued…


An empty boiler. Lid on the funnel. Tarpaulin over the wheelhouse. The navigation season is over again. It was a turbulent year with nice voyages.

What will 2012 bring us? Are we going out of the water in drydock? Regarding voyages it will be a busy year. We’ll see….

A Happy New Year for now and pleased to meet during next navigation season!