One of the quirks of ship life we've been experiencing quite a lot lately is the overhead page. This is how we refer to an announcement made over the ship's public address system, from speakers that look like this:
The page always starts with a loud, screechy DING DONG, which is enough to make you shriek in terror if you are a small child or at least jump to attention as an adult. Whoever is making the page can choose where it goes: Emergency Medical and Fire pages go to all cabins and all rooms; most other announcements go to hallways and group meeting areas but not to bedrooms, to help all of our night shift workers and napping babies stay asleep!
My most popular blog post to date started out with a page: read about it here - 2:45am
Other pages we often hear:
"This is a drill, this is a drill, this is a drill." ~Captain Tim during every bi-weekly fire/medical/evacuation drill.
"Anyone knowing the whereabouts of the following day workers/crew members please contact muster control at 1000." ~Part of the bi-weekly drill is to account for every single crew member. Anyone who doesn't show up where they are supposed to gets their name called by overhead page.
"The new crew orientation is held at 6pm in the Queens Lounge. All new crew are required to attend. Please bring your orientation papers, and the forms that were emailed to you." ~Every Monday night at 5:45pm
"Attention crew - Bunkering has begun. All hot work must cease until further notice." ~Bunkering = taking on fuel, otherwise known as forced break time for the welders and other hot workers.
"Good Afternoon Crew, this is the Captain. We're doing some engine testing this afternoon so in about thirty minutes we will be closing the gangway. If you need to exit the ship please do so now." ~The gangway is how we get on and off the ship, and it's always closed for about a half hour or so when they are testing the engines.
Random pages we've heard recently:
"Attention Crew - we have a patient scheduled for surgery tomorrow who is in need of B positive blood. If we don't get enough donors we won't be able to perform her surgery. All B positive Crew members and Day workers willing to donate, please report to the lab immediately after lunch." ~Good news, we had enough B+ blood on board to perform her surgery and she's doing well!
"Attention Crew, this is the Chief Steward. We've discovered some bad chicken in the Dining Room, so if you have taken chicken, please do not eat it. Not all the chicken is bad, but just to be safe, please do not eat the chicken served this evening." ~ Page made during dinner last week. I hadn't eaten the chicken yet.
"Good Morning Crew, this is the Captain. Please note that we're experiencing problems with our vacuum system, and so the toilets and sinks will not be working until further notice." ~A rather unfortunate day last week. (Our drains are like those on an airplane = vacuum removal system)
And my favorite, favorite page:
"Attention Crew - if you have personal items on the Texas container, please go to the cargo hold to pick them up now." ~A collective cheer rises up from the crew patiently awaiting packages on the container!