But soon the banging noises and Portuguese ejaculations coming
from the bowels of the ship, caused me to slip from the wheelhouse,
down along the weather side of the ship, caused me to slip from the
wheelhouse, down along the weather side of the ship, to the engine room
hatch which opened upon the afterdeck. The grease-smeared Captain
saw me peering down, and invited me to join him in a space almost
entirely taken upon a huge Diesel. He had been filling the oil cups on the
working parts and had dropped one in the engine well. At last it was
fished out and the engine was ready to start. After the ignition was
tested, the valve on the compressed air tank that cranked the motor was
turned, and soon the Diesel was chugging along as smoothly as an auto.
"She like ole pipple. Go along but don't look so good,"
succinctly stated Captain De Cruz as his 45 H. P. servant began warming
up to the job.
Crossing the Bar and Out to Sea.
Tramping on deck, simultaneous with the drum of the motor,
showed that the deckhands were ready. The skipper went topside and
ordered them to cast off. Usually Scandinavians, Portuguese, Italians,
and Minorcans man the fleet, which, when occasion demands, may be at
sea for a week at a time. Negroes, too, have their place in the small army
of 2,000 workers identified with the industry that means millions of
dollars to St. Augustine.