I can honestly say that walking beneath the SHERMAN on a daily basis is the most bizarre thing I've done since reporting. The mighty 7-2-0 looks like a toy, high-and-dry and propped upright on insubstantial looking wooden blocks. In the absence of water, we look much less intimidating. What I find most alarming about our new no-water status is how we sway. We sway under the pressure of the wind, from the movement of the dry dock floor as large trucks drive by, and apparently for no reason at all. It wears on my nerves and always, for some reason, encourages me to contemplate what we would do if there was an earthquake.
We have started work on nearly every system in the ship. Our bow prop is in pieces, our shafts are missing their propeller blades, fuel manifolds are being overhauled, men are working beneath our sewage collection holding tank (not a job I envy), and spaces that are typically closed and holding fuel are open for cleaning. We cannot close most doors for fear of destroying the many electrical cables and makeshift plastic ventilation the run the length of the SHERMAN. It is loud. On any given day you can expect to hear the steady pft-pft-pft of large pneumatic pumps, incessant metallic grinding from the guys outside working on our "U.S. Coast Guard" paint, whirring from chain falls, a thousand different languages from the people on board, and of course boatswain pipes attempting to give the crew some semblance of a normal work day. We are working like ants in a hill that has been recently stepped on. It's busy and crazy and surprisingly fun.