Saturday, December 29, 2007

The angry sea

Seas are very heavy tonight. We're having difficulties controlling the gear and had to shut down a recovery operation of a portion of our in-sea equipment, due to the danger. We're being tossed around in a rousing good Southern Ocean blow-up. Earlier, we took a good rogue wave abeam that tossed shit everywhere. I had two, wood shelving bars come down on my head and was thankful I had taken down all the large objects when I noticed the bar mounts were missing several days ago. Wish I had moved the loose bars, though. My head hurts, but at least the keyboard wasn't damaged when they bounced off my head and landed on it.

We're now heading into a turn, which could get dicey for the towed gear and will really liven things up in here. My opposite should be heading to the rack soon and I suspect he may find it difficult to sleep. He's had little, or no practice wedging himself into a rack and you always fall out the first few times:) I've now a chair with no wheels so I'm not rolling around the room and the other chairs are firmly wedged. Thank God PW found me a proper coffee mug, too. Hey honey, this isn't a hurricane, but the mug hasn't budged an inch, nor spilt a drop! I LOVE YOU.

Yesterday, my plans for a leisurely, 10K run were ruined by the Saturday Drill. Because safety is a big issue out here, we have to cross-train in a variety of areas, both emergency and operational. Normally, a drill is one either a fire, man-overboard, abandon-ship, or a chemical spill exercise. Yesterday, we mustered then broke into small groups, each completing a round-robin tour of several stations where we trained on different life-saving equipment, in order that anyone on the crew can take over any other crew member's duties during any type of emergency. The training included, pyrotechnics and tow-rope rocket launcher, defibrillator and First Responder gear, such as ventilators, oxygen, etc., life boat davit launching and operation, life raft launching, life vest maintenance, and EPIRB operation.

It's a lot of STUFF for a guy who's been hired to sit and run computers for a living, but I enjoy those bits and bobs, especially the fire-fighting, which is the most critical of all emergency operations because we have nowhere to go if fire breaks out. we had a fire drill last week, but I'm new to the vessel and wasn't placed on a fire team. I have to sit with the spuds and wait to be called on to monitor for hot spots, or perform boundary cooling around a burning section. Boring, but necessary, too.

After our drill, we retired to the mess, where we had a quick, general safety meeting then listened to a presentation on marine mammals and sea birds, given by one of the certified, Marine Mammal Observers onboard. It was pretty good, despite none of the material being new to me. I trained to be a certified MMO during a hitch back in 2005. Still, most of the crew were unfamiliar with the subject and it was a good refresher for me. It was also nice to find out which whales, dolphins, manatees and sea birds are expected down here.

Last week, the gun mechanics rescued a very tired sea bird and after rehabilitating him, set him free, again. I missed seeing the little dude, but saw his picture during the presentation and he looked pretty damn wore out from the bad weather of late.

Finally, I have one of those coveted, corner offices here. Well, they are not coveted here, but you know what I mean. It's adjacent to a door that leads to a changing room, which in turn leads to the back deck where all the gear is stored and deployed from. I step out there from time to time to get some "fresh" air and this is what I see while "relaxing". That reel is about 25 feet high and I'm surrounded by eight of them.

5 comments:

Heidi said...

Wow, whales, dolphins and manatees! I'm jealous. Though I would be 40 shades of green from sea sickness.

LeeAnn said...

Big spool of thread! Are you allowed to tell what this is for?

The Pirate said...

Leann-I suppose I can tell you that these reels are what we use to deploy and retrieve our towed gear with it.

Each of them hold several miles of the stuff.

We use a radio-frequency, remote control you strap to your waist, to control these eight, plus another 20, or so reels and winches, all hydraulically powered. Good fun playing with these puppies, I absolutely love it.

CresceNet said...

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The Pirate said...

Tomo arigato. Hola.

Dos cervesas, por favor!

I dyoshevo i serdito!!

Il m'incombe de call "bullshit" in plain English.