It has been said that working at sea is like being in prison, except out here you might drown, but have less of chance of becoming someone's bitch and getting the bootie flu.
After a long, boring shift I went up to the helideck to work out in the Australian sun. The helideck is on the bow, forward and below the bridge, which looms three stories above. The deck is ringed with a fence and painted battleship grey. It has a 23M-wide circle painted in the center, as a target for the choppers. At 82 feet wide, it's a pretty large area and yes, I know I'm mixing units-so sue me.
Anyway, it's the largest flat surface on the ship, out in the sun and usually has a fair breeze, so we often use it for exercise. I walked out yesterday to see:
30 people, most dressed in boiler suits, some stripped to shorts, all performing some sort of exercise. A pick-up game of basketball ran in the center, where we erect one of those portable hoops. Some crew walked laps around the outer fence. Others worked out with free weights and a few took over corners to do push-ups, or sit-ups. Others stood around in small groups, talking, or watching the game.
It struck me that the whole scene looked exactly like a prison yard. I glanced up at the bridge to see if the watch had a rifle trained on us. I told one of the gunners I belonged to the Yooper Brotherhood and we'd do him if ever wandered into our cell block and then spent the afternoon asking people what they were in for and wondered what would happen if I shanked one of the navigators for the price of a pack of smokes. I suppose the goons wouldn't cap me since the navigators are a bunch of keister bunnies, anyway...