About Me

A slightly over-educated sailor sharing the wet and dry sides of his life.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Minor Update: Heading Westbound Across the Atlantic

September 20, 2003

The ship is clear of the Mediterranean and heading across the Atlantic, back
to New York's Staten Island. We've received notice of the new guys for the
Deck Department. I've sailed with two of the guys before, so I'm happy to
see them again. Both Big Mike Orosz and Dave Shands are good people. The
Bosun is new to me, but Norm vouches for him. That is a good thing.
Captain Carubia will be back for next trip, but we will be getting a new
Chief Mate. The Mate who normally is scheduled for this interval sailed as
relief captain for this trip. Bill Westrum also got promoted to the captain
slot on the APL Japan, so that explains the opening here. Additionally,
Captain Diederiks would normally be here for the interval of next trip,
except that he decided to retire. As his replacement, Captain Reynolds,
from the APL Thailand, will be promoted to this ship. This is a promotion,
because the C-10's pay at a higher rate for captains and mates than the

These changes will be interesting, as it will significantly change the scene
for the Truman. I hope to keep in touch with the guys who will remain
behind here after I leave in November. I hope to return here, when I ship
again in March. If the word gets out too much that the Truman is a good
ship--which it is--then I can expect some A-books to start getting in my
way. All three of the sailors coming to this ship are A-books, so the
change just might be at hand. My fingers are crossed that this is only an
accidental blip on the radar screen of the future. It's hard enough finding
a good ship these days. APL added two re-flagged ships for the S.U.P. to
this route. Unfortunately, they pay at a lower rate than the existing ships
we have. Worse than that, the days you have to work on those ships for
medical benefits is bad. There, you have to return to work two months after
get off, least you lose your benefits. Considering that you have to work 5
½ months (three trips) to get your unemployment and transportation home, you
are getting a very raw deal. After three trips, you really have no desire
to return until close to four months have passed. Since I view the
President Polk as a pariah of the fleet (two fucked-up captains), I have
only the Jackson and the Truman as viable ships to work on. If I find that
I have enough time with the Union to get my A-book, I'll be looking to fly
to Hawaii, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to get a job before I have to ship
on the Polk, Agate, or Japan. At least I'll have fun (though not in Los
Angeles) while waiting for a ship.

Well, it looks like water spout weather is upon us. I saw one this morning
while on watch. I was telling 3rd Mate Kyle that I was wanting to see a
water spout, when I decided to take a stroll out on the starboard bridge
wing. I thought to look behind the ship, and, lo and behold, I noticed a
bit of a cloud forming a point from underneath the larger mass. Sure
enough, as a few minutes went by, it grew larger and more pointed.
Eventually, it formed into a funnel, though not reaching fully to the water.
Still, from what I've seen in the past, the funnel doesn't have to clearly
touch water to actually start drawing water upward. What you can see, if
you're close enough, is a swirling on the ocean's surface where water is
getting lifted up. The distance from the water can be several hundred feet
from the tip of the funnel for this to happen. Nonetheless, I'm still
waiting for a full touch-down. When that happens, I hope to have my camera
on the ready. I figure next trip should provide some camera opportunities.

Well, that's about it for now. There's less than a week from New York and
less than two months before I return home after that. I can't wait to be
home again! Though it will be late November and the beginning of winter
weather, I'll be happy nonetheless. It'll be the life of cooking dinner for
Margaret, hanging out with the cats and chickens, and going out fly fishing

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