#reverb 10 12-6-10

December 6 - Make.  What was the last thing you made?  What materials did you use?  Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?  (Author:  Gretchen Rubin) The last thing I made was a passage plan.  Yesterday we departed Sitrah, Bahrain bound for Doraleh, Djibouti.  My job as Second Officer is to compile all the necessary information that the other officers will require to navigate the vessel safely from Point A to Point B.

The modern mariner is privileged.  Almost all pertinent information has already been compiled and can be used electronically.  For example I receive several daily e-mails which contain my weather forecasts.  I save the downloads into the applicable software and voila! I have a weather map.  The same software program lets me program my routes so that we can see the weather relative to our position.

My Passage Plan lives in a binder with dividers for every component.  There is information regarding weather, tides, radio frequencies, etc.  However the bulk of the passage plan is an excel spreadsheet which contains a latitude and longitude for each waypoint as well as things to expect between waypoints.  For example I highlight any hazards to navigation,  bearings on easily identifiable points of land, position fixing intervals, as well as our underkeel clearance.  Underkeel clearance is found by taking the lowest charted depth for each leg of the voyage and subtracting our vessels draft (depth in the water).  This portion of the passage plan is the most time consuming....

My favorite part of the passage plan is prepping my charts.  I find there is something wonderfully simple about chart corrections.  Almost zen.  Prior to leaving port I ensure all my charts in use have the most recent corrections applied.  This is a never ending task.....the charts are constantly changing.  I love plotting our courses and selecting the best route to travel. 

I've heard many times over the years the expression 'the art of navigation' and would have to say that in this day and age it is almost more science like.  Although I love taking the sextant out on longer sea passages the reality is that we rely very heavily on electronic navigation (GPS).  I wholeheartedly believe that we as seaman have an obligation to keep the art of navigation alive and well - keeping the romance of going to sea alive and well.

This has kind of turned into a boring post....the most recent 'creative' thing I made was a magazine collage to house my calender.....I also made a magazine collage for my stateroom....