Lady or Sailor?

"You might meet women who sail, but you sure won't meet no ladies."

light or mess?  lady or sailor?

light or mess?  lady or sailor?

 

The vessel is inbound for Bahrain.  I'm off watch and sound asleep.  The Captain and Third Mate can't get ahold of Port Control to gain entrance to the buoyed channel.  They've called and called - they've tried every channel they can think of - nothing.  I get a knock on my door.  'Mate, we need you on the bridge!'.  I scurry up to the bridge in my jammies.  The Captain looks at me and says, 'I'm really sorry to wake you up but, we need you to call Port Control...'.  I look at him blankly and grab the Mic.  'Bahrain Port Control, Bahrain Port Control, the is the Good Vessel Lollipop.'  'Ahhh...yesss!!!!!  Good Vessel Lollipop!!!!  Good Morning, Good Morning!'  'Yes, Good Morning Sir, We'd like permission to enter the buoyed channel.'  'Ah yes, no problem, no problem!'.  I had the Mic back to the Captain.  He looks a little miffed and says, 'Thanks Megan.  You can go back to bed.'.  At the end of the trip they had a shirt made for me that said:  you give good radio.

 

I rarely change my sheets at work.  One time, I ate chocolate chip cookies in bed and smeared chocolate chips into my sheets on accident.  It looked like baaad things had happened.  I still didn't change them.  On this last go around, I just spent three months on the same sheets.

 

I'm in Fujairah.  We've been anchored for a bit.  Spot market for tankers - Fujairah is popular waiting ground.  I've caught a launch in for some time at the Seaman's Center.  I have had a few too many Diet 7Ups.  It's time to head back towards the launch.  I may have 'escaped' my shipmates watchful eyes.  There may have been things shouted like, 'you're not the boss of me!'.  There is a flotilla of Dhows.  I hop on one and immediately scurry below deck.  I wake up the first sailor I see...and ask him to make me something to eat.  He is looking at me like I am craaaazy (and well....I guess that's fair).  I realize I'm maybe in the wrong place so I try again.  I run back to the main deck level and hop from one Dhow onto the next.  I scurry below deck.  I wake up the sailors who are all laying together around a stove.  'Hi!  Do you guys want to have dinner?!'  They're rubbing sleep out of their eyes.  I must have been the weirdest thing they'd seen in awhile.  'Miss Megan!  Miss Megan!'  I look up the ladder and there is a little Filipino man.  I've never seen him before in my life.  'Miss Megan you must come with me!'  He seemed so sincere that I start my way up the ladder and am on the deck of the Dhow with him.  'Miss Megan, we have to goooo!!!'  He grabs my hand and pulls me from the Second Dhow onto a Third and then we hop back onto a different pier.  'Miss Megan, these men are very, VERY dangerous!'.  I'm nodding like I understand.  'Miss Megan, you have to be VERY careful!'  He walks me back to the launch.  He exchanges rapid fire Tagalog with the launch operator and then the launch operator comes over and grabs my hand.  I look at my new friend and say, 'I have no idea how you know my name is Megan but, thank you Manong.'.

 

It's my first ship.  I left home knowing that I'd be at sea for Christmas.  I decide I have to take gifts with me.  I go old school and make cinnamon and glue ornaments.  They smell so good I figured people could use them as air fresheners.  I roll out the cinnamon and glue dough and cut out different sized stars and throw them in the oven to harden.  I've pre-poked holes and I string ribbon through them.  I take the time to package them in little gift bags.  I label each one for the specific individual.  I pack them all safely in a shoe box and throw them in my sea bag.  On Christmas Eve I sneak out and hang a gift bag on everyone's door.  Christmas morning I'm sitting at the galley table.  I'm just waiting for someone to say thank you for their present...and nothing.  After a bit I hear one AB say to another, 'Man, I don't know who left those cookies but that shit was fuuuucked uuuup....'.

 

I'm at the Farmers Market with my Mom and we run into old friends.  She starts catching them up on life and says, '...and who knew Megan would end up a Sailor?!  Doesn't she look like a pre-school teacher?!'.  This wasn't the first time she had said this.  We walk away from the friends and I look at her and say, 'if you ever tell someone I look like a pre-school teacher again I am going to freak.  the.  fuck.  out.'.  

 

I walk into the cargo control room.  The Bosun is sitting there with the Pumpman and the Chief Mate.  Things look serious.  I'm feeling nervous.  The Bosun says, 'Magpie.  We need to tell you something.'.  Now, I'm freaked.  The Pumpman looks like someone has died.  The Bosun, clearly the designated bearer of bad news says, '...you have the most annoying voice on the radio....now don't worry!  Your voice isn't annoying in real life!  Buuut, on the radio, can you try to lower your voice an octave?'  I don't say a word.  The Pumpman pipes up, 'Seriously, it's like a screech.  One octave.  Pleeeassee...'.  I now have a radio voice.

 

I'm on my first tugboat.  I'm getting to know a new Captain.  A week into our trip he looks at me and says, 'uuuummm....you're kind of alpha....'.

 

It's twilight.  I'm on the bridge.  It has been the longest watch ever.  I stood a six hour watch in the Persian Gulf.  Non.  Stop.  Traffic.  I finally call the Captain to assist me with traffic.  I have a traffic situation that's making me nervous  We normally do sanitary prior to daylight however; I have had one AB in hand-steering almost the whole watch - the other has had his face in the windows with binoculars.  I haven't made a fresh pot of coffee.  There was some sugar spilled at the coffee station through the night.  The Captain comes up to the bridge - sees the mess at the coffee station and freezes.  Then he flies forward.  He takes his hand and sweeps everything to the floor.  The coffee.  The creamer.  The sugar packs.  The carafe.  He whips around and yells, 'Megan!  Clean this shit up!' and storms off the bridge.  I turn around and say to my AB, 'hard right'.  I slow the vessel with the turn, let the two ships pass each other, complete my round turn and meet the third ship while getting over taken.  The bridge is silent.  My AB finally says, 'Mate, that was totally fucked up.'.        

 

I'm at work this past go around.  A dude from another boat says, 'I like your sweater'.  I look down and say, 'Thanks!  It's a good work sweater and pajama sweater.'  I realize that I haven't been differentiating between the two...and that I've been wearing it to bed and work...for three days... I look back up and say, 'I think I've had this sweater on for three days.'.  Dude says, 'You are a tow boater!'.  I felt kind of proud.

 

Someone sent me this prompt:  You might meet women who sail, but you sure won't meet no ladies.  I thought he wanted me to write about it but, instead he called it a prompt....or a psychopomp for the blog.  A Woman Who Sails or a Lady?  Is there even a difference?

 

 

Seal Baby

I was on the stern when I saw a little baby seal.  This is actually the second time I've seen this seal.  Of course it happened to be the exact moment I was dumping the card on my digital camera so I run back there with my phone.  By this time the seal has seen me coming and has gone under.

...so I did what anyone in their right mind would do... I banged on the side of the hull with my hand and called, 'seal baby!  come back seal babbbbyyy!'.  The fact that no one saw me doing this is probably a good thing however; seal baby came back!  He checked me out and I took a quick pick with my phone.

Fast forward to later in the afternoon - seal baby is back and sunning his (her) face.  My camera is up and running and I start behaving like a paparazzi.

Seal baby was quite a ways out but, lucky for me he slowly started drifting towards my boat.

Doesn't he look blissed right out?

He kept getting closer and closer.

By this time Seal Baby is CLOSE.

....and then he spots me and opens his eyes....

 I'm in LOVE.

I mean seriously, you gotta love this face.

I hope Seal Baby comes back for more adventures!

The guys on the boat think we should name the baby Lucille.  Get it? 

Here's to Seal Baby and the reminder to keep our faces to the Sun! 

Currently :: The Getting Underway Edition

We've been sitting idle for a week while we waited out some nasty weather in the Gulf of Alaska.

Hoonah, Alaska

Hoonah, Alaska

 

It's hard to describe how sitting and taking it easy on a boat is much harder than being underway.  

Here's what I've been up to currently... 

 I've been coloring. I'm so glad I brought my 'adult coloring book' with me. I know it's a fad. I know it screams look at me I'm a yuppy hipster but, I've been grateful for it. I even walked to the hardware store and bought a 64 pack crayola crayon box (because how can you turn down the built in sharpener?!). Apparently, the hardware store is where you go for everything in remote Alaskan villages. 

I've been binge watching Game of Thrones. I was on season 1.5 and now I'm on season 4. Need I say more?  Maybe I need to say that the Red Wedding did shock me, I was sad, I now understand why my FB feed was flooded with Red Wedding gasps about two years ago... 

I've been Instagramming.  I find it perks me up a bit. Makes me look for the good and beautiful in my day. It allows me to share that with friends. Sure, sure we all pretty up our lives for the insta-love but, I know for myself it's not always a bad thing. 

I've been sitting here thinking about what else I'm up to currently and am having a hard time. How's that for mopey boat syndrome?

The bottom line is I'll be headed into the Gulf of Alaska on the final leg of this '8 day trip' *ahem* 'one month trip' and I'll be without Internet. I figured I'd stop by and let you know I'd be away! 

Here's to Fair Winds and Following Seas! 

Tug Life // Seasick

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Confession:  I threw up for the first two days I was at sea on this lovely ole tug. 

Thinking about how much more a tugboat feels sea conditions didn't even remotely factor into my decision making process when I took the job. 

To be clear, I'd take the job again...I'd just be a little more prepared to feel every single ripple. 

The first clue I was no longer on a ship hit me when we were tied up to the dock. I'd lay in my bunk and feel the boat rocking. I'd be standing in the wheelhouse and I'd have to catch my footing for a second. At the dock. In a sheltered harbor. With a breakwater. 

Getting underway we headed into about a four foot swell. 

To say the vessel pitched would be a mild understatement. We felt every single wave. 

My body REVOLTED. 

During my first watch I had to run to the head and toss my cookies twice. My relief showed up on the bridge and as I was giving my turnover I had to blurt, 'oh my god I'm gonna be sick'....and RUN off the bridge to make it to the head. 

This kept up for two solid days until I felt like I could barely move (and my shipmates looked at me with pity and / or disgust)...and then I started to feel better really slowly. 

I'm now at the 45 day mark. Most days I'm golden but sometimes, if we hit the swell just right I'm wishing I could be somewhere else.  

We've also had phenomenal weather so I'm a little worried that my cookie tossing days aren't over. 

Note to self:  tugs move A LOT. Pack Dramamine and ginger chews. 

Tugboat Likes

I'm on my first rotation on a tugboat and, I've been really, really enjoying my time onboard. 

Here's a couple things I've been really liking (as opposed to ships): 

It's relaxed. People seem to take a very common sense approach to things which means that for the most part it's a much more relaxed environment.

It's dynamic.  We're much more in tune with the environmental factors. What's the wind doing?  Lots of current today?  What are the assist boats doing? How much water are we in?  

It's a community. It's blown my mind how much the tugs take care of each other.  Shared groceries, shared water,  shared information. Two days ago a tug dropped off a box of herbal tea for me. It's very, very refreshing.   

It's social. The crew actually socializes. Cribbage anyone?  Wanna watch a show?  There's one dining room table - we have lively dinner conversations. It's so good for morale.  

It's an open galley. Off meal times you can go to the fridge - find some food - and sheesh even cook it up if you want!  Coming from ships this feels like a luxury.  

It's flexible. Specifically regarding food. We actually go shopping at the grocery store.  If you want a specific cereal put it on the list.  Again, coming from ships this feels like a luxury.  

It's fun.  Hands on often times equals fun and that's very much the case here.  

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It's also really hard to not love using the hashtag #nautietugshavenicersterns on Instagram.