I was one of the more naive cadets at Maine Maritime Academy. It wasn't that I was less interested or less gung-ho than my classmates it was just that for some reason I was always on the tail end of the learning curve. I think it was a classic case of not knowing what I needed to know. It seemed like my classmates could slice through the masses of information and then ask the right questions. I just never seemed to be asking the right questions....I would listen to my professors tell sea stories and impart sea going wisdom with a somewhat detached interest. I was excited about the opportunity for adventure and I think more than anything else this ensured my success in school. I remember very little of what my professors taught. For some reason I remember this with clarity....my favorite Captain told me that going to sea was basically 'hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror'. After five years sailing I wish I could call him and say, 'Man - you weren't kidding'! I've been at anchor for two days which, could potentially turn into two to three more. 'Anchor the Tanker' is a phrase that can set the whole ship talking....Does this mean we're not getting the next contract? I wonder if they'll reduce the crew size? Are they going to get repair work done? Are we going to break watches? It leads to uncertainty. Ships and their crews love routine. Anchoring the tanker for me as Second Mate is awesome. It means I get caught up on chart and publication corrections. I can clean out drawers and get computer work done. However, for other crew members it can mean breaking sea watches and switching to day work...and then re-setting watches at a moments notice. It can mean a critical component is disassembled thinking time was available for a repair...and then scrambling to piece it back together when word comes that we can proceed to our berth. The real reason that crew members don't like anchor time is that it invariably leads to hours and hours of boredom. The days seem to melt together. There are no close encounters with fishing boats....funny radio chit chat.....or brightly lit rigs to punctuate your day.
I thought about walking about the deck on a photo safari but instead, I decided that I would pretend that I saw some dolphins (that seems to boost my spirits like nothing else). My Mom says that bored people are boring people.....as an only child I can self entertain like very few others. So today I looked at all my old dolphin photos and exercised my imagination. I thought that since nautiemermate is officially a dot com it deserved a dolphin photo - I was upset that I had to leave the other ones behind at blogspot.