Sea Trials

Whoo-whoo! I’m heading out early tomorrow morning for a job. I’ll be joining the ship in Corpus Christi and heading offshore for sea trials. It’s only temporary, and it’s only as an AB, but it’s a job. At sea!

It should be interesting. I googled the ship I’m going to. It’s a ro-ro (roll on- roll off). I’ve never worked on one of them before. It’s aย MSCย (Military Sealift Command) ship. Here’s a picture I found on google.

USNS Mendonca

I’ve tried to avoid working for MSC since they seem to never let you off (at least as an officer). I don’t really want to do a 4 month long hitch and then stay for another couple months since they can’t find a relief. Then they want you back after only a month off!

Still, I’ve been considering even going to work for them. I’d rather be at sea as a galley hand than an executive on the beach. I know it’s hard to explain, but I just love being out there.

I am starting to feel like I’ve pretty much wasted the last 30+ years of my life (and tens of thousands of dollars). I’ve worked so hard to pull myself up the hawsepipe to earn my license. For what?

I’m going to work as a deckhand. Same as I was doing when I first started out over 40 years ago. It’s depressing. I’m getting really discouraged. I thought earning the license would help me get a decent job. A good career. Just to get thrown out like last weeks garbage. It’s sad.

But at least I can still get out there and earn some sea time. Every little bit helps. I just hope I can hang on until things pick up again offshore.

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14 thoughts on “Sea Trials

  1. You remember how to swing that mop around the deck don’t ya? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good Luck! Thank God the Holy Stoning days are gone…

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    • Oh yeah, I remember Sunday mornings with the holy stones! Also doing our laundry with the salt water wash and fresh water rinse. So far we have not been swinging mops around. Mostly drills, securing gear, loading stores, etc. Maybe we will swab the decks tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      It is nice having a full marine crew for a change. Bosun, ABs and OS’s on deck.

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    • Thanks.
      I’m home already. It was only for 6 days. Was hoping for longer, but I guess it worked out for the best.
      I was really jonesing for the internet!
      Bon voyage is cool. I think they say that for going on a cruise. I’ve never been on one of those big cruise ships (tho I’ve been trying to get hired on lately). I’d like to try it once.
      We usually just say ‘chow’, or if you want to be more formal or sentimental ‘fair winds and following seas to you’. We’ve lost most of the traditions you know. It’s sad, we had so many really great ones.

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      • I like ‘chow’. That’s pretty cool. Do y’all still sing sea shanties?! Hahah. There’s this video of David Coffin at the Maritime Folk Festival leading ‘Roll the Old Chariot’ and I’m thinking as cool as it is on a sidewalk in a strip mall, it must be that much more epic on the actual seas.

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      • I haven’t sung a sea chanty in quite a while now. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        I think they still do that on the more traditional vessels. The windjammers maybe. The sail training ships probably. They help to keep the rhythm going for hauling in the anchor and stuff like that. It does help make it go easier!
        I remember singing “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor” for my high school graduation ceremony. Do you know that one? I’ll never forget it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • I just love the idea of how that simple act of singing can make a large group start to move and act as one. I do know ‘What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor’ but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a high school decide ‘oh yes, this is what we’ll send our students off with’. Hahah.

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      • Yes, my high school was unique. I don’t know if you can still google it and find out about it. It was called The Oceanics, based in NYC. They would charter large traditional sailing ships and send the students to sail around the world. We learned how to take care of the ship, sailing, seamanship, navigation. We had teachers who traveled with us and taught us the usual subject like math and english, but individualized so that we all really learned it. I made some really good friends. Some of whom I’m still in touch with 40 years later! We also learned the language, culture and history of the countries we visited. It was an amazing experience I will never forget. It really did change my life, 100% for the better. There’s nothing really like it today, tho some are trying to imitate it. They have the ships, but they don’t go for long enough to get anywhere near the full extent of the experience. The Picton Castle- beautiful ship- probably comes closest (the captain was our chief mate on the barkentine Phoenix during my second semester). I wish someone would re-create their program.
        If any millionaires are reading this, PLEASE think about it and contact me if you’re interested! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • This sounds AMAZING. How do students find themselves in programs like these? Did you just know from the beginning you wanted to work at sea or did you come from a seafaring family? Who were your classmates? I think if I had an opportunity to dive (pardon the pun) so completely headfirst into a passion and immerse myself like that it’d be absolutely incredible.

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      • Hey SingleGuy (what is your name? or should I just keep calling you SG?).
        The story of how I wound up in that program was a strange one. I wrote a blog post about it a while ago (http://captainjillsjourneys.com/2015/06/22/daily-prompt-toy-story-sea-snark-2/)
        I would never have continued working at sea if it wasn’t for that opportunity with the Oceanics. I probably would’ve been dead in a ditch by the time I was 30.
        I did grow up on boats. I had my own little sea snark. My dad had a big, beautiful old schooner we lived on for a while. For a few years he even went commercial fishing with it and made me go out with him (I HATED IT). I did enjoy working on the party boats later on, but I knew that was a dead end job and I wanted more out of life.
        Yeah, my classmates. There were only about 30 of us altogether. They came from all over the country, all kinds of backgrounds. I wish we could have a reunion, but it seems impossible to find everybody to invite them. I have found a few through Facebook.
        Any experience like that is incredible, we made some fantastic friendships that last even til today. ๐Ÿ™‚
        As far as I know, I’m the only one still sailing for a living, tho a couple of the guys did try for a short time. One even went and bought a nice big schooner. He took it down to the islands and lost it (not his fault). what a shame. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
        He’s over in Bali lately, teaching English online. If I ever get up the nerve, I might do the same thing. I LOVE Bali!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahah. My name is Jerel. Most people in real life will call me that, and online it seems more people call me J, but that might be because the spelling is so hard to remember. But any which way, SG, Jerel, J, works for me.
        Thanks for the link! I can’t wait to read it and find out more about your experience.
        The last time I was on a ‘party boat’ was for my seniors’ luncheon in high school, and from that and what I’ve seen on ‘party boat’ episodes on sitcoms, I’m glad you didn’t settle.
        I would love to just spend so much of my time surrounded by people who all share the same deep and profound passion.
        Teaching English abroad is definitely pretty popular and fairly lucrative depending on where you teach and to whom you teach!

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