At the start of World War II, it was decided that Queen Elizabeth was so vital to the war effort that she must not have her movements tracked by German spies. Therefore, an elaborate ruse was fabricated involving her sailing to Southampton to complete her fitting out. There were only two spring tides that year […]
Amazing! My computer is actually working for the first time in weeks!
After working on the tuna boat in the South Pacific with extremely limited internet (I would have to wait til we got to port to go ashore and check email), I swore I would never again work on a boat without it.
Well, sad to say, things have been so bad offshore that I am very, very thankful to be out here with or without internet! I just feel frustrated with not being able to keep up with the daily blog posts (or at least weekly). 😉
I don’t know how long the internet will stay on, or how long I will be able to keep working. I’m hoping both will continue for a long time. 😉
I’d like to write more about what we’ve been doing out here, but want to at least let you all know I haven’t stopped posting just because I don’t want to keep communicating with you. 🙂
I hope you’ll stick around for more posts (whenever I can get to post them). 🙂
I wonder if things are finally beginning to turn around? I heard a tip from a friend while I was at the TBEX in Huntsville about a job. I immediately tried to call the people who were looking (it was the weekend) and eventually got in touch.
Thank goodness! We were able to work things out and I left for the ship on Monday. I’ll be working as a DPO for at least a couple of weeks! A real job!! 🙂
I was glad I got to go to the TBEX in Huntsville. I learned a lot, ran into some old friends and met some new ones. I hope I will be able to turn my experiences there into some good stories and will follow up on connections asap.
Sadly, that may not be all that soon. It looks like I will be pretty much out of touch while here on the ship since internet is not up to snuff and phone is out of range. 😦
After working for over a year on a tuna boat, 3+ months incommunicado at a time, I swore I would never again work for anyone who didn’t have enough respect for their people to provide them with a minimum ability to keep in touch with friends, family and business at home.
Well, after almost 20 months of unemployment (without being able to collect even a dime of the thousands of dollars I’e paid into the system over the last 40+ years), I’ve had to change my attitude, suck it up and take anything that anybody offered. 😦
Thank goodness, I’m finally working! It could last as long as 6 weeks!!
I just hope this is a sign of better times ahead.
I’ll try to post as often as I’m able. Sorry but I don’t think I’ll be able to very often til I get off. 😦
I’m still here in Huntsville (Alabama- NOT the prison in Texas!). The TBEX is over now, but I’m not flying home til tonight. Checkout time is noon and the art museum across the street doesn’t open til then, so I figured I’d try to catch up a little and post. 🙂
This song by Blake fits my mood pretty good this morning. There were lots of representatives from the Gulf Coast states (and their beautiful beaches) at the TBEX, Blake is from Oklahoma and they were there too.
The TBEX has been great. I met tons of really interesting people. Everyone has a story and so many are bloggers.
The breakout sessions were full of great information. I hated to miss any of them, I appreciate that some of the presenters gave out links to their slide shows so I’m hoping I can go back later to see the ones I missed and review some things I didn’t really catch.
I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, but I still don’t really know what I’m doing here. 😉
Our destination hosts here were fantastic. The Von Braun Center, Huntsville, North Alabama, Alabama, and the US Space & Rocket Center really went all out to show us a great time here in their city. We spent the days learning how to blog better and networking with destinations. Nights were spent at special events held for us around town.
I arrived on Thursday (10 mins late for my scheduled tour to the Redstone Arsenal to taste the craft beers). I spent the afternoon at the hotel catching up on emails while chatting with other bloggers waiting for our rooms to be ready. The hotel made the waiting much easier to bear by offering free massages and blackberry mojitos. 🙂
Check out my instagram pic, I’ve got to run and check out, will have to finish this later…
It’s been a whirlwind of activity since arriving in Huntsville Thursday afternoon. Keynote speakers, breakout sessions and amazing parties every night.
Huntsville CVB has really done a fantastic job of hosting the TBEX and all of us travel bloggers. 🙂
I had meant to create a series of posts for “Wild Wednesday” since I first started my blog. I’m not sure why, but I never have managed to make very many posts. There are so many interesting sea creatures out there, and so much we don’t know about them. I’d like to make this a regular feature and share more about them. 🙂
Let me know how you like the idea.
The video is cool, the article is really pretty interesting and worth reading. 🙂
I’ve spent the last week, plus so far this week, getting by on less than 4 hours of sleep per night. I was in the “Train the Trainer” course last week and then taught Basic Fire Fighting this week. It’s been killing me! I spent most of the weekend catching up on sleep. Not much time to spend on blogging or anything else.
Tomorrow I have the day off and will try to catch up on sleeping again since I am leaving early Thursday morning for the TBEX in Huntsville, AL. I doubt I will get much sleep while I’m there either.
I’m looking forward to finding ways to improve my blog, meeting interesting people, and exploring the area around Huntsville. Are any of you going to be there? Anybody know of ‘don’t miss’ things to do/see in Huntsville?
Another always interesting collection of maritime tidbits from Miss Monkey Fist. Enjoy…
Miss Monkey’s Retail Anecdotes Some of Miss Monkey’s closer associates already know that She earns Her beer money working part-time at a Maine based, family-owned clothing retailer that’s been a Portland institution since 1919. Whilst pulling her Saturday afternoon shift, an interesting tale unfolded. After passing this anecdote along to some of her friends later […]
“Z” is for Zanzibar. And the last post in this year’s A to Z Challenge! I can’t believe I managed to finish and post for every letter. Usually, in these long challenges, I get so far behind I just give up. I’m glad it’s over tho. It’s hard to find time to post every day.
I have to say I loved Zanzibar! I was there on vacation last November. I took a long trip for a photography safari with Great Escape Publishing. I really enjoyed the safari. We went all over the Northwest area of Tanzania. From Arusha to Lake Eyasi, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti…
It was fantastic! We got to see all kinds of animals from our jeeps. The drivers were great at finding the game. We would sit quietly and watch them do their thing while we furiously took thousands of photos. 🙂
It was a week of amazing experiences, but a week of early mornings and late nights. I was exhausted at the end of it. I was glad to have scheduled some extra time before flying all the way home to Texas.
I had thought about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. It is on my bucket list. I just didn’t think I was up to it at that point. I wanted some rest and relaxation. I decided to head over to the nearby island of Zanzibar for a few days.
Wow! Such a gorgeous island. Stone Town is intriguing. It has an interesting history, it’s easy to imagine yourself back in the days of the Sultans as you wander the winding lanes of the old town. The people were friendly and eager to show you around town, or entice you to buy their specialty spices or colorful paintings.
The food was cooked with exotic local spices and served with a smile. The night market near the docks and the fort was a great place to hang out. I liked to grab a fruity drink and watch the sun go down before wandering around and choosing a cook for my dinner.
After a couple of days in the city, I headed up North to relax on the beautiful white sand beaches. I spent a few blissful days relaxing under the casuarina trees, wading in the ocean, sailing on sunset cruises and SCUBA diving around the area.
The diving was excellent! Best I’ve seen in quite a while. I saw lots of colorful coral and all kinds of sea life. I brought my camera, but only one dive was shallow enough for me to use it. 😦
It’s a long, long way from Texas, but if I ever get the chance to visit Zanzibar again, I will definitely take it!
“Y” is for Yarn. Nice that I can use this post for both the A to Z Challenge and the Daily Post, especially since I am behind again on the AtoZ (it’s actually finished already). I don’t know why, it seems like I’m busy all day every day, but I never seem to get caught up!
Here’s my yarn…
I took these photos during a photography workshop with Great Escape Publishing in Washington DC a few years ago. I had just bought a new camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3). I was there to learn how to use it.
I’ve been trying for years to figure out a way to earn an income without having to be out on a ship. I’ve spent my whole life working at sea, but it’s a very cyclical industry and lately has been getting much, much harder to keep working out there.
I could see my future unemployment and really wanted to find some way to be able to support myself while not having to be somewhere specific. I really wanted to move outside the USA. Somewhere more affordable and less stressful.
I had heard about stock photography. It seemed to be a way to possibly earn enough to get by on. I started trying to get accepted onto Bigstock, I-stock, Alamy, Canstock, etc. I didn’t have much luck. I was constantly rejected and had no idea why. Some of them told me why, but at that point I didn’t understand what they were telling me.
So, I went to take the course. I learned a lot. One thing I learned was that I really didn’t need that fancy new camera! I almost never use it now. It’s too big and bulky for me. I have had quite a few photos accepted taken with my favorite little Olympus Tough (it fits in my pocket and it’s even waterproof). 🙂
“X” is for Xcaret. Xcaret is a pretty cool attraction on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Not too far from Cancun. They call it an “eco-archaeological park”. It’s one of those tourist attractions your hotel will try to set you up with, which was how I found out about it.
I was on vacation with a friend in Cancun a few years ago. I’m past the point of spending my vacations just drinking and partying. I like to explore the place I’m in. My friend is older than I am. She likes to learn about new places too, but at a much more relaxed pace.
We decided to check out Xcaret since it looked like it had enough things to do so that we could both do different things and neither would get bored.
I was really into the whole idea of drifting down the underground rivers, snorkeling with dolphins (extra $$$), and checking out the Mayan ruins. She was more into watching the local dancers and talking to the other tourists while drinking a few cold ones. 🙂
We met up when I took a break at the end of a river run. I went quite a few times before I was ready to try snorkeling. I was disappointed with the snorkeling tho, it was really nothing special. At least not where I was. I saw lots of rocky limestone lagoons, I don’t remember seeing coral. Plenty of fish, but not a lot of variety or color. Maybe I just missed the good stuff?
Neither of us did much exploring of the terrain. I did take a walk around the lagoon, but it was very hot and I couldn’t wait to get back in the water. The landscape was just not that interesting to me. I saw a lot of iguanas and a few brightly colored birds (but I couldn’t ID them). We both really enjoyed watching the shows. The dancers were fantastic.
“W” is for wandering. Something I do love to do. When I was younger, I used to ride my bike all over the place. I would ride up and down every street, just to see where they went. I would ride around the neighborhoods and stop and talk to the people I saw (usually started by asking where I was). I got to meet a lot of cool people. I knew everybody. 🙂
When I moved to Texas, I kept it up. I got a car after a couple of years so I could expand my familiar ‘territory’. I used to cruise down every old backroad I could find. I would stop in country stores and old hole in the wall beer joints and play a game of pool. I wandered all over the county and then some. Then the gas prices got so expensive, and I got so busy doing other things, that I just pretty much stopped going out anywhere around here.
Now I mostly save my wandering for when I’m traveling on vacation. I really love to wander through the woods, or a park, or the beach. I love to go up to Washington or Oregon in the summer. The weather is gorgeous, nice and crisp and cool. I can enjoy being outside, unlike here in Texas in summer when it’s hot, humid and buzzing with mosquitos.
I’ll pick up a map and just start walking. I usually have a camera with me and I’ll take photos of all kinds of stuff. Trees, weeds, flowers, buildings, details, patterns, rocks, water, squirrels, sky, (occasionally) people, etc. I never know where I’ll wind up. It’s always somewhere interesting. 🙂
People always ask me if I worry about winding up in ‘the bad part of town’. Or if I fall down a mountain or get eaten by a bear?
Nope. I don’t. I just go. I’ve never had anything bad happen to me while wandering around like that. Not in all the years I’ve been wandering around the world.
I seem to be pretty good at it. I never get lost (even without a map). I always manage to find my way back home (eventually). 😉
“V” is for Vegas! “Las Vegas” technically, but what the heck. I figure I can play a little fast and loose with the technicalities, right?
So, I actually made (most of) this post a couple of years ago. The last time I went to Vegas. It was for a challenge using the word “dreamy”. But I figured, it never really changes much there. So, why not do it again. 🙂
I already posted one photo from my trip to Las Vegas, but it’s such a dreamy kind of place. I thought about it and came up with some more ideas.
Las Vegas really is a dreamy kind of place. I think it’s one of those places that’s built on dreams. All kinds of dreams going on there. People go there dreaming to hit the jackpot and get rich. They go there hoping to hit it big and make a name for themselves as a singer or a dancer or chef or…
I love to hang out in old downtown. It’s not like the Strip (which is interesting in a different way), where things are spread out and isolated. Every casino has it’s own attractions and you pretty much stick to one since it’s a pain to move on to the next.
Downtown is different. Everything is close together. There’s lots to do (Mob Museum, Container Park, Neon Museum), and all kinds of things going on. Fremont Street is the hub of all the action. There are at least a dozen different casinos all within easy walking distance. It’s easy to hit one for drinks, another to eat, try the poker at one, blackjack at another…
Fremont Street is really pretty cool. They have a light show projected on a huge blocks-long overhead screen. You can go zip-lining right over the top of all the crowds. There are artists at work, lots of little shops along the street. They have all kinds of bands and performers scheduled to play on the various stages. And then there are all the unscheduled ‘performers’. People who just like to come out and play. 🙂
“U” Is for the underground city of Derinkuyu in Turkey. It’s only one of the most famous of them, there are quite a few others in the area (200+). They are very old. Derinkuyu is supposed to be at least 2000 years old. I was impressed with the amount of work it took to carve out the huge labyrinths of rooms, tunnels, wells, and even defensive falling stones. All underground. All done without electric lights, or power tools.
The people lived their lives down there. Their whole families, even their animals (sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens, etc). I kept wondering how much smaller than us they must have been. I barely made it through some of those tunnels, and was really glad to get to one of the larger spaces.
It’s hard to imagine how someone could spend so much of their lives below ground like that. No wind, no sun, no rain. I don’t think they lived like that all the time. Just for especially dangerous times. But it must have been pretty dangerous a lot of the time to make it worth all that effort, right?
“T” is for traveling. One of my all time favorite things! I love a good book, but I love it even more when I’m reading it in some new place, somewhere I’ve never been.
My last trip was a big one. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere for a while. I pretty much accept now that I won’t be able to go back to work for months, if not years. Until I start ‘earning a living’ again and have more than enough to just barely pay the bills by using up my savings, I won’t be going anywhere.
I did go to the big Travel Show in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. That was just to see what’s on the RADAR. Exploring what I can work on for my new travel writing and photography career.
I took a detour on the way home, stopped in Ennis and did the Bluebonnet Trail. The flowers were beautiful. Fields full of bluebonnets, indian paintbrush and other spring blooms.
I will be going to the TBEX in Huntsville AL next month. I’m really looking forward to that. I hope to make some contacts and improve my blogging. 🙂
In the meantime, here are some of my favorite travel quotes. I hope they inspire you, like they do me. Enjoy. 🙂
Here’s a post for Cee’s Flower of the Day: Azalea Bush. 🙂
It’s easy to come up with S words, not so easy to come up with things to say about “spike”. Then I remembered those beautiful doors from my last vacation. Stone Town, Zanzibar has the most ornately carved doors. Many of them have spikes, “to keep out the elephants.”
“R” is for Re-Do. I don’t know how many of you all work at a job in which you’re constantly having to re-do everything you do.
In my profession, (merchant marine) it started fairly recently (1970’s). It started with only a bare minimum of requirements (RADAR and physical every 5 years).
I have heard that the medical profession requires some sort of recency requirements (tho I really have no idea what sorts of things doctors or nurses have to do to keep their licenses current)(any ideas)?
I’ve also heard the airline pilots have an even more stringent set of requirements they must satisfy to keep working.
But in the maritime profession, I am constantly amazed at how much they keep coming up with for us, how little of it is really useful or necessary, and how few people seem to have a problem with it.
Of course, all of those people who have an issue with it are people like me. People who actually have to DO the job. People who have been doing the job perfectly fine for decades WITHOUT any of the things that are required now. All of which are pretty much second nature after you’ve worked at sea for any amount of time. Our job is not exactly rocket science. 😉
For example, now we not only have to do (before we can start work) a few classes- about dozen for a mate working at sea), we have to re-do: RADAR/ARPA, physical yearly (if you have any one of dozens of common conditions), basic safety training, advanced fire fighting, CPR. Those are just the ones required by the US Coast Guard to keep your license.
AND, if you have not managed to work in one sector of the industry for the last 5 years, you will also have to re-do ‘training’ so that you can do that very same job again. For instance, if you have not worked on tankers in the last 5 years, you will have to re-do the class or find a ship so you can do a couple of transfers. Same goes for towing vessels. If you don’t have the sea time on them, you lose your ability to work on them until you re-do the ‘training’.
Same now goes for dynamic positioning (DP)! Either you manage to keep working through this horrible downturn, OR, you must somehow cough up $5000 grand so you can re-do that training!
You will ALSO need: HUET, safe-gulf, rig pass, SEMS, marine debris, blood born pathogens, and many other COMPANY required re-training every couple of years if you want to work in the Gulf of Mexico (or for any oil company).
It’s not like anything has changed really. I’ve been taking fire fighting since 1978. The ONLY thing new in that class is that they’re now calling a grease fire a ‘class k’ fire. It’s still the exact same fire, you fight it the exact same way. Everything is exactly the same except the name. Things don’t change much (or at all) in most of the classes we’re now forced to take.
Today, I’ve been waiting to get a chance to re-do my tankerman person-in-charge (PIC). I worked on tankers for almost 13 years. Since I have been doing other things for the last 5, I am required to re-do the training before I can get my license back (thank goodness I put it into continuity status or there would be many more hoops to jump through)!
I could either spend about $5000 to re-do the week long course, or get on board a vessel to do 2 transfers. So, tomorrow I am getting some help to do that. I will join a vessel in Houston to participate in the cargo operations. Catch up on anything new since I’ve last done this job. Hopefully I will get a letter for the Coast Guard that will allow me to get back my PIC so I can find some work! 🙂
I’m thankful that some people are willing to help, especially since I can’t afford to re-do the class!