Thorny

Here’s my response to the Daily Posts’ prompt: thorny..

ūüėČ

Actually, I have been dealing with a thorny situation, as in these 2 meanings of the word…

4. painful; vexatious:a thorny predicament.

5. full of difficulties, complexities, or controversial points:

a thorny question.
As all my long term peeps know by now, I’ve been stuggling to find work since I was laid off by Ocean Rig in September 2015. Due to the low price of oil, their contracts had been cancelled and so they just laid off their crews en mass. I’m not even elgible for unemployment since they are not a US company. Jeez, after more than 30 years of paying into it, I can’t get any help when I need it!
Since Ocean Rig laid me off, I’ve spent enourmous amounts of time and energy looking for work. Preferrably on a boat of some sort. Any kind of boat. Any kind of work. I’ve worked my way up from deckhand to unlimited master and was applying for anything from galley hand (dishwasher and potato peeler) to captain.
Since September of 2015, I have had a total of 1 month as DPO in November 2015. One month as AB in August 2016. One month as DPO in May this year, another month as mate, and then this hitch that I’m on right now.
So yeah, I’ve been pretty desperate to find work. I was happy to get this job for 6 weeks. Yesterday¬†was hump day- halfway.¬†I signed on as DPO (dynamic positioning operator) 3 weeks ago. The vessel is a drilling rig. We have been anchored just South of the MIssissippi Delta (along with a fleet of other laid up rigs), since I got here.
There was some talk of a contract when I came out, but that hope seems to have faded (tho you never know- we could get called to go to work tomorrow).
The problem is this: I was hired to be a DPO. I am being paid as a DPO. Onboard the ship, I have been performing the duties of a chief mate (MSL- marine section leader). There is a big step up in duties and responsibilities (tho the DPOs have plenty as it is).
The company will not pay me as a MSL, they say they only want a DPO. That is not really the way it works on board any vessel. You have a Captain(Master), and then you have a chief mate who is second in command. There are legal ramifications. You really can’t just say you won’t do the job. I guess the people in the office don’t understand how things work in the maritime world (tho they damn sure should!).
I am a licensed mariner. I worked hard as hell for a lot of years to earn that license. I don’t think it’s right for a company to take advantage of someones desire for a job to use them for one thing (their license) and pay them for something less. Even worse is to hire them as one thing with no mention of the other until it’s too late. You can’t just walk out the door!¬†We’re 20+ miles offshore, it’s a long way to swim. ūüė¶
So, the thorny problem: I really need the work. I’m almost 2 years behind on my bills/plans for my life. I also don’t want to allow someone to use the license I worked so hard for. The deal is, they want a licensed officer on their vessel, they have to pay for one. That’s just the way it works. Or, it should be.
There are way too many companies out there today taking advantage of financially desperate mariners. It’s sad.
I want to work. I need to work. But, I also need to be able to hold my head up high and stick to my principles.
What would you do?
PS- Any clues on how to fix the formatting, so I can make real paragraphs again?
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WPC- Focus

I’m getting a late start, but wanted to get into the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge (Focus). I usually try to take photos with very clear focus.

But sometimes I want to try for a different effect. I like to play with reflections, light trails, water, sun, atmosphere. All those things can make for more interesting photos than a clearly focused one can sometimes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

I was at work last week (finally!) and while taking a break I was watching the fish swimming around the ship. It was a beautiful calm clear day, one of the few like that I saw in the month I was offshore. It was entrancing watching the fish swim around.

They mostly moved together, it looked like some sort of order. Was there a boss fish leading them all around? If there was, I sure couldn’t tell which one it was. They all just seemed to be meandering around, then all of a sudden they would change direction. All together. Weird. Spontaneous order.

I know some people don’t believe in such a thing (especially when it comes to human society). I see it all the time.

There have actually been studies done on how fish school together like that. On birds too. 

The science behind it is pretty interesting, but I think just watching is cool. Too bad we seem to have lost the ability to just sit and observe nature. That’s one of the things I love the most about working at sea. I haven’t even been home a week and I’m already missing it.

Check out more on “order” from the Daily Post here.

Y is for Yarn- #AtoZChallenge

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). ūüôā

S is for Spike- #AtoZChallenge

S” is for¬†Spike. Today, I’m posting about the letter S for both the A to Z Challenge and the Daily Post. I love it when I can do double duty here. ūüėČ

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.”

 

WPC: Dense African Herds

For this weeks photo challenge from the Daily Post, the theme is: dense. I have some great shots of the wildlife I got to see recently in Africa. I went on a photo safari in Tanzania with Great Escape Publishing (GEP) and had a fantastic trip!

We went all around Tanzania, from Arusha to Tarangire National Park, to Lake Eyasi to the Central Serengeti. We met the most interesting people and saw amazing scenery and so many (totally wild) animals every day!

We saw lion prides enjoying their kill with their cute little cubs after a hunt and herds of elephants walking slowly across the plains. It was the time of the ‘great migration’, so we saw huge herds of grazing animals- gazelles, wildebeest, giraffes, and zebras.

Here’s a good example of the density of the herds.

I loved watching those zebras! They sound almost like donkeys. That’s another one of our jeeps on the right edge of the photo. I really wish I hadn’t been so cheap! I should have brought a better camera (lens)! This is what comes from worrying about money! Skimp and save and manage to pay for the trip, but then can’t make the most out of it due to trying to cut corners. If I ever get another chance for a trip like this, I will be damn sure to get something with more than 210 mm lens!

It IS Easy Being Green

For the¬†Daily Post’s Photo Challenge, I thought I would pick some photos showing how easy it really is to be green. At least for these guys. ūüėČ

  

Hope you like the photos! Check out the¬†link to the challenge¬†to see what everybody else is posting (and join in if you want). ūüôā

The Daily Post: Pattern

For today’s prompt:¬†pattern, this is what I came up with…

I see patterns everywhere. Natural and artificial, large and small, intricate and simple. The photo is from my last trip to¬†Turkey. I was not able to buy any of the beautiful ceramics (or carpets) this time, but looking at the photos I took reminds me of the time the merchants took to explain the meanings of the patterns to me. I wish I had more time (and money) to spend with them. ūüôā

My Wish

Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement.

I agree. So for my contribution to the¬†Daily Post’s¬†photo challenge and discussion of the week, here is my photo and wish…

So many people argue that freedom is unworkable, impossible- but I think it’s really the thing that works best. It has been proven to be the best system for increasing the quality of life for the most people in every society that has tried it- (USA before we gave it away, Hong Kong, Singapore are just a couple of recent examples).

Like John Lennon sang, Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need…
PS- I took that gorgeous photo on a recent trip to Zanzibar, the scuba diving was fantastic!

Fishing: Istanbul

I saw this post come up in my Reader from the Daily Post, re:¬†Fishing. I thought I should be able to come up with something. ūüėČ

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Turkey. The people around Istanbul love to go fishing all around the Bosphorus. I went one day to walk across the Galata Bridge, just to see what they were catching.

It was a beautiful day. I walked from my hotel near the Blue Mosque around Topkapi Palace and down to the waterfront. I watched the ferries come and go and the fishermen all along the quay. They were using bread as bait, and seemed to be doing pretty good.

I walked up to the bridge and crossed over on the lower level. It’s full of restaurants, famous for fish and seafood. I try to avoid seafood as much as possible, just because I’ve¬†had¬†to eat it day after day for months on end and never know when I might have to do that again. ūüėČ

The waiters had no idea of my aversion, so they continued to call out. Trying to convince me to step up and try their specialty (looked like pretty much the same at all of them). I probably should have stopped to see what all the fuss was about. I’m sure a few must have wondered why I was hanging around if I didn’t like fish. I don’t like to eat them anymore, but I¬†still do¬†love¬†to catch them¬†(and I like to watch other people catch them too). ūüėČ

On the way back, I crossed on the upper level. Between a gauntlet of fishermen casting their lines and masses of traffic- cars, trucks, busses, and pedestrians- crossing the bridge, it was an interesting experience. I was glad to get back down to land and away from the traffic.

I descended to a plaza, right next to the bridge. It was full of more fishermen lined up along the water and in between dozens of small barges, gaudily decorated in red and gold. All selling ‘belik-ekmek’ (fish sandwiches) and doing a brisk business.¬† Waiters dressed in ‘traditional’ Turkish costume, hustling with trays full of tiny cups full of coffee, tea and¬†shalgam– the weird spicy sour drink thats specially for the fish.

I’m not sure what kind of fish they were catching (or selling), I didn’t actually eat any. Here’s a picture, does anybody know what kind they are?

Fishing: Zanzibar

I saw this post come up in my Reader from the Daily Post, re:¬†Fishing. I thought I should be able to come up with something. ūüėČ

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Zanzibar. The fishing was fantastic there, even if they were using very old fashioned methods (hand lines and setting nets by hand).

However they managed, the results were fantastic!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

Here’s my choice for the Daily Post’s¬†Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax.

I took it my last night on Zanzibar, before I began the hectic process of returning to America and back to ‘real life’. Stress of airports and TSA BS pretty much negated the beautiful peaceful month I spent traveling overseas.

The Daily Post: Beach

I haven’t posted the last couple of days. I needed a break after finishing up the¬†A to Z Challenge. I’m not used to posting every day and it was exhausting. It was fun and a great way to meet other bloggers, but I’m glad it’s over.

Today I’m back with a post for the¬†Daily Post. The first one in a while I feel like I can respond to. I don’t really like what they’ve been doing lately with their ‘one word’ challenges. But I do know a lot about the beach. ūüėČ

I’m from Florida. I spent a lot of time on the beach¬†where I grew up, around Madeira Beach. It used to be so nice, quiet and peaceful. It was very relaxed and we were able to enjoy it pretty much every day.

I was never into sun bathing. As a redhead, I get sun burned easily, so I try to avoid just roasting myself. I liked to go swimming and snorkeling, shell hunting, observing the plants and animals, and just walking along the water. Friends would start up a game of frisbee, touch football, or volleyball. Sometimes we would have a BBQ with a bonfire.

I remember going out to Egmont Key, just outside Tampa Bay. We would head out in the Island Girl and raft up with a bunch of other sailors. We would spend the weekend out there, playing with our friends (all ages- from babies to oldsters). We had some really great times.

When I moved to Texas, I used to spend a lot of time on the beach at Surfside and Bryan Beach. My class would go down there to practice taking sights for our¬†celestial navigation. We would go camp out for the weekends, have a bonfire where we’d cook out, sing songs, tell sea stories and play music.

I still like to go to Surfside. I love to go in the Winter when it’s quiet. I like to sit and watch the water, listen to the wind and the waves, watch the birds, look for shells, and just enjoy the peace away from everybody.

I travel a lot and there’s usually a beach involved at some point there too. In Thailand, it’s Phuket. In Indonesia (Bali), it’s Kuta. In Mexico, it’s Cancun, but I have to say¬†Puerto Vallarta¬†is hard to beat. ūüėČ

Do you have a favorite beach? Which one? Why?

Dance: Bali

Here’s another post for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photography Challenge¬†(Dance).

I took this photo a couple of years ago in Ubud. I was on vacation in Bali (Indonesia) and spent a couple of weeks checking out the beautiful island. The people are so friendly and the island itself is gorgeous. It’s small, so easy to get around. There are volcanoes to hike, whitewater rivers to raft, perfect waves for surfing, great wrecks for SCUBA diving, and the art scene is fantastic!

I was told that it’s part of their religion there on Bali to make something more beautiful every day. I saw that they really took that to heart. Their temples are amazing, and the people practice music and dance to perform in the temple ceremonies. They have entire villages where the people just make one type of art: stone cutters, woodcarvers, painters, silversmiths, batik, etc. You could spend months there finding something new every day. ūüôā

Dance

Here’s a photo for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge:¬†Dance.¬†

I took this photo one Friday night at the Fiesta Mexicana in Old Puerto Vallarta.

I was down there for a month getting certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). Every Friday night there were dance shows downtown by the beach. I never got there early enough to get a good seat, it was always packed at least a half hour before the show started. It was a real challenge to get any decent pictures.

This is one of my favorites. The show started with Spanish dances. ūüôā

Travel

Here’s another favorite quote of mine for the Daily Post’s prompt.¬†This is also another post for the Just Jot it January challenge.

I LOVE to travel! I do every time I get the chance. I’ve been traveling ever since I was born (tho I had no choice about that!).

Until I was about 6 years old, we lived in a camper on the back of my dads truck. He would take contract jobs all over the country. When he finished one and found something interesting he liked, he would pack us all up and off we’d go. We lived in Boston, Syracuse, Minneapolis, Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, Anaheim, and others I don’t remember.

We settled down in Florida when I started school, but I still got to go places thanks to my grandmother. She lived in New York, so we (my brother and me) would fly up there for the summer. My grandmother would take us to Niagara Falls or Montauk, or we would go to day camp for the summer. I remember going skiing in Aspen, Colorado, tennis camp near Ashville, North Carolina, touring around the Western National Parks.

I was really lucky and got to go to high school on a square-rigger and sail around the world. I decided on that trip I wanted to be a ship captain and sail around the world (and get paid for it)!

I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.

I’ve never felt so engaged, so alive, so in the moment as when I’m traveling (and/or sailing). It can be totally absorbing. I love to explore, even in my home town. I used to ride my bike up and down every street in town, just to see where they went. I did the same thing when I first got a car here in Texas (before gas got too expensive for joyriding).

You never know what you’ll find, who you’ll meet, what can happen. ūüôā

I hate the thought of working in an office all day, doing work I’m really not interested in, for just barely enough money to pay the bills. That’s why I decided to go take the TEFL course in Mexico. At least I’ll be learning something new and useful, in a different place. Who knows what it might turn into, right!? Here’s a bonus quote and another one of my favorites…

I think it’s a real shame how many people all over the world are basically doing just that. I don’t know how to fix it, but I’m sure there’s GOT to be a better way! None of us are meant to just work our whole lives just so we can pay the bills!

A Ship in Harbour

The Daily Post came up with a prompt today, one I thought I could contribute something to the discussion with.

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

Actually, I have a few favorite quotes. It’s hard to choose just one. They all revolve around the same theme. FREEDOM to live life to the fullest. Here’s one…

I’m a sailor. I’ve spent my life on the water, so this one really does speak to me. It’s true too. Yep, that’s right. A ship is meant to be at sea. To sail away from all the tedious day to day bullshit on shore. To explore the unknown oceans. To do the job to the best of it’s ability. To see the world.

The crew works together as a team, with a common goal to focus on (the ship). They work hard and they play hard. Adventures at sea and in ports around the world. It’s about living life, taking each day at a time and being present in the moment. Aware of the ship, the sea and the sky, the weather and any changes. Alert to the birds, fish, whales, dolphins and all the other creatures of the sea. Doing your work every day that you know is only to help reach the goal.

Finish the voyage, prepare for the next. And off on another adventure. ūüôā

And this is also an post for the Just Jot It January challenge.

Transitions:2

My response to the Daily Posts weekly photography challenge.

I took these at the Houston Museum of Natural Science a couple of weeks ago. A butterfly was just coming out of its cocoon. They have a beautiful butterfly center there. I thought it would fit this weeks theme of ‘transition’. ūüôā

 

PS. Until I can figure out why this blog didn’t carry over to my new blog like it was SUPPOSED to, I’ll try to post here too (but it’s hard a lot of times even to post on the one site, so if you can- if you like this blog- please go to my new blog, it’s at http://www.captainjillsjourneys.com). THANKS!

 

Half And Half No. 3

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. Here’s a classic…

Glass half full, or half empty? ūüėČ

Half And Half

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. I finally came up with these photos. They might not be politically correct, but I’ve never been known for being that!
I took these pictures a couple of years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. I really love Thailand. The people are so nice and friendly and there’s a really laid back atmosphere, even in the big cities. I usually stay a few days in Bangkok and then go off somewhere else. Maybe Phuket, or Chiang Mai. ¬†I’d love to spend more time exploring more of Thailand. I haven’t really seen much of the country. I always do enjoy my time there. ¬†I especially like the way they treat people there. They accept you as you are. There doesn’t seem to be the prejudice that there is in America. At least I don’t notice it as much.

I took these photos at the famous Calypso show. I had a great time. They really put on a great show. The performers (shown above) were all men (or transgender). I chose this for my post on half and half since these people are considered to be half men- half women, he-she’s, lady-boys.

I’ll come back later with a more standard shot. ūüėČ