Sunday, February 24, 2008

First Days

The flight out of Detroit was nice. I had an empty seat next to me for the flight to Japan which is a big bonus on that long flight. The movie selection was terrible. I only watched one with Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman about a magical toy store. It was decent, but unfortunately the third movie, so I wasn’t to coherent for some of it. I managed to sleep a bit, but not too much. I ended up being very dehydrated for most of that flight which allowed me to not have to pee but once, but also was somewhat uncomfortable with the situation.

The flight from Japan was uneventful. I sat next to a couple of Japanese girls. At least they were small, so I wasn’t too cramped. The movie was Ratatoui (sp?) which of course reminded me of you. I slept through a bit of it, as that flight is the only one I can really sleep on.

They put me in the same hotel room as I left. The drain trap seemed dry, so it smelled a bit in the bathroom. I did manage to take a bath and then fall asleep for a few hours. I arrived around 2 AM, got to bed around 2:40 and got picked up at 6:30. I didn’t sleep much as you can imagine. I tried getting online, but my account was still suspended and the hotel’s network didn’t seem to work, so I was stuck.

I got to the ship on the 8 AM boat and had a nice ride in with Bill, the new Chief, and Carlton, the new 1st. Both guys have gotten promoted since I was last here. We spent the entire ride catching up on news of both the ship itself and the people on it, or those who just left for vacation. There were few changes to the ship, but the personal lives of many of the crew have been affected by the women of Saipan.

I have a new second mate, a guy named Mark Bell. He has made a good first impression and I think that he will work out well. He has most of the training he needs, and seems to want to learn and work. I am getting a new third mate the beginning of next week. I know he’s about 28 so if he can stay away from the temptations of the island, things just might work out and I can get some projects done. The rest of the deck gang looks pretty good. I have one ordinary seaman who might be trouble. The other chief mate, Shawn, had less then a stellar report about him, and he seems to have gone native. He was on the 8 AM boat when I arrived, and again today, which was an hour before we heaved the anchor. I am also told that he doesn’t work OT much, which says something about his motivation. I will have to watch him carefully to see how he works out. It is a bit over half of his tour, and so I don’t know how much he will try to extend. I will have to play it by ear.

Anchor operations went fairly well today. I was disappointed that Shawn, who was at the dock for a few weeks last trip up, did not repaint/mark the anchor chain when he was in shallow, still water and had the opportunity to do so. We are underway now, and I am taking a break (I headed up to the bridge at 3:40 AM) before throwing the garbage out at 1 PM and then standing my bridge watch this evening.

I can feel how out of shape I am, just walking around on deck has tightened my legs up. I bet I walked more yesterday then I had in the week prior. It will be good getting a bit back in shape.

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