A Plague of Flies on Both of Your Houses
05/21/2014 - 05/21/2014
In transit to Newport, RI
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
I suppose you would like me to continue? Geronimo is just fine, but C Watch, on the shift right before my watch, saw several flares go up on the horizon, and of course you have to report those to the Coast Guard. The running back and forth was C Watch reporting the flares to the Captain and the radio was the Captain reporting and answering the Coast Guard questions. Lots of dialog before the Coast Guard was able to ascertain that the flares were part of a US Navy exercise and there was nothing to worry about. Great of the Navy to let the Coast Guard know, right??? The galley sounds were simply Laura making brownies for some of the crew.
All of the excitement happened on my watch! I had the Mid Watch which is 00:00 – 04:00. I was super pumped because this is the peak time that I am awake normally. I love working that time of morning. The ship is bouncing all over the place and the wind is whipping right along. Again the perfect weather for me. The Captain is at the helm for about 30 minutes when he says that we are starting to round Cape Hatteras, which is the part of Virginia that rather sticks out in the ocean, so the seas are normally very rough on a good day. He then tells me to take the helm and says, on his way below decks, that this is known as the “Grave Yard of the Atlantic Ocean” and that the steering is really hard. So, yea, Capt. Basically tells me that is going to suck and then leaves me for dead all alone on the deck. It must be good to be Capt. The sad part is that I actually loved it. High winds and high seas – Oh yea –Bring it baby!! I had to occasionally hang on to the ships wheel just to stand up right. Death grip on the wheel and one eye on the binnacle, one eye on the horizon and one eye on the sky. The Capt. And I traded off of occasion, but I had the helm more times than I didn’t. We rounded the Cape and successfully passed the ship on to the next watch. Time to sleep off the adrenaline.
04:00 – 08:00 Sleep
08:00 – 08:15 Eat Breakfast
8:15 – 11:15 Sleep
11:15 – 11:30 Dress for 80 degree weather in the blazing sun.
11:30 – 11:45 Eat Lunch
11:45 – 11:50 Wash up lunch dishes and finish dressing
11:50 – 12:00 Get instructions from C Watch
12:00 – 16:00 My next watch is Afternoon Watch. Otherwise known is “How to cook a Deckhand on the deck” watch. Luckily I had plenty of visitors on my watch.as lot of pods of dolphins came to play with the ship. I totally love dolphins and could watch them all day. They are 81245% better than our other visitors. Can someone please tell me why, when we are miles and miles off of shore, the ship is slowly being taken over by black flies??? The kind that bite right through your clothing. This inspired “The great fly kill of 2014.” Well after roasting on deck for a while I had the good fortune of being able to take a break and go below decks, providing that I scrubbed all of the soles (floors) on my hands and knees. This still seemed better than roasting myself alive, so I scrubbed until I could scrub no more. In truth we all take turns cleaning the soles every day, so it is never that bad to do. With the soles it was time to go back up on deck and relieve the Capt. at the helm. Out of nowhere this shadow appears and heads right for my face. It was so fast that I couldn’t even react. Turns out that it is a HUGE dragonfly that landed on my nose. Then he just sat there. He sat long enough for the Capt. to go below and grab his camera. He sat long enough for the rest of the crew to grab cameras and one by one take photos. At some point the crew went back to work and I went back to focusing at the helm with my new friend still sitting on my face. My watch ended, and I could just hang out and eat a brownie with my friend. I ended up placing my finger as a perch and he politely moved over for me and I transferred him to a coil of line. It seemed rather rude just to kick him off my nose, I thought that after an hour of sitting on me, this was a good farewell. Not a bad way to end the never ending watch. Way time to get more sleep.
16:00 – 18:00 Sleep
18:00 – 18:15 Charlie cooked a lovely Chili and Laura baked some Polenta cakes that smelled good enough to wake me up, so I was able to eat dinner, which I had planned on just sleeping through.
18:15 – 19:00 Relax since I was already up I decided to sit in the shade and try to study some of my Masonic lectures.
19:00 – 19:30 Power nap instead as I fell asleep again.
19:30 – 19:50 Dress for my last watch of this long day. I was told by the wake-up crew that it was chilly out. So I dressed accordingly for that.
19:50 – 20:00 Get instructions from C Watch.
20:00 – 24:00 First Watch, which kind of made me giggle as this was the last of my three watches today. Within 20 minutes of taking the deck we were in a lightning storm! A pretty intense lightning storm, on the ship that had just been struck by lightning! That means going back down and redressing as fast as one can as we also had to button-up the ship’s hatches and ports. I wasn’t nervous at all, but I should have been after thinking about the situation that I was in. We are the only ship around for miles and we have an almost 90’ tall metal pole waving in the air. Instead I loved it. The rain started to come down and the lightning was behind us, chasing us. It was slowly catching up but I loved the race. It is pitch black out. I cannot make out even the horizon line, not a single star, cloud or anything. I was simply steering the ship into a black hole, for as far as I could tell. All we had was a glowing white wake from our own ship that was reflecting our navigational lights. Then all of a sudden the glowing white wake raced away from the ship, then it raced out in front of our ship! We had a personal escort of about a dozen dolphins that would zoom back and forth across and under our ship. It was the coolest thing that we have seen and you couldn’t even see the dolphins, just the white wake from them. Then it got even better. The rain drops were getting bigger and as they hit the ocean, they caused the bioluminescence to react. To summarize, I now had a full-on lightning storm, with lots of bolts touching down on the ocean quite near us, which would light up the entire heavens, a dozen dolphins dancing around us causing glowing white sea foam trails and thousands of twinkling lights all around floating in the sea. All of this in the middle of a high speed chase between Geronimo vs Zeus with me at the helm. In this setting, I felt like a king. A sopping wet, tired to the point of exhaustion, sun burnt to a crisp king, but a king none the less.
Kit – The Deckhand and King of The Sea, Pro Tem.