Thursday, May 21, 2015

To question oneself

I've had some good moments on this trip, as we start week number three here on board HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/Gas N' Go.

    One of the great parts of being secure on your own decks is that the whole operation becomes an extension of your will. If you need a tool to be set to hand, you see to it that the tool is housed where you want it, and kept there. If your personal pet peeves are being triggered (for me it's loud voices in the house and anyone disturbing me while I'm on watch. For that reason, I tend to discourage visitors and surveyors looking for somewhere to sit while waiting for a job to finish, and, more than anything, I hate anyone who isn't on the DOI (Declaration of Inspection, the document that says that the vessel is safe to move cargo) opening their fucking mouths when it's my John Hancock on the signature blank).

 So, when the operation is running smoothly, even if it's a shitty day in other ways, the de facto position of the 'Q is that things are for the most part the way I want them, and that's pleasing.

 Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday we had a large cargo being discharged, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why it was going so slowly. Everything was set up right, and I kept going back to the setup on deck, wondering why we were only moving oil at about half our normal speed.  I never did find the answer, and I checked everything. At a certain point, I had to say "A deiu va" ("To God it goes," the French way of ordering a crew to tack across the eye of the wind, a high-skill evolution from the days of sail) and just get the damn oil out of the tanks as best I could. Which we eventually did. Turns out the oil was just sludgy. So it goes.

   My opposite here on board, Big B, is like minded, though we are very different people. Still, we tend to agree on so many procedural items, we tend to up each others' game, making the operation run better and improving our own efficiency. Synergy, pretty much. People can go their whole lives and not end up sailing with a close friend, but it seems that I've been lucky.

 So why am I feeling restive? Things are running well. Next license renewal will be my 5th, I think. My first three licences never expired. I expanded my tonnage limitations long before the 5-year renewal date came up. But that's stopped now. My captain's license has stopped growing, and I'll have to go back to school for more classes if I want to up it, and there's not much point if I stay here. My next stop is an office job if I stay with my employer. Or I can stay and muscle through the next 25 years doing what I do now. I could do that, and be OK with it.

 Need to think more. 

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