The downtime we had last weekend gave me the opportunity to speak with our shoreside support staff and my port captain, as well- this is a good thing, checking in. We had pole position- right on the dock, so pallets of stores came out on forklifts and got loaded by crane on deck, and garbage, scrap metal and some old hawsers came off and headed for the trash and scrap heap.
Summer is traditionally slower here in the northeast for bunkering- while we do have 10 or so cruise ships visiting a week, winter time we're feeding home heating oil into the national infrastructure using foreign ships, and those ships need fuel, so we spend much of winter feeding them.
Yesterday I said goodbye to G-Ray, my longtime right-hand man, who left the nest to take over a bunker barge in Philly. Very proud of him, but I'll miss the dynamic we had on board. Really, to be surrounded by coworkers who are also very good friends is a rare blessing. The odds of that happening again are slim.
Even so, later this morning G-Ray's replacement will come aboard. We're slightly nervous, of course, with the learning curve and the new dynamic to hammer out. It'll be a while before I can sleep soundly. It's hard to get rested when you're not 100% sure that the new guy can handle anything that comes up. This is an opportunity, too, of course. I'll be able to assess my ability to do my job in a slightly different way, based on how well I can integrate a new subordinate into a supervisory position.
One of the more interesting aspects of the conversation that I had with my port captain is how much effort has been needed fleetwide to deal with personality clashes among crew. I was amused by it, to be honest. Sailors are contentious often enough, and my own job, where a small number of people live and work in unusually close quarters often in isolation... well, even for sailors, it's not so easy. The subjective experience varies, even separate from the job. In times of very low workload, there are idle hands and minds for the devil to mess with.
When Big B and I butt heads, which happens of course at times, even between very compatible personalities, I like to go and paint for a bit and cool down. I like painting, in fact, he does too, so we tend to get painting done during the summer downtime. That's part of the reason we rarely argue- preemptive treatment. Not everyone does that, and guys who hate to pick up a paintbrush seem to be a little more costive this year. I pray that doesn't happen to us with the new guy.
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