There was an expression I got thoroughly sick of, after hearing it multiple times during training classes and in my first two sea voyages.
"EYES IN THE BOAT!"
It's an important lesson. Pay attention to your immediate environment, which is where the action that can help or hurt you is likely to be found.
Once I knew enough to not hurt myself tying my own shoes while on a ship, I didn't hear that expression anymore. At some point the lesson sticks anyhow. The Near Misses or close calls, little saves, things like that, come from situational awareness, specifically, focusing on the immediate environment. In my case, the floating metal tub I'm on, and all the valves, engines, trip hazards, ropes and pulleys, shit like that, which need to be just so for life to go smoothly out here.
Hawsepiper's Afloat Global HQ/ Money Making Machine is in the shipyard, and with bunkering in the northeast being the healthiest sector of what has been a paltry spring oil season, my company transferred us to a cramped but functional barge for now, to keep us going. Normally, shipyard is a chance for us to do deep maintenance, which will get done by shipyard and company staff, even while we're not there, but some projects we were excited about, quality-of-life stuff, won't get done.
So it goes. We're working, Many are not.
We've been watching with horror the events going on in the larger world, in places like London, and in the US, with our toxic and often asinine political games. All the whining and gnashing of teeth is annoying as hell.
I make no secret that I have been miserable my first few days on here. Conditions are nowhere near as nice as we have on the HQ, which has been our home for the last 4 years, 11 months and 3 weeks and is a reflection of both the vessel's good bones and our hard work at making it comfortable. This barge, we just can't love it. I lived on an identical one for two years. My partner for 6. It's not so easy.
Still, with an unfamiliar vessel and the sore shins and such that come from that, and the increased potential for trouble that comes from not being intimately familiar with the barge, it's been necessary to tune out the outside world some, to keep our eyes in the boat, and make sure we do a decent job. That's been something of a blessing. I haven't had the time or energy to shitlord it up online. Thank the Seven Mad gods Of The Sea that I'm on here with a good friend. When I worked on a barge like this 7 years ago, I didn't like my shipmate, and he just hated me. Bad times. At least with O and B, we're all friends and can sort of suffer through the month or so that the HQ is out of our hands together.
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