Well, I finally had a bog-standard watch yesterday, and it was really nice. Just a regular-length watch, with a quick bunkering job to a cruise ship, followed by a little free time, which I spent getting my books in order and doing some tidying up out on deck. Just a couple of weeks of being out of our hands, and I already lost the beat as far as things go on here. Normally, I know roughly when maintenance cycles are due, and little jobs need to be done- plus, having deep familiarity with the way things are and the way you like things to be, it becomes easier to stay on top of things in general.
One of my pet peeves is having worn mooring lines. Doing what we do, we have mooring lines to hand nearly everywhere. There's so much variability in our work- visiting 300-400 so unique ships a year, each requiring us to moor alongside according to what they've got available for mooring points, our mooring lines wear at different rates. Some lines get used more than others, and over the course of months and years, you get to watch a line go from shiny and sleek to fuzzy to frayed, you might cut and resplice the eyes a few times (or have them ripped off bodily by an overenthusiastic tug) and then it's time to take the line out of service. Situational awareness is important, but just being there is important too. Having eyes on the scene, you know?
So, when I got back the other day, the mooring lines were dumped in a pile and tarped over to keep blasting grit out of them in the shipyard. This is a good thing, but they were dumped in a pile midships, so we got to drag them back into place, and lines ended up in places other than where they originated, which is fine, but as they're in varying stages of use, a 140-foot middle-aged line is not ideal in a spot where we tend to use the line as a backing line at anchorages. A new, 200-footer is better, so we don't run out of room and the line is more robust. So I've been playing musical mooring lines every watch, shifting things, being anal-retentive, probably. Sweaty work, but good work... and I guess that's the theme this week.
I don't remember 12-16 hour days kicking my ass this hard, though. Anno domoni is a real bitch.