THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS FROM AN AMERICAN Merchant Mariner
Friday, September 28, 2018
I mentioned in my last post that the black oil we carry has a powerful sulfur smell that is unpleasant. Over the past 10 years, I've grown accustomed to that smell, and desensitized, too, which I sometimes worry will burn out my sense of smell. Perhaps it has. I used to have a damn good nose.
One thing about working around the ports of New Jersey, there sure are a lot of chemical plants. They produce some weird smells. Some bad, some... good actually.
Not that a nice smelling chemical plume is necessarily good for you. The chemical class known as esters often have strong smells- some very pleasant. I always hope that that is what I'm smelling. In the past few days I've had burnt toast, and tonight, fresh-cut grass.
The fresh cut grass smell was really nice. I hope it wasn't something carcinogenic I was smelling, lol.
I miss green things when I am at work. When I fly home to S. FL, and walk out of the door at baggage check, I get hit by a wall of humid, tropical air that smells of humus- clean dirt, rain, and fresh green leaves- and a touch of cut grass too. That smell is the smell of coming home. It's the heartbreakingly beautiful smell that days-of-sail sailors used to get when they were just over the horizon from certain islands like Bermuda. It doesn't make my heart ache, but it does create a dopamine dump in my endocrine system- I get that warm, pleasant feeling like after you take a sip of good cognac.
So, out on deck on the HQ, with cargo tanks venting on deck, that sulfur smell there and being ignored, a gust of wind brought that smell to me, and for just a second, I wasn't on deck anymore. I was sitting on a bench outside of baggage claim, seeing my wife's car come around the corner.
It was a truly nice few seconds. After it passed, it was back to work for yours semi-truly, but a little of that feeling lingers. I've got the weekend on here, and Monday Monday (nah nah... nah nah nah) to get through. After that, I'll be there again in that one moment, smelling home.
I am Paul B, and I spend most of my life at sea. Ships, Science, the life of a mariner, biology and (mostly) true stories of life among the best and the worst people in the world, the United States Merchant Marines. You'll find it here, maybe. You'll definitely find rants, raves and discussion on life aboard a merchant ship. Come back and see the Brazilian girls, too, who show up fairly regularly.