Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What a day for a daydream...

I think I'm going to stop apologizing for not updating frequently. At this point, I'm hoping all four of you who read this will accept the fact that I am a terrible pen pal. Even a one-sided pen pal. So, big updates. I went shopping this weekend. FANTASTIC. Won't go into detail because I will go into raptures. Found out some absolutely wonderful news, Jacob and Katherine are engaged. Finally. Can't wait for the party. In other news, today was a big day on the Yukon Jack. Woke up this morning around 0745, was out on deck at 0810, and I've been going all day until 1930 or so when the second mate let me off watch. We re-fueled three ships and VERTREPed one. Yay us! I helped with the first UNREP today. About 3/4 of the way through that, we got word that our last, biggest, and most important customer (as the ships we service are called), the USS Stennis, an aircraft carrier (insert excited jumping around here), was having steering problems and wouldn't be able to maintain a course and speed alongside us for re-fueling. Luckily, the happened to have some helos on board that could pick up their pallets from our deck. Phew. Thus, everyone was sent into a tizzy preparing for an unexpected VERTREP. VERTREP, for those lucky souls who don't fluently speak acronym, stands for Vertical Replenishment and consists of a helo (or two alternating helos) hovering over our deck while nets filled with various supplies are hooked to the bottom so they can fly it back to their ship. So I spent most of my day today "netting cargo," wrapping sturdy cargo nets around pallets of food, mail, and an obscene amount of Full Throttle so that it could be hooked up to the helos. Once all the cargo was ready, we took rotating lunch breaks and returned to the deck to man the hose team on the flight deck. The VERTREP went well, though I spent most of it wondering if Dad knew anyone on the Stennis or either of the pilots. I also took some pictures, but not as many as I'd have liked since my camera's battery died after about ten minutes. Once we finished the VERTREP, at around 1445, I ran upstairs, showered, threw on khakis, grabbed sea project stuff and made my way up to watch. (I'm currently on the 1600-2000 watch, which means I have to be there at 1545) While on watch, I learned two very important lessons I'd like to share. First, never flirt in front of your father. I thought this one was kind of a no-brainer, but apparently not, as the second mate shared some horror stories of bringing a strapping young third mate (now his son in law) home for dinner with his family. He said that the last time he'd seen the kind of stuff she was doing was when he'd met her mother. So apparently, it's uncomfortable for a father to watch his daughter flirt. Who knew?! Dad, I promise to never flirt with a guy in front of you. Second big lesson, brothers are idiots, you must take care of them. As soon as he said this, I felt like everything I had ever believed was finally proven. The second mate told me that he thought every boy should have a sister to look out for them when they try and date. You see Chris and Scott? I'm just looking out for you. And I should approve every girl you date from now on. See that it's done. It's been a day. Thus, I bid you adieu. Night!


Monday, January 12, 2009

On the upside, given the amount of time it's been since I last wrote an entry in my ever faithful blog, on average, I haven't been up to too much. Unfortunately for me, it's all been packed into the last few days. Thursday the 9th of January, we headed out of Pearl Harbor to basically sail in a big circle and wait for UNREPs. We had one UNREP on Friday, during which I was told to man the radio. Eep! Scary stuff. I'd only seen people holding the radio. I had no idea what to do! Luckily, I made it through alright with just a few bumps, and no bruises. Saturday and Sunday were my days off and spent almost entirely sleeping. With a few hours for sea projects and the rest was spent conquering the terrible chore of watching movies, reading books, and writing. Woe is me.
Over the weekend we were told that since we have a new chief mate on board, he wants us to report at 0800 for deck work. Luckily for us, the bosun doesn't really like having us mess up his projects, so he usually just looks at us for a second and says, "Yeah, I don't really have anything for you guys..." and we quickly disappear. This morning, however, we were captured by the second mate, who told us to go read the lifeboat manuals before the Fire and Boat Drill this afternoon. So we congregated in the lounge, skimmed the manuals, and generally made it last as long as possible. Then later today we had our Fire and Boat Drill. I dutifully reported to my station and helped the designated guys suit up in their fire suits. Then those of us who don't dress out for the fire awkwardly follow along as they make their way to the "fire" and "put it out." Then we return to our station and help them get out of their gear. Woohoo. The Boat part of the drill is equally as exciting. Everyone reported to their lifeboat (Lifeboat 3. Woo!) in steel-toed boots, long sleeves, and with a hat and reviewed launching procedures etc. The exciting part came after the drill itself when we actually launched the lifeboats... with people in them. I was in Lifeboat 3, which we launched first. It was an interesting ride, but we apparently forgot to take into account the large swell we've been having all day... oops. We banged into the hull of the ship so many times, I kind of thought we were going to crush the boat. We did nothing of the sort, and made it back up just fine. A little bit of an adventure though. All sorts of UNREPs tomorrow. In fact, we're going to be dealing with two ships at the same time, one on either side! Wish me luck. Aloha!