Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Gas Station On The Side Of The Road

For days we have been accompanied by a flock of swallows, a traditional good omen for seafarers.  There have been finches and sparrows, too, but the swallows seem to get everyone worked up, myself included.

When a red-footed boobie that was perched on the foremast crapped on me, the crew insisted that, too, was a good omen.  Clearly they were wrong, as the boobies proceeded to shat on me two more times... sounds like dubious luck, at best.

We finally ran out of fuel, prompting the company to accept the old man's proposal that we go get some.  The 1200 position report shows our new destination to be Subic Bay, Philippine Islands.  Interestingly enough, a company engineer will be joining us there.  I suspect he's more like an auditor... boy, won't HQ be surprised to find out we're not watching movies, drinking beer, and padding the clock with imaginarily-worked hours and that yes, this ship we're on needs the ceaseless ministrations of this miracle crew to keep her moving.

And more of the company's money.

Also planned to pick up at this service station are a wide variety of vegetables and fruits... I have had cauliflower (cooked as a side, and raw on my iceberg lettuce salad) at every single meal for two weeks.  I have officially become sick of cauliflower.

Let's not forget water.  We're taking on fresh, potable water.  Crazy, no?

I really like being underway, but I have to admit, three weeks (21d, 10h 23m as of this moment) and 5,972.6 nautical miles have finally gotten tedious... I have seen one fin whale, countless adult and juvenile red-footed boobies, a couple random brown boobies, some type of egret that came on with the swallows and other land birds (from where is anyone's guess- there is no land out here), a badjillion flying fish, a fat and scurrying rat, a silverfish (the insect), and one sundog birthed by the play of the sun on the thunderheads that roam about on the ocean at these latitudes like hulking, sky-high jellyfish.

I got another pair of dragon wings when we crossed the dateline... I have lost track of how many times I've crossed, but if I were to get all the traditional sailor tattoos I'd be covered.  Each swallow is only good for 5k miles... so there's a flock of ink, right there (15 from my first ship, alone).  "Hold Fast" on my knuckles; two anchors (one for sailing bosun, one for sailing on a military ship); a pig on one foot, a rooster on the other; a compass rose; hell, I forget all of them and their meanings... but should I ever get inked, I know how long I'll be in that chair.

Once we leave Subic Bay we head to the shipyard in Singapore.  Hell, with my phenomenal track record of walking down the gangway of ships that sailed only one more voyage before being scrapped, it's conceivable this engineer rider could be the death knell of this here inglorious integrated tug and barge.  Time will tell.  Stranger things have happened, that's for sure.