It is Thursday evening and we are steaming south towards Seattle. We stopped yesterday for a few hours outside of Ketchikan to pick up our 2nd barge (tandem tow) and are now just a few hours north of Johnstone Straits. The tidal predictions has us missing the ideal tide at Seymoure, so we are going to have to slow up and hit the next one, putting us into a Seattle around 14:00 on Saturday.
When I was on deployment in the Navy, we always had a countdown going for when we'd arrive home. We never counted the very last day, instead we referred to the last "wake-up" on the final day as a "WU". "39 days and WU and we'll be home!", etc. I can't help but still think of remaining time in that manner, so in this case, we have one day and WU... Or 3 watches left to stand.
This trip was supposed to be 3 weeks, but weather had us jogging and doing round-turns for 12 days, stretching it out. It's been a fairly uneventful trip with relatively easy cargo work and a good crew. 4 weeks can really drag on, but it seemed to go by pretty quick. The extra week of pay and ATO is much appreciated as well. We also make an additional 10% on our paychecks as "weather bonus" when traveling west of a Cape Spencer in the winter months, so that helps ease the burden as well, especially when the weather is actually crappy and we earn every dime of that 10%!
The one "stressor" on this trip for me has revolved around food supplies. We ran out of milk, coffee, cheese, water, produce and fruits. Plenty of entrees and snacks, but the crew starts to get a little pissy with the cook, even though I'm not the one in charge of the weather. I could have bought more, but who knew. In the end, it all worked out. We picked up a few cases of water, some coffee and milk from the assist boat in Ketchikan yesterday and everyone is happy again. Our boats all have water makers/de-salinators, but sometimes the water tanks add a little extra coloring and it looks a little funny. According to the engineer, it's awesome tasting water, but if there's an option for bottled, I typically will go that route unless absolutely necessary.
The one "bummer" for this trip, is that because it went long, I now don't have time to go home to see the family before school starts on Monday. I had planned in having at least a few days to fly home, but now it's looking like I won't see them until the end of a February. It's tough, but it'll go by quick. I'm currently scheduled to go back out on March 14th, so it appears that I'll have a few weeks of family time after school is out. This year is gonna fly by and my sights are on the big picture and Spring 2015 where I will hopefully be sitting for my licensing exam and moving into a Mate position soon thereafter.
Well, it's time to wrap up season 2 of Game of Thrones and go to bed. Good stuff!
Pics from this morning's sunrise.