Wednesday, April 22, 2015


It's day 3 of test prep at PMI and I've begun to think that maybe painting and cleaning isn't such a bad thing after all...   Yes, the realization that there is way too much information to be mastered has begun to set in and right now at this point in time, I'm having a hard time fathoming how it will all get organized into this brain of mine.  Topics that were once clear, are fuzzy, yet new topics are crisp and understandable.  I'm accepting the fact that there's no rush for testing and that if it takes me X months to prep, then so be it.

I realized after reading my initial post above, that it sounded somewhat negative and what I really wished to convey, was that I'm not going to rush things and I'll be ready to test when I'm ready.  I am however, a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information that I have to go over and study before actually sitting for the exam.  It's amazing how much we've learned over the past 2 years and when it's all laid out on the same plate, it's a bit much to swallow.  I/we, will get through it and I look forward to being done with the testing process so that I can just focus on work for a while.

Tomorrow is a new day, so let's play it day by day and see where the currents take us.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shelter From the Storm

We are in the process of wrapping up a 3-week trip to Whittier and Juneau, AK. This trip should’ve been about 4-5 days shorter, but we’ve been held up in Prince William Sound doing round-turns because of some ugly weather conditions in the Gulf of Alaska.  Upon learning that a bigger, yet uglier storm system was heading our way, we decided to cut our losses and get out of there before we couldn’t.  The crossing from Prince William back to Southeast Alaska is only about 2 days, but the first one sucked pretty good. Winds were in the 30-40’s and waves 15’ and then some.  Not a huge deal, we’ve seen larger, but a crappy ride to say the least.

Our cargo in Juneau was quick and dirty, in and out in about 8 hours, but Whittier was a bit more grueling. It was 2 fairly long days and I logged 24 hours of cargo time during that time. It was rainy, snowy, cold and miserable but as usual, we managed to bust it out and get back underway on schedule.

Anyhow, we are now across and cruising down Chatham Straits heading south towards Seattle.  This Southeast leg of the trip usually takes about 5 days unless we get held up from weather around one of the points or an unfavorable tide going though Seymour Narrows.

The trip has been pretty good for the most part, although I’ve been having to put my mind in study mode during almost every off-watch minute.  I have 6 Murphy books (Study guides) and I’ve been able to make it through 3 of them.  One of the guides is strictly navigation problems, which I’ve worked through a bit and am hoping that the 2 weeks of test prep coming up will address my weaknesses there.  I’d like to be a little farther along right now, but that’s just where I am and I’ll be ready to test when I’m ready and there’s no rushing it.  I’m not going to sit down at the Coast Guard office until I’m damned sure I’ll be able to pass what they have to throw at me.

The next few weeks will consist of 2 weeks of test prep at PMI and then most likely a trip home for a week or two for studying and then back to Portland for testing.  My classmate Jake and I are renting a place in Seattle for the 2 weeks of test prep and I think it’ll be fun, mostly because I think this place is within walking distance to cafes, bars, grub.

 I might opt to test in Oakland if I can find affordable lodging down there, but I still need to do some research on that. Portland is favorable because I can stay with good friends and let off some steam in good company in between testing modules. Oakland would be nice because it’s only an hour and half away, but I’ll probably have to pay a premium for lodging.  

Oakland also has geographical importance for me because that’s where I began my maritime world when I joined the Navy.  It was there that I had my entrance physical and where they shipped me out of for boot camp.  It’s also where I submitted my original paperwork for my Merchant Marine Credentials, not mention where I was stationed and spent a fair amount of time on the water.  As a kid, we would taker boat down to SF Bay and pop around from anchorage spots and visitor docks, exploring the waterline of the Bay.  It’s certainly played a big part in my passion for the water. At any rate, it might be fun to test down there, simply for the symbolic meaning.

So, I haven’t been blogging much, mostly because I’ve been in study mode, but I’ll certainly be posting up important steps over the next few weeks as testing grows close.  Stay tuned as this party escalates…