The last 2 years have flown by and it still hasn't hit me that schooling is over and that the licensing process is done with. I'm excited, nervous and tired (from getting up at 03:30) all in one nice little package but mostly just looking forward to officially starting this new career in the maritime world.
The past 27 months were an essential part of the process, but they were all part of the training and licensing path to get me through to this stage where the career begins. This what I envisioned about 3 years ago when I decided to get back into the maritime world.
It won't be easy and I don't expect it to be "fun" as some people might think, but it will be a good solid job, good income and will include something that is core to me, the water. Don't get me wrong, I always make things fun somehow, but day-to-day life on a 40 year old boat and being away from family for extended periods of time is no joke. I look forward to having good solid chunks of time at home and a job that allows my family to travel and have fun when those chunks of time arrive.
So, my boss has me flying into Anchorage and joining a crew on the "Snohomish" to bring a barge back down to Seattle. It'll be a short run, but then I'm apparently staying onboard for yet another run back north, most likely hitting Juneau, Anchorage and maybe one other port. Details to come...
My blog from this point forward will mostly be focused on the career, the people, the places and the experiences as I move forward and hopefully "up" over time. My next benchmark is to get my upgrade to Master in a few years and eventually move up to Captain.
Being a Mate is like being co-pilot #2... You take turns driving the boat with the other Mate and the Captain. My particular watch is from 12-4 morning and night (00:00-0400 and 12:00-16:00). The Captain does the 8-12's and the Chief Mate stands the 4-8's. When we are pulling in and out of port, the Captain usually takes the helm or he directs the Chief Mate via radio from the barge. The Cook, AB, and the engineer also stand watches parallel to us so that we always have a watch partner while the rest of the crew sleeps.
So, here we go... wish me luck!