Thursday, December 25, 2008
Today while on the phone with a female friend she asked me if I was lonely.Confused ny the straight forward question I responded that if I was home I would probably miss a few of my shipmates just as I do my own family.Just as my family has looked out for my well being so have my shipmates.Without them there is a good chance I would have been severely injured by now.The same goes for them,we all have to watch each others back.Disregard those last few comments mom,I won't and can't get hurt.HAHA,honestly the job has it's dangerous,exciting,boring and endless days.As long as the checks keep ending up in the bank I don't care.Once again,thank you to my family back home as well as my family on the boat.You all have been the best mentors I could ever ask for.Merry Christmas,Chanukah,Kwanzaa or whatever it is you people celebrate.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
So my last few days have gone a bit like this.Wake up early,5:30,eat breakfast,work till sun down,stand generator watch until 10 shower and repeat.Unfortunately today and a few other days it has decided to rain,sleet and then rain.We are in the shipyard getting the exhaust manifold repaired on the port main engine.It leaks and apparently exhaust fumes can be deadly,who knew.So as the shipyard mechanics repair the manifold the crew tries to stay busy.Now if everyone remembers we were in the shipyard for over a week this Summer and it was utterly boring.No problem because this time we haven't had a chance to breathe.Fixing everything from plumbing problems,AKA poo poo piping ,to drain pipes to lifting anything that ways over and up to a few hundred pounds.I tried my hand at welding again,that was a waste of time but I now know for certain I can't do it.We are scheduled to get underway Saturday morning,bound for New York.Oh joyous fun I'm excited.Let's go freeze!It's all part of the deal anyway.I don't get to much snow in my neck of the woods so seeing it for a few weeks won't kill me.I'm just not excited about the strong North winds that come along with snow storms,again just part of the line of work.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So you may be asking what's the notch?The notch,simply explained,is the area on the stern of the barge where the bow of the tug fits into.Everybody got that?No,me either.That's why I took a video to better explain myself.However let me try again,in detail,with words.So the bow of the tug is "pointed".Most offshore barges have an area on the stern of them where an offshore tug can fit into,referred to as the notch.Now the reasoning behind this set up is quite simple.The tug fits snugly into the notch for a few different reasons.First and most importantly is better control.The tighter in the notch the tug can get the better the control.So what happens after the tug gets in the notch?How do they stay there?Easy answer,either cables,or lines or a combination of the two,are stretched out from the stern of the tug up onto the barge.The next step is tightening them using the large tow drum located on the stern of the tug.These drums,also referred to as the suitcase drum or money maker,are extremely powerful and often run by hydraulics.Oddly enough this set up is becoming out dated as new tugs emerge with a new set up.As hydraulics become more efficient,these new tugs are equipped with a pin system.Referred to as ATB or ,articulated tug and barge units,these new tugs have become the wave of the future.They simply come into the notch and a set of hydraulic pins,very large ones,emerge from the bow of the tug and lock into "holes" in the barge notch.This system allows them to be primarily a "push" boat as they can routinely take 10 foot seas with no worry of the pin system faulting.The old cable and line system will not tolerate more than 3 foot waves.So as the old system barges head offshore they have to set free and continue offshore by towing.Then upon arrival at the next port of call they break down again to get into "pushing gear" to dock the barge.As you might imagine this system causes much more work for the deck crew,but hey at least I have a job.If you have questions,ask away!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Yes,I can't believe it,but yes we did it.We had a successful hunt and it makes all the unsuccessful hunts worth it.Where do I start,no matter what I tell everyone it just won't do justice to what exactly went down this past Friday,now commonly referred to as Black Duck Friday.One of my friends who left me hanging on a past hunt called me and invited me out on his brothers duck boat.I of course cleared the schedule for this opportunity that had come about.Why was it so important for me to go on this hunt?Well for starters,I'm just now learning how to hunt out of a boat and this would give me a chance to see how other duck boat elitist do it.Now I have hunted with this fellow before and we did have marginal success,however all the stories I have heard about his hunts made it seem that it could be much better.So I set out Friday knowing that I needed to pay attention,stay interested,and try and be a good duck hunter.After our initial set up my new friend made it clear as to how all the shooting and calling would go as there were three of us in the boat.I was to shoot first and he would do the calling.Now let's step back a second for a funny note.My friend down the way,his brothers friend has a given name of Dave.It's funny because if anyone needs a goofy nickname like Duckman Dave it's him.
Well I digress,after first light we had already been buzzed by a few mergansers.I had already told myself not to rush the shot,take aim and make it count,shells aren't cheap and I'm tired of missing the easy shots.Dave did a few calls and in they came as if beckoned like a bunch of sailors to a bar that advertises naked women.The first few volleys happened to be off to the side and I opted not to take a shot as there were many birds flying and my friend Aaron was having no problem throwing steel into the water.I did take a few shots at a mallard drake and yup I missed.After the morning hunt,the count was one black duck,three mallards and one merganser.
All morning I was told by both hunters that the afternoon experience would be much better and I just don't think they grasped the concept that as far as I was concerned this was the best hunt I have had all year.So we picked up went back to the dock and headed out for a healthy lunch of Mexican food.Dave,noticing that it was early,decided to let me in on a few of his secret spots.The only catch is that I had to promise not to over hunt them and always call before to make sure one of the few duck hunters who know about them aren't planning on going out there.See Dave explained to me what I almost had figured out.That around my area there aren't many duck hunters.So the few of us that there are need to stick together and be on the same page.What that entails is making sure we follow and obey every rule.Everything from having the correct paper work to not over hunting a spot.So after a nice afternoon boat ride we headed to the magical spot.
So there we were all set up in what seemed to be a very ducky place,however I saw no birds.I was instructed to just wait until fifteen minutes before sun down.We waited and waited and then it happened.Out of nowhere a pair of mallards landed twenty feet from the boat.I was told to let them sit and wait for the others.I kept low in the blind and sure enough in groups of 5-10 they came in.We were however running out of time and noting that we took out a few birds and watched the retriever Misti do what she does.As the birds continued to circle Dave instructed us it was time to pay respect to both the rule and nature.We sat there outside of the blind for over thirty minutes watching groups of ducks come and go.The sound of the whistling wings and the natural calls was completely amazing.I have never witnessed anything quite like it and couldn't help but just be thankful for this awesome display of ducks.Well I have a few videos and plenty of pictures so stay tuned.Lastly,thank you Dave and Aaron for what was truly an unforgettable experience.Simply amazing.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
So here it goes,guide services suck,in my opinion.Yup I won't call specific names,Duckman Dave,but thanks for taking a days pay out of my pocket and giving me a duck hunt I could have put on my damn self.If your a guide don't you think you would scout an area where you were about to take your clients?Well not if you Suckman Gave!Now my brother,Swamp Thing,may be a bit upset with me being specific with names but remember this is my opinion not his.He may have had a wonderful time,just ask him,haha.Anyway to sum it all up we paid an exorbitant amount of money to do something we could have done.Dumbass Dave put us on public land that could have been walked to,nice job Scout Master Flex.Nice looking out for your clients.Then when the worst hunt known to man is over and you want your money you go into the whole,wow the economy stinks,business is slow.WTF! I wonder why it's slow,YOU SUCK AT WHAT YOU DO!You can't call,you don't scout,and you don't have private land to hunt,why are you a scout?
What it all comes down to is this past Monday my brother and I had a better time hunting by ourselves,busting ice,not seeing birds,catching up on each others lives.Oh and how could I forget,watching Swamp Thing fall in the beaver run and swamp his waders with icy cold goodness.He won't email me the picture,yes there was a camera ready and another fella caught a picture of Swamp Thing doing the shark attack dance.A last bit of advice for everyone,don't use a guide service for hunting unless you don't know the area or it's a close personal friend.I learned on Tuesday that my brother and I know much more than we thought we did.We have two boats,plenty of decoys and time to find ducks.What we don't have is the money back in our pocket that Tardman Dave took from us.Everyone have a great Thanksgiving,I need a drink and I'm going to watch this parade,haha.Oh I didn't even take the camera out,it was that bad.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Jumper Line/Busted like a Hotdog with No Mustard!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Let's try this.Currently as I'm typing the video should be uploading.It is however taking light years so whatever.This video,if it ever uploads, is just a short one I took while in Mississippi during the terrible dredge days earlier this Summer.It was a common occurrence while headed out to the dump sight to run into a thunderstorm squall.The day this video was taken was a bit different.It was July 4 weekend so every one and there brother was out fishing,drinking and just generally getting in the way.Once the storm rolled in visibility went to near zero and many pleasure boaters seemed to be confused as to how to handle the situation.We handled it the best we could which means lay on the airhorn and scare the living hell out of every boater in the area,haha.One hour later...........Ummmmm it was downloaading but yeah now it says processing and yeah it isn't happening people,sorry I tried.Whoa my camera is a good one and this video looks poopy.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Following the Captain is of course first mate.The first mate is responsible for maneuvering the vessel when the Captain is resting.His job duties also include learning all that he can so one day he can be in command and make the calls.The first mate is the deck crew boss if you will,he ensures work is being done in proper fashion.Things liking painting,cleaning,splicing lines and so on.Most first mates tend to be younger than Captains because they are still learning and even though they possess a Captains license,they either don't have enough sea time or aren't confident that they are ready to step up and take command.
The deck crew is underpaid,hahaha,sorry had to say it.The deck crew consists of many rating,rankings and strange people.The larger the vessel the more deck crew needed due to Coast Guard regulations.I won't get into that topic to much,summed up it depends on the GRT,or gross rate tonnage,and how far offshore the vessel goes.Most offshore tugs consist of two OS or Ordinary Seaman and one AB or Able Body Seaman.The OS is responsible for cleaning,painting and general maintenance of the tug.The AB is responsible for everything the OS is plus a few extras.Things like talking the barge in when approaching a dock,helping the captain maneuver offshore,and dealing with ornery OS type situations.
The engineer,well that's self explanatory,yet still very important.Do I have to state the obvious here I mean the engineer come on people he keeps us moving and fixes everything we break.Well that's about everything on the subject.Lastly let me just state again that everyone on board has a purpose,a job and responsibilities.Without one person doing there job it makes it more difficult and sometimes impossible for the tug to continue operating safely or at all.Many ships have multiple AB and OS.They also have 3-4 Captains Mates and 2nd Mates.It all depends on the GRT.I haven't decided what the next lesson is.I would like to say that if anyone has any questions on this topic or any other topic boat related just ask.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Deep int the creek I again found nothing but scenery,want the whole story read the post below.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So as you can see just about the time I get bored of sitting at a dock waiting for a job,it gets entirely to busy and I want a break.Crew change tomorrow,but not for me.Three members are going home and two are coming on.In other words it's only going to get busier.That's fine though as far as I'm concerned we can stay busy until October 1,that's my crew change day.On a side note I have some great pictures of Albany,when I get some time I will upload them.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
So back to work in the morning.The chief engineer is coming up from North Carolina and plans on picking me up before sunrise.Then it's a trip up north in what I'm sure will be a cheap rental car.The plan,which will change,arrive in Philadelphia,do some grub shopping,crew change and get underway to I have no clue.I'm a little out of the loop so just stay tuned and hopefully we won't be heading anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico any time soon.On a serious note,I really hope everyone in the path of the hurricanes makes it through the next few weeks.
Friday, August 29, 2008
So yesterday in the drizzle I walked around the yard and found a few leaves,traced them with an exacto knife on a manila envelope and cut them out.Then after my fourth visit to Bass Pro Shops this week,I purchased one can of doo doo brown spray paint.That isn't the technical term just what my friend called it.So easy enough I just sprayed a few leaf stencils on the boat and now the duck boat is ready to go.To bad the season is over two months away,haha.Well my brother is coming down from Maryland to go do some scouting on Ragged Island WMA.It will prove to be interesting I can promise you that.
So this morning I woke up early and went to do a little freshwater fishing.Don't hold your breath for any of those pictures I didn't catch anything.Three of the lakes I went to had oil booms and a slick on top of the water with signs every where stating a chemical influx type situation.So I moved on and went to Bass Pro again to buy some 2 cycle oil for the boat.I came home and fired up the motor since it had been awhile and generally just got the boat ready for the next days activities.Pictures to come at some point.