Monday, March 30, 2009

Doing Time

You know what sucks,getting old.It's not even the process of getting old that I despise,it's that I notice it and realize there is nothing I can do about it.Of course I'm sure many of you are saying dude it's thirty not 50 or 90.There may even be a few of you saying age is only a number and you are only as old as you act.Well if that's the case them I'm 12 I guess.Seriously though it could be worse I suppose.My health is generally good and I took a huge step towards that a few weeks ago,I stopped smoking.
It's been three weeks today in fact and I still crave them just about every day.To fight the craving I have been turning towards chewing tobacco.Yes I know that defeats the purpose and still causes cancer,I know mom it will still kill me.However,in the last 3 weeks I have only chewed twice and it wasn't as enjoyable as it usually is when I'm hunting or fishing.So now all I have to do is make sure I don't start smoking when I go home.See,everyone smokes in my line of work.Well not everyone,but about 90 percent of people do.Around my house it's 100 percent.My attitude has been in the pits,that I have noticed.It's getting better all the time as is my health.
Now we don't have a workout system on the tug,however I have found a way to keep my heart rate up on a daily basis.Stomach crunches,running up and down stairs and general duties on board have kept my mind off smoking for the most part.Well in another few weeks,when I get home we will see if I have truly booted the habit.Then it's time for this old man to get back into shape,or maybe just maintain

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hello Again my Friends

Geese love biscuits

Yes everyone that is a goose with an uncooked biscuit,no I didn't force feed him/her.The pair of geese in the following pictures haven't moved much in the last year.See at this time last year,I happened to be on a new tug,tyring to find my place in the world of offshore tugboats.We were tied up at a location called Pier 124 in Philadelphia.I didn't have many friends at this company and surely didn't have any on board yet.The above geese,or another pair,became friends in a way.Every morning I would come outside and the geese would spot me,start honking and fly over waiting for breakfast leftover handouts.Well I had all but forgotten about my domesticated goose friends until today.Upon taking grub to the boat from a taxi,I dropped a box full of breakfast items.It so happened that a roll of Pillsbury biscuits busted opened and rolled into the cove we were tied up in,at Pier 124.Of course some eggs,sausage and syrup also made it into the river,mostly because that's my luck.So upon the multiple splashes in the water,the magical honking started.That's when it hit me,the geese were still here.Of course I continued to feed them after the biscuits were all gone.It just struck me funny that at another crossroads in my career I would be right back where I made a huge move coming to offshore tugboats.I know it's not much of a "miracle",but it made me feel good looking at the geese,remembering everything I have been through in the last year.Enjoy the GOOSETASTIC pictures!

No more bread,they are stuffed after a roll of biscuits and a hoagie roll

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hello and goodbye Wilmington

Allied Tug outbound Cape Fear River

It was another uneventful voyage from Savannah,Georgia to Wilmington,North Carolina.I as I say that please understand I am not complaining in the least bit.Uneventful is far better than eventful when out at sea.The current runs extremely strong in the Cape Fear River and has to be dealt with accordingly.Let me explain that.The "normal" routine when approaching a dock is to have an assist tug waiting in case the barge needs to be flattened out before making contact with the dock.If the barge isn't flat when it makes contact,then it usually misses the majority of the rubber and finds some concrete or wood to smash.Also known as me not doing my job by letting the Captain know what needs to be done to avoid this.So,last night upon approach to the dock,there was no assist boat waiting.Noting the current and the wind being in the same direction,the decision was made to wait for an assist.After a bit,the assist showed up.Apparently it traveled through a time warp to get here.A time warp from 1900.Needless to say the assist wasn't much help but long story short the barge made it to the dock,thanks to me and only me.I kid,I kid, no really it was a great group effort from all of my shipmates.Everyone performed there job as needed and the job got done in as professional a way as possible with multiple expletives involved.So next stop Philadelphia.Some rough weather may be in our future in the next few days but we can handle it.

Bald Head Island,North Carolina

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foggy and Soggy

Wow what an adventure!No I'm so full of it.The trip down from Philadelphia to Jacksonville went about as easy as it could have.We have a new greenhorn on board,he annoys me with all the questions.All though I would rather him ask questions now than later.The weather on the trip down cooperated for the most part,until we got off of the St.Johns River jetty's.Upon our arrival we had some major fog issues.As I type this we are still having major fog issues.We are simply circling a few miles off the beach waiting for the fog to lift so we can proceed in to our dock.Unfortunately there won't be any time to go into town as we are already behind schedule.The next stop on this hitch will be Savannah Georgia.Unfortunately it won't take a nice four days to get there,more likely less than one.There is absolutely no telling where we will head after that,possibly Wilmington N.C would be my guess.I'm a little tense this hitch as I am waiting for word from my mail collector,my neighbor,on some important Coast Guard Documents.I unfortunately have climbed as high as I can on this employers ladder and it is time for the dude to move on.I may return to my company later in my career as I do enjoy the majority of the people that I work with.So as I go through what will hopefully be my last few months with this employer I will try and keep it together and not freak out in any such way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So it Begins Again

I'm back on the boat,again.If I don't sound very excited about it,that's because I'm not.My last few weeks home were spent doing a bunch of grown up,boring things.I just want the next month to fly by.I know the faster I want it to go by,the slower it will.It will take a few days for me to get back in the groove and then everything will be ok.I'm currently off of Diamond Shoals Light,North Carolina.It's one of the few places off the East Coast that you can get signal for a few hours.We are headed down to Jacksonville,Florida.Upon arrival I will be going farther in depth on why I want the next month to hurry up and go away.We should be in Florida sometime Sunday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lazy Week

So the last few days have been quite lazy for me.I had to make a trip up to Baltimore last weekend to visit the regional Coast Guard examination center and hand in some paper work.Unfortunately I got snowed in Monday and had to wait for Tuesday to take care of that.Then I had made some flexible plans to try and get to the mountains for some trout fishing.Of course I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go with me.I'm not afraid to make a road trip by myself or go fishing by myself,I actually prefer that most of the time.I just wanted someone to help offset the cost of fuel and a hotel room while in the mountains.Yes I'm cheap,yes I can afford it,yes I was being lazy and didn't go.So I tried to take advantage of what is called the Urban Trout Fishing Program.It pretty much breaks down like this.The state of Virginia,and many others,breed trout in hatcheries and then hand pick lakes in urban areas to stock.I'm lucky in the sense that there is one of the "lucky" lakes about ten minutes from my house.It is a great idea that the Virginia Department of Game has and I do appreciate the thought.It just sounds like it would be so easy to catch them.They even post on line what exact day they stocked it last.Unfortunately I learned quickly while fishing that all of the cormorants and mergansers have eaten everything in the lake.Mix in a few river otters and less than 24 hours after stocking the lake,it's empty again.I went and did enjoy a nice day outside,60 degrees,had a sandwich and talked to a few old timers that refuse to think "those damn birds ate every bit of everything".I tried to explain how easy of a meal it is for the "damn birds" but I was met with awkward stares.Not much in store for the next few days unfortunately.If the wind lays down maybe a striper fishing trip but who knows.Next week it's back to work.In April when I come back home it will be time for the annual Catfish Camp 2009!