Sunday, January 19, 2014

what is there to say?

Sometimes, there's just not a hell of a lot to say! We got on the boat Thursday and it's been a pretty normal hitch so far. All paper runs so far, with some good standby time in between. I like the standby, as long as it's not too much of a good thing. Catch up on some reading ( Game of Thrones book 2 ) and catch up on Breaking bad, which I didn't start watching until just past November, and then a little of chart corrections too.
That needed a little attention because for some reason it's been neglected over the past year or so while i was away. I found all our publications to be out of date, so those are on order,as well as a couple of charts.

so, I'm just basking in the glow of being back with my crew, on my old boat. Life is good! I'm thinking of a series of interviews with other captains for a monthly blog entry, so look for that soon. Oh yeah, dieting now. goal: drop 75 pounds in the next 7 months. 10 pounds a month - healthy, doable. I'm taking the calorie counting route this time around because after all, calories is king is king as far as eating goes.

Anyways, that's it for now, just a run of the mill, non interesting dispatch, day in the life sort of thing ~ Al

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ice on the North River

Long Time No See
Funny thing about this blogging thing, you've actually got to write something every once in a while! It's been a long long time. I always thought I had a lot to say, but I guess that's not the case.

I'm back at DonJon now, after about a year and a half. I left to pursue an opportunity as master at another company. I'm not sorry I did it, but I really missed DonJon marine. this is a company that really knows how to do this tugboat thing. Every thing is aboveboard, lots of documentation, safety consciousness, etc...

I gained a lot of valuable experience while I was away. I got to do some coastal towing, and more than a few tandem tows, which I'm happy to say I've had my fill of thank you very much

Here's a picture from one of those trips. this is taken from the tug Lynx, of the dump scow MERC Shevlin. We took it brand new out of the shipyard in Palatka Florida. This was a very interesting trip. Palatka is on the St John River, about 50 miles or so up river. It was Christmas week 2012. We had to sell almost all our fuel in order to reduce our draft enough to get up the river. We got rid of 8000 gallons, leaving just enough - about 700 gallons or so - to get up the river and back to the fuel dock.

 We used an assist boat on the stern of the tow to help keep the tow straight going through the bridges. One of the bridges, the Buffalo Bluff RR bridge, was especially hairy. As I remember, it was very tight going through that one. I'm looking at the chart now and it tells me there was about 20 feet or so on either side of the barge, which doesn't seem that bad in retrospect. I guess the big deal was I didn't have much experience at the time towing through a narrow space like that so it seemed pretty dicey at the time. It's really not that bad though. I just lined up on the center, and had the tail boat backing to keep the tow straight, piece of cake!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Every thing I've had to do with the boats, I've said "you want me to do what?" but then you realize that it is doable, people have done it before, and you just get it done and it's another notch in your belt. It's all about having a little bit of boat sense, and the tools and confidence to get it done. The rest of that trip was pretty straightforward, out the river, turn to port at the sea buoy, and up the coast to New York. We did get caught in some weather just south of Hatteras on that trip, forecasting about 4-6 foot seas that turned out to be more like 8-10 foot. I sometimes forget the tongue in cheek rule of thumb: When they say 4-6 foot, they really mean 4+6 foot - that is, add them together.

Well, that's it for now, I'll try to be a little more consistent with the posts. - Al