Long Time No See
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