Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just Rambling

It’s evident from previous posts, I enjoy taking pictures outside, especially when I’m on the boat. It’s probably because my actual work area on the boat is in the engine room and quite frankly, it’s not a very pretty place.
Hearing protection is required for anyone entering the engine room because the noise level when the engines are running is way beyond what the human ear was made to put up with. That and the fact that the ambient temperature down there, when we’re under way hovers around 120 degrees. It’s a great place to go for weight loss, but not an ideal place to go to relax with a cup of coffee.
So, when it’s coffee time, I’m outside.
Those 2 big gray things in the picture are the two main engines. Together they generate 4000 horse power and a whole lot of noise. I have, on more than one occasion after a long trip in some unusually bad weather, touched each one after shutting them down, and said “thank you, thank you, thank you”. I consider them my best friends on here and never do I dare talk bad about them, not even in a blog. I figure, why press my luck.
It’s really odd that I have spent the better part of half my life in and around engine rooms. My job, in a nut shell is to keep the boat and all auxiliary equipment running. My job is arguably the best job on the boat because no one really tells me what to do. I wake up, decide what needs to be done this particular day and go do it. All the Captain wants is the boat to run, he doesn’t want a lot of the gory details. The only input I may get from a Captain might be, “Mark, how’s everything running?” I’ll say “Ok”, and he’ll go back to whatever it is he was doing.
I mention it’s odd that I am an Engineer who works with his hands every day, because when I was growing up, my Dads tool box consisted of a screw driver, a hammer and maybe a couple nails, and they were in the kitchen drawer. He was a writer, not a motor head.
When I was hired for my first trip at sea as a green 18 year old kid, I was scheduled to work in the galley on the ship, as a mess boy. My seaman document read, “Food handler.” But a pre-employment physical showed I had an ear infection, (from spending many hours a day swimming in the water) and I was not permitted to work near food with an ear infection. So they switched me to the Engine Department, and the rest is history.
As I think about it, fate has played a huge part in my life. As a guy who can’t boil water to this day, it would have been a disaster for me to try to work my way up the Galley ladder. Imagining me as a cook is not a pretty picture. Anyone who knows me will attest to that.
Fate also came into play years ago as I met my wife for the first time on a plane as I was flying out to San Francisco to meet a ship. She had just recently been hired as an “Ordinary Seaman” and was joining the ship for the first time. We sailed together on the same ship until we got engaged. (That’s a whole other story) That’s was 27 years ago. I’d say that worked out pretty well. Someone told my 25 year old daughter, “You cuss like a sailor”, and she responded, “I come by it naturally.” Both her parents are sailors; it’s a miracle she can speak at all.
An how fateful was it that the woman I met on that plane those many years ago would turn out to be the perfect partner for a merchant seaman?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your new layout Mark :-) I'm not sure if I believe in fate, but how you met your wife was remarkable. Sometimes life just fits into place and there's no logical explaination for it.