I’m about half way through what will be a three-week hitch, and we’ve burned some diesel fuel and moved a hell of a lot more of it. Well not just diesel, more than few different types of product that helps make the world go around. A big difference from my last job is the variety that each day brings. A variety of different berths, of different ships we are brining barges too, of different people to work with. The last variable not always bringing joy to the day, though it certainly keeps things interesting.
Though we’ve been constantly on the move, and often at a near hectic pace due to the fluid nature of scheduling, my stress level has been incredibly low. In fact even though the back watch is as usual turning me into a zombie, I’m generally happy to get up for watch and go to work. We have a fantastic crew on here from top to bottom, starting with a Captain who has more sea miles going astern than I do ahead and is one of the two friends that got me the job here. Our regular deck hands are both skilled hard-working folks, who happen to also be great people to hang out with around the galley table. The chief has a varied maritime background and a million sea stories to go with them; he also knows the boat like the back of his hand. This hitch we even have had a deck hand trainee who has caught on quickly and we will be sad to loose him to a permanent home.
The boat itself is a real step up from what I’ve been used to working with. Built in 2008, a baby by industry standards, she is actually the first of this vessel class that the company owns. She is fairly quiet inside with comfortable rooms and a well laid out interior. Best of all she handles like a complete sports car, and makes maneuvering most of our 30k barrel bunkering barges quite easy. Part of the reason this class of boat handles so well are its inboard turning wheels, large rudders, and fairly short skeg. Before now I wasn’t a big fan of boats with inboard turning wheels, my primary experience with them was a boat that couldn’t twist to save her life. This boat walks a barge fairly well, twists fairly well, and has hydraulic clutches with electronic controls that provide quick consistent shifts. All in all it’s a great boat to run with a great crew to work with.