Sunday, February 21, 2010

i'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus's garden...

Because it'd probably be a lot more interesting! Here's the deal about why this job is hard. Anyone can crank out a 16-hour shift in the factory. You break up your day into 2-hour increments, thank Steve Jobs and his magicians regularly for the genius that is ipod, and keep your third eye on the prize of disembarking in a relatively short time.
The snag? Down time. I have read until my eyes are blurred, talked until I no longer have ANY desire to "get to know your neighbor", consumed coffee in amounts unhealthy to any organizm with a beating heart...which is now beating SUPER fast, and have come full circle to complacency.
Someone does my laundry, cooks all my food, and people are generally super nice, unless they're complaining about money. The joke "That's why it's called fishing and not catching" is wearing thin. Punctuated by glorious days in Dutch Harbor (this last offload was a balmy 38 degrees and sun sun sun!) the mundane reality is I have imposed this upon myself. No "poor me's" but I do keep writing myself notes to find later saying things like "Remember how you feel at this moment, DON'T come back" or "It REALLY is time to move on". It's amazing how quickly amnesia sets in and you trick yourself into thinking you can put in for just one more season. Probably some evolutionary trick our brains developed in order to have multiple children.
In short, life is actually pretty sweet right now. In a Splenda, bland, brain-wave altering way.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The ups and the downs

Literally! A-season is in full swing as is the Bering Sea. Another round of seasickness has struck and people are walking around with the tell-tale dramamine patch yet again. Though I'm not really an advocate as you get over it faster without the patch, there really aren't many worse feelings than that flu-like state induced by your lunch getting tossed around. I've taken to napping, hard. Went to bed at 11:30 last night and surfaced at today. Not proud but there's really not much else to do. Borrowed season 2 of the Closer and was reminded yet again of why I avoid cable. Crew conversations are always a good time. One of our machine tech's favorite subjects is how no one works in the US anymore. I swear, more world problems are solved up here over cups of coffee and cherry turnovers than in DC.
We take part in a "salmon escape net" experiment each year and it's our turn again. This is a great initiative by both the fishermen and gov't to meet in the middle on bycatch. I witnessed it last year and this is the 6th year running. There are many stipulations as well as perks for the participating vessels of course, but isn't that how things change, incentive? This may or may not slow this trip down and we've been testing nets for the last 12 hours. Every time we hear them set it, the crew all perk up a bit, until we realize it's just another test. Hopefully we'll be in full sea kitty swing by tomorrow.
Our first offload was pretty mellow. "Angonizingly slow" may be a better way to say that. New belt operations added on some significant hours to the process but hopefully this will work itself out next time. I took advantage of our extra time with extra walks to the store to avoid bed sores and more calls home. Sounds like things are well...or at least tolerable on the homefront.
Happy February to all.