The bosun and I were scratching our heads last night as we set the hook on the bottom and the Captain began churning up the Gulf of Mexico with an astern bell to dig her in. We had no idea exactly how much chain had been paid out when we let go the starboard anchor.
The paint marking each shot or 90 feet of chain had been completely rubbed off the detachable and surrounding links, if there ever was any. We thought we had seen the fourth shot run out amid the flying rust chips, sparks and red dust but whether we were looking at the fifth or six shot was indiscernible. The bosun remembered painting either one but not both before I had joined and he promised to bring his work journal to the bridge the next morning to decide.
If it was the fifth shot on deck in between the wild cat and riding pawl than we would paint the detachable link red and the five links above and below it white. If the sixth shot than the six links above and below would get white paint. A metal band would also be wrapped around the fifth or sixth links to reflect a flashlight beam at night.
This morning when he showed me his handwritten work journal spanning the last two years of every day spent at sea I felt a twinge of jealously and regretfullness. I had kept my own hand written log for the first two years of my seagoing career but eventually gave it up. I still cherish these weather beaten Moleskines describing each watch and workday on schooners and ships going to my first foreign ports of call in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Asia.
When my third journal was complete it was the most valuable possession I had stolen out of my car in a smash and grab one shitty day in Florida. Disheartened I gave it up for a while but about a year later began a work log on my computer justifying my overtime much like the bosun's. Unfortunately, once I started needing to record the crew's overtime, a departmental work log, STCW hours, NPDES inspections, a log book and this blog it turned into more of a chore than I like writing to be.
I still know how important journaling at sea is for myself so in lieu of keeping another written record of days at sea I'm going to attempt using my enhanced access to the world wide web to and this blog as more of a journal than I have in the past. If my writing begins to reflect the monotony one experiences at sea than I apologize but my home is that in writing less each posting I'll write more frequently. If I can find the time...
This morning the monotony of anchor watch was alleviated by an open air aviary on the foredeck. All morning long hundreds of small south Texan swallows or finches, or some manner of land bird, dodged, dove and swarmed around the bridge feasting on the prolific insects that clung to the deck lights. The cobalt blue and scarlet red were two of the smallest and most striking birds to have visited the ship in a while.