I recently completed my first hitch since getting out of the U.S. Navy in 1993. Very strange being back on the bridge of a large ship staring out at the ocean. Even though it has been so long the feeling was very familiar.
I sailed as an AB on an APL Container ship (C-11.) Went from LA to Oakland, Yokohama, Pusan, Qing-Dao and back. Took the Great Circle route north of the Aleutians (to avoid a storm.)
I was given the 4-8 watch and told I could expect to be at the helm during most of the port entries. Great, haven’t touched a helm in 16 years, shouldn’t be a problem, HAH. Turns out it was no problem. Just 48 hours after reporting onboard I had the helm as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at about 4:30 am. The lights of the city were beautiful. It was very surreal. Then I had the helm into Yoko, Pusan, Qind-Dao, China and upon arrival back in LA. Great experience and the ship handles very well (usually…)
I signed on as a steady and was supposed to make three trips (105 days) but due to a mistake my job only turned out to be a relief (35 days) but I am glad to finally have that first trip behind me. I’m very excited about my new career, now I just have to get another job…