Back to sea after 16 years

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…

Welcome back! Nothing like going to sea- especially if you’ve been away a while:)

Sounds like quite the trip- I’m jealous:D

Hope you find another berth fast.

Happy New Year! Anthony

Congradulations! 55 more days and you should knock out your recency requirement for a license.

Who did you ship out through? Doesn’t APL have SIU and SUP contracts?

Sounds great. I hope you can get on something regular. Good Luck to you.

Hey NS, nice job…Fell right back in the old groove it sounds like…Give a call when you can, I get relieved tomorrow ,lets catch up…

APL deck is SUP-Sailors union of the Pacific. How long did it take you to ship after signing up.

I shipped with S.U.P.

I shipped with S.U.P. :slight_smile:

One Day. I had good timing. Many of the book members take a break over the holidays. They call it “apprentice season” because Oct - Dec is the best time of year to get a job with the union.

Would have been better if I got the three trips I was supposed to get but APL called the job wrong. Either way glad to have the first trip out of the way.

SIU has the stewards. Not sure about engines, probably marine fireman union, MFOWW. That, and just before Memorial Day were my fav times to ship. Everyone wants to be home, ashore. SUP, to me, tends to be a lot more up front about union issues, and more control over things with the ship delegates. Always read their paper online to see what is actually going on, vs SIU which is cheerleadering. Good on you for getting shipped.

I remember the bar that was in the SUP hall building in San Francisco. Between the two job calls at the MEBA hall next door, there were a lot of engineers hanging out in there. Cheap beer and dollar hot dogs. The decor was great, too. Old, 1950’s style, with portholes over the booths. Inside the portholes were pictures of ships. And there was a big mural of San Francisco as seen from the water at night behind the bar. I believe it was called the Chain Locker, but memory fades after so many years.