[QUOTE=farmerfalconer;194123]I know, I know… a lot of guys out there seem to scoff at the whole “call of the sea” thing. I however, went into the business entirely because of it. I love my job. No matter how crabby the crew or rusty the boat, I just love being at sea. Even more so when it gets rough. Spray and wind in your face, deck pitching, and cold water crashing over the gunnels is my idea of a paradise. Frankly, if you dont find it at least somewhat thrilling you must really hate your job…
So, the point to this post is this: where’s the adventure in this industry?
I realize that the days of long port stays and shore leave are over. I realize that the days of tramping are done. That’s not what I’m after. Would I like shore leave in exotic locations? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But, like I said, it’s the sea itself I enjoy.
So what sectors of this industry put you in the rough spots and present the largest challenges? Salvage work? Any companies famous (infamous) for tough jobs and hard work? Like when that car carrier was listing on her side and adrift earlier this year. How do you get a job as the guy that goes out to get it?
I’m young and starting out here. Big paychecks are not my main concern at this time but instead, experiences and sea days. And I figure I might as well get them in an area I find exciting. Plus, I need stories to tell my grandkids once in my dotage…
Joking aside, it’s a serious question. Thoughts? Advice?[/QUOTE]
RE:Rough spots and the largest challenges…
Easy. Coastal Transportation Inc. Operates Aleutian fish tenders between Seattle and the Aleutian Island and Pribilof Islands. Classified as fishing vessels. Operate as old time cargo carriers, mostly using yard-and-stay cargo ships, though the new boat uses a sideport elevator. The crew does the work of longshoremen, loading and unloading the cargo holds and deck. Think 1939. Physical labor for hours on end, moving dunnage, driving forklifts, etc. You can see videos of the crew working the holds at www.cticrew.com, under the “SHIP” and “VOYAGE” tabs. On the “Coastal Navigator Shilshole to CTI” video scroll ahead to minute 6:00 and you can see them offloading at the dock in Seattle. Imagine the scene in pouring rain, 36 degree temps and 40-knot winds and you’ve got an idea of Dutch Harbor, their major port.
Southbound from Alaska they carry palletized frozen seafood in the cargo holds, at -15 degrees. No hand-stacking the cargo holds with boxes, as they did in the Bad Old Days, but still lots of physical work, sometimes still shifting 50 lb. bags of fish.
Because they work closely with the Bering Sea fishing industry they have a whole different mindset about work from the rest of the maritime world. The U.S. fishing industry has no work hour restrictions, so hours can be very long. Aleutian weather is infamously bad. Winter gales and storms are the rule, and good weather the exception. So after all that hard work you get the joy of getting underway in 15 foot seas for a week long trip back to Seattle.
For mates it means navigating up and down the Inside Passage and Peninsula Inside Passage, which can get very adventurous if your navigation skills consist of going from Waypoint 32 to Waypoint 33 in open water.
So yes, the job’s an adventure, if hard physical labor past “Hour 12” in shitty conditions is your idea of adventure. Of course, everybody has their own idea of adventure. For many sailors the word “adventure” includes a bar in Thailand on their time off, and has nothing to do with tying-up a small ship in 80 knot winds.