Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Captain's Blog 2/12/13

There never seems to be a dull moment going to sea. Last evening we were alerted by a USCG urgent broadcast of a sailing vessel in possible distress. It was near us, so off we went while calling in to the USCG Sector San Juan. Of course it is dark, windy, rain showers and rough seas! Why not on a clear calm afternoon? We arrived at the vessel but could not make radio or voice contact - being that close in Beaufort Force 7 wind. The sole operator was calm and seemingly unimpressed by our presence while our search light shined down on him. We maneuvered to get the name and port of the boat - called out once again - not interest in our assistance at all. We radioed in to the Coast Guard, reported the information, and off we went. The Coast Guard fixed wing rescue aircraft did the same.

What could have been a long night of launching our rescue boat and fighting treacherous seas ended as fast as it started? Never a dull moment…. Yesterday afternoon we slowed down to do some pelagic trawls for the MSEP department so they could collect some fresh critters from the sea. Late last night we slowed down for few hours to make an adjustment to a wearing ring on the shaft - so add the two delays up along with a pretty stiff head wind, and we were a little behind schedule. This dictated that we modify the voyage plan slightly (or speed up above our economical choice), so this morning a little past six we made a 180 degree turn to re-track our steps for about six hours, and then we will turn to the southwest to make a beeline for Aruba.

I had a nice chat with the First Engineer last night after the diversion for the sailboat, and as we compared notes we both noted how the First Class cadets are almost there. All of them have been through a watch and training rotation at least once, and they really are getting it. Last night the four-to-eight Cadet Officer of the Watch, Christopher Rogers, managed his watch superlatively - posting extra lookouts, powering up the searchlights, copying radio traffic - and would not let his watch be relieved until all the excitement was over (to the chagrin of the eight-to-twelve I'm sure). Nice to witness - kind of makes the trip worthwhile!

The wind has abated down to a force 4, and now is on our stern. There are clear skies and a few clouds. It's another day in paradise.

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