Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fishing Vessels...... Grrrrrr!

The last couple of nights have been made fun by tiny little fishing vessels: in short, I hate them. They do not show up on radar easily, nor do they show the lights I have been taught to recognise. I had been told that the flashing lights (LED strobe types) were just fishing buoys and not to worry too much about them. However, last night I had what I thought was a fishing buoy coming down my stbd side, as it began to pass, it suddenly turned on it's main light, we put the search light on it, and there was a tiny little boat, only a few meters long (if that), about 100m from me. The gits. Thankfully, this was just as I had handed over the watch to the 2/O, so he had the fun of playing dodgems with the other lights that were coming up! Still, it scared the cr@p out of me, and from now on I will be treating every flashing light as a boat!

This evening, more fishing vessels, we left Porta Caldera at 2000hrs and there were a bunch of them hanging about, thankfully the Captain was still on the bridge and gently coached me on how to dodge between them, rather than make a massive deviation around them all. Later though, after he'd gone to bed I had 4 more, all of whom appeared to be charging toward my planned course, so I ended up going 4 miles to stbd off track, away from the land, to skirt them.Once they were clear, I made a course toward the next waypoint, but then there were more, but on my port side, so I headed back to track, which took me clear again. Of course, another one popped up (on Radar first this time) right on my head... By the time I had cleared the closer ones I would be able to alter again to onto more or less our planned course and avoid the next lot, but it was handover time too, so I left it in the very capable hands of the 2/O. He'll probably let them come closer than I would, but at the moment, I'd much rather give them all a very wide berth, especially as they keep altering their course and speed, it's like avoiding a swarm of flies!!

In other news, life has mostly been taken up by paperwork, training and inspections. Despite the glamourous picture I may paint by posting photos like the one in my last blog entry, that is actually not the norm. I've been off the vessel once, twice if you count the half hour I got at San Blas with the Security Supervisor on my first morning. I decided not to do my lifeboat inventory in the heat of the midday sun (so far, the thermometer has registered as high as 44 degrees Celsius in full sunlight... I don't want heatstroke!) So when I have outside jobs I've decided to chill after watch until 3 or 4 in the afternoon and then do a couple of hours work before watch at 8pm. Most of my free time is spent sleeping or just chilling (literally) in my cabin, it has TV and wifi access and is deliciously air-conditioned, after being outside it feels like walking into a fridge!

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