Now that I had my sea legs, I was excited to do my job and enjoy the ride without feeling like I wanted to shoot myself. I started to immerse myself in the beauty of the open ocean. Looking out across the water and only seeing the horizon on all sides was truly amazing. But what was really strange and yet wonderful, was not hearing cell phones ringing or a television blaring. The only sounds you heard came from the ship’s generators and the continuous splashing of waves against the sides. This was a new experience for me and I was relishing every minute.
Each day would have the crew doing checks in the engine room and helping keep watch while the captain steamed forward. On their down time, they would be practicing tying knots, watching a video or sleeping. I stayed quite busy planning meals, cooking and keeping the common areas clean. However, I still had a fair amount of downtime. I mostly enjoyed hanging in the pilot house enjoying the view. I was learning about some of the navigation equipment. I especially liked watching the radar screen. Though you weren’t able to see anything with your naked eye, the radar showed the location of other ships up to 48 miles away. There were some binoculars aboard and we took turns scanning the horizon. We did see a few large ships and that would usually get a conversation going. What type it was, where were they heading? We would listen to conversations on the ship’s radio from other passing ships. Mostly it would be light chit-chat asking the captain what type of ship or business we were in. Once we said, “treasure hunting” they usually came back with more specific questions, always ending with a “good luck”. Somehow this made me feel like I was part of a special group (you can see I have a wild imagination).
Each evening after dinner, some of us would sit on the back deck talking and joking with one another. When you have nowhere else to go and no electronic devices taking up your time, you do what people did many years ago, you talk. I enjoyed this time as I felt this bonded us not only a crew but as a family.
It was also a time for me to really get to know my brother Greg. Our lives had been so busy the last 20 years, raising families and working, that we only saw each other occasionally. This time allowed us many long talks. I learned in more detail about the treasure hunting business and his interest in it for so long. What his dreams for the future were. I got to see many sides of him. Here are a few:
The fun side: when he would make a joke or pull a prank on someone
The hard worker side: when he would pitch in to paint or scrape a railing. He had no problem getting dirty
The studious side: when he would be up at 3 am, coffee in hand working on paperwork, reading a manual on a piece of equipment, or just returning endless calls and emails
The optimist side: he was the king at pumping you up and encouraging you to go after your dreams. He would tell you that nothing was impossible. He had us watch “The Secret”. It was a video that helped you realize that thoughts become things and that what your mind could conceive, it could achieve. I’ve always been of that mindset but hearing it from Greg left you with a natural high.
Oh…… and let’s not forget the scary mean side! It didn’t happen often, but when he got mad, watch out. He would have no problem screaming at you and letting you know how disappointed he was. That there were a million others waiting to take your place. You would feel like a child being scolded by a parent. No one liked to see that side. Overall, though, the crew both respected and like him.
As I mentioned on a previous blog, we had a ship cat, called Nine. We were concerned how he would fare on his first voyage. Like myself, it took some time to get over the initial queasiness. The first couple of days he didn’t eat much and slept in the center of the ship. The guys explained it had the least movement. Once he was feeling better, he too immersed himself in the activities at sea. He would love to go on the back deck and chase the small birds that had landed to rest aboard. He would still meow loudly outside Greg’s door waiting for a treat. But I believe his favorite place was in the wheelhouse. Firstly, he knew anyone that was there would hold him and pat him till his hearts delight. He was definitely spoiled. Secondly, like most cats, he loved to sleep. The high captain’s chair that faced the stern of the ship was his favorite place to be. The seat of it was about 4’ high. He would jump up on it, circle around until he felt comfortable and would be fast asleep within minutes. The funniest times were when he would be in a deep sleep and you knew he was dreaming. He would twitch with his paws up in the air as if he were running. Then all of a sudden, he would flip off the chair and fall to the floor, but somehow, would always land on his four paws, (we were scared the first couple times, but he was never hurt). He would then, open his eyes wide, look around to see who was watching, puff up his back and walk off like nothing ever happened. He was an awesome traveling companion for us all