(This blog is about my experiences working and living aboard a 220’ treasure hunting ship, the M/V Sea Hunter)
It’s been fun (and good for the mind) reminiscing about my experiences while working alongside the crew of Sub Sea Research and their quest for salvaging the Port Nicholson. I started from the very beginning when the M/V Sea Hunter was first purchased in Houma, LA. The original crew spent many months refurbishing her from the inside out. I headed there a bit later than the others, but being together day in and day out we bonded as a crew. We all worked long and hard to prepare her for salvaging in the cold waters of New England. I wrote about our first spring back in Maine when it was unseasonably cold and rainy and how there was a slew of people (crew, contractors, investors and camera men) coming and going each working day. I never knew from day to day how many people I would be cooking and cleaning up after (this was before we installed a dishwasher). Though it was hectic a lot of the time, each day was new and exciting; full of anticipation for what lied ahead.
I next wrote about the long days out at the site setting the anchors and buoys. Believe me, it’s a much more complicated procedure than just releasing them and letting them fall to the ocean’s floor. About some of our equipment failures and having the talented crew (almost like MacGyver’s) figure out how to fix it with whatever they had on hand at that moment. The nonstop scraping and painting as the salt water slowly started to erode her. You can never talk about working on the ocean without mentioning Mother Nature. We Mainer’s have a saying “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it’ll change”. Well the same could be said out to sea. I can’t remember how many times while working on the site it would suddenly change and get so bad we would have to head back and would anchor off Cape Cod.
Of course, I wrote a lot about our humanitarian trip to Haiti after the earthquake. And the horrible storms we encountered along the way when I literally thought this could be the end. Something I hope I never experience again! Oh, and of course the long winter months sitting at dock in Boston counting the days until spring when we could finally head back to the site.
As like any other job, there are things about it that you wish you could change, but working on the water is unlike any other job. Though it can be lonely, dirty and exhausting at times, there are some amazing “perks” that no other job compares to, that make it all worthwhile.
The first thing that comes to mind is how absolutely beautiful and calming to the soul it can be. Like the reflection from the sun as it dances across the water and looks like miles of sparkling diamonds. When at night the water is so still the ship barely moves, and the night sky is crystal clear and all you see are millions of bright stars. It is memorizing.
Another perk is walking onto the deck (while 100 miles off shore) and sighting an owl perched on one of the conex boxes. He didn’t seem afraid, just grateful for a place to rest. A whale sighting so close to the ship you feel privileged for the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. And of course the pod of dolphins swimming alongside the bow of the Sea Hunter playfully jumping out of the water as if to say hello. Each time Captain Esper or one of the crew spots these animals and informs the rest of us, I quickly run outside to catch a glimpse of them and hopefully snap a picture.
Those things I never tire of!
Another huge perk of working on the ocean, is of course the plentiful foods that she provides. Who wouldn’t enjoy a piece of grilled striper that was just caught an hour or so ago. Dave St. Cyr and Greg are the two “fishermen” that you can count on to catch something. Or what about the succulent sea scallops and lobster that the divers on the ship occasionally are able to get for dinner? I remember one particular warm summer night while anchored off the Cape; we decided we wanted lobster for dinner. A few of the crew and I launched Mini Me (ships tender) to go ashore and get some corn on the cob. Capt. Esper went diving for lobster and was quite successful. That evening as we ate our delicious meal under the stars, we all knew in our hearts, there was no better job than this!