Sunday, January 13, 2013

Well, Hello There ...

Here we are: 2013. The election has come and gone, a plunge over the fiscal cliff was narrowly averted and all that worry about the Mayan calendar has come to naught. Former hometown hero Lance Armstrong is reportedly set to announce that yes, in fact he is a lying bastard.

The U.S. is enjoying a 20-year peak in oil production and is on-track to claim the title of top oil producing nation in the world in the next decade. Newbuilds are hitting the water one after another, and rigs and boats are making their way back to the Gulf.

Me? I've been hanging out with the family for the past five weeks. During that time we moved across town, celebrated the holidays and explored the new neighborhood.

This Christmas marked the first time since ... well, probably in at least a decade, that I got to spend Christmas with the entire family -- both my brother and my sister (and their awesome significant others), the kids and my folks.

I was grateful for that opportunity.

We're a mile from our neighborhood brewpub (in which we promptly invested) and from a light rail station. There has been lots of kid time, which has been a real joy after spending nearly three months straight away from home.

I even got to head downtown to one of my old haunts for the "Wednesday Night Church Service," and was reminded, again, how fortunate I am to make my home in a place where $8 buys me a couple of hours of truly world-class music.

With another  200 days at sea under my belt, I now have the requisite time in the right categories to sit for the 500-ton Mate Oceans exam, and I'm just a few months shy of time enough for the 500-ton Master

I think I'll sit both and be done with license exams through 1600-ton Master and 2nd Mate All Gross Tons.

First, though, I have a long list of endorsements and assessments to complete. Short of spending about four months and $20,000 in a structured program, it's catch-as-catch-can at a handful of schools scattered around the continent's rim.

I start Monday with the Radar Observer Unlimited course at Fletcher Technical Community College in Houma, La. I have used radars routinely since the days when I was running tour boats; maybe this course will help me use them more effectively.

The climb up through the hawsepipe is a long one and is not particularly straightforward after the implementation of STCW 95. But how cool is it that there is even such an option in this country?! Many maritime nations have only one route to the wheelhouse, and that's through an academy of some sort.

The only way this works for me, by the way, is because my lovely bride also works.

She's sort of a superwoman -- holding down a high-pressure, senior-level position for a large healthcare network, taking care of our two youngest children (both still in diapers) and managing to remember to feed the dog and cat.

That doesn't give me the freedom to not work, but it does give us enough float that I can take a little time off and go to school, and I don't have to accept the first job that's offered.

The game plan of the day is to spend half of the week after next interviewing for jobs; I think I'll be looking at companies with larger boats -- mini-supply and supply boats.

Crewboats are cool, but with the growing importance of deepwater E&P, there may be much better opportunities on the larger, slower, steel hulls.

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. Appreciated the concise update! I will be looking for more.