The wind has finally laid down some, a real favor to this boat -- a "big 135" with a measly 2,800 horses and no thruster. Not that I've ever used a thruster on a crewboat, but still ...
This morning, at our fourth stop of the run, the first captain came storming up the wheelhouse stairs, shoved me out of the way and said: "I'm going to school you ..." I was, he said, making the deckhands uptight.
The indictment read as follows: throttle jockeying, rushing from rig to rig, dumping gears.
Hey, it's his boat and he has the right to insist it is run the way he wants it run. But I'm no throttle jockey. And I sure as hell wasn't throwing the sticks down on the dash with an audible "clack" as he demonstrated; I don't even hold the throttles in a way that would make that possible.
I may not be doing everything exactly the way he wants on this boat yet, but I sure wasn't doing everything wrong, which was his strong implication.
A little later, he rushed up the steps again.
"This is the second morning in a row the coffeepot hasn't been set up. On this boat, you have to set the coffee pot up for the next watch."
"Okay, I got that," I said.
"Well, why wasn't it done? This is the second time. It was set up for you!"
"Probably because I'm still drinking coffee, and it's not even 1100. You come on watch at noon, right? Also, I've been driving the boat for the last five hours."
"It's got to be set up when I wake up," he clarifies. "If I get up before [the engineer], if that coffee is more than 20 minutes old, I dump it out and make a fresh pot for him. We don't drink old coffee."
"Okay, [his name -- rhymes with "Dick"], so what time do you usually get up?"
"It depends, but usually by 8 or 8:30."
"Okay," I say. "I guess I'll stop drinking coffee by 0700, just to be safe, and make sure the pot is set up for you."
"Look," he says, voice rising, "That's just the way it is on this boat, the way it's been for the past 13 years. If you can't get with the program I'll throw the goddamned coffeepot overboard!"
Oddly, that's the longest exchange I've had with this guy. The other day, in an effort to make small talk, maybe find a connection, I asked: "So, what kind of bike do you have?"
I got a one-word reply: "Harley." Then he walked away.
I could have guessed that much, given that he was wearing a Harley t-shirt.
Does it matter? <shrug> I dunno. In the end I'm here for a paycheck, and for the sea time. I'm always hoping to learn something new and improve my skills. It would be really nice if my weeks on the boat also were pleasant, interesting, or even (from time to time) fun.
After the goddamned coffeepot conversation, I was ready to go.
"Man," I said to a friend, "this just isn't going to work."
I decided instead to sleep on it, and now I just don't know. We'll see how I feel come Tuesday, I guess.