June 3rd

I awoke to the cold. Last night I put on some flannel before I went to bed, we have been on a North by Northeast heading since leaving Japan. We are headed up to the tip of the Aleutian chain, which is quite long but very far north. The weather continued to be cold, windy and misty rain all night. The temperature is cold, mid 40’s this morning. I am glad I don’t have deck work as a crewman. It is just plain nasty outside, it reminds me of January back on my mountain. The wind is out of the North, I would say Arctic and the entire ship lists to the starboard side in this wind. The ship is like a massive wind block, imagine 1100 feet long and now 150 feet high and solid. The wind just pushes against the entire ship and makes us lean with it. I had to re-arrange some of my things on the desk and in the bathroom to compensate for the leaning. The shower drain is of course, on the port side so after my morning shower I had to cup the water to the drain since the ship was leaning the other way.

There is a small, very small heater in the bathroom of my cabin. When I boarded, I shut it off since we were in the heat and humidity of southern China. This morning I turned it back on and left the door open in an attempt to warm the cabin although I think that is wishful thinking. I put on a long sleeve T shirt and then a flannel. I think it will be like this for the next week.

Today we will have a safety drill. I have no idea what that means other than I go to the bridge and join in. That should be interesting.

After breakfast, which included oatmeal thank god, I went down to the ships office on the main deck. This is Deck “A”. I am in a cabin on Deck “F”. The gauge in the ships office says we are at 5 degrees of lean. Of course, as you go up to Deck F, which is a good 70 feet above Deck A that angle is more, not sure how much more but the vessel can safely handle 25-30 degrees at Deck A level, which is the main deck. So, we will see what happens when we hit some higher seas. Right now, the seas are about 8 feet with a wind that is blowing 40 knots and it is cold. When I went down to breakfast all the guys were wearing hoodies and cupping their coffee to keep their hands warm, I guess their cabins are cold too.

At 0915 I am supposed to go to the Captains office to approve my debts. This would be for the internet credit and the store purchases. They put it in an interesting language; “you are invited to sign your debts in the Captains office at 0915”. I guess this is a form of bookkeeping so you cannot dispute your balance at the end of the voyage, which is when your debts must be paid and cleared. I do not think they will open the store again so this may be a way to settle that inventory and account. I just find it a little odd that the Captain has to monitor this kind of issue, I guess his ass in on the line for the money so he wants to be responsible for it. Some of the guys have hefty tabs. When I went up at 0915 the Captain told me that I was not to be included in the sign off, only for crew members. They have the balance of their debt deducted from their pay, I will pay in cash at the end of the voyage.

The Captain also invited me to come to the Officers lounge tomorrow at 1145 and have a drink, then join the officers at their table for lunch. As I have noted, lunch is the big meal. I wonder how they manage that in France, do they take long lunch breaks? I would like to know about this. I know that in Asia we take an hour, the first half hour is spent eating and the second half hour is spent sleeping. You NEVER call anyone during lunch hour in Asia. Do the French take an hour lunch? A two-hour lunch?

An hour lunch back home even seems short sometimes, if you go out to eat and with the lunch rush it is rarely enjoyable, just eat and run or grab and go. If lunch is such a big deal in France how do the lunch spots handle it? I think of these things. I probably have better things to think about but this kind of thing interests me, should I go back to France I want to have a better understanding. I mean, we as Americans think of French food as world class dining, funny that they pay more attention to lunch.

The weather continues to worsen, I went to see the Chief Officer, a really nice guy named Benoit. He told me that there is a small cyclone a couple hundred miles in front of us and that we will be enduring this weather for the next two days. It is very windy, very cold and we have an angry ocean. I don’t mind it but the chill in the cabin will require an additional blanket tonight to be sure.

They postponed the safety drill. No one wants to go outside unless they absolutely must. At least the oilers and the engine room engineers can stay warm inside the engine room. There are a couple of guys out on deck grinding and repairing something, poor buggers.

Lunch was a salad, veal with mushrooms and mashed potatoes; the instant type. I wonder about veal also. I have never bought or prepared veal, I don’t think I have ever even ordered it intentionally. I just have these memories of hearing my Mom tell me they raise these baby cows in stalls and they never even walk freely, they are held in a stall until they are killed. I have no idea how long a baby cow lives until it is not considered veal? They are raised to be slaughtered, I get that but something about a baby cow being taken for food just rubs me wrong. Veal has never been on my radar.

I finished a Michael Connelly novel. Somewhat standard fare but I like that he has some street cred in his novels. I am looking for a different type of book in the library, I don’t have much patience for formulaic novels any longer. This one was called Void Moon; my Mom will want to know.

I think I will venture outside despite the cold, windy, wet weather. I need to be out there and feel it. I will bundle up and take a look……….as a side note, it looks like we get two Sundays. As we pass the International Date Line it will take us that long to travel through it, so I think we actually do Sunday twice, the weird just gets weirder with the time.

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