Monthly Archives: January 2018

Where to start

My energy for blogging seems to have faded somewhat.  I mean, I want to blog more, but finding the time to peck out posts and especially add photos (they seem to be most time consuming) is the most difficult.  When I get home from a hitch at sea, and have energy, I don’t usually have the will power to sit down and report.  Theres all that other stuff like mow the lawn, fix things around the house, prep the rental house for new tenants, change the oil, drink some beers with the boys, etc. 

So here it is in a nutshell:  I worked my ass off in 2017!

It went something like this: I was home January part of Feburary at which time I had 3 wisdom teeth pulled out.  Everything went fine and I was healed up in no time.

I worked the last half of Feb. in the shipyard on the TGT.  Most of time was spent needle gunning small spaces around the ship that we normally would never get to.

I had a few days off and flew to Honolulu to meet the R/V Sikuliaq.  We sailed approx. 38 days to Newport, OR.  The science on the trip was studying ocean currents and eddies and we deployed and recovered lots and lots of drifting sensors.  The focus is on the mixing that occurs when warm ocean currents collide with cool ocean currents.  It is interesting stuff but when asking the scientists about it, they quickly get so technical that they may as well speak Klingon. 

I got home in early April and had about a month off before heading back to the ship yard for 3 more weeks.  Lots more chipping and needle gunning!

I had two days off and then left on a tugboat to Alaska for 53 days.  We left Seattle with tandem barges.  We dropped the first barge in Ketchikan and carried on with a 380′ to Juneau, Yakatat, Anchorage, Dutch Harbor.  Then reloaded for a trip to Bristol Bay and Naknek.  From Naknek we went further North and made a roughly 90 mile trek up the Kuskowim River to the town of Bethel (good Verizon coverage FYI).  Then on to Dillingham and then back to Bristol Bay where we layed on the wire waiting for enough salmon to be caught, delivered to the cannery, canned and delivered to the dock so we could load it for Seattle.  Ended up in detention, as we call it, for seven days before we could load.  Lots of Beluga  Whales in the Naknek River.  Once loaded, we went back to Dutch Harbor, and finally back to Seattle and home.

For 10 days.  Then I left on another tug to Alaska for 45 days.  This time we hit Whittier, Valdez, Dutch Harbor, Beaver Inlet, Dutch Harbor and back to Seattle and home. 

I had 6 days off and in mid Sept left for a second relief hitch on the R/V Sikuliaq.  This time I met them in Nome, Alaska and we dead headed to Newport, Or (can’t get away from that place!) where we did an OOI buoy deployment trip.

I got home from that trip right smack dab in the middle of deer season so I loaded up the next day and went hunting for 5 days.  Didn’t get one but it felt great putting some miles on the old LPC’s (leather personal carriers).

Had just over 2 weeks off and returned to the shipyard to help put the final touches on the Thompson, do sea trials, shakedown cruises and student cruises and get ready to put her back in full service.  We’ve had a few bumps along the way, but overall it’s gone smooth and the ship is performing well.  We left the shipyard around the 17th of December after 556 days (or something like that).    We are back at our home dock and there are a few yard guys and contractors here working their punchlists.  We have one more big inspection, by the National Science Foundation, next week to certify that we are ready to perform the science mission we’ve been assigned.  Then we will return to our dock for about 10 more days of outfitting before steaming over the horizon.

We are scheduled to go to ports in New Zealand, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa,  Austraillia, Phillipines and to the ice edge in Antartica.

For me, I’ve chosen my schedule very carefully to hit the ports and places that interest me most.   In another 34 days, I’ll hit my “hump day”, or halfway point in my 200 day hitch.  That. Is. Not. A. Typo.  I missed all but 10 days of summer at home in 17′ and in 18′ I’ll be home for almost all of it.  The main reason for such a long hitch is that I will be within an angel’s kiss of enough time for 3rd Mate Unlimited.  I still have to take a celestial navigation course this summer before I can apply.

I have a metric shit ton of photos from the last year.  I’m not sure I have the patience to get them all posted in some sort of orderly fashion but I will try to get some for you to see.

Here is a video I shot from our rescue boat just after we came out of the shipyard.  They were conducting testing on our dynamic positioning system at the time:

R/V Thomas G. Thompson

Hope everyone has a safe and prosperous 2018.

TT

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