Tag Archives: vigor

Sikuliaq, tugs, shipyard and training

I’ve been home since just before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a nice holiday season with the family and got a lot done around the house too.  

Shortly after Thanksgiving I took a Vessel, Company and Facility Officer Course at PMI in Seattle. 

 Right after that I flew to New York City, rented a car and drove about an hour and half North along the Hudson River to complete my TOAR ( towing officer assessment record) on a very old diesel electric tug named the Cornell.  The program is offered by Diamond Marine Services and helps mariners like me who have a good chunk of their toar complete but are having a hard time getting the time at the wheel to finish the maneuvering portions.  In my particular case, the tugs I work on mostly tow freight barges from Seattle to Alaska.  When we pull into port, the chief mate, second mate and ab’s are all up on the barge to make her fast.  Only the captain remains aboard to maneuver the tug (sometimes the captain and chief mate trade roles).   It could take years before I could knock out all of the assessments, especially since we don’t do many of the maneuvers often or where I could break away from my job to get time to do them.  Diamond’s program lets you complete all the maneuvering with their tug and deck barge.  

As soon as I returned from New York, I turned in another application at the USCG in Seattle .  It took nearly 2.5 months to get my new MMC in the mail as they were so backed up with mariners trying to beat the rule change deadlines at the end of 2016.

I did one quick little overnight tug job from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada and back in January to deliver a barge to a shipyard:

Seattle, the Emerald City (evening):

Vancouver, Canada (very early am):

Mt. Baker along the way:

In early February, I was scheduled to work at Vigor Shipyards (formerly Todd Shipyard) for one month onboard the Thomas G. Thompson. She’s in getting a full makeover and re-power refit, re-pipe, paint, and many other upgrades. Shortly after getting my schedule all figured out, I received a call from the University of Alaska to make a relief trip on the R/V Sikuliaq.  I had to change my shipyard stint from one month to two weeks.  Trust me when I tell you that two weeks was plenty!  The ship is all torn apart and a ton of work to get done.  It was interesting to see the progress being made.  It will also be interesting to see if it will be done on time or not.

Shortly after accepting the relief gig on the Sikuliaq, I got called by my tug company to make a run to Dutch Harbor for roughly 35 days.  It’s their slowest time of the year so when I told them I found some relief work they were totally cool with it because they had several people to try and keep busy.  When I return in April they should picking up steam and probably keep me super busy over the summer.

So shortly I’ll be leaving home to join the Sikuliaq.  She’s got an ice class hull designed for science trips in the Arctic.  I’m meeting her in Hawaii and taking her to Newport, Oregon stopping by Musician Seamounts for some project that I’m not yet sure of.  She’s 261′ long, 55′ wide and was launched in 2014.  Until recently, she had a terrible reputation as having a awful ride.  A problem was discovered with the ships roll tank and once that was corrected the ride has improved dramatically according to those I’ve talked to.  We shall see.  Here are some more pics:

Everyone be well and I’ll try to keep updates rolling……..if the internet works.

Lots of catching up to do!

I’m so far behind on this blog it’s scary. 

When I last posted, we had been on a long trip from San Diego to the equator and back.  The fishing was great, but so was the work.  Eventually I’ll get all of report and photos done.  We returned to San Diego and unloaded to science party and had an empty ship for our transit to Portland, OR to the Vigor shipyard. 


We spent 5 days there repairing our bow thruster and having an ABS hull inspection.  We loaded a large buoy while in the yard called “Cha Ba” (means whale tail in Quilliayute Indian) and deployed it off the Washington  coast en route to Seattle.
In Seattle we loaded a group from Whoi who placed a series of buoys around Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska.  My second time there this year.  If I ever see Station P on the schedule again, I’m avoiding it.





From Station P we went to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands and offloaded the Whoi group and took on a new group which was placing 85 underwater sensors around Umok Volcano, one island to the West of Unalaska (Dutch Harbor ).  That trip only took a few days but the fog was thick and we never really got to see the volcano despite completely circling the island.
We finished that trip and offloaded again in Dutch Harbor and finally steamed for home.  Once we got into the Gulf of Alaska again, we got clobbered by nasty weather.  We also passed to Aviq and Fennica heading to Dutch Harbor as part of Shell’s artic drilling campaign.
When we arrived in Seattle, I was off the ship for two glorious summer months!!

I spent my time riding my motorcycle,


tuna fishing,


home projects, working on my motorcycle, working on my buddy’s tuna sportfisher, running some relief tuna charters for another friend, towing disabled vessels for vessel assist, drinking dome Crown Royal and managed to squeeze in an ECDIS course.


I reported back to the ship two weeks ago and right now it’s blowing 30-40 knots off the coast of Vancouver Island.  We are on a project for the Canadians and are also working with a cable lay ship and Bob Ballard’s ship, the Nautilus. 


We have onboard the Jason /Medea ROV from Woods Hole and are basically killing time until the weather improves enough for the ROV to dive again.


Unfortunately for the science party, they’ll be lucky to get another day of ops before thier ship time runs out.  They have a laundry list of things that won’t get completed.

I now have the seatime for a 1600 Mate N.C. license and have just completed this week the last of the OICNW assesments that I needed.  When this hitch is over I will apply to the USCG to upgrade my license and begin to study for a monster test.

Will try to get the updates done weekly, as has been my goal.