It’s been a while since we heard from my friend Ensign Mike, but that’s my fault, not his. He actually docked in San Diego not too long ago, so help join me in welcoming him HOME! And as today is Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day elsewhere, I think it’s fitting to post the final update on his voyage. I promised seasickness, a change in route, and the news from Bahrain, but Mike also sent photos from the Panama Canal, so you get that too. Plus zombies. *grin*
Do you get seasick?
Monday and Tuesday sucked. Those seas were crappy. I felt like garbage. We had twelve-foot seas hitting us on the beam (from the side). When you’ve been out to sea for a while, you notice that you body reacts differently depending on how the seas are. In other words, they aren’t the same. For example, for a while we were going against the seas, so we were only bouncing up and down. Twelve-foot seas are not that bad if the period is long. However, they do give me headaches. Five-foot seas, but with a short period make me want to throw up even though they’re not that high. Beam seas, when we’re more rolling from side to side as opposed to up and down also suck for me. They screw up my digestion something fierce. *prepare for TMI* It’s a strange feeling. In my stomach it feels like I have diarrhea, but it actually makes me constipated. It’s really weird. The seas were more like the first type, but they went on for so long that I got all three of those symptoms. The Indian Ocean sucks. Never go there. Believe me!
So do you notice the waves more because you’re on a small ship?
We do notice the waves more than on a big ship. The same waves that have us “walking on bulkheads (navy for walls)” are barely even felt on carriers. My ship displaces 4,100 tons. Carriers displace 100,000 tons. Huge difference. It’s prolly an even smoother ride in a carrier than in a car.
Are zombies freaky?
To me, no. ‘Cause I know they only exist in movies, which never scare me, so mostly when I see zombie scenes in movies I’m like “really now?”
Your ship has its own website?!
Yup, we have a web site. Every ship has one. Some are better than others. I forget how ours is. When I was researching ships I had to look at a lot of them. Mostly the bios of the CO and XO…
How’s life in general?
For me, deployment is getting easier because my life has reduced down to eat, sleep, work out, stand watch, and study. Working out is pretty new to that list. It’s really sad, but for the first 6 weeks or so of deployment, I hadn’t worked out at all. I’ve been pretty good about workin out these last two weeks, except the last few days have been kinda hectic getting ready to pull in to port. (We’re finally here in Bahrain, btw. Yesterday was my first day on land since late June.) I had been kind of letting myself get fat and nasty during deployment, but I told myself, “hmmm, this has got to stop.” So I decided a couple things. 1. I will now work out at least three or four times a week. 2. I will only eat two meals a day. 3. I will only drink soda if I need the caffeine, and even then only diet coke. *prepare for TMI* 4. I will shower at least five times a week. If you think your hygiene gets bad in college, its even worse on a ship. You’re prolly now thinking “Eww, he is disgusting.” But different rules apply onboard ship.
Working out has kind of become both my coping mechanism for stress and my alone time which an introverted person like myself needs a lot of (I realized/remembered how aloof I really am these last few days). It has taken me a while to find adequate replacements for those two things when you’re on a ship that’s only so big. Back in college I would just chill in my room and rock out to my ipod and think for hours at a time. Which would go over well on a ship. [note sarcasm]
Can you share more photos?
This is a picture of us in the Panama Canal. Would you believe that there is a webcam for you to watch ships go through?
The locomotive looking things on the tracks are called mules. They pull the ship through the locks. You can see the lines that are rigged from the ship to the mules in the photos.
It takes only took about 10 minutes to flood the locks. I was surprised at how fast it was. I could visually see ourselves rising, it was that fast.
I want to end by PUBLICLY congratulating Ensign Mike for passing an important qualification, Combat Information Center Watch Officer. He sent me his designation letter, and I had to quote from point number 3, because it was that awesome:
“This qualification requires nothing less than eternal vigilance, constant preparedness, and continuous foresightedness.”
Happy Veterans Day, and happy homecoming, Mike!