Sunday, February 14, 2010

High Highs and Frustrating Annoyances

Another two weeks gone. We had the SEOPS (Special Emergency Operations) Team come out week before last to provide us some much needed focus on training. We got to devote the whole week to nuthin' but learnin'. The training team was accommodating and provided some valuable insights. Some people got to break-in at new positions and learn the ropes. We were working with a little bit of a disadvantage with the drills...our 1MC is broken right now, so we can't make pipes. It's like the PA system being out at the airport. We came up with a work-around, using hand held radios for "pipes" (we called it the 61MC, since we're using channel 61), but it's still a pain in the butt.

Then this last week we were underway. And busy. Three, no four, escorts, a towing exercise, flight ops, boardings, and whale patrols. There were some great!! experiences during the week. And some grindingly annoying frustrations.

The good parts: XO putting the ship right where she needed to go during a mooring (right off of SOPA (Senior Officer Present Afloat) and showing the JOs onboard How It Is DONE!) so that we didn't have to adjust lines at all...just "make up and double up all lines."

Me reading the wind the right way, anticipating a missed hook, and adjusting so that we made off to the Kona mooring ball on the first try with minimal fuss.

Pinning his temporary Cutterman's pin onto SN McKinstry, just a couple weeks after I got to give them out to MK2 Arevalo, BM3 Goracke and SN Andres. I *love* doing this...I got my permanent cutterman's pin while I was underway on HAMILTON, so I kinda feel like I'm passing it on to the next and upcoming generations.

A good friend getting her boat back in the water...sea trials and operations, here she comes!

Oh, and someone from the crew was recognized with being nominated for an award...I'll post more about this later. Need to make sure it's internet releasable. But it's super duper cool regardless!

The not so great parts...barely making it on time to two escorts because the escorted units changed their departure/arrival times by just enough to not make us miss them entirely, but leave us frantically scrambling to get into place while it was still worth while. Nothing like making all the preps to do something (including getting underway for *that* specific purpose) and having it fall apart through no fault of your own.

Breaking shit. I really didn't think it was that rough last night as we were transiting. Apparently I was wrong.

We've had a lot of stuff break recently (see 1MC bit above), and while none of it is critical, I start to wonder when the cumulative effect of all the broken equipment will degrade our effectiveness. Most of what is not working is either a redundant system or a last ditch measure to get out of an extremis situation. These items are designed to be a back up to prudent and attentive watchstanding. And while I absolutely trust my watchstanders, I know they're human and make mistakes (like dropping power to the ship while we're at special sea detail, getting ready to enter port...that was an adrenaline rush!), so the systems are there as a fail safe. And one of them going down at a time, I can live with...we can be a little more diligent with that work around; but to have multiple faults at the same time spreads us thin on where we need to pay attention. CASREPs are out on all of them...just waiting on parts and/or technical advice. The 160-240 day lead-time on parts is frustrating too.

That's enough frustrating stuff. We're in for a little bit, so we should have time to regroup and get some things fixed.

Happy Valentines Day!

1 comment:

JulieAnn said...

Thinking of the KISKA (and the dependents!!) and the rest of Hilo - hope the tsunami isn't as bad as they think it'll be...