Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 42

Well, I did it. It wasn't particularly graceful or grand, but I set a goal and I accomplished it. 42 days straight of blogging once a day. Some posts were better than others. Some were barely posts at all.

I learned a few things, as I have with most goals. It's easier for me to motivate myself when it's for someone else besides myself. There were nights where I simply didn't have anything to say, but knowing I had other people to answer to if I didn't get one spit out made me buckle down and say something, even if it wasn't overly insightful or interesting.

I had another goal this patrol -- to train for the Battleship 1/2 Marathon on 8 Nov. The training schedule had me doing a circuit work out twice a week, running moderate distances (three to four miles) twice a week, increasing mileage on Sundays, up to 10 miles, and then a rest day on Monday. The most I ever ran underway was five miles. I did it once. It sucked horrible ass. It was blazing hot, even at 0900. I could run at most 30 laps around the flight deck before I had to stop for water. I had to run 170 laps, which I did, but it took me over an hour. I'd run 10 laps in one direction, 10 laps in the other direction, and call that one rep. 5 miles meant eight reps plus a five more laps in each direction. Dreadful boring. It blew. I did it once and then barely ran anymore on the flight deck. Thankfully by then we were pulling into GTMO for port calls, so I could use their gym and treadmills. Even with the air conditioning, the most I ran at GTMO was six miles. I was supposed to be up to 10 miles by yesterday. There were only a few days where I justifiably had an excuse that it was too rough out. The rest of the time, I was just too lazy. I was training for myself, and I couldn't maintain the discipline to keep to my schedule.

It's a good thing to know about myself -- that it's easier for me to do stuff for other people. I don't know how much I'll work on changing that. I think it's a pretty good character trait to have, but I can also recognize that it doesn't always serve me well or to my own benefit. It's ok to be selfish once in a while.

I had a couple of favorite posts.  The one about gremlins still makes me giggle when I think about it. I'm pretty happy with the one about all the little oddities I've gotten used to being underway. The one about the guys doing yoga on the flight deck gives me hope. The one about making mistakes keeps me honest. And the one about chicken -- I'm pretty certain that one changed the menu the next day. We were supposed to have Indian curry chicken for dinner. I emailed the post to SUPPO the evening I wrote it, saying please feel free to share with our FSs (Food Service Specialists) because I thought they might enjoy it. They made two types of Thai chicken curry for dinner -- spicy and mild. Both were excellent, and I ate too much.

Some of the descriptions I used make me think I know a thing or two about writing. "Sunsets at sea will always live in my soul." "We were children of the sea, reveling in her glory." "The bale of suspected contraband sits imperiously on the wardroom table like a prized trophy." "Did I really just write a post about writing a post about nothing?" "I have box of stevia packets for my morning tea sitting on the shelf above the couch in my stateroom, that must have done a cartwheel down to the floor as it showered all the little green packets over the floor like leprechaun confetti." "The only difference between the sky and the water was a subtle difference in density." CO told me his favorite was "Like a noxious fart in a stuffy room."

Which brings me to the fact that I in no way succeeded in this challenge on my own. The emails of encouragement I received were wonderful. Mike K, whose son is OPS on a Portsmouth WMEC sent regular emails that thanked me for my efforts and let me know my readership was bigger than I thought. I'll get to those posts on what Department Heads do -- though I might be a little out of touch with their actual moment to moment challenges. Maybe I'll ask for a guest post :) I got an email from Richard E (no, not that one) which said my posts brought up a lot of good and bad memories from his time underway, and congratulated me on my selection for O5. JKR even sent me a note saying he was reading my posts. I'm always awed when anyone in the CG community tells me they've read my blog for however many years. It happens more often than I expect and from the most unforeseen quarters, but is always a welcome surprise.

CO took a bold chance on giving me free reign with my posts. He read the first two or so, and then let me go ahead with whatever I had to say. He asked me to wait a few days to post "Disruption" simply because he didn't want to interfere with any disposition discussions that were taking place at high levels. He shared the blog link with his family...I think it sparked some discussions with them, when I wrote about full power trials after we had already experienced our generator casualty. I'm not the only one for whom engineering is a mystery.

My sister sent wonderful emails that gave me good ideas and let me know she appreciated my sense of humor. And my Uncle Heathen was my trusted agent, faithfully posting my daily musings. Thank you, Uncle H, for being so diligent about working with our (constant) connectivity challenges.

Here's the thing. Anyone can do this -- write a blog about their personal interactions in a professional Coast Guard setting. One of my ex-boyfriends said he didn't see the point of reading books (I should have known at the time he said that, it wouldn't work out) because he could write stories just as good as the authors. Only he didn't. He just said he could. Half the battle is just plain showing up and doing it. It doesn't always have to be grand. Sometimes it just has to be.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

First Day Back

I'm not really sure what I did today, but somehow it's nearly 8 pm and dark out. I definitely made time for some of my favorite things...lingering over froofy coffee at a breakfast of homemade oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts mixed in. Walking through an art market in downtown Wilmington. Reading a book while sprawled on my couch. Browsing at a garden center, and coming home to put all my new plants in the ground. The backyard has a new fig tree, the side garden has a stevia plant and a few rainbow chards scattered about, and the porch planters are prolific with pansies. Lunch was a decadent affair -- garlic knots, pizza with pancetta, arugula (arooooogula), and fresh tomatoes -- lingered over with a cocktail.

I had some chores to do also. Bills to pay, business to attend to (like filling out all the obnoxious paperwork to replace my phone that I dropped on the asphalt a couple weeks before we left), dishes to wash, and yard accouterments to put back in their place after Juaquin didn't make an appearance in NC. And antibiotics to give to Lucy. We're going to fight over her taking her pills for another two and a half days. If the only frustration she gives me is that she doesn't take pills well, I have a very sweet kitty. She even forgave me quickly and started to purr after I shoved the last one down her throat with the kitty pill popper. Oh, and she chews my ear bud cords when I leave them out, which is really my fault because I should know better.

So all in all a great first day back. I'm following CO's orders to get some rest and charging my batteries before we get back into workdays later this week. I keep forgetting it's Sunday, though. It feels like a Saturday, especially since tomorrow is a holiday too. Maybe I'll figure out what day it is by Friday.

I will get to responding to all the emails of encouragement I got over the last six weeks. Just not tonight. I've spent enough time on the computer today.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

RTHP

We returned to homeport (RTHP) today. It was about a week earlier than we had originally planned because our NR1 SSDG (ship's service diesel generator on the starboard side) tried to eat itself a little more than a week ago...catastrophic failure that we could not have predicted or really done much about. I'm a pretty shitty engineer, but I walked by the generator on one of my trips through the engine room, and it was pretty obvious that it wasn't going to work again without a lot of work.

It was an early morning; reveille was at 0515. For some reason, I woke up at 0415 and couldn't go back to sleep. After a quick breakfast, I headed up to the bridge. The first part of our transit up the river was going to be in the dark, so I wanted to make sure my eyes were adjusted, and I had plenty of time to figure out what all the lights were -- background lights on shore, buoys or navigation aids, or other vessels. Reveille was so early because it's a huge risk mitigator for us to moor at slack water. If we miss it, we have the possibility of facing a multi-knot current. And the general rule is that one know of current acts on the ship like 30 knots of wind. So, it's best for us if we get to the pier when the river is not trying to have her way with us.

Another risk mitigator we used this morning was to have a tug on standby for our transit up the river. If we had lost our NR2 SSDG when we were within 100 yards of shoal water on either side, it could have been a pretty bad scene. We have an emergency generator, but it can't power everything we usually have online. So, having the tug nearby made it a little less risky to not have the redundancy of two SSDGs.

For all our planning, we had a pleasant transit up the river, with the barest of floods pushing us along. OPS timed our arrival perfectly, and we made our approach right at slack water. ENS J.B. and OPS did an amazing job of mooring us up with grace and skill. All the entering port chores were taken care of in fairly short order, we had quarters, and liberty was granted by about 1020.

I'm always a little nervous returning. What has changed while we've been gone? Will my car start? Did the house flood?

My car did start, though OS3 J.S. and MK3 J.B. both had difficulties picking their vehicles up from long-term parking. The house wasn't flooded, but the circuit breaker had flipped off in the garage, so the chest freezer didn't have power for an unknown length of time. I lost about 1/2 a gallon of strawberries and four cups of sour milk I use for pancakes. My smart tv had a lobotomy -- I can't use the apps on it for some reason now, despite having reset all the programming. I picked the Black and White up from the vet. Lucy was in a cat fight while I was gone, and my roommate had to take her to the vet about two weeks ago because she wouldn't take her pills. The vets and techs all love her, but it was time for her to come home, stitches and all. And my car tires all had low air pressure.

It took me about 45 minutes to go through all my mail. I finally got my merchant mariner's license renewal. And lots of credit card advertisements.

I did laundry. And took a nap on my couch. And went out for an amazing dinner at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the area. Here shortly, I'm going to go to sleep in my very own bed, that doesn't move around on me, in a room that is blessedly quiet.

Underway is exciting and fun. But I'm pretty glad to be home too.

The Lingering Effects of Scattered Thunderstorms

We rode through some scattered thunderstorms last night. The wind picked up quickly and rain pelted down like a bucket was overturned. 

I woke up at about 2330 (or 11:30 pm) wondering why it felt like I was riding a bucking bronco, and why there were ghosts in my stateroom rattling their chains. It took me a few minutes to come out of my sleep-laden mental fog to realize that we had run into some weather. I lay there for a few minutes thinking maybe the chain rattling would go away. But it didn't.

I called the bridge and asked them to send the BMOW down to where we store the secondary tie downs for the helo. They're metal chains with hooks on the end that we use to secure the helo on deck when we're not expecting to use it for a while. But when we don't have a helo onboard at all, they live hanging up in a space that is on the other side of a 1/8th inch thick metal bulkhead from my stateroom. They don't usually clang around; we have to be pitching in just the right way for them to start making noise. And they weren't consistently making noise last night -- just enough to keep me from getting used to it and being able to fall back asleep.

The BMOW, HS2 T.W., made his way outside -- I think it was probably during a downpour, but I didn't realize that at the time. And worked some magic to stop the chains from clanking. 

But the ride was still rough. Or at least a different kind of rough than we've mostly been used to this patrol. We've had a lot of days in the trough; last night we were pitching up and down. It's a very different sensation. And it stayed rough on and off throughout the night, until about 5 am.

Most people I talked to today experienced the same lack of sleep. I got great descriptions of the various positions people woke up in, trying to keep themselves in their racks. 

But now, I'm a little more worn out than I really should be at 1830. I'm looking forward to an early night tonight.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Friday, October 9, 2015

Qual Boards

With limited time left underway for this patrol, we are trying frantically to cram as many qualification (qual) boards in as possible. Qual boards are oral boards, where the member seeking a qualification is grilled in a round-robin style by other members who are already qualified in that watchstation to determine the unqualified member's level of knowledge and judgment. Some qual boards have four qualified members asking questions, but I've also seen up to eight members sitting on a board.

Qual boards are the culmination of a lot of hard work by the members to learn new job skills, everything from helmsman and lookout to coxswain, throttleman, Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW) and Officer of the Deck (OOD). They've stood one-in-three watches for anywhere from a week to two months, depending on which qual it is. They've studied the manuals, asked questions, been peppered with questions, done drawings, gotten sign offs, demonstrated their practical knowledge and in many cases, been through a pre-board. We train our own workforce -- we must be thorough to make sure new people are learning the right way to do things.

For the first year Ensigns, they have all just been through their first board experiences. ENS E.L. successfully completed both her inport and underway EOW boards -- a huge accomplishment for a Student Engineer. ENS J.W., ENS L.R. and ENS E.H. all took and passed their inport OODs boards within the last two days. 

I led the boards for the three newly qualified inport OODs. We have a bank of questions and scenarios from which to draw, based on ship's particulars, general Coast Guard policy and our own experiences from things we dealt with as OODs back in the day, or phone calls we've taken since then. It is hard, sometimes, to ask a good board question, trying to get the answer you're looking for without giving away too much information. And after a couple boards, the questions have to change because our folks are good shipmates and share their board experiences with the other unqualified members. 

When I first started asking about how an OOD would deal with a report of a sexual assault, I got a not quite by-the-book answer. The very next board, the boardee gave a text book answer because the first member had given a good passdown on what questions were asked so they could be better prepared. 

A lot of questions are scenario based. What would you do if...a ship mooring alongside hit us and gashed a hole in aft steering? ...if a member didn't show up for his scheduled duty day? ...if a winter storm was coming? And the scenarios always happen at 2 am or on the weekend. I asked our last board candidate tonight why all the scenarios were at night or on the weekend. He answered correctly, that is -- when he's "alone and unafraid" and has to take the right initial and immediate action while he waits for one of the command cadre to answer their phones. 

Boards are exhausting for both the board members and the boardees. But, after having just finished three in two days, I'm really proud of how well our folks are trained. I've had the opportunity to question them in detail about how they'd handle themselves in a number of different situations, and I'm impressed at how well they've prepared themselves for their new responsibilities. Not to say they know everything they need to -- guaranteed they'll learn more in their first three days of qualified watch as they have in the last three months of breaking in -- but their hard work shows, and I think they'll be good representatives of the ship and command. 

Congrats to all our newly qualified members!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chicken

WMEC usually means Coast Guard Medium Endurance Cutter; just like WHEC usually means Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter. The "W" is a Coast Guard designator that came into use early in the US's involvement in World War II (1942 to exact). There are different schools of thought about why the "W." My favorite is because it wasn't being used by the Navy for anything else.

But everyone who has ever served on either a WMEC or a WHEC knows that there is another, truer meaning of those acronyms. WMEC = We Must Eat Chicken; WHEC = We Havta Eat Chicken. I suspect that FRC (Fast Response Cutter) is really short for Frequently Receiving Chicken, NSC (National Security Cutter) means Now Serving Chicken and OPC (Offshore Patrol Cutter) will be Offering Prime Chicken or maybe Often Preparing Chicken once commissioned.

I do not eat chicken when I'm not on a ship. Maaaybe every once in a very long while I'll get Thai green curry with chicken or chicken pad thai, but I usually opt for shrimp or tofu if given the choice. I don't buy it at the grocery store and I don't order it in restaurants. If I'm at someone's house who serves chicken, I will politely eat it and tell the cook how delicious it is so I'm not rude about it. But left to my own devices, I avoid chicken when I have a choice. Except chicken wings...I got addicted to those damn things when I was OPS on HAMILTON. It was a survival technique since we had chicken wings every single Saturday night at Pizza Night underway. 

I get why CG cooks serve it so much. Chicken is relatively affordable, healthy and can be prepared in any number of creative ways. Just last week we had buffalo chicken sandwiches, baked chicken, lemon garlic chicken, chicken nuggets (two kinds) and bacon chicken wraps. This week was savory baked chicken, grilled cilantro lime chicken, Indian curry chicken, chicken wings and the ever generic, grilled chicken for those who prefer healthier options on pizza night. Other favorites include chicken parmesan, chicken alfredo, fried chicken, chicken fajitas, chicken salad sandwiches, and chicken quesadillas.

Just to be clear, I am **not** bashing CG cooks. We have *great!* cooks. Who care about the quality and healthiness of the food they prepare and serve. They're trying to please 76 different palates three times a day -- that is a nearly impossible task. Our cooks on DILI do a great job, even when we get crappy produce in theatre or run out of milk two days before our next port call. We have biscuits and gravy every Wednesday morning -- yet another glorious reason to love Hump Days (FS3 B.S. knows to put my two over medium (eggs) on top of the biscuits, and then add the gravy over the whole thing with a heavy hand -- divine!). Taco Tuesdays are a total mainstay; though we have Mexican Mondays when we're inport because we have afternoon workouts on Tuesdays and people were grumpy about missing Taco Tuesday. Seafood Fridays (Fish Fridays sounds better, but it's not very accurate) are still a thing. And every Saturday is Pizza Night. 

But by now in the patrol, I am heartily sick of eating chicken. The open-faced turkey sandwiches on the menu for lunch tomorrow -- now that's a different story!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sunset MOB

We're winding down the patrol (I can't believe I only have 6 more days of daily posts!), to the point now that I'm having to carefully plan out days to make sure we can get everything done we need to do. Meetings, boards, and drills are all getting crammed into the plan of the day.

So tonight, on the most sublime evening we have had this patrol, we had a MOB (man overboard), nighttime shipboard pick-up drill. BM1 C.P. flung Oscar (our MOB dummy) over the starboard side about six minutes after the green flash twinkled in the western sky. The water was glass all around us, with white puffy clouds reflecting brokenly off the port side, and an orange and silvery blue checkerboard following in our wake as the sun set behind us. ENS L.R. had the conn and maneuvered alongside Oscar within about 20 yards in less than four minutes -- a grand feat of precise shiphandling. Oscar was simulating HS2 T.W. having fallen overboard while he was the BMOW (Boatswains Mate of the Watch) doing his round on the foc'sle.

Unfortunately, our line handlers on deck need a little line throwing training, and had some difficulty crossing their heaving lines over Oscar, which would have stopped the clock for our drill. As they kept trying, we drifted slowly away from Oscar. Just about the time the heaving lines were too short to reach Oscar anymore, we got word on the bridge that the rescue swimmer was ready to deploy. SN N.E. got a sunset swimcall all to himself, in full rescue swimmer regalia (shorty wetsuit, mask/snorkel, fins and tending line), as he swam out about 150 yards to drag Oscar back to the ship. 

By the time we wrapped up the drill, Oscar had been in the water for 9 minutes, 30 seconds. We lost fifteen points out of 100 because we didn't get him recovered sooner. We also had some radio/communications issues with the team out on deck. But that's why we do drills -- to find out where our weaknesses are, and train to overcome them.

It was a particularly nice touch to finish the drill just as the horizon out in front of us disappeared into white. The only difference between the sky and the water was a subtle distinction of density. The water looked slightly thicker than the sky; otherwise they were the same color and nearly blended seamlessly into one another. Sunsets at sea will always live in my soul.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grumpy Pants

I've had my grumpy pants on all day long. They're tight in all the wrong places, and baggy in worse ones. They itch. And the zipper's broke, so I can't figure out how to get the damn things off.

For me, I think being grumpy is one of the worst conditions I can be as a leader. I like being pleasant, happy even. It makes it easier for people to come talk to me, even if they have bad news. I know I have a tendency to fly off the handle sometimes (usually) when something goes wrong or annoys me. So when I have my grumpy pants on, I fly higher and faster off that handle and tend to regret it later. Knowing that it happens can sometimes allay some of the effects, especially if I know something is going to tweak me. Like MPA joking at lunch about family separation allowance (FSA) -- I *knew* he was trying to get a reaction from me, and I did my very, very, very best not to let him. I squeaked instead of roared.

I also know that being grumpy sometimes is kinda inevitable. It happens. How do you know the highs if you don't have any lows? No rain, no rainbows. Being hangry typically plays a large part in my grumpiness. I'll sometimes let myself wallow in it for a couple hours, then get fed up (or just eat something) and bored with being grumpy and chivy myself out of it. We've had a fast and furious day today, so I haven't really had time to reflect on being over my grumpiness, so it's been lingering. Like a noxious fart in a stuffy room.

It's not fair for me to keep being grumpy on the ship, especially underway. The quarters are too close. People *have to* come talk to me. We're all in the same boat (literally), and while I have a ton of reasons for being grumpy, so does everyone else. They're not grumpy, why should I be?

Tomorrow's a brand new day. All kinds of possibilities for good and bad stuff to happen. Here's hoping the good stuff well out-weighs the bad...

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Monday, October 5, 2015

Full Power Trials

We have an annual requirement to conduct full power trials at least annually. What, you may ask, are full power trials? Full power trials are where the engineers bring the main diesel engines (MDEs) that provide propulsion to the ship to their maximum speed for at least an hour. 

We get to go fast -- really, really fa...well, 210s can't go really, really fast, but it's as fast as their big ol' lumbering MDEs can go. 

It's a pretty big deal. Not every ship can successfully complete full power trials. Many times the engines overheat or there's too much vibration or something else goes wrong that prevents a ship from achieving a full hour of top speed. Like the weather isn't perfect. We really have to have a nearly flat calm day to do full power trials, or else the waves and swells interact too much with the ship. We also can't make any turns for pretty much the same reason. 

Today, however, we had perfect conditions. It was FAC out (day, like, four of great weather -- we're getting spoiled!), our trackline stretched out endlessly in front of us, and we didn't have much else going on. 

It took a little while for the Engineers to take all the readings they needed in order to work up to the full power trials, but then, little by little, we increased speed. Until we hit Ludicrous Speed. 300 shaft rotations per minute (shaft rpms) causes the whole ship to shake and shimmy with excitement. I called the bridge at one point to ask if we were getting 300 shaft rpms; the OOD told me proudly we were at 300 rpms on both mains, and even up to 304 or 306 every now and again.

So congratulations to DILI's Main Propulsion division for their superb maintenance and care of the MDEs that allow us to coax the engines into peak performance!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saturday

It was a fairly normal Saturday onboard. We had Field Day this morning when we dedicate three-plus hours to cleaning up the ship. I stood watch on the bridge for a little while, but still managed to give my room a decent cleaning. Concurrently with the last hour or so of the Field Day, the Department Heads and I walked around for a Material Inspection, to look for things that need to be fixed, cleaned more or replaced onboard. We did the front half of the ship. I'll get the aft half on another Saturday.

Then Quarters. And then Holiday Routine for the afternoon. It's been a quiet-ish day. Plans have changed about six times over the course of the last four days, but that's nothing unusual. We'll see how long our current plan lasts.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Swim Call

The stars finally aligned today for a swim call. The weather was beautiful. The XO relented on slave driving for the afternoon (>HEY! That's not fair!! We got more shit to do than we got time to do it! Don't blame me for trying to do my job!<). OPS didn't have immediate tasking we had to get to. Steel Beach was authorized, a cornhole tournament was in progress, and the fantail grill was in full burger and 'dog bbq mode. It was time to take our spiffy new Swim Call checklist for a test ride.

Swim calls are one of the major perks of being underway. Not many people get to safely swim in the very middle of the ocean, in water that is 1,700 meters deep, so salty you barely have to tread to stay afloat, and so clear that the depths disappear in to crystalline blue. 

We launch our small boat with a rescue swimmer onboard to help anyone who may find themselves in trouble. We post a shark watch on the bridge with an M16, just in case. We secure propulsion and steering. We make sure sewage is placed in holding (going into a tank onboard instead of over the side...EEEW!!!). We have someone monitor who goes in to the water, and counts them when they come out. We don't let people swim forward of the stripe or aft of the stern.

And then we let people jump off the small boat platform on the leeward side. There were some *spectacular* displays of grace and enthusiasm as people did flips and dives and twists and cannonballs...and some less spectacular displays of poor timing and worse coordination with belly flops and leg slaps. We have a number of new folks onboard, many of whom I'm sure this was their first swim call experience. They jumped in with gusto.

The jim buoys (large life rings with a cargo net in the middle, used for migrant ops) found their way into the water. They were enthusiastically used for lounging and playing king of the mountain...and toppling the king of the mountain. Someone brought out their football and people jumping off the boat deck tried valiantly, if unsuccessfully, to catch in on their way into the water. 

I stayed on the bridge, keeping an eye on things. I took QMOW for a little while so the regularly scheduled QMOW could enjoy the water. Sometimes it's more fun to watch people having fun. I laughed at their antics and enjoyed their enthusiasm. 

Swim call lasted for about an hour and a half. Then it was time to bring everyone back onboard and cradle the small boat. But there for a little while, we were children of the sea, reveling in her glory.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**



Friday, October 2, 2015

FAC

FAC = flat ass calm. It's a technical term, really. And it describes beautifully our weather conditions from today. The winds have picked up a little since the sun set or as we passed through some isolated showers. For the most part, though, today has been beautiful, and what I normally think of when I think "Caribbean."

Our lookout could see debris and deadheads (logs washed out to sea) from nearly 3/4 of a mile away. The wind is barely strong enough to mark ripples on the water's surface. When sea birds dive for flying fish, you can see their bubble trail streaking in the water after them, and watch them gulp the tasty treats they've caught as they float placidly by. We saw mahi mahi hiding under detritus, their neon greeny-yellow tails shimmering like jewels.

The wind might pick up soon and churn the seas up again. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy the FAC conditions as long as I can.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy New Fiscal Year!



One of the XO's major responsibilities is managing the ship's budget. This includes making sure our funding is used to appropriately support mission execution, including buying parts, supplies, paying for port calls and other ship's amenities and utilities. Because we're a federal agency, we follow the federal government's fiscal year of 1 October to 30 September.

So...out with the old, in with the new! Happy FY16...in three hours.

Thankfully, though, we're pretty well wrapped up on FY15. We had a few violent hiccups at the very tail end of the FY -- you know the kind where it feels like you're going to break a rib if you hiccup one more time. But with some great support from our ADCON, we worked through them. With a whopping 11 hours to spare.

I am approaching the new fiscal year with some trepidation. From the news I'm reading, it sounds like there will be a continuing resolution to see us through the first few months of the new fiscal year. Stable funding, like a full-year budget, is much easier to plan for than a series of CRs. But I'll take the CRs over a government shut-down any day.

We'll wake up tomorrow morning, the sky will still be blue, the ocean salty and the sun bright. And it'll be a brand new fiscal year. Cheers, all!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**