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

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