Shifts and I:
Night shifts – according to me, myself and I – was never meant to be part of the human race’s life …some alien must have taken this weird idea and genetically modified it into the brains of some male recipients!?…by the way – they are in the majority likely to use it… How else would we have ended up with such an impractical, unhealthy and inhumane situation to live and work with? For the record – I am NOT complaining … I am merely voicing my opinion!…keelhauling is still a way of punishment on the Atlantic!
My sympathy and empathy is going out (more than ever) to all of you at home…where we live in Shift Town! (Make sure you have read the word as SHIFT!)
Well here is how our shifts look like during the the darker hours of the day: We do a 3 hour shift throughout the day and night. Which means that the evening one starts at 6pm (that’s around ‘Sundowner’ and dinner time)till 9pm. That is the easy one as you still have company around you and there is at least some action in the cockpit.
The 9pm till midnight is much less fun – but at least – if you are a night owl like I am – it’s not too much asked to stay up for another hour if I normally go to sleep at 11pm?
But then the DOG SHIFT starts – that is huger than Mt Everest..Midnight till 3am…!!! Picture this: No company… you need to watch (the instrument panel) for a change in the wind speed, the wind direction and every 10 min intensely scan the horizon for fishing boats that might not have AIS (Automatic Identification System) on board (that we can pick up on our system)…Then back on your bum behind the wheel …that Philamon is steering (I will tell you all about Philamon later! Main thing to remember is – he is a very unsociable character!) Then you start doing the same for another 3 hours while your eyes seem to become glazy and so use to darkness that light almost startles you!(By the way… We are not allowed to read r watch computer movies while on night watch for that reason…to get your eyes focused and zoomed in for darkness…)Then you start hoping the winds will change so that you have to call the Captain and get some action going on the deck…but it seldom happens…the red life jacket an safety shackles are weighing you down on your seat for the full 3 hours untill the loud sound of opening the sliding door brings the next sucker for darkness and silence to your chair! If you are lucky, the most amazing mesmerizing florescent display of phosphorous flashes in the waves will be the show of the night! Only that and a cloudless full moon night makes the dog shift worth it …
The shift after that :3am till 6am is fun – sunrise is so early here! (about 4.25am!) that only half your shift is in darkness and then you get to see the most amazing display of color as the moon sets on the one side and the sun rises on the other. The First Coffee and the Captain is normally out there by 5 (which is the best time to see him!!)It doesn’t take long before Ben is up and about too – setting up his rods for the day. The best part of that shift is…that you go to bed as soon as everyone else is starting the day…it does not necessarily mean you are going to sleep – but it is a great excuse to go and read for and hour or two or to watch the next downloaded episode of House!…before your day needs to start officially…