As of last Friday, March 19th, “Shore Phase 1” is officially over and I am getting ready to crew up tomorrow at 0800. I am told that I will be doing the same run as before, back and forth between Seattle and Alaska, for about 60 days. When I got that phone call, I was elated as well as slightly disappointed (I had been hoping for at least a few days at home in the Bay Area with my loved ones).
The last week of classes was interesting – it was the Able Seaman course, and though many of us already had some training just from working aboard tugs, there was still a lot of new material for us to learn. For one thing, the USCG Rules of the Road kicked my ass on the exam at the end of the week; but I passed the exams and then we got the heck out of there and had a few beers at a pub nearby to celebrate being finished with the class and with the first academic phase. We even went sailing afterward, which was terrific. I’d never been sailing before in Seattle (hard to believe, since I once lived here for 4 years). One of my classmates has a boat and we took it out for a couple of hours on Lake Union – the day was perfect for it.
This week I have been spending time with friends and getting ready to go back to work. I am currently living with family friends next to my church on Capitol Hill. It is a big family – mom, dad, two daughters, son, and dog – so moments of quiet and solitude are few and far between. A couple of evenings ago I took a walk to the store nearby to stock up on necessities for my next trip, and I was enveloped by the warm spring evening. The weather in Seattle in the spring (when it is agreeable) is heavenly.