End Of The Year Report

Once again, it’s been forever. Since I worked in Tacoma in September, I’ve taken and passed license exams, flown to the Red Dog mine port site above the arctic circle and made the trip back to Seattle aboard the Sandra Foss, been issued a 1600-ton near coastal mates license, gone to meet my boyfriend’s parents for thanksgiving in Mesa, AZ, and driven home to California less than a week ago only to get a call two days later to fly back up to Seattle, get on a boat and tow a barge down to San Francisco. The forecast for the next week is looking grim, with storm after storm slated to hit the coast, and many of my friends have asked why the folks in the office even had us leave though they knew we’d be delayed by weather. I can’t answer for the company but it would seem short-sighted to say the least. I’m not inclined to complain since I am getting paid to sit here at anchor in Port Angeles, and there were doubts in my mind as to how much work I’d actually be able to snag this winter. So for that, I’m very grateful.

My only valid complaint amidst the happiness and bustle of the last few months is that I don’t seem to have any clear picture of what comes next. Daunting, chronic back pain clouds my thoughts and brings to mind imminent doctor visits and MRI bills. I have a longing to be in Seattle and cultivate a very happy relationship, but there is also pressure to go home to California and be near my family and best friend (I confess I’m partial to the Bay Area over Seattle anyway, cost of living notwithstanding), as well as an absolute commitment to myself and my career goals. I am distracted and depressive and on the verge of tears every day and I can’t seem to figure out why.

Believe me, I’m not the type who enjoys soaking in self-pity, so I’ve been looking for some reason for this pathetic melancholy and I think the best explanation is that because I’m such a goal-oriented person, now that I’ve gotten the license I spent two and a half years pursuing, my goals have changed but my mind hasn’t caught up with the change yet. Obviously, the next step is to work on upgrading my license from mate to master, and to that end any seatime is perfectly acceptable, so here I am going back to sea and there should be no room for confusion. Whether I stay on ocean tugs or not is another question.

My father tells me constantly to play my cards close but I can’t help myself, life is short and I don’t need to make any secret of my ambitions. I’d rather share my story. My greatest wish is to work in San Francisco Bay, and the sooner I get there the better. The confusion I’m feeling these days I can liken to phases I’ve experienced before, like every other human being: seventh grade, my sophomore year of college, and 2009 when I was at a dead end in every direction: work, love, and geography. These times are natural, they happen, and they mean something: drastic change is coming. I really think it’s time to move on.

11 thoughts on “End Of The Year Report

  1. Congrats on the license. Good luck getting where you want to be. You'll get there.I'd say they sent you guys out because weather delays are written in the customer's contract, but not unless you leave port.I'm down in the desert, leaving in the morning for the holidays at home, then back down.I enjoyed the honest update and sailin' with ya.I like the little place with the saguaros. Must have been in the foothills of AZ.Happy trails, Liz, Les


  2. Drastic change may be coming, and will always come along. I suppose when you've reached one goal you become aware that its pursuit has let you out onto a big sea, and with all the pressure falling away for a moment comes the realization that out here it feels a lot less safe, a lot less reassuring than when you had your mind on the goal at hand.Especially seeing that you miss your close ones this way, these things can horribly weigh on the heart, and these changes may seem especially huge now. Everything seems wide open, in a daunting way. I think that in truth these things have always been wide open, and you've found your serenity, or maybe your zen, if you like, in that work.Not knowing a whole lot from what you describe, it seems like the thing to do is to go ahead again, decide for your course and keep at it, knowing that over the horizon is where you want to go, but wanting to work your way there just as hard.Forge ahead, it will maybe make these worries seem smaller than they may appear at times now.Get that Master's licence. I'm sure your drive will carry you there.Get better, especially in terms of your back. I know for myself that this is the ugly part of the tall people's fate. May they not burden you so much, and leave you some relaxing sleep at night.Most of all, let the new year come. It will be a good one, I believe. All the best for you!PS: I enjoy your photography a lot. Of these here my favorite ones are the side deck in the morning and that little house. Both seem interesting places to be.


  3. Yeah, Steve is a great guy. We went to high school together. Lost touch over the years but ironically, we both ended up in the Maritime industry. Enjoy reading your blog. Not too many women in the work boat side of the industry. Good on ya!


  4. I'm a little late to yer blog – nice work. I'm a WordPress fan. Well done on the licensing as well. I sailed with KSEA for 4 years as mate and I am now Piloting. Always keep yer cards yer close, Shipmate – ALWAYS. You NEVER know what opportunities will present themselves and if yer blabbing OTHERS may take advantage of them. I walked off the boat that last time and NO ONE was the wiser until I had confirmed EVERYTHING. Almost like the best revenge: \”How come yer leaving? What's going on? Everything okay?\” Yup – it's ALL good And if yer happy stick around and soak it up it yer due that too


  5. Welcome John,I really appreciate your words, but that is your experience and you may see that I have my own way of going about things. I prefer to be a little less secretive. I have no need for revenge against anyone I've worked with. And I certainly have no intention of telling anyone exactly where I plan to go next – that would spoil all the fun 🙂 thanks for reading!E


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