Ok so here we are, week 7 of 7, and it’s been a pretty good time. Aside from the fact that I’ve spent 95% of the seven weeks tied up alongside a barge in Outside Bay doing not much, we’ve had days in port now and then getting some work done, and the last few weeks in the outport have been great – especially considering the people I’ve been working with. In between drills, monthly inspections and a little maintenance now and then, we catch fish, tell stories, and help each other get by. My deck hand is the quintessential Tugboat Annie; a veteran mariner and fisherwoman, she tells me about her life and gives me great advice, while I teach her about Instagram and Spotify. On deck we teach and support each other – our strengths are different but we’ve both got a lot of knowledge to offer. If only we could work with people like that all the time.
I’m ready to head home soon. I feel like a fixture aboard the tug Hunter, so totally soaked in work it’s difficult to remember that anything else exists in the world. I have quite literally been wearing the same two outfits for six weeks straight: the same t-shirt and Carhartt double-front duck trousers on the day watch, and the same shirt and jeans at night. Same Thorogood pull-on boots night and day (I love these things), same two pairs of socks. It’s quick and easy to do laundry every few nights, so I don’t deviate from the ultra-low-effort routine I’ve created for myself. Getting up, getting dressed, getting undressed, and going to bed is exactly the same every day (twice a day). The days are only punctuated by random distinguishing details now and then. In the last month, I have:
– eaten 3 jars of almond butter entirely by myself;
– managed to send birthday cards to both of my parents – both July babies – from Valdez. I love sending mail;
– caught a 50-lb halibut with my crew (it was a 4-person effort);
– opened a brokerage account (woo! time to play with stocks! never mind that I literally have no idea what I’m doing – cue Amazon purchase of Investing for Dummies)
– deleted the facebook app from my phone after spending an hour each night lost down the rabbit hole of misogynistic comments on any post by gCaptain or Humans at Sea involving women (I’ve been a lot happier since)
– started ramping up some strength training, using rudimentary tools (a cable clamp is essentially the same thing as a kettlebell) in addition to the physical therapy I do every day to maintain a pain-free lower back – it’s been great to feel stronger every day even while doing ordinary everyday things!
Now we’re hanging on a barge in Port Valez – but I just got a phone call about barge moves here in port tomorrow, and we’ll be assisting on a couple different jobs. And it’s dinner time. Back to that routine.