The best thing happened to the bridge watches starting last week. WE WENT TO FIVE SECTION!!! Its amazing. This means that instead of always having a rotating watch, we have the exact same watch every day! && I have the 12-1700. I couldn’t have been happier getting that as my daily watch since it is during the day and there are a lot of evolutions during the day. We stay very busy.
Going to 5 section has led to two things:
- I now work out every morning on the aft missile deck and watch the sunrise. [Best part of the day 🙂 ]
- My energy levels are always up now and I’m not half asleep all the time.
Sunday was quite a day onboard the ship. It was a full day of relaxation and it was glorious. This is how it went.
Getting the brief.
In the mornings on Sunday they do not pass any words, not even reveille… until noon. This allows us to sleep in and do whatever we want in the morning. After lunch our swim call started, right off the coast of Yemen! I was the officer of the deck so we had to go about 10 NM away from the swim call point to pump all of the VCHT over the side (poop) and then secure it so no one would be swimming in it. Ewww [that would be horribly gross if it happened]. Then we put our small boats in the water and went back towards the South where we would swim. They had people with guns on the bridge wings, aft missile deck, and in the small boats. It was for a shark watch. Now, you can imagine my uncertainty of jumping in the water when there’s that many people on a look out for sharks. It’s kind of freaky and since I’m deathly afraid of sharks I immediately thought of a back up plan and decided that if a shark was spotted instead of swimming for the ship I would swim to the small boats and have them pull me in. Hopefully this would work and deter the sharks from attacking me.
Setting up for the festivities!
K & I before swimming!
During… I can’t barely see with all the sun.
I of course, being the person I am, do everything, so I talked to someone for a relief, went and got my bathing suit on and headed out to the flight deck. There was already a group of people in the water. I was standing there watching people swim and I couldn’t quit thinking “we are so American.” We were off the coast of Yemen diving into the water and BLASTING country music, it felt just like a red neck yacht club. Haha. Everyone had to turn in their ID cards and take off all of their jewelry so it wouldn’t attract the marine life. I brought my goggles with me and they asked me if I wanted a life vest. I said thanks, but no. They blew the whistle for the first group to get out of the water and then it was our turn. As we were waiting for people to climb up the ladder, the captain walked out. He had told me at brunch that he was definitely not swimming, but I suppose he had changed his mind, and so there he was ready to go.
Just as he was about to jump in the water, we heard DING DING, TRUXUTN DEPARTING, and as he jumped over the side, one last DING for the stinger. Everyone was laughing pretty hard. I was 2 rows behind so as I walked to the edge and peered over I knew that this was going to be FUN! I heard the whistle and I was in the middle of 3 people so I took a running leap and jumped as far out and as high as I could go as I plummeted downward. When I hit the water I went down pretty far, I could tell because of the pressure in my ears. When I surfaced I moved away from the group as everyone else was jumping in. I put on my goggles and dove down, but when I opened my eyes I got really freaked out because this was the deep water blue that you don’t see very often. I could easily see everyone in the water but then it just turned dark into nothingness. I ripped off my goggles when I came back up that time and I was really scared. I wouldn’t see a shark until it was upon me. I let some people borrow my goggles while I tried not to think about it, and then I decided to get past my fear and try again.
On the count of 3… JUMP!
This time when I dove down I was facing the ship and when I opened my eyes under the water I saw the propellers, RIGHT THERE!!! They are huge! There are 2 on destroyers, only one on frigates, but it was crazy. Don’t worry (the engines were secured) but I was mesmerized. I kept bobbing up and then I would dive back down and look at the stern and the propellers and the under bottom of the ship. I didn’t go under the ship, don’t worry about that, but I was very close to it.
The last time I dove down, I saw a HUGE jelly fish just bobbing along, and that’s when I decided that I may have pushed my luck. It was this pink mass of mucus with some purple insides and since I have never been stung by a jelly fish, I didn’t want today to be my first. I surfaced again and told everyone around me about it and we moved away and swam for a little longer then we decided to head in. They had a pilot’s ladder and a cargo net draped over the side. Being the adventurer that I am I decided to go with the cargo net. My mistake. When I first started climbing I had to use just my arms to pull me up and there were two other people on the net so it was just swinging every which way.
Group shot from the ship.
I began the ascent and I felt like I was on a crazy obstacle course trying to make it to the top before anyone else. By the time I was high enough to grab onto the rail I was huffing and puffing and completely out of breath. People had set out towels and were sunbathing on the flight deck. I had to go back up to watch, but I didn’t mind. After the swim call was over they set up for the Steel beach picnic and they grilled ribs, hotdogs, burgers, and chicken, they had 2 different flavors of pasta salad, baked beans, chips. It was lovely. While I was on watch, the sea hawk (our Nofolk Friend) flew onto the forecastle (front of the ship) with a huge fish in his claws and he ate it right on top of the 5 in. gun! He’s a pretty big bird.
When I went back to the bridge from the last part of my watch WEPS (weapons officer) was playing the ATTWO (Anti-Tactical action officer) and we both decided to go to the bridge wing and blast the beach boys via the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) and if you’ve seen whale wars they use them on those vessels when they go after the whaling ships. Well lets just say the LRAD was acting up and instead of it playing music it was blasting this loud high pitched noise that freaked everyone on the flight deck out and we both got yelled at. I laughed so hard I had to hold on to the railing.
People struggling up that damn cargo net.
Once I got off watch I went back to the flight deck and they were just passing around popcorn for the flight deck movie. We watched Xmen the beginning (or whatever its called) and it was actually pretty good. It was pretty hilarious when they went to the scene where the Russian warship is about to cross some line and the American warship is waiting to stop them. That was pretty surreal since we were sitting on a warship and just laughing about how wrong everything was.
SAR (Search and Rescue) Swimmer hard at work. haha.
Afterwards I helped clean up and then went to bed, I was quite exhausted.
For Halloween I am dressing up as Sandy from Grease and J is dressing up as Danny. It should be pretty good. We had good reviews from our last bingo hosting, so we will see.
J & I hosting B-I-N-G-O! It was a success.
News photo pose.
For my next biggest event I will be performing with Lt T, for dinner. He will be playing the guitar and I will be playing the violin. We’ve been practicing for 3 months now (well not him, but me) and he says I’m ready. We have our final practice this week. I will tell you how it goes. Good or bad.