Loco Ocean Life

Posted on December 9, 2016

Cabin fever – Going Crazy on a boat

Your mind is an interesting thing. It can be a great contributor of thoughts of valor and intrigue but… It can also be its own undoing.

Since nearing 8 months in the fishing ground. The relevance of “That guy said he was going crazy ” is more relevant. The mass amount of time afforded to idle hands without short term goals can certainly give rise to an internal struggle between past and present. The crazy phase of the tuna field. The incessant cabin fever; indicated by pacing, and restlessness sprouted by the general lack of anything to do.

I had witnessed this from two chaps after they surpassed the half-way mark.  It seems idle hands become evident in the minds of the pilots during this time. In some, a negative presence becomes present in their voice and they can begin to hate the sea. The trap, the ocean prison. I wondered when this was going or rather IF it was going to happen to me…

Welp, month 7 and I found myself reflecting on my life, all of the mistakes and problems that have inherited me in my youth. A negative hold in my mind. Beating myself up from past mistakes and habits. Many different situations where I was wrong or simply was not a nice person to myself or others. Uttering, 'why oh why did I do that?' It is an interesting thing to never live with regrets and amidst the sea you lose it!  Losing the will to write, read, practice random hobbies, and study languages. Here amidst the sea of seas, I was lost.  A defined discipline to work-out, and improve myself seemed hopeless. In simple thoughts of “Is the world passing me by? ”  I had hit the wall, the negative, the self-reflection of the past and all the mistakes, all the struggles of growing up presented in a negative light. Pacing through the boat at an alarming rate was interesting, nowhere to go and nothing new to see but constantly moving. A trapped wanderlust, to only be calmed when I got called to fly!
I had always wondered why I liked to waste a quarter of a gas tank and just drive. To dream, to think, to feel, and when it was time to let my brain decompress I simply would just stop, stop driving. However, on the boat, you cannot stop. You are in the middle of the ocean with 37 other people on a fishing Purse Seiner. You are free on the boat but you are in a prison, a prison on the ocean. Surrounded by more of that deep blue water than your eyes can see. The feeling of hopelessness was inescapable and so was the lack of motivation. It was easier to sleep away a day and watch movies rather than exercise my body or my brain. The complacency with performing aircraft checks and the reliance on the mechanic was apparent.

This was a dangerous point brought up by Mr. Ron Barr. “That is telling you something Mate! ” Listen to what that is telling you Ron explained. A common occurrence in aviation and especially in the fishing ground is complacency…. Well, admittedly I had F%$#ed up… “You got away lucky. ” Ron said after  I explained a situation where I accidently fried the living ba-jeezez out of the engine exhaust cap in a hurry to please the new Fishmaster -Captain-. In a storm, he called standby and instantly he was awaiting us on the Heli-Deck while smoking a cigarette, arms crossed awaiting for us to take-off. We were currently searching for fish in the outskirts of a Cyclone that had been the demise of 3 purse seiner vessals in Taiwan. The largest of the season. In this condition, all the covers, and tie downs were on. Except in this case, we normally never had the exhaust cover on the aircraft but due to the crashing wave conditions in the previous few days, it was on. As we scrambled to take the tie downs off and engine cowling cover, the fishmaster gestured at his watch while he casually smoked his cigarette. “fuuuck this guy, needs to give us more time. ”    In a panic, I look at my mechanic and he looks at me. “Clear ”   As the engine slowly gets to 16% I introduced fuel and I noticed the time-to-climb was much slower than normal on the N1 compressor turbine. The TOT temp rose above a normal temperature and slowed but continued to climb until just shy of 800 degrees and at 4 seconds in the yellow, I shut it down in a hot start procedure and immediately the engine cooled. Whew!  My mechanic looks at me then points at the rear of the engine. The cover was now a molten ball of burnt plastic… “Eeeeeeeee, that ain't good ” My mechanic was caught off guard as well, he peels the plastic off the exhaust in embarrassment. So this 'quick start' ended up being more of a long start and cool down.

THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT, THE PAST IS THE PAST.  After a month of extreme mind chaos, the discipline was back because I simply made a decision to not go crazy about the inability to rewrite history and to be positive and continue to use the extreme amount of self-awareness time to continue to improve myself every single day. But first thing was first, I needed to get back into physical shape to make myself feel better…simply about myself. This was such a task, on a boat. The motivation and energy level to work out was one of the most challenging things I have ever encountered in my life. BUT I managed… All is good now in the life of a helicopter Pirate!

Last edited by admin on December 10, 2016, 8:42 am

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One response to “Loco Ocean Life”

  1. very well written.  One of your best yet.  Feeling, and very honest.  

    That’s what helps the new guys:  the admissions from us guys, who have been at it a while, how easy it is to f#@k up. Especially when rushed.

    I cleaned up an error in the BOLD on the title, that was probably puzzling you.

    When you use BOLD, the code inserted in the text is ‘open bracket’ ([) followed by ‘b’ followed by ‘close bracket’ (]).  At the end of the section you want in bold, you get the same, with an additional backslash (/).

    You had accidentally used the BOLD command TWICE.  You’ll know when you see this in the text:

    [b ]    [/b ]

    All you have to do is go to "preview’ and delete those extra unnecessary commands.

    I did it for you.

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