Not So Far From Home (Dec 14)

Today was interesting for me, not just because I flew for nearly 3 hours with the Captain searching for schools of tuna, but because we found ourselves in the presence of an American Tuna boat. When I flew over it I thought it must certainly be Japanese because the all white paint job was something I’d come to expect from Japanese flagged boats, but then as I leaned the little helicopter over into a turn to head back onto course I spotted something that brought a smile to my face.

Right of the observation tower, nearly at the top, flying in the wind and flapping against it was Old Glory, the Star Spangled Banner, looking triumphant as always in the wind. Later I went to our bridge to check the transponder for the boat, which was nearby all day, and found out that it was the Pacific Princess. It’s good to know that I’m not as far from home as I thought.

I wondered to myself what life was like on an American boat, I’ve spent the last month adapting to Korean culture and customs here and learning their hierarchy for the most part, I wonder what an American boat runs like; and more importantly – what their meals were like.

You see that is what it boils down to 90% of the time out here, what kind of food we are eating. For instance when we catch tuna we eat tuna, and lots of it in various styles. Coming up on the 19th is the Captains birthday and I’d wager that the cook has something special in mind for the Captain – I mean, maybe not for the crew, because we don’t eat the same caliber of meals as the Captain and his officers, but I’d bet it’ll look and smell good. The Captain loves sushi, so maybe there will be sushi rolls. Last time that happened the cook did give me a plate with some sushi to chow on, it was awesome.

I’m somewhat prepared for a mediocre meal with a couple frozen (not frozen anymore, they’re in the fridge) pizzas that I just need to figure out how to cook, and also how to ask the cook to cook them without insulting the cooks cooking.

We also rendezvoused with a sister ship, the Cosmos Kim today to pick up spare parts she had been hauling for the Caribe’ and also spare parts that Tropic had sent to us also. In our stack of boxes was one instrument I was excitedly waiting for, a new magnetic compass. The one in the Hughes 500 I was flying looked, and worked, as if it were from the original manufacturing date of the helicopter in 1972. It was brown and foggy, and cracked, and tilted and off by about 15 degrees.

The new compass was sleek and black with clear glass and bright white numbers on a large face. It looked great and installed in moments. Now we don’t exactly have a place to do a compass swing out here and record the amount of error so I’ll have to wing it in the air with the gps and the compass to figure it out. But it feels good having a new instrument in place of an old worn out one.

I chuckled a bit when we installed it however; because it had dawned on me that a Filipino mechanic had just installed a Chinese instrument into a Japanese built helicopter operating on a Korean fishing boat, flown by an American pilot. How’s that for Internationalism?

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