Monday, 31 October 2011

Admiral, There Be Whales Here!

Basic Recruit Training - Done

QL 3 Naval Signalman Training - Done

Basic Seaman Training - Done

Posted to a ship - Done

And now I am ready to sit on some exotic beach somewhere, beer in hand, a palm leaf fanned over my head
Life as sailor is about to get good

Away we go off to.... Ketchikan Alaska???
That does not have the ring of sandy beaches, warm breeze and bikini babes.
Ketchikan? Why the #$%( are we going there?
I am sure anywhere will be better, hell I would even vote for Seattle - nice place to visit I later found out.
Yes Sir, we go to Alaska.

What I didn't know at the time was that to go to Alaska, we frequently take the Inside Passage - some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Okay, so this trip will not be a total waste of time. grumble grumble...

When one first steps on board on of Her Majestys Canadian Ships as an ordinary seaman, one gets to learn about the more mundane tasks of running a ship. One such task is lookout. Yes, even in this day and age a real live pair of eyes is employed to look forward and tell the Officer of the Watch that there is a ship, log,  rock, oil slick, boat full of bikini babes ect ect ect just over there, and by the way, can we move in a bit closer to that boat?

It was a lovely day, sun was shining, no wind, nicely warm and there I was, on the port wing, being look out. Oh look, another beautiful waterfall - yes, how lovely (ho hum, the other 50 were much nicer). Oh look OOW, a log in the water, perhaps you wish to steer around it? Oh Sir, btw, did you see the.....

Two gray whales start broaching in front of the ship.
I haven't seen anything like that before in my life.

"Yes Ordinary Seaman, I saw it. And I am sure the entire ships company heard you tell me."

Opps, I was a bit on the exuberant side in my report.

Well, that changes everything, no one told me I would see whales and stuff. Now its worth being out here.
By the end of that trip I was a confirmed whale watcher. I got lucky and saw a couple of orcas, a few dolphins and a humpback. Way cool.

From there, the next 24 years would bring other sea critters into my view, and a few of them right at my feet, but that is another story


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