Arrived in good order last week—the flight from D.C. to Bahrain was relatively painless for a change as I slept clear across the Atlantic and much of Europe—and am now settling-in nicely aboard Supply. She is a near-twin of my old ship Arctic (Supply is the elder sister-ship), differing only in minor interior detail, so becoming acclimated to my new home @ sea has been pretty easy. Even the differences between “8” and “6” are so minor that the feeling is less one of being aboard a new ship as it is a sense of coming home again.
The crew is first-rate and I even know many of them (including the Captain) from previous voyages together, so the first couple of days were a nearly continuous session of “whatever happened to whatsisname” and “remember when” discussions! Several times I’ve had fellow voyagers from previous ships walk up to me, take my hand, and welcome me BACK aboard—when I had never even set foot aboard this ship before last Sunday!
It has also been quite easy to get into the swing of things on watch. I’m assigned to an experienced, professional watch team of four Mariners under the direction of the ship’s Navigator, and already we’ve taken each other’s measures…and the news is all good. I’m going to enjoy working with these guys, and I expect to learn a great deal from them.
Astronomically things are looking up as well (ouch!); with the coming of Autumn to the Gulf the triple-digit temperatures have moderated and the skies have been clearing—much of that yellow dust precipitating out—and already since I’ve been here we’ve had a couple of beautiful nights! Of course I brought along my 10x50 binoculars and a heavy photo-tripod (telescopes simply aren’t practical in this venue—I’ve tried and it just isn’t worth the effort of toting the equipment around the world) with a binocular adapter, plus my bino solar filters, and have already put them to work.
The other evening I hosted a small ‘star party’ on deck and had a dozen of the crew up there examining the Hunter’s Moon (the October full moon), and I’m planning another get-together later this month for the Leonid meteor shower. In other words, I’m up to my old tricks, “pushing” starlight!
To summarize my first week & a half aboard USNS Supply (T-AOE 6); I think I’m gonna like it here. More to come!