Boat life

I used to work on a ship in the Pacific, and these were my experience and thoughts.


The boat is the most amazing and confusing environment one could work and live in. Every comfort from your everyday life (coffee, freedom, church, family, friends, routine workouts, nights off, weekends off, going to the movies, etc), doesn’t exist… it’s just yourself and possibly a book. No time for anything besides eating, sleeping, and more work. The things that are important sum up to these three events: if food is to arrive at a certain location, if we can go through a boat lock or canal, or what a storm is about to do. The hardest, grueling work you’ll ever come to know, and the reward you can’t quite figure out but ends up being freedom from the materialistic American dream that has entrapped so many. No rent, no sitting in traffic, no waiting for a company to come out to dig up your yard and install the latest version of some cable, or internet, or the seemingly endless distractions. Instead we sweat, and laugh and fight and eat EVERY meal together and are right there when someone receives bad news via the satellite phone of the boat. Where a cavity hurts like hell in the middle of the ocean and where you celebrate birthdays and holidays with people you come to know eventually.  Where gossip spreads quicker than you can read this sentence because we have 152 ft. of space where no one really sleeps because eventually your trained to be alert even in your sleep. Where the slightest whirring of the motor that could only be heard by a bat is a sign something isnt right in the engine room and everyone is aware of it besides the newbies or "green gills". Where the various pitches of alarms on the boat are recognizable to your heartbeat as where they are coming from and why. Where you learn money equals unhappiness for most of the world, and being on the front of the bow when a whale is breaching is better than every best drunk night you’ve think you’ve had. That black coffee and aspirin are survival tools. That you can handle looking at distorted bones, limbs, and burns in emergencies. That it will ALL be worth it when our 'Tikos' pull up next to our ship at 9pm to take you to a jungle bar under a central american diamond sky. There they will teach you to salsa where no one speaks English and they only drink rum and imperial beer. And we will all run wildly into the ocean trying to make our curfew but end up skinny dipping even though it’s pitch black and everyones nervous and the air smells like coconut. It's in that moment you realize that you haven’t ever felt that alive and are laughing wildly as the waves knocks everyone together with the salt and the sand and your hair is tangled across your face.

It is all worth it. 

brief thought

boatjournal entries