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Sometimes you’ll never be ready

At maritime college, they teach us what to do in emergencies, how to prepare for flooding, fire, man-over-board. Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash They don’t teach us how to deal with the aftermath. It’s possible to put on a facade of calm, to exude confidence, but no-one ever teaches us how to deal with the... Continue Reading →

No means … I’d like a cup of tea

Photo of cups of tea by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash “I’ll just make you a cup of tea,” she smiled. “No thanks, I don’t drink tea.” “Of course you drink tea,” she laughed. “I’ll make you a cuppa.” “Thanks, but I don’t drink tea.” I shifted, looking for somewhere to put the cup of tea that... Continue Reading →

Do you really know your friends?

People silhouetted against sunset. Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash “Can’t do pizza: visiting Bill at hospice b4 session.” I stared blankly at the message on my phone for several seconds before I typed a reply: “Why is Bill at hospice?” The reply took a few minutes. “Throat cancer. Cya at session.” I’d only been away... Continue Reading →

The Ship’s Hardhat

I was the newbie on board. While ten years working on square-rigged sailing ships had taught me many things, it hadn’t taught me the finer points of working on a shorthanded coastal cargo ship. Despite that, as I dived out of the way of another lump of falling scrap steel as it crashed down from... Continue Reading →

No, dad, she’s definitely a girl…

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash The staring was starting to become awkward. I glanced down, checking that my clothing was in order: faded orange boilersuit, covered in grease and cargo, and a pair of scuffed steel-capped boots. I reached to my waist and confirmed that I’d remembered to leave my belt knife on board. I... Continue Reading →

Rule 3: Don’t blow up the ship

Photo by Jakub Skafiriak on Unsplash I stared at the third mate. “Is this a joke? Because it’s Christmas, you know, not April Fool’s Day.” He shrugged. We stared down at the night orders. The first part was reasonable enough: follow the cargo plan, pump ballast when necessary, don’t break the ship in half, don’t blow... Continue Reading →

Stand Up for Someone

Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash I gritted my teeth as the company training officer showed yet another “funny” video, this time about a woman who removed the lock-out from an electric breaker so that the could use her hairdryer, and the electrician was electrocuted. My company had sent this person on board to run a... Continue Reading →

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