12 October 08

Response to Poetry

My intent had not been to transmit depression and gloom, but thank you to all who sent poems in reply and kind words. I actually like long ocean crossings like this where everything is calm and regular. There is an unwritten rule that you don't make any changes on a ship until you have been on for one trip and since I'm only a few days from finishing my first trip of several I figure I get to start making changes. In this past week I have inventoried all the charts on the ship, automated the chart catalog updating and the medical inventories with macros. I have started to setup a systematic numbering system for all the waypoints programmed in the GPS and I'm bringing all the various routing programs inline so they all agree precisely rather than each being off by a tenth of a mile here or there etc.

The time changes were getting me down (we were loosing one hour a day for a week with a grand finale of loosing three hours in one day - that morning the sun rose at 1030 but we were then on California time and wouldn't have to change clocks again) but now that my sleep patterns are returning to normal and I'm seeing real changes in the stuff I'm responsible for; everything is going great again. If I get a jump start on my routing for the next voyage now, then when we leave Long Beach for Honolulu again I can start tinkering with a macro to automatically compile my orders for charts (I have such a macro for my medical inventory) and to let me know when all charts are corrected.

I pretty much only have two big inventories that I have to maintain (charts and meds) so once both of those are automated my job will take a whole lot less time meaning I'll have more time for math and reading, etc. But this is one of the reasons I know I need to get out of this job: I have written programs to do most of my celestial navigation for me (I still enjoy doing it long hand, but when I need to check the compass error in a hurry I use my programs), I've written programs to calculate our course and speed with all the possible options that I've ever needed, to calculate wind speed and direction, calculate estimated times of arrival at distant ports, taking into account the time and distance to load down the engine from full sea speed to maneuvering speed, the list goes on. Except for a few things, I've just about programmed away all of my jobs, which is sorta' fine since I still get paid to do them but it just shows that most of this is not challenging me. It is encouragement for me to hit the books and get out of here.