And the thunder rolls… That’s how I can explain the last few days out at sea. It has been quite the journey and very miserable indeed. We are rocking all over the place. Thank the lord I took my motion sickness pills as soon as we got word of the rough seas.
The past few times I walked by the galley, we’ve taken a pretty big roll and all I can hear behind the door is “Crash Crash Bang Bang Mutter Mutter”! In the wardroom, the main table is bolted to the deck but the side table is not and at lunch, I of course, was sitting at the side table.
We had to have our hands on our plates, cups, and utensils all at once otherwise it would fly off the table when the ship rolled. Well, We took this huge roll and I caught my plate and jumped up just in time for the table to roll forward. Another girl was not able to get out of the way quick enough, and she was just two inches from a pie in the lap.
Luckily, one of the guys grabbed it right before it slid off of the table onto her. I was helpless because I couldn’t stop laughing at the circus that was our lunch. I gave up at that point and retreated to my room and ate a granola bar for lunch and drank water from a bottle with a safety lid.
That night I went to bed early because there was nothing else to do and I spent the whole night in my rack sliding and hitting my head on the metal in front of my pillow and then rolling back and smashing my feet into the other end. I took so much medicine before going to bed, I could barely keep my eyes open I was so drowsy.
The rolls are not what makes me sick, it’s the pitch that is just awful. We were pitching so hard that the front part of the ship right on the keel shudders back and forth in the water because the whole front of the ship will pop out of the water and then slam back down into it, and you could hear the banging all the way up in my stateroom. Ugh.
No one ever said crossing the Atlantic ocean in the middle of December was a good idea, so now we must all suffer. I didn’t eat anything yesterday for fear I wouldn’t be able to keep it down.
The next morning was the day before we were set to pull into ROME and I was the Officer of the Deck for the transit through the Strait of Messina. The Strait of Messina is this very small channel in between the tip of the boot of Italy and the island of Sicily. We had an exact course and an exact time to make it to the Straits and the course we were on was just awful. Had the seas hitting us on the beam and we were rolling around in the water haphazardly.
I was up in the pilot house holding on to this metal rope affixed to the ceiling for times just like this one. It surrounds the pilothouse so you can walk around but have something to hold onto for balance. We were taking rolls up to 26 degrees according to the clinometer, which was the worst I had ever seen a ship roll in my life.
I was walking from bridge wing to bridge wing holding on for dear life. Sometimes, I thought I was going to be able to touch the water from the bridge wing as we were rocking, although that is a very unrealistic. If I could skim the water with the tips of my fingers from the bridge wing, the ship probably wouldn’t be righting itself again.
As it were, I had taken an apple to the bridge as a snack and had set it, on the window seal. BIG Mistake. The captain had just come to the bridge and was sitting in his chair when this apple just went whizzing on by and rolled down in the corner by his feet. I watched that happen and just mentally slapped myself in the head for being so stupid.
Then as the ship rolled the other way that apple just went flying with it and I looked over at the captain and knew I better get that apple and place it out of the way real quick. For 3 hours I had watch like that and it was exciting and stressful at the same time.
As we entered the Straits of Messina, the water calmed and even stilled and it was like the rainbow after the storm. The rough seas abated because we were finally secured between two pieces of land. and I was relieved. Another qualified Officer of the Deck came to relieve me so I could be promoted and all of the girl officers came up, which was quite awesome.
Now to give you an idea of how closely nestled between land the straits are, I could walk to the bridge wing on one side and see people on the beaches of Sicily, and then I could walk to the bridge wing on the other side, and see people on the beaches of Italy at the tip of the boot. That is very close for a warship.
Everyone knows that transiting these small little areas in the world are a huge navigational hazard. I was very shocked that the captain had chosen to promote me during the transit. A lot of bad things on other ships have happened from doing things like this. We went to the starboard (right) bridge wing which was closest to the tip of the boot of Italy and they passed the word that I was going to be promoted.
A small group of people showed up. There wasn’t very much room on the bridge, and as soon as we were out there, the Captain told me to raise my right hand and repeat the oath of office after him.
The Captain pinned me and then we took all kinds of pictures. Once through the straits I took the deck back and I headed us toward Civeetavechia which was the port in Italy we pulled into (which is one hour outside of Rome). We pulled in early the next morning.
For a complete listing of all of my deployment articles Click the Link: MY FIRST DEPLOYMENT
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