July 16, 2008
The briefs before the trap deployments and retrievals are growing on me. I stand there and keep my mouth shut as the highest-ranking members of the boat go over the plan. We really have a good bunch of men and women helping us with the traps. The Coast Guard tries to put one new person on the team for exposure or training I think.
The retrieval is trickier. Pat made a point to tell me not to make the same mistake with the spar this time as we did last time. I thought "uhhh ok, no pressure." Last time the spar was lifted too fast and too close to the boat. I spoke to the deck supervisor Tom Kruger about taking it easy with the Spar and he told me to watch him and he might stop me a lot.
Everything was going great. I was winching in the spar but I noticed the block turned to port all the way and was worried the line would slip. Tom saw it also it said we could do nothing about it. A few minutes later the line slipped. Jimmy Johnson and Matt Tiahlo pulled out a 20-foot pole with a hook on it and tried to get the line back on it. They were unsuccessful. I got permission from the safety advisor on deck to assist and I grabbed the pole from Matt and Jimmy.
My only advantage over Matt and Jimmy were my height and long arms. I knew if I did not get the line back on the spar could get damaged. For a few minutes I got close to righting the line but kept just missing. My shoulders had two more tries in them before they were shot. Beside that I was stupid for starting the job without gloves and in four minutes my hands were going numb holding the aluminum pole. Thank goodness I got the line on. We then got the spar onboard and didn't hit a thing.
Going back to the gloves. When we started the retrieval it was 47 degrees and the sun was trying to break out. There was a hint of a breeze and the seas were calm. Within an hour, the clouds rolled in, fog enveloped us, and either it got significantly colder and windier. She got me again!