Calendar 2

It’s quite strange as a feeling, not to write for long. All this time, I gathered so many experiences living my recent adventure, that now I face the problem, what to write first and what later. It’s so common for me, to keep in such a mess my mind, not to be able to keep my thoughts in order. Scenes, moments and images are tangled so hard, that is impossible to organize them. Scenes from here and there, from Korea to Egypt, from Japan to the west coast of Africa and towards back again. Five months at sea, with only ten days of them, reaching land and even though, I am full of images. From the deep blue sea to the sky’s light blue, this world is so amazing. It hides its beauty in every corner, till somebody finally decides to discover it. Then, you lay your hands and you grasp the most amazing of god’s creations.

It’s almost midnight local hour, sailing in the Indian Ocean. The weather is rough, showing us some of its power. The last ten days, it’s just like that. Our cargo is slashing hard in the tanks, making really scary sounds and gives us the feeling of an earthquake. Even though I have been informed for such unexpected events, it was and still is hard every such time. Although we changed our course and our speed, so to have the weather from the front side, and be part of the swell’s frequency, we still have some problems in that but we work on it. The officers and the crew have told me plenty of life stories, in similar conditions or worst and that makes it creepier.

What to say about all these people. Each and every one of them is so special. They look like puzzle pieces which you have to put them wised on the table, so to see the big picture. The big issue is to have a vessel that is working, with people onboard that feel like part of a team. But like as on the puzzles, some pieces cannot connect with others and others are very tricky and can connect with more, explaining why you can face some kid’s style conflicts and some strong friendship. Greeks, Egyptians, Ukrainians, Spanish and Philippine, are the nationalities of these great people. Each one is carrying his own tradition, way of life and mentality, making this combination an amazing enterprise.

People sign on and off every now and then, following their rotation and their needs but in the end of the day, the vessel is going closer and closer to the next destination. I saw different kind of personnel’s changes, from captain to an ordinary seaman, coming from different nationalities and for different disembarkation reasons. Every time is different and a new piece is coming to replace the previous puzzle piece. Some times that change is more successful than others, bringing more happiness among the on board personnel, some others no. Even then, the puzzle is so unique that can absorb any great differences so to keep always the mood above some certain limits.

Therefore, during the Saturday’s party, you could see some watching copied entertainment TV shows or some others singing, joining their day off. Each one has his unique way of having fun in such limited conditions. Of course, working on an iron giant like this one, is far better than few decades ago, provided by few entertainment equipment and devices, trying to make our life better and more joyful.

Few years ago, when I worked for this company as a trainee in the new buildings department, I was checking drawings, charts and specifications, making comments and changes, without being able to understand their effect. I could only see some changes in lines, in shapes or in dimensions, all plotted on piece of paper, but nothing more. So just try to place yourself in my shoes, when I first saw the vessel in Korea. A three hundred meters long and more than forty meters tall iron giant, without mentioning the eleven meters draught; a super structure that I entrusted to carry my life for these months.

These months that passed quicker than an eye blink, gave me plenty and different kind of experiences. From the tour around the engine, to the extra measures for the pirate zone, from the inspection of the lowest passage of the vessel (duck kill), between the hull and the bottom of the tanks, till the separation of the garbage before putting them in the incinerator, each and every place on the vessel, made me more familiar with the engineering staffs I been studying these years, made me more aware about the everyday dangers the seamen face, brought me closer to what my father was facing the years he was working in this industry.

It’s quite rough as a profession that’s why I totally respect the seamen. It’s very hard for us to understand them, to be in their shoes. Leaving back the people they love, the comfort of their house and every social activity and join a mega structure, travelling around the globe in its endless voyage. As for the possibility to hang out during port, well, this happens once per month and in combination with many different factors, including not having a watch. Furthermore, it’s the feeling you have that you are on board a possible bomb. It’s quite amazing by its self as a number if you could only think that the impact of a potential explosion is six times bigger than the one of a nuclear bomb. Scary e!?

Well, the scariest think is to keep controlled your mind and your emotions. For this time of period you are on board a vessel, you have to act only professionally in any occasion, kind of impossible for people like me. But I think I made it up well these months. From time to time, I was thinking my family, those that I left behind and those that passed away. I was thinking my friends, the ones who often remember me and those they don’t. Different kind of moments and events were showing up from time to time as a logical consequence, while I was looking pictures and videos from different places.

A great escape from the vessel’s reality is when you have free time and you play a list of songs you have connected with places and moments. I had plenty of such moments. I used to close my eyes and let my mind travel away. I was dreaming the things I could do after that, the things I have done I have regretted, those that I was in love and those I was in great anger. It was like a minds drug, to bring in my mind’s surface, moments I spent with good friends, the games with my dog, even the fights with my brother when we were kids.

But all the adventures after making their circle, they come again in the same moment, the start. It’s that great time when you have to start a new circle, completing the previous one and start drawing the line of the new one. Now, I have to leave behind the good and the bad moments and change the chart on my life’s voyage; I am sailing directly to the unknown again. Till the end of my next adventure, I wish to each and every one of you, to go for your dreams, to chase them as much as you can and never to quit, even the odds are against you.
Cheers my friends!!!

Ksidias Yiannis

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