We set sail late last night for the location of a “payow” that we had visited a day before and had left a radio buoy on. That is a good distinction to make, the type of buoy determines your next few days, and the day before we had placed two different radio buoys and on GPS buoy.
The GPS buoy looks like a serving tray with a clear plastic lid on it and a fat green base. Under the plastic lid, which has the ship name painted across it, are a set of solar panels, a strobe light and of course the GPS transmitter. I’m told they will sometimes set this things out to float for months at a time before coming back to visit. Which makes sense given the nature of what the “payow” is.
The radio beacon/buoy looks like a droid from Star Wars almost. It has a large antenna sticking straight up that leads down to a fat green float section that surrounds all the electronics, which then narrows out into the structure of the buoy. It’s an ugly thing, and they used to carry them under the helicopters for deployment. Not anymore thankfully, I’m told many stories of how the antenna is a hazard for the tail rotor and I can picture it. When the buoy is released from a hover it is designed to float antenna up, well that long antenna swings right up into the air and if you aren’t paying attention it can bite you in the ass – literally.
Yesterday we set on the more promising of the radio buoys I guess, and made off with a couple hundred tons of Tuna. This morning when I woke up I expected them to be setting again, like yesterday. But I was surprised when I came out of the boat onto the fishdeck in the dark morning and realized we were ahead full steam. When I ran into our observer, a man here to monitor what we are catching and how much, he told me that when they got to the buoy that night the sonar didn’t show a school size worth setting on.
The rest of the day would be spent clipping along the water at about 12 knots, our intended destination? Rendezvous with another boat from the same company, the Jam Bo Go (I keep hearing Jumbo Girl but I doubt that’s the actual name) to drop off some equipment. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon, around 530pm that we actually spotted them way out on the horizon. The Captain took the helicopter up for a flight to go check some birds out on the radar, and I guess make a pass of the other ship. Jose is still flying all the actually work flights.
The ship was in the middle of a set, and I guess they have been having a pretty good run of it lately, as they were mostly full. We didn’t actually get to the ship until around 8pm, and they were still working the nets so we just steamed around until they were done. By the time the two ships tied up to each other I was long asleep.
This GPS communicator is awesome, I’ve been checking in almost every day and today was my little sisters birthday. She’s deployed to Afghanistan right now, so I shot her a quick email wishing her a happy birthday. I can’t wait to hearhow her deployment is going, since she’s been trying to get on one since she joined the Army – and now as a contractor finally got one. I’m sure her experience is differing greatly from my experiences in Iraq.