100 Days at Sea

 

When I was about five years old, my family left New York to sail for India by ship. My dad was going to be an assistant Naval Attache assigned to the US Embassy in New Delhi for a 2-year assignment.

We left New York on the SS Independence, a passenger liner that entered service in 1951 that plied the New York-to-Mediterranean route. She was certainly not the large type of cruise ships you see crossing the oceans today. Our first stop was the Canary Islands and then on to Naples, Italy.

SS Independence Ocean Liner - Cruise Ship Profile

We had a one-day stay in Naples and then boarded an Italian liner to Mumbai, India. One day and night in Mumbai and then a flight on a US Embassy DC-3 to New Delhi.

The pilots were also assistant Naval Attaches and once a year the DC-3 made trips to Italy. India at that time was considered a hardship post so once a year the DC-3 made the flight to Italy to allow pilots to keep their flight status up to date and current and military wives were allowed to go along for some time off in Italy.

I still remember parts of the trip to India. My brothers and I traveled on our mom’s passport. The entire family traveled on diplomatic passports.

The return trip to the states was on one of the first Pan Am Boeing 707 transcontinental flights. From New Delhi to Bangkok. Bangkok to Hong Kong. Hong Kong to Tokyo. Tokyo to San Francisco. All those stops were not overnight stops. We were on the ground long enough to refuel and then off again.

I came across a video made by a merchant sailor on a west coast trip, Life as a Merchant Mariner.

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  1. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Awesome video, and a huge shout out to those who risk their lives in occupations like this one, so we landlubbers have gas for our cars and stoves, and do not have to undertake the risks these sailors take every day.

    Too bad all the climate cultists do not understand how intricate the whole ecosystem of our energy is.

    • #1
  2. Comfortably Superannuated Member
    Comfortably Superannuated
    @OldDanRhody

    For an informative read about the life of an American Merchant Marine sailor, see Looking For A Ship, by John McPhee (Copyright © 1990).  The mariners would sign on to a crew for a specified period of time, and afterward would have to wait for their name to come up again in rotation as there are many more sailors than there are berths.

    This is an extraordinary tale of life aboard what may be one of the last American merchant ships. As the story begins, Andy Chase, who holds a license as a second mate is looking for a ship. In less than ten years, the United States Merchant Marine has shrunk from more than two thousand ships to fewer than four hundred, and Chase faces the scarcity of jobs from which all American merchant mariners have been suffering.With John McPhee along, Chase finds a job as a second mate aboard the S.S. Stella Lykes, captained by the extraordinary Paul McHenry Washburn. The journey takes them on a forty-two day run down the Pacific coast of South America, with stops to unload and pick up freight at such ports as Cartagena, Valparaiso, Balboa, Lima, and Guayaquil―an area notorious for pirates. As the crew make their ocean voyage, they tell sea stories of other runs and other ships, tales of disaster, stupidity, greed, generosity, and courage. Through the journey itself and the tales told emerge the history and character of a fascinating calling.

    • #2
  3. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Comfortably Superannuated (View Comment):

    For an informative read about the life of an American Merchant Marine sailor, see Looking For A Ship, by John McPhee (Copyright © 1990). The mariners would sign on to a crew for a specified period of time, and afterward would have to wait for their name to come up again in rotation as there are many more sailors than there are berths.

    This is an extraordinary tale of life aboard what may be one of the last American merchant ships. As the story begins, Andy Chase, who holds a license as a second mate is looking for a ship. In less than ten years, the United States Merchant Marine has shrunk from more than two thousand ships to fewer than four hundred, and Chase faces the scarcity of jobs from which all American merchant mariners have been suffering.With John McPhee along, Chase finds a job as a second mate aboard the S.S. Stella Lykes, captained by the extraordinary Paul McHenry Washburn. The journey takes them on a forty-two day run down the Pacific coast of South America, with stops to unload and pick up freight at such ports as Cartagena, Valparaiso, Balboa, Lima, and Guayaquil―an area notorious for pirates. As the crew make their ocean voyage, they tell sea stories of other runs and other ships, tales of disaster, stupidity, greed, generosity, and courage. Through the journey itself and the tales told emerge the history and character of a fascinating calling.

    Heading to the library as I type, and failing that, on to Amazon. Thanks.

    • #3
  4. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    We did sea trials in the straits of San Juan de Fuca after going through an overhaul in Bremerton. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to be exact. For most of us, it was the first time at sea and what a trip it was. I went down into engine room number 1. We had two engine rooms and I was heading down to be on watch as throttleman in number 1. That was located in enclosed operating station or EOS No.1. My watch was 5 hours. Then everybody got sea sick. Well, everybody but me and a few unfortunate others. Unfortunate because someone has to stand those watch stations and, if everyone else is sick, that means those who aren’t sick. My 5 hour watch became a 16 hour watch. Welcome to sea duty, son.

    • #4
  5. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Fritz (View Comment):

    Comfortably Superannuated (View Comment):

    For an informative read about the life of an American Merchant Marine sailor, see Looking For A Ship, by John McPhee (Copyright © 1990). The mariners would sign on to a crew for a specified period of time, and afterward would have to wait for their name to come up again in rotation as there are many more sailors than there are berths.

    This is an extraordinary tale of life aboard what may be one of the last American merchant ships. As the story begins, Andy Chase, who holds a license as a second mate is looking for a ship. In less than ten years, the United States Merchant Marine has shrunk from more than two thousand ships to fewer than four hundred, and Chase faces the scarcity of jobs from which all American merchant mariners have been suffering.With John McPhee along, Chase finds a job as a second mate aboard the S.S. Stella Lykes, captained by the extraordinary Paul McHenry Washburn. The journey takes them on a forty-two day run down the Pacific coast of South America, with stops to unload and pick up freight at such ports as Cartagena, Valparaiso, Balboa, Lima, and Guayaquil―an area notorious for pirates. As the crew make their ocean voyage, they tell sea stories of other runs and other ships, tales of disaster, stupidity, greed, generosity, and courage. Through the journey itself and the tales told emerge the history and character of a fascinating calling.

    Heading to the library as I type, and failing that, on to Amazon. Thanks.

    Also try ThriftBooks or Alibris. 

    • #5
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