Recently I have come to that point in my life where I have realised how much it means for a woman to have her girl friends by her side.
When in a relationship it is so easy to focus all your time and energy on your partner. It sounds draining though. What about time apart to spend time with your own friends family? Like a guy who needs to have time to spend with his guy mates watching rugby and drinking etc… A woman also needs to have time to herself where she can go out and spend time with her girl friends.
Woman love talking – that’s a proven fact! Men are the opposite though. When a woman gets home from work all she wants to do is talk about her day with her partner but a guy when he gets home from work he wants to sit down on the couch and relax for the next half an hour or so. This is just one of the many differences of both men and woman. A woman she needs to have her girlfriends in her life in a different way that men have their guy mates. For me I need to have the support and friendships of my girls to fill that little space in my heart. The kind of friendships where you know you can sit down with your girls, be yourself, not be judged or hit on if you were talking with guys and talk about absolutely anything and everything knowing that they will listen back in return. I love my girls and the friendships that we have together. They are a big part of my life and I am so very thankful that I have some good true girl friends who I can turn too no matter what time of day it is!
When you get to that stage m in you life where you can quite happily say that you are happy with your own company and spending time to yourself, then that’s when you will be able to start to think about sharing part of your life with someone else.
When you love yourself first you can then start to love someone else. When you enjoy time alone to yourself then taking a break every now and then wont be too painful.
If we aren’t able to cope being by ourselves then we will start depending on our partner for support and comfort all the time, and that can be very draining. What happens when a break up happens? Who are you going to turn to then and better still how are you going to manage being by yourself again? I will give you a little example from my life. – I work on a ship where we all work as a team but we also have a lot of our independent down time to ourselves. Now most people would think that this would get boring day after day, but to be totally honest I love it! You get time to yourself where you can do what ever you want without having anyone else influence your decisions. Its great! I sleep, go to the gym, watch a movie, listen to music, relax on my bed reading a book, do some creative art work and write ups for my blog page and have a lot of time to think about my life as it has been and will be. I get time to focus all my attention of “ME” for a change. Thinking about what I have achieved in life and also what is still yet to be achieved ahead of me. Its not to say that I don’t like spending time with my partner, family or friends. No it’s the complete opposite! I love my social and love life to pieces, but I have realised for to keep myself true to who I am I have to have time to myself every so often. So why not take the chance now, do you want to figure out who you are as a person and know if you love your own company? The only you are going to know is by trying it out for yourself someday.
I’d like to take a moment to come back and touch on one of my previous write-up’s. “Physical V’s Mental Strength” I’m not what you call one of the biggest woman in the world in fact most people would say the opposite.
Physical strength can be built on by excising and working out. You can see a change in your body shape, muscle strength and over all general fitness stamina. But mental strength? How can you gauge how strong you are mentally or what areas need working on? Yes sure you can go and see a psychologist and they will tell you where your weak areas are in your life, but wouldn’t you like to be able to know and judge this on your own? Fancy that – being able to know where your mental weaknesses are and then having the ability to work on strengthening them. Here are 4 steps to making this possible:
1- Keep a Journal of the highs and lows of your day, what happened, how you reacted, how it affected you and how you felt because of it. Feelings, emotions and thoughts - do this for 3 weeks.
2- Sort through your points arranging them into two lists of which had either a positive and negative affect on your life.
3- You can put the positive list aside for the moment and focus on the negative list. Re-order the negative list to which point had the biggest affect on your life. i.e.- worrying, feeling lonely and lost, being heartbroken etc…
4- Take each negative point one by one and write down some points about how you can avoid feeling the way you did if that same thing happened next time. Is there anything on your positive list which you could link up to one of these points?
It sounds like a lot of hard work but trust me in the end you will be thankful you did it. I now have techniques which help to me identify my mental weaknesses and how I am to approach them when they occur in the near future. Life is full of some many highs and lows. It is up to us if we want to stay on the low or reach up for the high ride!
An inspiring Captain back in the year 2002 once told me:
“You must work as though there is always someone watching everything that you do! You never know who maybe learning from the little things done in your life…”
Wow! I worked on a medical ship in Fiji in 2007 where there were a lot of children on board. On this particular voyage there was a 7 year old Australian girl called Zakaiya. She was such a gorgeous young girl, so full of life and happiness (we didn’t know at the time that she came from an abusive background and was now being raised by a solo parent) Zakaiya took a liking to me. Everywhere I went she would follow, everything I did she would copy, she ate what I ate, wore her hair the same as mine, sat down when I sat down and basically mimicked everything I did. At first I though that this would get a bit annoying until I realised what this Captain once told me. She was learning from me. I would be working on the bridge doing chart corrections and she would ask to come and sit next to me and promised not to talk or distract me, she was so caring and considerate at only 7 years old. Then there was one particular afternoon which I still remember so clearly to the day. I walked into my cabin and found Zakaiya sitting on my bunk and looking at my photos while frowning. I asked her what was wrong? She then said: “Why do you try and change who you were created to be?” I looked surprised. “I mean if you were created with brown curly hair why would you want to try and change yourself, I don’t understand!” I didn’t know what to say in response. Zakaiya then jumped off my bed, placed a hand made card of my pillow and walked out of my cabin.
I was stumped! This young girl had been coping me and learning from me since the day she had met me and now she was confused as to why someone else would want to try to be someone they are not. From that day on Zakaiya and I did things together. She wore her hair the way that she felt comfortable with and we did things that she wanted to do for a change.
We could spend our entire work week complaining about the problems with our job but that wouldn’t get us anywhere! For instance I could moan and complain each day when I am at work on the ship about how much I miss my partner and life back home on the farm. But how would I perform to the best of my ability at work? I just wouldn’t. Instead of feeling homesick or worrying about missing my loved ones I try to focus on the joys of my job and how much I love doing what I do for a living. I mean who works in an environment where their scenery changes every day. Sighting dolphins and whales on a regular basis, experiencing the feeling of night sailing under the moon and star lit sky and as well at the sights, living in a place where you have your own chefs, stewards and cabin attendants. What more could you want?
You’d be surprised how often the feelings of loneliness and missing loved ones comes up on a daily basis. At times they try to outweigh the highs of the job.
The secrets to avoiding homesickness and enjoying work life, especially on a ship, is to think of all the good positive things you like about your job. Focusing on your work can be good at keeping your mind occupied while working as well as communicating with loved ones back home on a regular basis - good balanced life.
Everyone is different! This is only one of the ways in which I cope with balancing my love life and my job.
Recently I was asked this question by someone very special in my life. At first I didn’t know how to answer it. I mean I had to explain to this person why I thought I was placed on this earth and why I am continuing to live each day out. Now I must say don’t even try to think about this question if you are feeling down at the moment because it will only make you feel worse! Some people would look at me and say “You were placed on this earth to be an awesome Woman Captain” and I am thankful that some people think that, but that’s only a job, its not who I am as a person or why I am here. I truly believe that I am placed on this earth with one purpose and one purpose only. And that is for “Love”. I am here to love others and to be loved myself. It has always been on my heart that I will only ever fall in love with one guy and love one guy only. That is a big value of mine which I will stick with for the rest of my life. I am here to share love, teach love, give love and spread my love with my friends and family! There are so many different types of Love. Family love, friendship love, relationship partner love, parental love and so much more.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!”
Well I now have time to sum up everything about 2009 for my life in less than 200 words. It has been an amazing year filled with so many first experiences for me. Starting from January: “Worked on a ship in Australia, Passed my AMSA Oral exam, Moved house into a flat in Wellington, Learnt how to surf in summer, Ran a half marathon, Got a Job and a pay rise, Travelled New Zealand, Met lots of new friends, Had a make over, Fell in love and now in a relationship, Started a family (28 baby chickens and 1 duckling) Had my fair share of hospital visits, Attended a couple of weddings, Learnt how to relax and now I have a balanced life!”
And that’s only a few of the things which have happened in my life this year. What’s coming up in the next two months are pretty exciting as well. My birthday, a Cruise on a Cruise ship over Christmas with my partner, New Years spent in Australia and then a Holiday with my partner in Fiji at the end of January next year!
So many plans and so many fun times ahead to look forward to.
“When you reach that point in your life where your dreams become your life and your life becomes your dream… You know you are the happiest person in the world!”
Some people go through their whole lives doing something that they love doing while keeping it to themselves. These people are happy with who they are and what they have achieved in life. They are happy just trundling along quite smoothly in life. Then there are the people who love their live, live their dreams out each day and share their passion with others along the way. That is about the stage where I am now. I have been living my passion out for the past 5 years at sea and loved just about every minute of it. Now though I am sharing my love for my job and career with close ones around me, and I don’t mean sharing with young woman in an inspirational sort of role, I mean sharing my passion and work done through the day with my Dad and close ones by my side. And I tell you what it’s such a nice feeling! Being able to share the highs and lows of your day with someone else, talking about the little things in your job that make your eyes sparkle and ignite – that’s PASSION! For me, being able to work on the ship and share my passion and positiveness through the phone to a close friend, makes me happy. I have a more balanced life now. Simply being able to merge my work life on the ship with my life back at home, this is now bringing a steady flow of happiness back into my daily life.
Have you ever turned your head around while driving a car even for the slightest second to see what was behind you? Then a fraction of a second later you are grabbing the steering wheel trying to bring the car back onto the road.
That’s what most of us experience at some stage in our lives. If you spend more time looking back at your past, where you have been, what you have done and so on, eventually you are going to slowly begin to drift of track.
A good mate of mine recently told me: “Keep Your Dreams Larger Than Your Memories!” RD On hearing this I thought to myself I have so many memories that all I want to do is remember them all, all the time. Then one day I woke up and realised that by keeping your dreams larger than your memories you are actually creating more opportunities for memories in the near future. Wow! So next time you decide to turn your head around and see what gone by, make it only brief because there is so much more that lay’s out ahead of you.
FOR WHOM YOU ARE AS A PERSON! Not for what people see you as.
This was a big issue for me when I stepped onto my first ship 5 years ago and it somewhat still is today when I join a new ship for the first time. Picture this:
‘An environment which is male dominated has just had a woman join them. She’s not joining them by starting at the bottom and working her way up, No, she is joining them close to the top of the pecking order.’
How do you think the guys below her would feel? I mean in today’s world the workforce is seen as a man’s world.
Many people think that men should respect woman right from the start. How that would be nice! But from what I have learnt from the past 5 years of working with men at sea is that the only way to achieve this is to earn their respect. Earning guys respect can be as easy as working together to get to know what kind of person the other is and also listening when each other has something to say.
For me, being respected for being a woman working on a ship full of guys, it’s totally out of the question. I have had to earn each guys respect one at a time and continually work at it. Now I could have changed to be ‘just one of the guys’ or ‘a high nosed chick’ but instead I just decided to be myself. It required less work from me and I was comfortable in the process. The guys therefore respected me for who I was and not for what people saw me as – a woman.
Everyone is unique in their own personal way. For some people it takes years to earn others respect and for the rest of us it just comes naturally!
You would not believe how many write-ups I have actually written compared to how many I have published – 100’s and 100’s. Now I know how a writer feels before they get to the final stages of publishing their book! That is another one of my dreams that I would like to achieve one day. Putting all my write up’s together and creating my own biography. I know that it is going to take up so much time with collating everything into one flowing book, and not to mention the proof reading which will be involved. Isn’t it funny how English was my weakest subject at school yet once I left school I started writing my own blog. Word’s are like Gold! So powerful that they can have a changing impact on someone else’s life without you even knowing about it. I have so many stories of personal accounts I’ve had with young girls of how just one spoken word has made their dreams come true. All these write-up’s of pieces of my life and experience over the years has made me come to the point where I am now ready to write my first book. I have always wanted to write my own biography but have thought that I am too young to even attempt one yet. I have realized that what I have achieved and been through in the past 23 years is enough to start my own series collection. So keep an eye out for it. In just over a years time I hope to be on my way to publishing my first book. December 2010 is my deadline.
Ever since I was a child I’ve always been strong minded and determined t o achieve what ever I set my heart to. High school was one of my biggest challenges as a teenager as I was not popular and got bullied for going to school to study and play sport. When I was at school popularity was clarified by how many friends you had and how many parties you attended. The way you wore your uniform and did your hair was also a factor taken into account. Image didn’t really matter to me much. I was happy with who I was each day. Learning in the classroom, competing and winning all the sports events and competitions. Times when I was alone, some were hard but overall what people thought of me didn’t really effect me, if I was happy then that’s all that mattered. Now 6 years down the track I decided that it was time for a change. Now I know that you shouldn’t have to change your appearance to get people to like you but for me I did this for myself. I decided for a change in appearance to one which has made me feel so much more confident with myself which has boosted my self-esteem. I went from a girl with long brunette curls who only focuses on her work/study/career to a woman with short blond hair who has a balanced life with work/family/friends/career. Life couldn’t be much better at this stage. I’m not saying that everyone should go out there and have a makeover, but more so ever now and then taking time out to treat yourself to a nice pamper session. Introducing change into your life because you want to can have such a rewarding effect in the long run.
I have just signed a new contract with my shipping company which has set me up for the next three years. This included a huge pay rise, endless training opportunities, chances for promotion and personal development in my sea career. 2010 starts off with me back studying Mates/Masters for 10 months to gain my Chief Mates ticket. This is then followed up by a graduation and a week of celebrations! 2011 and 2012 has me working back for the company who is sponsoring me through school next year. 18 months sea time will need to be gained within 24 months before I can then sit my Masters Oral exam in the end of 2012. During this time the company will send me overseas to gain 6 months sea time elsewhere (hopefully a cargo ship). My dream has always been to gain my Masters ticket before I reach the age of 27 years old. As well as this I aim to pay off my first home mortgage by then. A lot to aim for but I am focused and determined that I will reach this by then. My new contract promises me a pay rise every year, a promotion to second mate and also opportunities to train younger cadets up in this industry. The work schedule is week on/week off with 4 weeks annual leave plus accrued leave on top of that. Working 12 hours shifts for 7 days is just bliss when you think of having 7 days off afterwards. I will be living back up in Auckland and flying to Wellington every second week to work. It’s a good thing that I love flying! So my new contract has been signed, with many thanks to my employment lawyer for all his help with the negotiations and benefits. I am now fully employed and on a regular pay roll. That mortgage may just be paid off after all.
What other job allows you to sit back in a leather chair and watch the sun rise or moon set while working? Having the chance to watch dolphins and whales swim past you in summer and making wishes on numerous shooting stars every night in winter?
Every job has its negative qualities about it. It’s the positive which we have to keep reflecting on when we feel like our job isn’t worth it anymore. In my industry from the outside it seems like happy sailings in beautiful weather with stunning sceneries. But when a blustery southerly screams through in winter, followed by 5m seas and thunderstorms, the last place you won’t to be is at work. This can be compared this to the days in summer where the seas are like a sheet of glass, the sea life has come alive and the temperatures are really pleasant. Working on a ship, day or night and in rain or shine just shows the extent of the variety of change that can occur when at sea. Boredom is seldom experienced in my industry. There is always something to do whether it is working or doing your own personal task or hobby in your down time. I have gone through times when I am away at sea that I wish I was home with my family and friends again. Visa/Versa, when I am home in my time off wishing I was back on the ship working again! There has to be a fine line in drawn in life which divides work from family life. When I am on the ship that is my time to myself to focus on working and my own personal downtime so that when I at home I can focus on spending quality time with my family and friends. We only live once and so many opportunities are lost because people take their work life home into their family lives. In the end you love for your job is lost and your interest in your working for pleasure dies out. Keeping the two lives separate is the best way to maintain a balanced life of love for your family and your job.
Have you ever though to yourself that ‘I have been doing this for so long now, it must be time for a change to try something else?’ I have only been on my career path for 6 years so far, it’s not that long I know but to me it feels like a life time and I do have my days where I would like to try something different one day.
My passion at this stage in my life is at sea, and while I spend half my time living and working on a ship I still have many other dreams and passions that I would like to live out one day.
1 – To work as a Commercial Chef for a high class top restaurant (I am sort of starting to live part of this out when I am off the ship. It’s only minimal, but being able to cook for the household each night is keeping this passion alive.
2 – To travel the world in 12 months with a best mate. Writing, sketching and photographing my way around the world.
3 – To become a sportswoman and representative my region in my two favourite sports. Netball and Touch Rugby.
4 – And I still love working with kids up in the South Pacific Islands (3rd world islands) There are so many things that I dream of doing one day. We can’t do everything though all at once. Various passions become achievable at certain stages of our lives. Right now the career which I am in has me set up for the next three years. I am happy and wouldn’t give this up to work in another profession just so that I can tick it off my list. I will get a chance to achieve all four of my passions mentioned above, when though? Who knows? All I know is that I will achieve them sooner or later.
We all started in the same position, at the bottom, and now after all going our separate ways we are now coming back to study the next stage in our sea careers together again next year. Out of the 5 guys from the class of 2007 2nd Mates, 2 are from cruise ships, 1 is from the offshore industry, 1 from NZ coastal tankers and 1 from the NZ rail ferries. The syllabus for Mates/Masters next year will consist of weeks of: Marine Engineering (2) Ship Masters Business (2) Compass Adjustment (2) Command Meteorology (2) Maritime Administration (1) Maritime Commercial Practice (3) Managing Vessel Condition (3) Command Principles and Practice (2) Naval Architecture (5) Piloting Ships (1) Control Navigation and Emergencies (4)Managing Marine Operations (4) Orals Prep Course (4) and three short courses which I have already completed - Ship Masters Medical (1) Advanced Fire Fighting (1) GMDSS Radio Operator (1) It’s going to be a pretty full on year with studies and exams, what will make it most enjoyable will be the guys who I’ll be studying with again. We get half day Wednesday’s and Friday’s and study classes two nights a week at one of our houses. And I must not forget to mention the quiet drink at the end of the week to unwind after a week of sitting in a classroom. Only 6 months to go now!
One of my favourite childhood songs is “I believe I can Fly” the lyrics speak so strongly about believing that you can do anything if you want to. “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day spread my wings and fly away, I believe I can fly!” The biggest challenge that sets people back in life is thinking and believing that you can’t do something before you have actually tried to.
How do you know if you can’t park a ship between two wharves if you have never stepped forward and taken hold the opportunities given to you? I joined a ship last month where the Captain came up to one of the Deck Officers and asked them if they wanted to take the ship off the berth to anchor in the middle of the harbour. He hesitated and said no because he has never done it before. The Captain then came and asked me if I would then like to. Straight away I jumped and said yes please! The only way you are going to learn how to drive a ship is to actually practice driving a ship. Confidence is one thing that lets a lot of people down. But Could I really do this? I mean me, drive a ship by myself off a wharf and stop in the middle of the harbour and let the anchor go. I’m only a young, small female how could I possibly drive a ship of this size? That’s the sort of questions which I get asked by a lot of people when they look at me working in my chosen profession. It has taken me 5 years to get to a place where I have the ability to believe myself into being able to do something. At the end of the day it’s having confidence and faith in yourself which will determine if you can achieve a task. Think and dream big. Believe you can do anything and you’ll be surprised at how my more you can actually do.
This is an issue that I have been looking into for the past few months. Myself along with several other young deck officers working in our company are starting to experience the feelings of being alone while working at sea. It is not a nice feeling and I hope that if anyone ever feel like this that you are able to use some of these skills to switch out of it.
Just exactly how do you overcome those times when loneliness creeps up? My findings after a lot of research and study show that by writing a couple of lists of the things that you are good at, things you like to do and things that make you happy, you are then always able to refer back to these lists when you start to feel down.
Below is an extract from a couple of lists which I have written for myself this year:
WHAT I AM GOOD AT, MAKES ME HAPPY AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT I LIKE TO DO:
Running and playing sports in a team, Talking to people, Living and working on a ship, Writing emails but better still receiving emails from friends, Driving ships (ship handling) Cooking meals for a group of people, Writing for my blogpage, Artwork, Cactus planting (gardening) Relaxing on the couch by the fire watching a movie with a good Mate, Socialising with friends in town, Living on a farm and listening to music. These are just some of the things which I can refer back to whenever I feel down and lonely on the ship. By feeding positive information into your system you can actually help change your mindset of the down hill spiral. Try it for yourself one day, you’ll be surprised at how writing these things down can change the way you feel.
Now is probably a good time for me to take 5 minutes to say thank you to all the people who have given me their support since I have been working at sea. I don’t have enough space to mention everyone by name but you know who you are. All the people who have supported me financially, supportively, physically and emotionally, thank you guys! But most of all I have my family and friends to thank. Without them I would be able to enjoy my job away from home. Thank you to all my friends from back home and my Dad for the continuous flowing emails, phone calls, text messages and post cards sent. There is nothing nicer when you are away at sea than receiving a message from a really good friend back home, it’s such a nice feeling.
To all my friends from Kaukapakapa primary school, Kaipara College, NZ Maritime School, Spirit of New Zealand, Marine Reach, Helensville CLC and my Auckland friends and mates (also Massey guy!) You guys are all awesome! I’d also like to thank all the people who I don’t know which send me anonymous e-mail’s with feedback and support from my blogpage. And last but not least the NZMWA – New Zealand Woman’s Maritime Association. Thanks everyone. Without all your support my life working away from hard would be so much tougher to handle.
Most people under estimate the significance of mental strength when it comes to working on a ship out at sea.
Whether someone is away for one week, six weeks or three months, it takes a lot of mental strength to adapt to the change in lifestyle as well as being able to cope with the emotional side of missing loved ones back home.
Physical strength comes with the job. You are kept fit by being active while working on board 24/7 as well as by using the ship gym equipment.
Mental strength on the other hand takes a lot more to build up. Most people say that this comes with age and develops over time. As you grow older you learn to cope with life’s issues and the curve ball’s, which it throws at you a lot more than when you were younger.
So far for me this is my biggest hurdle. Having the ability to adapt to a change in lifestyle every seven days. One week I’ll be with my friends and family at home, working on the farm, feeding the animals, cooking dinners, shopping and sending time with friends socialising in town. Then the next week I’ll be working 12-16 hour days on a ship at the other end of the country. And I have to be honest it does get really hard at times!
As time is passing by I am taking one day at a time and learning techniques on how to manage my life when change occurs.
It’s not easy all the time, but that’s just Life! We have to accept what it throws at us and find the inner strength to pull through it.
Hmm … now you would think of working the night shift as working between the hours of darkness and sleeping during the day, wouldn’t you? This maybe true for a job on land but on the rail ferries is means you are working a 12 hour shift from 4pm-4am or the more recent set up of 4/4, 8/8. What does this mean though? A night shift on the rail ferry Arahura would consist of starting work at 12pm-4pm. Then working again at 8pm-4am. So your rest times are 4pm-8pm and 4am-12pm. It takes a while to get used to and once your body understands when you are supposed to be awake and asleep it becomes so much more easier to handle. Telling your body to go to sleep at 4:30am in the morning when the sun is getting ready to rise is not normally easy. But I tell you it will be your body that starts to tell you when to sleep towards the end of the week.
The 12-4 day shift is split in half so that one deck officer does the bridge drive in through Tory Channel to Picton and loads the rail deck while the standby deck officer does cargo deck rounds and loads the top deck. On departure from Picton the deck officers switch so that the standby officer is now doing the drive out through Tory Channel. The evening watch from 8pm-4am is divided into two watches again, this time they are 4 hour watches. 8-12, 12-4.
So many people have regrets in life which hold them back from moving forward.
Regrets from doing something wrong and making the wrong decisions and holding grudges against someone for something they have done in the past. These all do nothing good for you and worst of all they rob you of your happiness. Happiness – A feeling or an emotion? Either way it is something that you experience and brings a smile to your face. Have you ever been happy and not wanted to smile? The saying “Build a Bridge!” sounds pretty direct but in reality that is what’s needed to put the past behind you and move on. We all have regrets in life, gosh even I have a few which I am not proud of, but in amongst the bad regrets there are some which we have learned from to makes us become who we are today. At the end of the day it is only yourself who can let the past go and make that first step forward. Not your parents or your partner, only you!
My favourite meal in the whole wide world!!! Here is how to make the best Spag/Bol that is to die for...
500g prime mince
1 small can of Watties pasta sauce
2 medium onions
5 garlic cloves
6 or 7 large mushrooms
1 green capsicum
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp of mixed herbs
2 plucks of basil from the herb garden
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup of hot water
200-300g spaghetti (pasta/noodles)
Colby or tasty cheese, grated
How to cook and serve up:
1. Peel and chop onions and garlic cloves.
2. Chop your mushrooms, green capsicum and tomatoes.
3. Heat saucepan with hot water in it then place mince in.
4. In another saucepan lightly fry onions, garlic, mushrooms, and capsicum for 5 minutes until onions turn clear and garlic starts to smell strong. The leave to simmer.
5. Fry mince until browned and it breaks apart into small clumps. Add fried vegetables to the mince. Add chopped tomatoes now.
6. Add pasta sauce and all herbs now. Mix ingredients well. Cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add spaghetti, a little at a time. Stir and add a dash of olive oil to avoid sticking. Cook for 10 minutes or until just cooked through (no hard white centre). Drain and run cool water through spaghetti.
8. Serve spaghetti up on a plates, remove mince from the heat and pour over the spaghetti. Add grated cheese for garnish.
Spaghetti Bolognese is now ready to eat and enjoy!
Taught to cook and prepare by my Dad!
For the past 2 months I have been working on the night shift as 3rd Officer on a passenger/freight ferry in New Zealand. Night shift usually means that you get to see to sun set in the evenings as you start watch but because it is currently winter we don’t get to see the sun anymore. As well as that I have to mention the rapid decrease in temperature outside on deck.
The night shifts are 12 hour shifts which start at 1800 in the evening and finish up at 0600 the next morning. A typical night shift roster would be:
1800-1845: Cargo planning for the departure from Wellington-Picton.
1845-2000: Loading the ship in Wellington then mooring stations for departure.
2000-2330: One Officer drives and the other Officer prepares the next cargo load and conducts safety rounds of the cargo decks.
2330-0050: Mooring stations for berthing in Picton and then discharge and loading.
0050-0415: One Officer drives and the other Officer completes safety checks and safety rounds of the cargo decks.
0415-0600: Mooring stations for berthing in Wellington and then discharge before finishing your shift.
That is the structure of the night shift watch system. As for the day shift it is pretty similar work hours, all divided between two Deck Officers. The only difference is the day time sailing is for passengers and their cars and the night sailings are for Trucks and dangerous good cargo.
If you think you are cold at home in winter then try living and working on a ship where at sea the air temperatures don’t get a chance to reach positive double figures. Brrrhh… The only thing at sea which increases in winter is the amount or layers of clothing you wear when working. A set of thermals, woollen fleece, uniform shirt and jumper, wet weather jacket and pants, 2 pairs of socks, a scarf, woollen gloves and a beanie. Also in my case I have a mini hot water bottle which I fill up twice a day and place down the front of my shirt close to my heart (warm blood is them pumped from my heart around my body to my extremities) The coffee intake increases as well which also helps. Some mornings in Picton the temperatures barely reach 2 degrees Celsius. Trucks are even arriving on board the ship with ice and snow still on their tyres from the roads down south. Winter on the ship is a time when I don’t worry about what I look like in the way of clothing and appearance, if I’m all wrapped up like an Eskimo then in my case my warmth and comfort is far more important. I mean I don’t have to dress to impress anyone at work, the guys who I work with are co-workers and the average is around 45 years old. Most of them are if not the same age as my Dad or older! Thankfully winter only comes once a year and our summers down here are something for us to look forward to.
As if I didn’t have a big enough work load already in my 17 hour shift! Stepping on board the ship on joining day and being met by the Captain with a little task to organise and carry out in two days time is not the usual way you are greeted when coming back to sea after three weeks off. A couple of months ago I was in this exact position. Don’t get me wrong I love my work and love the challenge of extra work but to organize a training session for 60 people in less than two days, you have to be joking! I had only been working on that ship for a month prior to being asked this so I had to learn a lot more about the ship and all its fire fighting equipment which it carried at the same time as preparing and writing up the training drill.
My task was to arrange a fire fighting circuit training drill for 60 crew members to be held one afternoon when the ship is alongside. I planned a circuit consisting of 6 stations with different fire fighting equipment, each with instructions of their use and a deck officer split between two stations. The training lasted 90 minutes and included hands on use of setting fire extinguishers off, fire hoses, foam and fog branches, donning fire suits and BA gear, the use of fire blankets and chemical suits and grab bags. The feedback was unbelievable. Cooks and stewards thanked me for giving their department a chance to set off fire extinguishers and hold a fire hoses when they were fully charged under pressure. The purpose of the training was to give all crew a chance to use the ship board fire fighting equipment and become familiar of its use in case they are needed to use it in an emergency.
Training is one thing that can never be overlooked at sea. It is an essential part of maintaining the safe running of a ship.
I can answer this question from two perspectives. Life for a woman working on a deep sea trading ship and life as a woman working for Inter Islander on the Ferries. Both perspectives are from my own personal views.
Woman bring a unique touch into the maritime industry. I haven’t worked with only a couple of women in my sea career so from what I have been told woman bring a variety of competence to their job, pay a lot of attention to the finest details and they are highly reliable officers. The presence of even just one woman on board on a ship has proven to have an influence on the behavior of the other 17 male crew members. Enthusiasm for their job is just one of the many keys to enjoyment.
There will come a day when woman will be accepted into the maritime industry on the same level as males, as shown in the increase in woman seafarers, this is looking promising for the near future.
When this world eliminates all gender discrimination and all associated hurdles, we will hopefully be able to see more of woman employed and promoted in the maritime industry. On deep sea voyages you get a lot of time to yourself to think about your life and things that you want to do in the future. Have the opportunity to watch sun rises and sun sets every day from your workplace and even from your cabin window. On coastal voyages you are surrounded by glorious coastline and sea life and not to mention opportunities to go ashore and sight see. Working on the Inter Islander Ferries you work full time for 7 days and then get 7 days off afterwards. Talk about a great deal, equal time on time off. The ships cruise the glorious Queen Charlotte sounds and at the end of your week on board you can choose whether you get off the ship in Wellington or Picton to travel the south island.
You can pretty much guarantee that my life each day on the 4-8 watch involved the same things, day after day after day. You get yourself into a routine and everything just starts to happen automatically after time. You wake up and go to sleep at the same time, meals were always at 8, 8am and 8pm. The afternoon nap wasn’t something that you planned it started to happen naturally no matter where you were. Yes that’s right. When I hopped off the ship for some time off I would instantly start to fall asleep at 3pm every day. If I didn’t I would find myself curling up in the corner somewhere just to try and get half an hour of shit eye. You were the same clothes, either bridge uniform, overalls or casual gear. You know who everyone is instantly form the distance by what shirt they were wearing. Being a woman you can mix and match things every now and then to avoid boredom. Things like doing different hairstyles. On many occasions I have braided my hair in over 40 little plats. It took me over 3 hours so it filled in basically an entire watch while we were deep sea.
Anyway my daily routine when on the 4-8 watch was basically set out as follows:
0330 – Wake up and get ready for watch.
0400 – Bridge or Cargo Watch commences.
0800 – End of Watch.
0815 – Breakfast, usually by myself.
0930 – Study.
1000 – Morning cup of tea.
1200 – If not doing safety checks or study then may have lunch.
1500 – Afternoon nap.
1530 – Wake up and get ready for Bridge or Cargo Watch.
1600 – Bridge or Cargo Watch commences.
2000 – End of Watch.
2015 – Dinner, usually by myself.
2030 – Study.
2200 – Try and be asleep before clock reads 2200.
Don’t you get bored of routine? What do you do to relax? Do you ever become complacent? These are just some of the many questions I get when explaining deep sea life to my friends and family. Going deep sea you get a lot of time to reflect back on your own life and also look forward to future plans that may happen. I had a friend who went deep sea for a few months and planned an entire world trip for him and his wife when he hopped off. The amount of time you get to pay attention to detail is incredible. Having no distractions around you so that you are able to focus on what you enjoy the most and having beautiful scenery to relax in at the same time makes it all worth while. Sure you do miss your friends and family with being away for so long, but the times that you get to spend together when you see them is like gold to you. You resort back to the old fashioned hand written snail mail letters which take a week or two to get back home when you do actually get into port and send them. Now days though most ships have caught up on the latest technology and internet accessible throughout most of the world. Emailing and even Skype. You can talk and see your friends and family while you are away on the ship so it actually feels like they are there with you.
Its days like this that I cherish and days like this that I pray. Some people love fine weather and others need a bit of rough times to keep them focused on where they are going. Some people love rough weather so much that they get an adrenaline rush every time that a gale force storm is expected and they also get really bored with calm seas and sunny days. Me, I cherish and pray in both the calm and the stormy days
We need storms to be thrown our way every now and then to spice up life a bit and also so that we don’t get bored with to many calm times.
“It’s moments like these that we need minties.” I still remember this advert that used to be shown on TV.
As I sit on a large bit of drift wood at the beach I gaze out to the ocean looking at sea extend further than we could imagine and then merge into the sky. The ocean and the sea, all seen as one. Where am I going in life and whom am I meant to be walking with? This bought me back to one of my previous posts of decision’s, decision’s, decisions. I have now come back to that point in my life where I have to choose between my career, my life’s calling and love. Am I to follow the soft fuzzy feeling that I get in my heart which makes me happy? Or do I pursue my career at sea? What am I to do and which way am I to turn? If I follow my dreams and my calling will I ever get to experience this warm fuzzy feeling again? If I leave the path which I am called down and go to where my heart smiles will this be the right way for me? Love verses Life! If I choose one way and then finds out tat it doesn’t work out am I able to turn back and try the other way or will it be too late? This is something which creeps up on most of us throughout our lives and it has crept up on me now so unexpectedly. What am I to do? I haven't the foggiest idea at this stage. All I can do trust my faith and the direction I choose to go in will be the right one for me.
Have you ever heard people say that change gets sprung on you when you least expect it? Just wait till you work on the waters of Cook Strait in New Zealand. One minute it will be as clear as glass and then within less than an hour later it will be blowing a gale from the south. It creeps up unexpectedly and blows its way in before you even get time to turn around and head back to a safe haven. We have had days out there on Cook Strait where we think that everything is all glamour and rosey but then when you head back out again to cross the strait it can have changed just like that, no more red roses, more like custard. Cook Strait in New Zealand would have to have been the roughest and the most calmest seas that I have ever sailed in. The biggest seas I have even been in have been on Cook Strait and that was 10m seas, swell, with southerly 65 knots. The calmest has also been on Cook Strait where the seas look like a sheet of glass and you can actually look over the side of the bridge wing and see your reflection in the sea. Once you are out there you are committed to following through and battling your way through it. There is no turning back once you exit Tory Channel entrance. There is only one direction which you can go and that’s straight to the next port of call. So when people say that they have been hit in the backside by and unexpected change, just think of the poor rail ferries out there on Cook Strait battling southerly storms.
“When you reach that point in your life where your dreams become your life and your life becomes your dream… You know you are the most happiest person in the world!”
It’s the people around you who have an influence on your character. Your personality is set in concrete but your character is more like clay, it can be moulded and shaped as you grow up. Character shows who you are as a person.
I live and work on board a ship, I have for the past 5 years, and my character has been moulded and shaped so many times that looking back you would think I was three different people. At the end of the day it has all contributed to who I am today.
People can influence the moulding of your character in both a positive and negative way. For instance my time on the tankers was at the time a negative influence but now I see that how the tankers shaped me has been an effect on my inner strength and ability to say ‘No’ these days. So the ship which I am on now has a crew who are 99% positive most of the time an love talking, being social, smiling and saying hello. All this contributes to the shaping of you are as a person. It is a nice feeling when your true inner character comes out.
You would be amazed at how much of a stress free atmosphere creates a relaxed environment. Why stress? Why worry? Does this get you anywhere? As much as it effects your physical health it also effects your mental and emotional well-being. Fatigue, lack of sleep, high blood pressure, decrease in your level of patience and tolerance and your ability to control yourself starts to become over whelming. So how can we make a change t o create a stress free environment in our home, workplace, family and everyday life? You’ll be amazed at how much of an influence hading a positive attitude makes your surroundings comfortable to be in. Make eye contact when you are involved in conversation, greet people as you walk past them, smile to all people who walk past you and no matter what mood you may be in always do things out of love!
The person who has influenced me the most in life and whom I also admire is my Dad. The one and only Mr Stewart. My dad is the most amazing person I have ever known. He spent 10 years raising his beautiful daughters, 2, which have turned out to be successful happy young woman. All thanks goes to him for our upbringing. When we were growing up he was a fulltime 6 days a week worker to earn money to keep us going, a farmer, sailor, fisherman, netball referee, running and biking buddy, a taxi driver, rally car driver, chef, cleaner, medic, support person, volunteer coastguard skipper for the Kaipara and watch leader on the Spirit of New Zealand. Also a peacemaker, provider, family binder, father and a best friend to me and my sister. He still is a lot of that to us today. He runs a fulltime, full on house hold for 5, a farm which requires 90% of his time, managers his workplace and his family commitments are more than most would ever experience in one year. He never gives up and never refuses to help someone in need. Never failed us and never left us with nothing. He is my Dad and I love him!
I had a dream the other night after cargo watch that the railway wagons, which we just discharged from the rail deck, had a derailment on shore. It came a huge shock to me because all I could think of was what did I do wrong to cause this to happen and how could I help this situation? When I woke up in the morning all I could think about was what I had just dreamed about. I spent a bit of time reflecting back on what happened and replayed the situation over and over again in my head. I thought that this may have been a warning for me for next cargo watch on the rail deck, but in the end I realised that it was a reminder of how important it is to stay on track on life. It came to my attention that many unpredictable things can happen in our lives, which we don’t fully expect, or ever think could happen to us. Some things shake us up and others leave us stranded. But it is the ones that cause us to fall off track that are more of an issue to try and get us back. Think of transportation as an example. Cars and trucks have the freedom to go where ever they like, trams have a bit of flexibility to how far that they can stray from the overhead cables and trains are restricted to the direction which the tracks are going.
Here I am again. Back at sea when I'm not at sea. Making any sense? Probably not. I have just moved into a new flat in the town where I now work and it is by the beach. So what is the last thing I do before I go to sleep at night? I look out the window and see the 10pm ferry go past on its way to Picton. What do I do during my days off? I go down to the beach and sit on the sand watching the Ferries go past in the morning. The evening walk along the beach is enjoyed as the 6pm ferry sails from Wellington. Some would say that I have an addiction and obsession with ships and the sea but I say that I have a passion. Addictions and obsessions bring pain but Passions bring happiness to life.
I do what I love and I love what I do, what more could I ask for?
Reaching that point in your life where you are happy with who you are and what you are doing, it is such a nice feeling. Passion brings happiness and happiness brings life. I used to not look forward to the day where I would have to sign of a ship, but now I am not bothered by this any more because I still get the buzz of seeing them from my bedroom window on my days off.
Someone once told me that “We are all products of our past.” Wow! That’s pretty deep. At first I didn’t like that, because like most people I to have things in my past that I am not proud of. People say things they don’t mean and do things in the spur of the moment which they never would dream of doing in their lifetime. People have regrets and scars and bruising from issues that they may have encountered.
So in my eyes the past is the past, it’s behind us and there is no way that we can go back and change things. They have happened and now it is history. What we can do now though is focus on the future and moving forward in life. Learn from your mistakes and make a better effort to do what you do better next time round.
“Always look forward, don’t ever look back”
In April-June 2005 Captain Leppington and I sailed the Pacific Link to
Riddle: - What runs fore to aft, port to starboard, left to right, stern to stem and there are three of them on a ship? – Guessed yet?
Captain Leppington and I spent a few months training crew in bridge watch duties, ship maintenance and ship board safety training procedures. Full time work, lots of hours on deck and little sleep gained by all on board. Grinding would start at the crack of dawn and noise s=would start to cease by sunset. There was no chance for an afternoon nap for me in
Make the most out of what you have in life, you never know when you may loose it. What is rubbish for someone may be someone else’s treasure.
You spend 18 months together living in close proximity together, every meal is eaten together, tears are shared with one another, good times and bad times they all happen in the same boat. You study in the same room, work on deck and aloft everyday and even share shore leave is spent together.
This is what it is like for cadets on the youth development ship the Spirit of New Zealand. In 2004 Suz, Luke and myself were cadets together. We lived and worked on the same boat as we voyaged around the New Zealand coast with youth from all over the country. We shared many good times with one another and also some very sad times as well. It wasn’t all fun and games we did have our moments, just like any teenagers growing up. But in our case any conflict that came up it was closely resolved within a matter of hours. You can’t hold grudges or give someone the silent treatment to anyone on a ship, it is just not possible. Everywhere you turn you see the other person. If you avoid them during the day you will see them at meal times no matter what.
So where are we all now. Well Suz went back onto the Spirit of New Zealand as 2nd Mate then moved up to 1st Mate, now she is in London in the UK working and having an OE at the same time. Luke is a Skipper for New Zealand Dive and Salvage and is currently doing some work in Samoa. Me I am a 3rd Officer on a Rail Ferry on my way up to the next rank. So there you have it. After 18 months living and growing up together, 5 years later we are still keeping in contact with one another.
Like I explained to someone one day: “Place 2 people in a boat together and after 10 days they will either be the best of friends or have killed one another!”
What do you see when you look over the side of the ship into the water? Do you recognize what you look at? Do you like what you see? Or wish you were different? That is the thing with reflections, we cant change them. They show exactly who we are at that particular point in time. Yes sure sometimes we don’t like what we see so we slap the water and the image fades away, but that is only for a moment. Once the water settles again the image comes back and it is the exact reflection of the one who is peering down into it. It is the only thing in the whole world which we can not get rid of. It follows us every where, always looking back at us and showing us what we look like.
Some people grow up their whole lives with out ever liking what they see about themselves. Most would say that this is low self-esteem but I say that people have just not realized their own inner and outer beauty yet. It make takes years even decades for this to be realized but the reality is that you beauty is in you now! All you have to do is look into the water and you will see the uniqueness of your creation. Just take a moment and look at you face. Who else has you nose of the same colour and spacing of your eyes. What about your hair? There is so much that you can do with it, why not do a style that makes you smile.
So every time you peer into the water and chuck stones at what you see looking back at you just remember that when the water settles the reflection will return no matter what.
Some would say I’m crazy some will say I shouldn’t, but anyone who knows me knows that I only do what is best for my career and for the people who I am around. Now six years later and after years of training, exams, experience, sea time and seeing amazing places, I have now settled down in a permanent job. I am working on a ship now which is the one I started on as a cadet in 2005. It is such a different perspective now being in a higher role than what I started in. All the training and experience was definitely all well worth it. I am on the Arahura working week on week off for 12 months. It is a great job with great benefits. I am now living in a flat in Wellington by a surf beach with a bedroom view of the ocean. I miss my Dad every day but this is one of the stages of growing up. Settling down for me was scary at first as I have always lived out of a pack since I started at sea. So believe me even I was surprised when this opportunity came up. What am I going to do in my weeks off the ship? Well I have taken up surfing and more hill running as recreational sports and also French as a language to learn. Maybe now is the time when I can now start to catch up with friends. My passion has grown into a lifestyle and is blossoming every day. I wouldn’t change any part of it so far.
So I’ll be working away on the Rail Ferries and enjoying every minute of pilotage, cargo, passengers and safety checks. Bring on the Easter Rush!
Crew on the Pacific Link in 2005. Paul Leppington - Captain, Megs - 1st Mate, Ivan - Chief Engineer. Missions on the medical ship, Pacific Link, in the islands of Fiji were such an amazing introduction into 3rd World children's ministry. So many lives were changed and impacted on just by having us there with them in the schools. Some of the happiest children that I have ever see were in a village called Naibalebale on Viwa Island. These were kids aged between the ages of 4 and 14, and although they had no money and lived off the food which they grew and clothes that were delivered from supply boats every few months, they all had dreams to become something bigger than anyone could ever imagine. Two little girls want to be doctors so they can help the people in their village get better when they get sick. Some want to be pilots, air hostesses, teachers and even surgeons. These little kids all they see is the future ahead of them that is what keeps them going. They keep their eyes fixed on the goal and live every day to reach their dreams.
Passions and dreams build up inside them and the live each day to become the nurses, teachers and doctors that they have always wanted to be.
My second passion after the sea is children. Children are the future. What we put into them now can have an influence on the way they turn out. Whether it is good or bad it all has a influence.
It hurts me to see children being neglected by their parents. When parents break up it is the children who get hurt the most in all of it. Why bring such pain into a young persons life while they are still learning how to live in this broken world? Children learn from us, it is what we do that they copy and learn from. So if a child sees their parents fighting and arguing, the child will class this as normal behavior and their parents actions move down onto their children.
If parents get a divorce then it should be a clean move apart. Each parent should leave the other to live their own life and move on. None of this still fighting for money 10 years later. This only brings unnecessary stress and frustration into the child’s life. I guess what I am tying to say here is that I was raised by my Dad and grew up without a mother so I know what all this is like. I really want couples out there to really think before deciding to have children. Once you bring someone into this world you are obligated to look after them and be there by their side forever. It is a full time commitment. Put the child first in any relationship, think of their needs and their well being. If the relationship ends in a break up and there are children involved then for what its worth make the child’s upbringing conflict-free and clean.
I would just like to thank my Dad for the best upbringing that I could have ever wanted. Without him and what he has done for me I wouldn’t be where I am today!
If there was a fire in your workplace for you home would you know what to do? There are few people out there who know how to fight fires. Working an living on board a ship you are onboard a floating time bomb. This is mainly focused towards tankers but any ship if it is in the middle of the sea is basically left the experience of eth crew to control a fire. On a ship you are in an environment where if there is a fire on board you cant ring the fire brigade to come and help, you are it! Fire training is a huge part of shipboard trills and safety management. On my current ship we have fir drills every week. We muster, gear up and get involved in pre-planned fire scenarios. Sometimes this may include a dangerous goods spillage on deck, electrical wires involved, medical casualty and some even end in the crew having to abandon ship (just in practice sense) At all times on board we are to know where the nearest emergency exit is, the closest fire extinguisher and alarm call point and also the quickest action to be taken in that area. Whether it is to contain the fire by shutting the fire doors, attacking it by yourself if it is manageable, or evacuating the area and going to muster stations. It all depends on the situation at the time. All we can do as crew on board a ship is know that we are confident and competent in using the fire fighting equipment and know the procedures to be followed to ensure safety in an emergency.
Training done on board ships these days usually involve a smoke machine to give a drill a real life feeling. In some drills the masks of the crew wearing the BA gear get covered up so they cant see where they are going. Everything is dodne by sound, touch and senses.
Well after this I am pleased to say that it went really well. The Captain and Mate were impressed with how I did it for my first time. I had only been on board for a week and hadn't done any pilotage work at all on this ship. I had memorized everything from my last ship, the Aratere, and made some fine adjustments to the helm orders. The Captain came up to me afterwards and said that I need to get a photo of myself conning the ship so that I can send it to my Dad because he would be so proud of me seeing what I do.
You think that dolphins are just creatures like any other marine life t sea, but from personal experience they are must more than this. There is something about seeing a dolphin when you are on watch and at sea that brings a sense of contentment and makes you smile. The beauty of creatures gracefully enjoying life at sea, riding the bow waves of ships or trailing behind in the wake left behind. One of the only creatures that can change your mood if you are feeling down or in the dumps. They have a way of coming to the surface when we most need to be saved and cheered up. At first I thought this was just something that I encounter when I am at sea, but after sharing this with many people I have found out that over 30 other seafarers that I know experience this as well. So as you can see I don't just like working on a ship for the job and the pleasure that it brings, I do it to see the dolphins.
Living and working on a ship we aren't able to do that. All our food is provided for us. We have highly qualified chefs who live and work on board the ships with us, cooking meals four times a day non-stop. If a ship is tied up for lay-by (not sailing) then most crew get shore leave. This isn't the case for the cooks. If they go ashore we don't eat. If they stop working we stop eating, and then if we stop eating then we stop working. It goes round and round ending up with the ship not sailing.A ship funnily enough moves around quite a bit when she is at sea so sometimes this can make cooking in the galley (ship's kitchen) very difficult. There are usually 2 or 3 cooks on a ship who all have to work in the same small area and walk around cautiously when the seas get choppy. So next time you have a party at home and are complaining about having to feed so many people just take a minute to think about he cooks on ships who have to cook for 40-50 crew members four times a day. For some reason your party will seem just that much easier.