ARATERE - The Ferry with the best stability on Cook Strait.This is where my career at sea really starts on big ships. A 3 years and 6 months cadetship that I will finish in 2 years and 4 months. Started on August 1st 2005. Joined the Arahura for 3 weeks before switching to the Aratere and sailing to Brisbane-Australia for 9 weeks for drydock. It was such an awesome experience being involved with a drydock for a ship that large instead of just a little sailing ship.All the crew were divided into 2 groups. Deck crew and engineers and split into 2 hotels on different sides of the Brisbane Toll Bridge. We were in the Garden City Travel Lodge Hotel.Ii had come to realise what I had stepped into, a male dominated environment that requires you to be strong within yourself, be confident, be able to stand up and put yourself forward and be willing to start at the bottom - hang in there and work your way up. Hearing all the stories of other females that have tried and are now ashore with kids and families this kind of showed me that yes I can do this, I can make a mark for future woman seafarers.Arriving in Australia to my surprise there were 200 workers waiting for us. All guys that love their beer and girlsthis made me more determined to make a stand for woman and not give in to my surroundings.
I spent most of the Drydock learning as much as I could while the ship was out of the water. Learning about the removal of the Port Rudder, Propeller and Shaft and the tests to be done on them, to sand blasting and re-painting/anti-fouling the ships hull, end-for-ending the life boat davit wires, ripping out the cinema and doing a new renovation, re-writing manuals and procedures for the bridge navigation equipment, inspecting the ballast and fresh water tanks, observing the chock fast being poured in to hold the new gear bow in place and so much more...Having experienced a drydock at the start of my cadetship and before I had started school was a huge advantage on my behalf when I did start school. Having seen and been apart of a drydock has been the best ever start to my career that I could have ever wished for.