Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 15; Man overboard....this is not a drill.

As promised a couple more pictures from the Panama Canal....
This is the "Bridge of the Americas". It was built in 1962. It is between Lake Gatun and the Pedro Miguel Lock. It is a steel tuss cantilever bridge with a tied arch suspended span.

This is the Centenial Bridge. It is 9 miles north of the Bridge of the Americas. It cosses the Gaillard cut which opens into the Pacific Ocean. It opened in 2004.

Now onto what actually happened on Day 15. We are enroute to Peru in the Pacific Ocean. As a mass we are not beating any land speed records but we are in motion. It's been a typical day aboard ship. Mustering at 07:15 (since were not in port) Dinner for the crew is called out 3 times. Even taps has played, it's after 10 p.m. I have just returned from the shower, I'm wearing yoga pants, a long sleeve t-shirt (also know as pajamas, but just work with me here.) and flipflops, when outside our room the alarm begins to ring.

We had all been expecting a drill, because drills are not held while patients are on the ship, and in between ports there are no patients, well except for the serviceman that came aboard to have his appendix removed. But it's after 10 p.m., so being confused I open my door and catch a service person going by. I ask her, "what does that alarm mean?" Her response, "I don't know, but put your shoes on." No sooner had I laced my shoes when over the loud speaker is heard. "Man overboard, man overboard,....This is not a drill. This is not a drill." Instant activity. In swoops my roommate "Buffy". She is frantically trying to open her locker for her long sleeve shirt and her hat. Very much concerned about being properly dressed. And very confused about what to do. She is upset because she doesn't know what lifeboat to go too. No worries, this is not abandon ship, this is man overboard. Go to where you muster.

This is what it looks like where I muster. I can find no fault with the Navy's system to treat "man overboard". Even though we are cruising along in the ocean, the person that alerted the alarm is still standing at his post with eyes on the subject in the water. Others have joined him to keep "eyes on" and a small boat has been launched over the side, headed back for rescue. All of this is a mute point, within 20 minutes the crew aboard the USNS Comfort has all been accounted for. The man overboard appears to have been laundry or trash that escaped. So I geuss the lesson I learned is ....when you hear an alarm get your shoes on and don't be afraid to muster with wet hair in your pajamas. You've already done it, so it's nothing new.

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