On the bright side, the ocean IS lovely. I’ve seen schools of flying fish soaring over the waves for longer distances than you might think possible. At times I thought they must have been birds to go so far and for so long out of the water, but they are not. They are just really cool creatures doing what God created them to do.
I’m happy to report that I have excellent sea legs and tend to really miss the sway of the boat when we are docked or moving slowly in calmer waters and it can’t be felt. I am also grateful for my strong digestive system that seems to be doing just fine with the what-you-might-imagine-military-food-is-like food. Although it is neither tasty nor with much variety, it is sufficient and all part of the experience.
It is very warm, especially the higher up you go in the ship. The berths where our racks (the living quarters and beds) lie at the very bottom of the ship are cool at the beginning of the evening and even during they day but seem to heat up as it fills with 100 or so bodies sleeping at night to the point the warmth wakes me up and it makes it difficult to sleep.
The mess deck or galley (cafeteria) is stifling quite often. Specifically in the lines, they try to keep air moving, if not cool air, through out the tabled area where we eat. Back in the kitchen I hear it reached over 100 degrees which is why we have been using paper plates and utensils the past few days because it was too warm to add the heat from the dishwashers to it. I feel for the guys who work in the kitchen, if I’m overly warm while eating they must be dying standing over the warming plates of re-heated food. They still tend to be friendly and willing to serve (even if by force). I try to be extra nice to them. I would jump ship if I had to be in there all day.
There are a few air-conditioned areas that feel like a dream and a first breath every time I hit them. Oddly, sadly, the gym-of all places, is not one them. Not so much as a fan in that room. It’s a small, square room with three rows of equipment. And it’s very loud. I have to take a few breaths to try to regulate my breathing with the thick, sweltering air in there before I step in all the way when I go. But alas, I’m glad it’s there.
It is 82 steps from the berth to the mess deck. That’s from the bottom of the ship to the top. And although one must travel this route several times a day, one must also travel to decks in between to get from one end of the boat to the other as well. For example. I work on a deck just two decks (or floors) above the berthing. However, I must walk up three or four (I can’t quite remember and when you walk them so many times it hardly matters whether it’s three or four) and then across to go down another stairwell to get to the deck I work on. Basically, the decks don’t connect all the way through from one end of the ship to other, only on certain floors, which you must first get to to travel horizontally and then find the corresponding, color-coded stairwell the reaches to the vertical direction (up or down) that you’re going to. I walk a lot, at least half of those steps-probably much more than half-are on stairs. I hope to have a perfectly, perky bum by the time I’m finished here. It’s also great rehab for my ankle. I’m hoping my gimpy fin (my atrophied calf on the previously-bad ankle side) gets sufficient rehabilitation to balance out with it’s stronger counterpart on my other leg.
With all these details, and having been on the ship for twelve days already I am very ready for patients to finally start arriving today. I'll post what I can when I'm able. Thank you to everyone who has given support and words of encouragement. Can't wait until I am more interesting things to tell you.