Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? I must admit I've been distracted the past couple of months, both by work/studying and personal things... but today marks a significant point in my new career so what better time to take up the blog again? I probably won't do much over the Christmas period but I've been given my ship's details for January so then I'll be blogging again in earnest, hopefully complete with pictures and all sorts from the exotic places I'm visiting - but more on that anon.
So it turns out I'm actually pretty good at this college stuff. Today is the day I move out of Warsash student accommodation (I hope never to return - not exactly my ideal living situation, and I've already paid a deposit on a flat with two friends for next year when we get back from sea). Over the past few weeks we've had short courses - I'm now qualified in basic first aid, basic firefighting and a few other things, and I have an Enclosed Space Entry course to do on Monday which I assume entails crawling around in tiny spaces. We've also had exam results - 97% in maths (joint highest over two classes!), 82% in navigation (the important one) and 85% in ship and port operations. All in all a pretty good term... but I'm very aware that it's the bits of sea-based training which will show me whether I want to do this or not. It's taken me a while to find this career, so I really really hope I like the practical stuff as much as the learning stuff.
We have a lot of support in this industry. We've had numerous talks from people such as Nautilus (the seafarer's union - at £12 for a year's subs as a student, it's a no-brainer), we're repeatedly told where we can go for help if we need it, and to top it all off I've just received a letter from my new mentor as part of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners' mentoring scheme. This is where they pair a cadet or new recruit with a captain (either working or retired) in order that they can share their experiences and offer personal advice if and when required. I really do feel very looked after, which I reckon is important in such a scary job - just last week we were told that we're in the second most dangerous profession in the world (the first being deep sea fishing). They're really drumming into us the importance of safety onboard - it really hits home when they start talking about a cadet who studied here a couple of years ago who died on his first sea trip due to not being given adequate training on his ship.
But brushing all the scary stuff aside (easy peasy, right?), my first sea phase should be amazing. I join the Maersk Kendal, a container ship, in Tanjung Pelepas on 19th/20th January, and from there we travel round South Africa then back up towards China. If you want to have a little peek at our schedule and have five minutes to spare you can look it up here.
I have a month off before I leave, in which time I have to fit in a megaload of things! Harry and I are going on our first little adventure together, involving a road trip up and down Britain to visit various relatives and fit in a short course that I missed due to a lung/ear infection the other week - it's up in Fleetwood near Blackpool but luckily enough it's directly between two other places we need to visit.
It's been a properly up and down year - next blog will be an end-of-2011 thing, before the ship adventure starts. Enough of my rambling for now, probably. Have a good Christmas everyone!