Position: Extra 2nd mate
Back when I was fishing, we were 1800 miles from nearest land, and we got a net stuck around the propeller. We took a mask off a BA set and hooked a line into a compressor to make an underwater breathing apparatus. We then cut out the bottom of a fish case in the shape of a flipper and duct taped that to our gumboots and we swum under the vessel to cut the net free. It took about three days with four people working on it. The breathing apparatus gushed bubbles, but it worked! The day before that we had been catching sharks on the net for fun – (don’t worry we released them).
I’ve been working at NIWA since the start of the voyage. Before that I was orcharding! I’ve had about 22 years at sea though, first working in fishing before moving into oil and gas for the past 7 years. As the extra second mate, I do pretty much the same thing as Jack: whatever the captain tells us to do!
The scientists are awesome – they are very interesting, and they show a perspective that we haven’t seen in the commercial world. My favourite voyage was when I was 22. I got a bosun job off a factory trawler in Singapore and everything about it was new and exciting. We travelled more then, and it was a lot more fun than catching hoki off the Cook Strait.
For those who are looking at a career at sea, get into engineering! There are heaps of opportunities especially for those who are willing to work their way up the chain.