Position: Leading hand
Way back when Glen and I used to be the boat boys we used to run our moorings out the side of the ship in the cutaway, tow them out in the work boat and then come back to the ship. We put a mooring out. Once the mooring was out by 4-5 kilometres one of the scientists remembered that he hadn’t turned on an instrument on top of the mooring. Glen and I got sent out in marginal conditions to turn on the instrument. About halfway, being in marginal and foggy conditions the bow was tending to lift quite a bit so Glen said, “if it does lift a lot can you just jump on the bow?” As the bow was lifting I did so, and Glen pulled the throttle at the same time. I was in mid-air and came crashing back down on deck with no chance of the boat flipping in the first place. After almost dying the captain then called to tell us don’t worry about it. Such things are life as a seafarer.
I’ve been working at NIWA for 27 years – only one trip longer than the bosun. Before NIWA I worked on other fishing vessels and also on a dairy farm. As the leading hand I’m in charge of the opposite shift to the Bosun. I do everything Glen tells me to do and try and pass that onto my minions.
My favourite thing about the job is the varied places and different work aspects. It’s never the same – every trip is different! My favourite voyage was on the R.V. Kaharoa doing the giant squid survey. We didn’t find any giant squid, but the scenery and the people were great. We got good footage for discovery channel and we made a little movie. One of the awesome things we saw was night shots of dolphins swimming in the water in the moonlight. They didn’t use that in the discovery channel footage, but it was a great experience.
For those who are interested in going to sea, good luck! It’s a tough career to get into, but for us it’s rewarding. Some of the mundane things for us are really exciting for the scientists and it’s really cool to see.