19 Years Ago – Life at Sea – Part III

September 21st, 2008 by xformed

The day had pretty much wrapped up. Yes, about this time. We were out of homeport, supposed to be out at sea and really had no plans, so work like we would have been doing, had we been at sea went on this day. Besides, a major storm was approaching, so there was some planning going on.

About 2200 (10PM), which was also Taps in the daily routine, the CO phoned me and said “XO, I’m nervous. You get the ship ready to get underway and I’ll get permission to sail.” My tasking was established and I rounded up the department heads. The Ship came back to life as all hands went through their duties.

Shortly afterwards, the CO told me we had been granted permission to get underway by the COMDESRON 8 Duty Officer, who had also notified the Naval Station to get us tugs and a pilot to return to sea.

Within moments of midnight, the CARR pulled away from the quay wall and made the turn out the short channel to enter then St James River and head for the sea. That trip, a delightful one, being the shortest sea and anchor detail, even at night was handled professionally. When we got to the Sea Buoy, we kept both LM2500 main engines on line, an abnormal procedure, but we wanted the speed. The lee helm was directed to advance the throttle to flank speed as we also executed a turn due south to make a run for the Strait of Florida.

Hugo had not yet settled on where it would strike, but we knew heading to the north east would have us “crossing the T” of the storm, and it was a big one. In addition, we’d end up on the “dangerous” side of the storm, and if it recurved, following the hot water of the Gulf Stream, we’d have to run far to the East, and then south, circumnavigating the entire weather phenomena. Taking the course we did also had it’s risk. like getting trapped between land and the high winds, but our plan was to get south fast to knowing there was less of a chance the storm, being where it was then, or turning to a south western course.

The night was quiet, but tense, as the we plotted Hugo and rode a port quartering sea, feeling ourselves surfing down the large wave fronts.

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