The Bridge

Life Aboard a Ship

Today I’ll take you on a tour of the bridge as in on board the vessel. On board, the bridge is a place from where I navigate the ship. It is essentially subdivided into a chart room and wheel house and these days since the communications too has become a part of the navigating officers job, a communications space.
The chartroom is the place where the chart or the map of the region where the ship is placed. The position of the vessel is plotted regularly. The frequency of such plotting is more when she is near the coast than when she is mid ocean where there are less obstructions. A modern day gadget is the electronic plotter which indicates the position of vessel by a light on the chart and is interfaced with the GPS. The digital versions of charts are now available under a system known as ECDIS or the Electronic Charts Display and Information System. These are the digital charts which are easily updated by satellite. Apart from charts the chartroom has GPS which gives us the present position. There is a depth sounding device called the Echo Sounder. It works by sending the sound waves and timing the reflected waves from the bottom. Then there is a course recorder which records the course the vessel is steering. A relative new addition is the equivalent of the black box in jets and is called the Voyage Data Recorder. A comprehensive data logger which keeps records of all important data and is primarily for investigations following an accident.
The wheel house is forward of the chartroom and is separated by only curtains during the night. This is to ensure that the watchkeepers are able to see the far off lights without any interference from the chart room illumination. It essentially houses the steering wheel which is used during manual steering. The autopilot is used for steering while the vessel is at sea. There is an engine telegraph, which is used to increase or decrease the revolutions when maneuvering during arrival or departure at ports and anchorages. The various switches for steering motors, air horn and other accessories are on various panels located here. The front of the wheel house is a series of glass windows to ensure good visibility and is more like the wind shield of a vehicle.
Since the start of the millennium the communications too has become part of the navigating officer’s job. It was formerly the responsibility of the Radio officer. Here various satellite terminals and transceivers using terrestrial means of communications are located.
It is the bridge of a ship where the captain goes to take the vessel alongside or coming out of the harbor. It is the place of work for the navigating officers and the command station of the ship.I have spent many a working hours on the bridge of many a ships and hope to continue for as long as I can. It is from the bridge that I have viewed many beautiful sundowns at sea and spectacular views around the world.

Humor 360
A recent news in a National broadsheet. A group of persons hired as audience for a reality show were unhappy the way they were treated during the shoot.
So much for the “Reality Show” with a not so real audience.

There were two men at work near a park. One was digging a hole and the other was filling it up. A curious bystander who had been watching them for a while finally couldn’t stop himself from asking them as to what were they trying to do. The man filling the hole replied. Sir, we were a team of three. The supervisor had assigned the job to plant saplings at the perimeter of this park. We decided one of us would dig the hole, one would get the saplings and plant it and one would fill the hole up. It just so happens that the guy who was to plant the saplings has reported sick.

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Today’s picture is of Portulaca in full bloom at our home.

Picture by First Life 360 - A blog of humor, nature and spirituality
The Portulaca

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The Seven Seas

Beauty of Nature

The vast expanse of blue under an equally blue sky as seen from the bridge where I am, when navigating, appeared to be calmness personified. I thought, how still, water can become when no external forces are acting on it, in some ways similar to us, the kind of calmness one experiences when there is no flow of thoughts, a situation though rarely experienced. This spread of blue was being pierced by the bows of the ship, creating small waves at the fore end and a wake at the stern. Other than that there was no movement.
The view of sea on a moonlit night has no comparison. The light of Moon skimming over the sea surface and the ship silently making way towards her destination can trigger a very romantic emotion. The seas can have colors ranging from bright blue to pale green. I occasionally get to see bioluminescence at sea which is so intriguing. The streams of lights passing by you. The seas are home to million of fascinating flora and fauna. Now we have a regulation in place that prohibits taking ballast from one costal nation to other lest it disturbs the ecosystem of the arrival port. What we do is takeout water from the port of taking ballast, in mid ocean and replace it with water from there. At times you get to see the dolphins giving a synchronized display at others it is the whales, apparent by the fountain from the sea surface. The seagulls often take a ride on board, from one island to another.
The nations of the world were explored by sea by the great explorers of yore and the early traders used sea to sail to faraway lands to earn more money. The seas turn into ocean, mid ocean and back to seas when near the land. The imaginary line that we call equator, which divides the earth into two hemispheres is crossed with a celebration. All first time crossers are put together and have to undergo rather ghastly acts, though taken in good spirit, before being given the certificate my none other than Lord Neptune , the King of the Oceans, enacted by one of us on board.
The seas can become rather rough at times and it is the time when extra precautions are taken mainly regarding the securing of stuff, on deck, stores, galley and everywhere else. The fresh guys often get seasick so do some of the veterans. The vessel if pounding in her present course, is put on a course where she is comfortable and the revolutions on the engine are reduced to prevent overspeeding when the propeller comes out of the water, while pitching. Today with the weather routing available through satellite, things are much easier. Today’s Skipper has much more information in his hand than those in the past, and hence has lot more options, to deal with such situations. But these periods of turbulence are not for ever. Life goes on. We have smooth sailings again and we continue with our voyage
The one striking fact about sea is that no one ever gets sick here because of any infection for the air is so pure and free of pollution. Some deep breaths at mid ocean and you are rejuvenated beyond imagination.
I love the sea and its beautiful sunsets. The dawns and the dusks. The singing waves. The moon lit waves. The pure air and the line faraway where the ocean meets the sky.

Humor 360
Last summer, I saw a squirrel perched on top of a scarecrow on a litchi tree, using it as a tool to reach the higher reaches and enjoying its mid day meal. So much for the scarecrow serving its purpose.

A Life Insurance advert. We settle all claims sooner than anyone else. Just try dying once and check out for yourself.
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Today’s picture is from my mother’s garden.

First Life 360 - A blog of humor, nature and spirituality
The Purple Petals

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