Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HSB 108, I am in command

(HSB 108 28ft Dauntless Class SeaArk)

Ok so today I was originally assigned to AWASE Main Gate/White Beach Patrol, to facilitate my patrolman board that I was suppose to take at 0900 upon my return from AWASE. Well things change as usual and we are down one person. I am reassigned to the boat for the day along with another one of the guys, and was told I would take my patrolman board when we returned from escort duty.

Our day starts off with meeting the off going crew on the pier for turnover and what not...We get down to the boat and go through our report, and everything is on track to get underway...There is just one hitch, I am the primary coxswain this time.

I gently back the boat off the pier and take her underway and out of the boat basin. So far so good...We get out on the water and I commence my usual area sweep which consists of checking the waterside areas of the ships, then we take station in a central area where we can react and engage any and all threats.

The morning goes on and my partner/gunner is sound asleep in his seat, I put on my I-pod, and every so often do a security sweep of the area as we wait for the tugs to show up to take the ships out to sea.

The tugs arrive sometime around 8am and my partner suits up to go do his inspection...New task, I have to nose up to the tug (never done it before) and drop my partner off, then nose back up and pick him up...I make my approach and as I nose up, I cut my throttles to gently bring my boat up to the tug, Now at this point I have to judge when to reverse my throttles so that I don't impact/bump the tug but at the same time not dump my partner into the water between the two vessels. Well I judged a little too late and bumped into the tug (at least they had bumpers) Then break off to wait for my partner to be ready to be picked up. The pickup this time was much easier, I got my partner and managed to not bump the tug this time YAY ME!!!
Once our tug inspections are done, it is a matter of waiting for the ship to get underway so we can commence to our escort...It is usually routine in nature and nothing ever happens...That was until today...

As the ship is being pulled out, a fishing boat crosses into our area...Time for interdiction...First time at the wheel and in command of our boat and I am chasing...Our goal is to keep him away from the ship. I bring my boat abreast with his starboard side and we start signalling him to change course...It took some doing but we forced him to alter his course and leave the area...Ok he is gone...Easy day...

Well we make contact with our ship and commence to escort...Off our starboard side we notice a fast moving boat heading perpendicular to where we are and on a possible collision course with the ship we were escorting...FLASHING LIGHTS ON, rock and roll...We head out to meet the contact and to verify intent...Well as we get closer he is in no way shape or form moving...I decide to hit the siren...Scared the shit out of my partner but at the same time got this boats attention and he decided to alter course and leave.

After that I am shaking from the adrenaline rush of what has happened so I have partner take the helm, I am done for the day, time to take a break. I take over gunner duties and as we are getting ready for another escort...damn more speedboats...WTF is wrong with people today??? My partner moves to intercept and I take my M-4 and step out on deck, that didn't take much to get them to think twice

We finally finish our last escort and head back to moor in the boat basin...Our old lines have been replaced with heavier (probably due to typhoon season) mooring lines. We go to pull into the boat basin and I jump to the pier to tie the bow line...Well one thing leads to another and we bump the port ops boat (oops)...Thankfully we only knicked paint of their engine guard (glad they had that) We get the boat tied, report finished and call for pickup

Another happy day on the water