A new Captain & Chief Engineer

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The new Captain’s lovely!

This was the mantra that was running around the ship like Chinese whispers for the last two days or so.  A new Captain joined us in Genoa and I had been hearing so much about him from the crew and senior officers beforehand that I wondered if this poor man would be able to live up to the expectations the crew had put on him…he was already on a huge pedestal. How do they know he’s lovely? He hasn’t even joined the ship yet.It turns out crew have a rotation, and he’d been on this ship previously.

I’ve already established that the crew are lovely.  The Cook, especially, has taken to preparing me little surprises like Ginger tea when he heard me sniffling a lot. Thinking I was going to come down with a cold, he prepared a pot for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was just me adjusting to the A/C on board and not a cold. He also makes me extra creamy oatmeal/porridge in the mornings.

Oh yes, the new Captain! He ordered us our karaoke machine last time he on board. He understands we must to be happy in our work

The Able Seaman (the person who helps the Boson) piped up.  He beamed his smile (that seems to always grace his face, whether he’s happy or not).

Eating lunch in Genoa on the ship, the new Captain comes to join us. It’s my first meeting, so I rise from the table to shake his hand. Not brusque… a quiet, intelligent individual he does, indeed, seem to understand the importance (and common sense?) that a happy crew work very well and pull together. And he’s left handed, so he must be intelligent (yes, you’ve guessed it – so is Bex).

Working at sea [he told me] used to be a job for poorer people to be able to see the world.  Now, ships are faster and time in port less and less. It’s OK for the passengers; you have no ship duties so you can use your time in port to go ashore, if we have long enough. But for the crew, now it’s an opportunity to experience different cultures they work with – to broaden our minds towards other nationalities.

Hmm, sounds like the new Captain is somewhat of an International Relations guru. I think I like this man’s outlook.

**And to avoid accidents in the workplace, it makes sense to have a happy crew**

YES!  I wish there were more employers out there that think like this particular man!  He is a human relations guru – and despite their nationality differences, the crew did all get along.

The Chief Engineer tells me he’s called the engine Suzy and talks to her every time his shift starts. The Captain & I exchange a look. I asked him if he sings to her too – you know, that song “Wake up, little Suzie” to which he says “Only when she’s mis-behaving.”
You know why she’s called Suzy (or a woman’s name?)  Because she keeps the ship running and without her, there’d BE no ship.  So it must be a ‘she’ because she needs respect.

Engine Room - where 'Suzy' is housed
Engine Room – where ‘Suzy’ is housed

Although I did hear Chief Engineer telling the security guys on the ship that it’s because at over 40 degrees C, Suzy is all hot and sweaty.  Ahhh, men will always be men.

Now as we’ve left Genoa, I’m off up to the Bridge to have a cup of tea with the Third Mate. He’s partial to U2 and plays music in the background.  It’s a little surreal, watching the sunset at sea to “Pride – In the name of love” in the background.

Sitting on the Bridge
Sitting on the Bridge

Captain Birdseye image courtesy of http://www.athenryac.com/files/images/Captain_Birdseye.jpg

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