Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beginnings and Ends: Update on November 28th, 2009

As Sabbath week drew to a close and work loomed over all of us, we had one last night of ecstasy. One thing that is fairly new here on the Ships is something called the “LogOscars”. It is a chance for us members to be creative and utilize our imaginations into making short films, which are then submitted and handpicked for the event. The LogOscars is the night in which Ship’s Company get to watch these short videos and see what has been done, and also a reason to dress up and look snazzy. I was charged with the task of making a video for my department (Deck), alongside Justin, a couple of months ago. The work progressed slowly, and ideas were vague for a bit, but we finished our music video entitled “Day of the Deckie” the day before the deadline. I had written a song and recorded it and made a music video, along with a 4 minute opening sequence. The end result was me in a Captain outfit playing gangster rapper, and bragging about our department. Needless to say, it was a decent video comparatively. We ended up winning three awards, being one of only three videos to win any awards. Another, and my favorite, video was a cartoon made by a friend of mine. He took over 1500 pictures to make it, and drew it himself, and did all the sound effects as well. It was amazing, and he definitely deserved every award he received. The awards my video won were, “Best Direction”, “Best Soundtrack”, and an actor got “Best Supporting Actor”. There were some 25 videos involved, but they could only show 14 to keep within time restrictions.

As we sailed away from Viuex Fort, St. Lucia, I was glad I got to do so much in only a week. From sleep to football to the LogOscars to an entire Ship’s Company outing, to quiet time, Sabbath Week was everything I had hoped for. The voyage to Guyana was something of a nightmare for a lot of people on board. A combination of a decent swell and broken stabilizers made much of the crew was seasick. I was luckily omitted from much sickness but had to do sea watch alone for 2 days; it was a long two days.

Upon arrival, Guyana has proved the most different Port I have seen in my time here, and I can’t help but thinking that it is places like this we should be more often. The quayside is made of wood that looks like it was cut in the late 1800’s, and the town itself is something like an ad for child poverty. We are literally right around the corner from a mosque, and most of us on board are getting sent to help the community, in which we can’t drink the water. Our mooring lines are attached to pieces of wood that look like they’ll snap any time, and security has been amplified to the nth degree, we even put barbed wire on our mooring lines! Needless to say, I am glad for this opportunity and can’t wait until I am off watch to go check out the town, and maybe play some basketball with the local Muslims!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spreading the Gospel... of American Football

It’s a well known fact that what we call football is not the norm around the world. Our version of it draws a lot of criticism for being boring, and even sometimes “pansy”. This coming from people who seemingly play a large scale game of “pong”, or at least that’s what soccer feels like to me. Americans all over the world have to endure persecution for playing a sport not quite rugby, with a name that has nothing to do with the actions taken within the game, or very little. People tell us our sport is dumb and boring while they sit in front of a TV and watch next to nothing happen. Well, I am making ground in getting out the excitement of American Football, and making decent headway thanks to satellite TV, and built up frustration.

This week is a week of rest from the norm for us here on the Logos Hope, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to set up an American Football Tournament. The game was 5 on 5 full contact, with a limit of three Americans per team. There were five teams originally signed up, but four teams ended up making it. So everyone got to play each other, and each team got three games. The people ranged from anywhere from the Faroe Islands to France to South Africa. A lot of people didn’t have a great understanding of the rules, but we made do.

The games were a little ugly, being that not many people have played much quarterback in their life, and those that have, myself included, are rusty from a lack of playing for a long time. Aside from that, the games were a blast! Fairly fast paced and hard hitting (I think some people just wanted to get out some frustration) the 10 minute halves flew by. Two teams emerged as the dominant ones, and the final game was between my own team (Sons of Thunder) and the other dominant team, and what a doozie.

Tied at 6-6 going into the second half, nobody seemed to have an edge. Offensive play was sloppy, and defense was tight on both sides. With little room for mistakes, my team started with the ball and struggled to score for the next two possessions. With about 5 minutes left in the game, the ball slipped out of my hand right into the end zone, and the other team recovered. This made the game more interesting, and we were down (after a scoring drive before that) by a count of 6-18 (1-3). The next drive we got the ball and marched to chew up some yards and quickly scored. With about 3 the other team got the ball. Our defense stiffened up and halted them with about a minute thirty to go. The final drive was in the typical “two-minute drill” fashion, rushing to the line after every play. As we neared our goal line, after a few nice plays, we had twenty five seconds left and it was third and goal. I was to run a fade route, which means I run up field. I got a step on my defender, and the quarterback threw it right where it needed to be, and I caught the game-tying touchdown with 20 seconds left. We stopped them two straight plays, but on the last one suffered an injury (the only of the afternoon) to a main player. We decided to play college overtime style, and both of us scored as the sun went down. For now we are tied… Sad isn’t it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Challenge: An Update on November 18, 2009

And lose my breath I indeed did. Upon my return to the Ship we found that she had been at anchor for nearly a week already due, at first, to rough seas, then to another ship needing our berth for work. At first I was excited that we were out, and hoped for a chance to stay on shore for another night or two, but we ended up going back the night we were supposed to. The anchor situation also meant more work, and after a long break, the worst thing to come back to is a crappy job. But that is what happened. It wasn’t so much the long hours of ferrying people back and forth that bugged me, but the lack of anything else to do, or anywhere else to go. Work played a part in this also, because instead of going where others got to go, I had to ferry them. This lasted until early Friday morning when we finally came in after a long week and a half for most people on board. Before we could get into our proper berth, we spent a few days in the cruise ship terminal. We would see a new ship almost every day, and a lot of days three new ships. I had never known Barbados was such a popular cruise ship destination.
The truth is that work has overruled ministry this past week and a half, and I was unable to do anything of significance to tell about. One thing that is cool is a video a friend and I have been working on. You see, we now sit in Viuex Fort, St. Lucia, after more strange work hours, on Sabbath week. We take a break from normal life and spend time in community and with God. At the end of the week, we have something called the “Logoscars”. For the past two months or so, ship’s company has had time to make videos, which are now submitted for judging. At the Logoscars, we will be judged and the best videos will receive awards. My friend and I were responsible to make the video representing our Deck department. We made a music video, the first time it has been done on the Logos Hope. I wrote a rap song, recorded it with the help of our department, and made a video as Cap’n Krunk. We first shot other intros, but I’ll wait until I am able to post it to tell of the rest. We have a good shot at winning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breathe: Update on November 6th, 2009

A new port meant a new chance to breathe. We left St. Lucia Behind a week ago to travel to Barbados, a Port I have been excited about for months because of an opportunity to go on break with some close friends for a week. The day we arrived work was all messed up; we worked from early in the morning until about noon, and then were off until 6 until 11. This was because we had to pick things up at one place then go to our berth for the port. This meant I had to do mooring stations three times that day, and put up the gangways as well. One thing about this place that is awesome is that there is a nice beach about five minutes’ walk from us. One bad thing is that we had to leave the berth to weather a storm and to wait for an industrial ship to offload flour. As I write this, we are at anchor about a mile off shore of Barbados.
Luckily, I wasn’t here for most of that malarkey, as my break has come and gone. Four of us went to a little cabin on a beach about an hour (by car) away. We were on the other side of the Island, and isolated from almost everything. The place we got (at an incredibly low price) wasn’t much, but had a stove and fridge and a freezer and some beds. When one walked out the back door onto the porch, the Atlantic Ocean would shine and glimmer, and the scent of the sea was heavy. The waves were constantly beating onto the rocky shore, making it hard to swim, but easy to relax in the water. So, with that being our temporary residence, the four of us spent the week basically doing nothing, and loving it. We found our share of beaches and did some swimming and played football, and ate a lot of meat. One day, Fitzy and I even wandered around for a couple hours and found the most amazing beach I’ve seen, but I didn’t have a camera. The first things I noticed were the mammoth rocks whose bases were worn down so much that I wondered when they would topple. The sea wasn’t so rough here, and the sand was more abundant. There were palm trees everywhere, and I even got a coconut at the base of one. Two of the nearby locals had pet monkeys (I was a little jealous).
Other than that story, not much is to be told of our break, considering it was taken to relax and breathe. The busyness of life here was made numb, along with most other feelings, for a week that God had given me. I couldn’t stop thanking God while I was there, and still thank him for a week to breathe. Now to lose my breath again…