Day 5: The Day When Pacific Ocean Got Tired

The fierce Pacific Ocean, I think, got tired of hitting us. For quite sometime now, the ship is not as “shakey” compared to our first few days here at the great ocean. We are now on our fifth day at sea which means, we are coming closer and closer to Hawaii. In about 29 hours more, we will arrive in the Island of Oahu, docking at the historical Pearl Harbor, in Honolulu.
Time Check: 1025pm, 10th of July 2013. We are now sailing at the vicinity of 600 nautical miles east-northeast off Gumukahi, Hawaii whilst enjoying a calm sea here in the North Pacific.

Finally, I was able to adapt in the different time zones we covered in this voyage. Now I am back into the normal sleeping cycle, which means, “gone are my zombie days”. To be honest, I am still battling with my mind at this very moment between hitting the sack early and writing another entry here on my journal. The last entry I posted was more than 36 hours ago, so I think I have to combat this procrastination and give justice to the chronicles of this great journey, which I ventured into. Well, whilst deciding, I guess it is wise to just write as much as I could tackling any subject that crosses my mind at this very moment- hence, this paragraph.

We are expected to reach Honolulu by noon of the day after tomorrow. Wow! Now it is hitting me, 29 hours more and we will be in Hawaii! Another tick on the box on my dream destination list! Yes! But before I get too excited and just mumble all night about my Pearl Harbor and Waikiki dreams, let me just give you updates on what happened with us on the last 36 hours. As I mentioned above, the Pacific Ocean is surprisingly calmer recently. So, the Commanding Officer took advantage of this considerate situation and ordered the ship’s company to conduct shipboard trainings and emergency drills. The objective of this initiative is to hone the skills and awareness of the crew in possible unfavorable incidents that the ship, which we hope not, may encounter whilst at sea.

Yesterday was almost a full day of training. Well, It is better to be prepared than sorry, yeah? We started with the General Quarters drill to check the organization and urgency of the crew in manning their respective battle stations. It was followed by a flooding drill, which honed their skills in Damage Control particularly in plugging and shoring techniques. Steering Casualty was also assimilated in order to prepare the bridge team in quick responses to the incident as well as the crew assigned in manning the secondary aft steering. All of the stations showed satisfactory results in the drills which is not a surprise to a well dedicated, very professional, and well-trained ship’s crew.

Today, series of drills were also conducted. It is not everyday that the ocean gives us a following sea, so again, we took advantage of the very favorable situation. Since the sea is extremely calm earlier today, with the safety assessment of the Operations Officer, CRD SANTIAGO PACIS PN, we conducted a helicopter flight operations drill at the Heli deck. Facilitated by the team of US Coast Guard tasked to train the crew whilst underway (they will go ashore in Guam), the crew of BRP Alcaraz showed utmost preparedness in the said operation. To level up with the training, an assumed situation of crash landing and helicopter main engine fire was incorporated in the scenario. Again, as expected, the drill was a success and the US Coastguard facilitators were satisfied with the reactions and procedures of the responding team. The day was concluded after the “Men Space Fire Doctrine Drill”- a fire scenario that originates in the machinery spaces, was successfully completed.

According to the Operations Officer, since they boarded this ship mid of last year, they have been conducting drills on a regular basis. He even emphasized that they usually conduct everyday drills whilst underway except when the sea is extremely rough like what we experienced in the first few days of this San Diego-Hawaii leg.

This is a strong manifestation that the crew of BRP Alacaraz is committed in ensuring that their knowledge and skills are at par with what is required. I am a witness of their dedication and professionalism- qualities of excellent vanguards- qualities of our sailors aboard this vessel. I salute them all for their utmost commitment in serving our country- and I am proud to witness that first hand here in the historic homebound journey of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16).

Sending you the pride, honor, and privilege straight from the North Pacific Ocean, enroute to Hawaii.
Signing out.