“Seas the Day” is a witty poem written by Andrew Corrie, taking the reader from his time as a Cadet to successfully passing his Certificate of Competence examinations and qualifying as a Master Mariner.
The poem was published in Flash 25.
Seas the Day
by Andrew Corrie
People often ask me,
Of how it came to be,
That I installed windfarms -
In the middle of the harsh North Sea.
Well I’d like to share a story,
It will take 15 minutes of your day,
So I hope you are sitting comfortably –
And I will set this voyage underway.
I’ll take you back to 2001,
Where you meet a Yorkshire lad,
Who ticked the box as ‘Deck Cadet’ -
As there were many adventures to be had.
Six weeks of study shortly followed,
Learning our 1, 2, 3’s
Of all the basic safety skills we would need,
Once let loose on the high seas.
For my first trip out at sea,
I flew up to Sullom Voe,
To join a Suez-Max oil tanker -
In the wintery sleet and snow.
We set sail off into the sunset
In December across the Atlantic,
Force12 winds, 30ft waves –
It was hardly close to romantic.
Before I knew it the training had ended,
With a pass at the MCA,
I held an Officer of the watch CoC –
And my career was well underway.
I applied for jobs in every sector,
From containerships to tug,
But no-one wanted a young officer –
That was still wet behind the lugs.
Until I came across an advert,
And I thought I would give it a shot,
CV, telephone calls and a flight to Antibes –
I had landed a job on a yacht.
We sailed around the Mediterranean,
With a cargo of rich and famous,
I never found out who they really where –
The guests always remained nameless.
Five months later I hung up my deck shoes,
It was enough yachting for me,
Maybe I will come back to this sector one day –
When I win the national lottery.
At 19 years old I could not ask for more -
With the experience and memories I took,
And a new adventure shortly followed –
For now I had a stamp in my book.
I applied for a position as 3rd mate,
For an oil major shipping LNG
I passed the interview by the skin of my teeth –
And before I knew it I was back deep sea.
In 2008 I was promoted to 2nd mate,
I became higher in the food chain,
But I did not want to settle for this –
There was a chief mate’s ticket to gain.
So I took a little time off work,
8 weeks for mates was needed,
I studied hard and battled on –
And in November ’08 I succeeded.
Then one day whilst on watch,
Sat at anchor off Fujairah,
I pondered my next career move –
My motivation had started to tire.
Once fed up and looking elsewhere,
I knew it was leaving time,
So shortly I resigned my position onboard
0n the 9th of the 9th ’09.
Before I knew it I was flying again,
This time 15hrs to Singapore,
To join an anchor handling tug –
For my first ever 2 month tour.
A short trip out from west pier by boat,
Passing many a laden tanker,
Round the corner to Sultan Shoal –
Where the vessel laid calmly to her port anchor.
We picked up anchor that very same day,
And headed into the Singapore straits,
At 1800hrs I came on watch –
Which was handed over by the mate.
Anyone will tell you who has been to these parts,
How busy it can be,
Until you pass the Horsburgh lighthouse –
And you are back into the open sea.
At 2200hrs we were almost clear,
Passing the naval base at Changi,
En-route for the eastern side of Java –
To a place called Banyuwangi.
Palm trees, white sands and a glimmering blue sea,
My office can be so nice,
I even celebrated my 27th birthday there –
In a seafarers perfect paradise.
5 years had passed since I last attended college,
And now I had enough sea time,
To return once more for the final step up
The final summit to climb.
In 2013 I decided to go for it,
The last little push for the crest,
To gain a Master Mariners ticket,
And to become the very best.
The final push was short lived,
And the ending was not a fairy-tale,
After one and half hours in the oral exam –
‘I am sorry Mr Corrie you have failed’.
The resit was booked for later in the year,
But I had a month in-between,
I was asked to sail on board a windfarm vessel –
The strangest looking ship I had ever seen.
The ship was elevated as we approached,
In our small crew transfer boat,
Changing my view on basic principles –
That all ships are meant to stay afloat.
The ship was well equipped to say the least,
Entertainment-wise it had the lot,
A gym, sauna and two cinemas –
I had landed back on a yacht?
Hold on a minute – we’ve had that verse,
It was enough yachting for me,
So here I stood on a six legged jack-up -
Installing windfarms in the middle of the harsh North Sea.
I seem to have missed an important part-
Of my career out at sea,
I passed my Masters on the second attempt-
And now hold the golden CoC.
If you choose to come to sea,
There are oceans of adventures for you,
Don’t stop at the horizon – keep on going -
And discover something new.