Well, we've been underway for two weeks now. We pulled out of Norfolk on a grey, windy day to head down to NC to pick up the Marines that would be deploying with our strike group. After spending a few days anchored off the coast of NC, we met up with the rest of the ships in our strike group and headed east across the Atlantic.
I have been spending most of my time standing watch on the bridge as the Officer of the Deck (so basically in charge of the navigation and driving of the ship while we are underway). I spend anywhere from 2-5 hrs at a time on the bridge (possibly longer for special evolutions). I have a watch team that consists of two other officers (a Junior OOD and a conning officer), the quartermaster of the watch (QMOW), the boatswain mate of the watch (BMOW), a helmsman, lookouts and a messenger. The JOOD helps me with the running of the watch team, taking care of checklists and helping with comms with other ships and such. The conning officer basically drives the ship ... they give the course orders and speed orders to the helmsman. The helmsman is the hands on the wheel of the ship. The QMOW concentrates on navigation ... they plot where we are and let me know if we are on our required track or not. The BMOW passes word over the 1MC (announcing system) as well as overseas the helmsman, lookouts and messenger. The lookouts do just that ... look out and report any contacts that they see. The messenger is there to run errands such as taking the Captain's night orders down to CIC (combat information center). We all work together to make sure that the ship stays on schedule, balancing flight ops, contact management and many other evolutions.
The thing I loved about crossing the Atlantic was the clear nights when you could see thousands of stars. There's very little light pollution in the middle of the Atlantic so that was an amazing thing to see.
On the stitching front, I did have a chance to finish Melissa's squares for the Halloween Round of F&S. They left the ship a few days ago so hopefully they will be arriving shortly. I have also worked some on DH's stocking as well as my violin piece. I am not going to post pictures at the moment ... so you will have to put up with wordy entries. The main reason is that we don't have a lot of bandwidth on the ship to upload the pictures.
Just a reminder, you still have a few more days to sign up for my blogoversary give away in the previous post. I will draw a name on the 18th. Happy stitching to all!
PS - Thank you to all who have volunteered to send me packages while I'm gone. I appreciate the love and support from this community!