STCW Training – Fighting Fires, Climbing in Liferafts and Struggling to Adapt to Life in the ‘Real World’

To clear any confusion: we are back in the USA, Ellie is in Fiji, we flew to Sydney, Australia for a week and then flew back to California for some training and to attend my Mothers wedding in Idaho. If you are confused, that makes two of us. Definitely too much traveling lately. Turns out nothing goes to windward like a 747. After crossing oceans for two years, a 14 hour flight is like taking a nap on a long watch. 

We have spent the past week in San Diego attending the Maritime Training Institute to obtain our STCW Basic Safety Training qualifications. These qualifications are required as a prerequisite to be eligible for employment on superyachts. Now that we are pretty much broke as a joke and Ellie needs some expensive maintenance parts, it has come to our attention that the money tree we have been shaking for the past couple years is apparently limited in its bounty. Such is life in the 21st century, especially if you live on a yacht that has a tendency of requiring expensive marine parts. So after racking our brains trying to find the best path to make money while continuing to enjoy every day and continue traveling, we have arrived at our current plan of working on large private yachts. We have already obtained the minimum qualifications and I plan to obtain my Master of Yachts 200T Offshore Unlimited ticket at a facility in Florida this December.

The STCW class was a mix of brief fun intertwined with incredible boredom. The pace of the class was painfully slow – the material could have been covered in 1/5 the time that was spent. That said, we did learn quite a bit about safety that we didn’t already know. We were able to fight actual fires at a U.S. Navy surface warfare and fire fighting facility; although they required that I shave off my beard! We also donned survival suits and learned how to right a liferaft, which was cool. Our friends Chris and Monica joined the class with us which made it a lot more fun. We finished the class today and are both glad we don’t have to sit through another long day of lecture and multiple choice questions.

The transition back to the real world and regular society has been a very tough one for me. Alyssa on the other hand is ecstatic to be back in modern society with all the amenities and comforts. I on the other hand was flirting with depression, anxiety and stress. I found myself appalled at the chaos of it all; the noise, the rude people, the bustle, the homeless, the expensive price of everything. I couldn’t help but compare almost everything here to Fiji; where the people are happy, their smiles genuine, where people aren’t caught up in status and material excess, the pace of life slower, and the prices much more affordable. I also forgot a very important step required to transition back to life in the real world: I forgot to make a conscious effort to cease living in the moment and to once again look forward to a goal instead. In Fiji or while cruising we live every day to the fullest, live in the moment and barely think beyond the next day. I love it. If you do that while living an 8-5 in the real world it can get pretty overwhelming and downright depressing. It finally clicked toward the end of the week when my wonderful better half reminded me why we were sitting in chairs taking multiple choice tests. The next day I found myself smiling a lot more because the mentality had transitioned from “this is so boring” to “working on a yacht will be awesome.”

We are at the airport once again headed to Idaho to attend my Mothers wedding – the primary reason we are back in the states. We wouldn’t miss it for the world and are both looking forward to seeing family. Next week we fly back to San Diego for another visit with Alyssa’s family and then Lyss heads to Northern California to start an accounting job at a small family business. I have a few weeks to study ahead of my classes in Florida that start at the end of November. 

Well that’s the latest goings on in our life. This may be the last post we have for a bit. I’ll update the blog with any weather systems that head towards Fiji. I may even upload some videos from the past season.

Here are some pics from the STCW class we took this week. 

Cheers from San Diego, CA, USA  (aka The supposed Real World)

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  1. October 24, 2015    

    Very open and honest evaluation of the differences in life you’ve been fortunate enough to experience. The trade back to the chaos can break people. Hopefully you can keep that powerful outlook of what is to be, not what is. A reversal from your new norm. Your blog writings, stories, pictures and burgeoning friendship have been motivators for my future adventures. You push me and nothing helps me more than being pushed. So thank you for the last two years and sharing your experiences and thank you for pushing me to get out there and do it myself.

    • October 24, 2015    

      Thanks for the very kind words bud. The reason I share more than most would feel comfortable sharing is to connect with and inspire others to go after their dreams. If it was only one then I succeeded, so thank you. I am so glad you reached out last year and it’s been awesome getting to know you both. Last week was a blast so thanks for joining with us! Hope the concert is incredible and Happy Birthday man! Cheers!

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