Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to procure an NZ Seamans Book

There are occasions when Google fails me and I have to resort to more archaic methods of finding things out. Such was the case late last week when I set about trying to find information on this topic. A Seaman book is a travel document which records when you join and leave boats. It is very useful for the taxman and allows you to get special fights. It is also very helpful when you are working towards Maritime qualifications or tickets as we like to call them.

Now I have the information I would like to impart the knowledge so in the future people do not have to go through the trauma of emailing somebody.

Good morning,  
Thank you for your email.
I have attached a copy of the form we will need to have completed before we can issue a NZ Seafarers Discharge Book to you.  Once the form is completed in full and returned to us in Auckland, we should be able to issue the discharge book within a few days of receipt.    Please supply the following to us:
1.  Completed form.
2.  Copy of a current NZ Passport or passport showing NZ Residency. 
3.  2 x Passport sized photos - colour.               (Please DO NOT supply photos printed on Fuji Film as these are incompatible with the paper used in our Discharge Books)
4.  $100.00 (cash or cheque (payable to Manukau Institute of Technology) , Credit Card number (not Amex or Diners) or a purchase/works order from your company (this can be faxed to us at (09) 379 4999).    Alternatively you can pay directly into our bank account, see below. 
5.  Indicate on the bottom of the attached form how you wish to receive this document. 
            Bank Details are:
            Bank:              National Bank of NZ
            Branch:           East Tamaki, Auckland, NZ
            Address:         116 Harris Road, East Tamaki, Auckland
            AC #                06-0293-0073560-00
            Swift Code:     ANZBNZZ22 (to be quoted on payment) plus
            Quote:             Student Name / ID number if Known, any other details which may be available   
5. A postal address to send the book to once it is completed or a A5 self addressed envelope/courier bag.  If you wish us to courier this document to you, Freight charges will be payable (to the value of the service provided).


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Joe Versus the Curb

Yesterday morning after some more than pointless running Joe and I took a rental car and went surfing. We are lucky on the Seychelles that there is usually a swell of some sorts. I can't think of many yachting cruising locations that you can go for a surf before and after work.

Joe drives quite quickly, I named him and the Chefs car the white knuckle in Doha. But Doha is a bit different to here. It had been raining heavily and Joe was driving quite aggressively. We made a turn away from the coastline and snaked along a small tarmac road. With eerie premonition I said to Joe, "I wouldn't be driving this fast here Joe, I would be treating the road like a dirt one" Exactly two seconds later we left the road grinded the curbside and came to a halt. Local crash scene investigators stopped immediately and with the help of 8 locals we had the car back on the road.

Given the response I think going off the road is a common occurrence here. I'm just happy nobody was hurt and the white knuckle has been put in a glove for a few months.

The Myth of the Runners High

Past readers may remember me complaining about the futile exercise that Running is. Having been a while I thought it would be prudent to resurrect this favourite topic of mine. For the past two months I have been engaged in a regular running. I get up before Sunrise, don armour and stagger, stumble and canter in the great out doors. Most of my running is intermingled with walking and cursing. I really detest running. My body protests and my mind rapidly starts thinking up excuses as to why I should slow down and walk.

Avid runners talk about a runners high. An endorphin filled nirvana which is there for the taking. My experiments have found no evidence of a runners high. The only thing I have found slightly resembling a high is when I stop stop running and I get a small flush as the blood leaves my legs to circulate through the rest of my body. I think that I am actually a highly evolved specimen. Future evolution of the human race will leave running left behind. We will float above the earth or maybe slide gracefully like ice skaters.

On a happier note. I did see something this morning which filled my pumping heart with joy. A beautiful sunrise which I was more than happy to stop running for and take a photo.

When I got back to the boat, I turned around and there was a radiant rainbow. Highs all around and not a runner in sight.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Much Better

I think my whole body and mind sighed with relief this morning when I went outside for the first time in five days. The temperature was probably about 26 degrees. The air so clean it felt like breathing menthol and the view was this.

I am looking forward to returning your normal scheduled programming here.

Happy Crossings

With only 6 hours to go I think it is safe to say that we have had a happy and peaceful crossing. I have had a lifetimes worth of traumatic passages in my short career so I am happy we have had a good one. What did happen?

Well our Security guards managed to put our treadmill into a state by setting the incline to 40 degrees in a 2 metres of sea. This caused the worm gear to get horribly out of sync. The Second Engineer and I took it apart and after consulting the manual I managed to recalibrate the incline setting with the computer and it is back to normal. I seriously wonder why we have security guards. On our last crossing they destroyed an exercise bike. I think you could set up a company with robotic ScareSentries (patent pending) and make/save a lot of money.

We did an equator crossing. I again sat it out. Its a revolting shameful tradition which should be phased out. One of the stewadess's asked me why I did not take part. I replied "I am too old and sensible." Words I do not think I have ever uttered.

Does that look like fun?

Our Second Officer has just made an announcement of land ho. I actually think I will kiss the first grass that I see. We had an announcement of rain on the way down. Its funny how you miss things after a few months.

Today I targeted our television Satellite and got a call centre in South Africa to hit our decoders. On a Sunday no less. Getting South Africans to do anything is an achievement in my books. Getting them to do it on a weekend is impressive.

Clever me.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Just Deserts

We left Qatar today. We had 48 hours to leave and it was satisfying to see how everyone hustled to vacate apartments, fuel and provision up and slip our lines this afternoon. Five months in Qatar was a couple of months too many for me. Ramadan as eye opening as it was, felt unsettling and there are many facets of Middle Eastern living that will never sit easy with me. The military build up in and around Iran has not gone unnoticed and I hope we have a smooth trip down to the familiar Seychelles.

Looking forward we should have 1-2 months down there before we come back for Christmas. I will be going to England in November for a couple of weeks and returning home to New Zealand for a month at Christmas time which I am dearly looking forward too. I also plan on spending a few days with my Sister and freshly married partner in Sydney. It will be fabulous.

I'm hoping to catch a bit of surf in the Seychelles. I'm still sober, not a drop since the Second of September, but I am hoping I have something to celebrate after I complete my course in November.


Monday, 8 October 2012

X-Ray Vision

Last week I got a seaman medical. My last seaman medical was a very professional and expensive one gained on Harley street in London. I would have preferred to get one there again but with my old one expiring and my next trip to England not till November getting one here was the best option.

I have to admit that the clinic I visited was very good and although I had to visit four different departments It was relatively uneventful. The only funny part of the trip was getting a chest X-Ray. I managed to get my X-Ray with my nipple ring attached. To be honest I don't know how to remove it. I forget about it most of the time until someone spots it loitering under a white polo shirt or I am dis-robed. Anyway after my X-Ray I was ushered over to a screen to make sure my spine was still intact. The poor Philippine Nurses were freaking out. They had not spotted my nipple ring before the X-Ray and it looked quite a sight.

Nurses placated I left the clinic with a very smug smile.

On my return to the clinic to get my results I made the mistake of standing next to water dispenser. I got a grunt and dismissive back hand from a local lady dressed in full costume. I hope she was there for some strong medication. The good news is that I am a healthy specimen fit for duty. My hearing is surprisingly good. I guess years of talking to myself have been done at safe levels. My eyesight its slowing decaying. I still blame years of game-boy playing but it is fair to say I am growing old. I have shrunk a centimetre, I blame that on working with a few short angry people in my time and having had to stoop to various unsavoury levels.

Obviously we are still in Qatar. We hope to head South soon. Selfishly I want to get a good tan minus sand abrasion before I head to England in November for a GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) course. I should have a day or two layover in London and I hope to see some of you there.

What else? Well its been five weeks without a drop of alcohol. You would be amazed how easy it is not to drink when you need a licence to purchase alcohol and have to visit expensive hotels to purchase a drink legally. If you want to have a dry month, both figuratively and climatically the Middle East can't be beat.

I'm going to try and go for three months without a drop. I should be positively parched before I head back to New Zealand for Christmas. Please save a drink for me.