Cruise 2005 part 3

Trip Start Mar 11, 2005
Trip End Nov 08, 2005

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cruse 2005 #  
7 June to 22 June
We bid farewell to Hong Kong on a warm rainy morning that turned to blazing sun by noon, which didn't help the hangovers on bit..  It was easier to get back in to the routine of things, but there is always that same "Oh man... I'm back on the friggin' boat!" feeling that lasts for the first two or three days.  When I get a break and have time to look out over the passing ocean, I wonder about the ships and crew that have sailed these waters for centuries.  These sea lanes were major trade routs, and I'm sure the sea bed is littered with the flotsam of countless sailors.  Small trinkets and things lost over the side must be down there, and each with a story that will never be told.  I wonder how many sailors have seen this ocean on a day like this, and feel privileged to be one of them.
We work our butts off, fixing jets, flying jets, and all the support that goes with it.  It's hard for the young seaman to think he is making a difference while he scrubs toilets that are used by hundreds of people.  It's hard to make them understand that their efforts, in no small way, make it possible for everything else associated with accomplishing the mission to happen.  Sometimes we seem to be working just for the sake of working, but I'm sure there is a "big picture" that we enlisted types aren't privy too.  Rather like the  young seaman scrubbing toilets, I'm sure our maintenance efforts are for a good reason. 
We pull in to Guam on the 18th for a brief visit.  We are due to pull out on the 22nd, so we have to cram as much fun in to the time we have as we can.  Guam has been called "The poor man's Hawaii", and I find the name to be appropriate.  White sugar beaches, wonderfully warm water with great diving and snorkeling, great shopping, and awesome ways to explore the sizeable island.  There are still lots of WWII relics to be found in the jungles, and in the waters surrounding the island.  There is even cave exploration.  Basically you can do almost any activity you can imagine and the people are friendly for the most part.
Cheep sailor tip:  There are at least three different rates for shopping.  There is the local-local rate, the local rate, and the tourist rate.  As you can guess, each rate is higher than the other.  The only way you are going to get the local-local rate is if your great-great grand parents, parents were born in Guam, so don't ask.   I didn't quite figure out what made you just a plane local, but the tourist rate isn't that bad. 
Things I recommend:  Deep fried Twinkies, try the sea food, and eat at the mom & pop joints rather than the restaurant chains you are used to.  Don't be rude, and if your are going to hurl from all the booze you tried to drink, please get off of the damn buss!
Transportation around the island isn't bad, and you can rent those little mopeds to explore.  (Of course, we weren't allowed to, but you the private citizen can.)  Car rental is still the best way to get around.  There is so much to do there, I was disappointed that we only had four days.  I could have spent a month there and never been bored.  Lucky for me, my shipmates had taken a liking to my "music videos" and gave me lots of photos to use.
Some explanations about what you will see in the video. 
All of the helicopter stuff you see in the videos were taken during underway replenishment.   The person sliding down the flight deck is AME3 Phillips, and she slid that way because she was taking an officer with her during an aircraft launch and was slightly out of position when the jet took off.  The exhaust of an EA-6B points down and away from the aircraft.  This is unlike the shiny new F-18, or the venerable F-14 (before they went away) in the fact that their exhaust points straight back from the aircraft.  This anomaly of the EA-6B exhaust quite often catches people off guard, but seasoned troubleshooters like Phillips used to do something called "the pig seat".  This is where the troubleshooter turns his back to the exhaust as soon as the jet launches, and sits down.  The exhaust usually picks them up and throws them a few feet down the flight deck where the deftly land on their feet and walk away.  Alas, due to the vaganizing of the military, this is no longer practiced.  Oh, and the reason we called it "the pig seat" is because quite often EA-6B's are called pigs because of their unattractive form.
Finally, after four days of fun in the sun and doing everything from snorkeling on reefs to visiting a water park, it was time for us to go back to sea.  Our next stop.... Kuala Lumpur.  Sound exciting doesn't it?
Until then....
Fair winds....
Old Salt
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