My second visit to the bridge was very different from my first. Aside from the view being very different the atmosphere was too! This time the bridge was just about empty, it was a simple case of two officers keeping watch and that was about it, until we arrived!
It was very relaxed, and it was also an ideal opportunity to really get in there and ask questions I had missed the last time.
I asked a little more about the navigational equipment and was given a working demonstration of how one particular piece of equipment worked. The ship just off our port side was an oil tanker if I remember correctly, and obviously it showed up on the radar screen. If you clicked on it on the screen a box would open up which detailed everything about the ship including what kind of cargo it was carrying and where it was going, it really was fascinating and it was nice to actually interact with the equipment rather than just looking at it and wondering what it was for.
The captain onboard during this cruise I had never met before, he took command half way through the voyage as the captain who had sailed us from Southampton was about to start his own holiday time and left the ship in Livorno. It was nice to once again be standing on the bridge having a conversation with the captain, even if it at one point it was about shoes! After a short while he left us to continue with our bridge “crashing” as I would call it.
We wandered across to the port side and I braved the glass floor which had almost given me an anxiety attack the last time. When my friend and I had went to sound the horn on the previous visit we stepped onto a section of glass in the floor which was re-enforced by a metal grid. I didn’t realise the glass was not set to the same height as the rest of the floor, there was roughly an inch in difference and as I had stepped onto it my heart leaped into my mouth. I was aware one foot was stationary but the other was still moving. I am not too good with heights and trust me that inch felt like 10 feet!! Below it being the sight of froth topped waves as the ship made her way through the water at about 20knotts.
I stood admiring the view down the port side of the ship, such an amazing view it really is. Then asked a few more questions about the equipment including the tall compass. I can’t for the life of me remember the proper name of it. I had a peek through, wondering if I were left in charge where we would end up!
Although this visit was just as inspiring for me as the previous it was very different. I remember saying I wish so much that I had discovered my love of the ocean when I was younger, maybe then I could have studied and embarked on a career at sea. It must be such a rewarding job; I even asked this question to which the Deputy Captain responded that it certainly was. He told us about his experiences over the years, the ships he had sailed on and how he started his career. It was a fascinating insight into his life and an opportunity I am very grateful to have had.