What is your role during the Extreme 2004 expedition?
"I'm one of three ABs (able-bodied seamen) on the ship. I stand a bridge watch twice a day -- every day -- from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. I also run the Avon (small work boat) and the "A" Frame for Alvin operations as well as all the deck machinery including the cranes, booms, winches, capstans, and anchor windless. I do a lot of the preventative maintenance on the deck equipment such as greasing, cleaning, prepping, and painting. In port, I also stand a gangway watch. Plus, I'm part of the emergency squad."
Why did you choose this career, and how long have you been doing this? I kind of fell into this job by accident. I never set out to do this as a career. I used to be a roadie for rock bands, and then I ran heavy equipment. I'd also done all kinds of other jobs. I had a friend who was working on one of the WHOI ships, and he said I should try it. So I applied just to try it out. A few years later, they called me and said they could use me for three months. I didn't have anything else lined up. So I figured I'd give it a shot. I've been here ever since. That was almost nine years ago. I wish they had called me sooner.
Tell us about the most interesting thing that has happened to you because of your work.
Because of this job, I've gotten to do a lot of great things and see a bunch of great places that I'd always wanted to go to. But one of the most interesting things has got to be having the chance to go down in Alvin. Back in 1999, Dr. Craig Cary gave up one of the observer spots to the crew. It was between me and three other people. We had a lottery, and I drew the winning card.
What do you like most about your job? Least?
There are many things I like about my job. I get to go to a lot of great places and work with great people. But I have to say that I like my time off the most. I get four months off every year. Of course, I have to be on the ship for four months at a time and then take two months off, but I don't think I could ever go back to just having two or three weeks off a year. As for what I like the least, it is hard being away from home. I miss my girlfriend, riding my motorcycle, hanging out with friends, sleeping in my own bed, and being able to watch TV. But the thing I really like the least is having to fly. Some times I've got to take two or three connecting flights or a 10 or 12 hour flight to get back and forth to the ship. Plus, I've had my luggage lost a few times. So the thrill of flying is long gone.
What do you like most about going to sea? Least?
I get to go to a lot of great places. I also get to work with a lot of great people. As for the least, I'd have to say it would be the same as what I like the least about my job (part 2 of last question).
How often do you go to sea?
I spend about eight months a year on the ship. Most of that is at sea, but some of it is in port. The usual rotation for regular crew members is four months on and two months off. It's great to have two months off at a time. But you also have to realize that when you are on for four months, you work every day. There are no weekends at sea no days off.
Do you ever get seasick? If so, how do you handle it?
No, I never get seasick.
How do you fill your free time aboard ship?
When I'm not working or sleeping, I like to spend my time watching DVDs, reading, playing my guitar, listening to music, writing e-mails, and playing video games. And when I get motivated, I'll even work out.
What's your favorite hobbie? Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite food?
One of my favorite hobbies is collecting and restoring antique motorcycles and bicycles. My favorite movie is a tough question. There's a lot of great movies that I love. It would be too hard to name just one. But some of them would be "The Blues Brothers," "The Big Labowski," "Casablanca," "The Pirates of the Caribbean," "Caddyshack," and "Captain Ron." They are all great comedies. There really are too many to list. Favorite Book "Cash" by Johnny Cash. Favorite Food pizza, steak, cheeseburgers and french fries, and Thai food.
Where is the most exotic place you have been?
Easter Island. I've been there twice, and I'll be going back again in 2005. That's another one of the perks of the job. I've been to a lot of great places all over the world.
What one tip would you give to students interested in pursuing a career like yours?
You should always remember that every job on the ship is important. There are no menial jobs. Only menial attitudes.