Update!

Long time coming too! So what’s new? Lot’s for me. To start with I’m almost at the end of my 2nd trip patrolling the seas (and bars) around the Arabian Gulf (and Arabian Sea too)! The ship I’m on has accomplished many things during my 4 months here, though I won’t go into detail what. I have also accomplished lot’s as an Apprentice Steward in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, completing necessary tasks in order to gain advancement to Steward.

What else, well I shall soon become a father (sex unknown, the other half doesn’t want to find out and being on a ship miles away, I can’t argue) but the names have all been sorted for whatever I’ll end up with. I’ll also become a married man too so plenty of things are happening within the next few months. My 1 month of leave I get (as a Rating you will get 3 months compared to the Apprentice’s 1 month) will not be full of R&R but shopping for baby equipment/wedding stuff etc, the other half will love it!!!

Whilst out here I have seen many sights (both ashore and at sea), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is amazing to see up close (it’s the tallest building in the world at 830 metres from base to tip)  as well as Dubai Mall (5.9 million square feet of internal floor space alone)! The Gold and Spice Souk is a nice place to visit, where gold and all sorts of spices are sold, at a good price if (unlike me) you know how to haggle and also been to watch some Camel racing at a track 30mins drive out of Dubai. As you could probably tell, I’ve spent a lot of my time in Dubai (which is true, it’s where I joined the ship and will be where I fly home from). But I have been to other ports-of-call, Bahrain, Fujairah and Duqm (which is literally in the middle of no-where, the nearest public space was a hotel about 30 mins drive away).

Right now, I’m sitting in the Dubai International Seafarers Centre updating this blog, it is a big bar inside a compound, it has free WiFi, a good selection of beers and other drinks, an outdoor BBQ, a swimming pool, basketball court and other things as well as an outdoor big screen (ideal for the T20 Cricket…..or football etc). One tip though if you do end up out here, be prepared to spend money, a pint of Budweiser costs about £7.50 (I won’t ever complain about being charged £4 for one back home ever again).

Well, there you go. That’s it for now, I’m sorry about the time it’s taken since my last blog.

I hope you have a great day/night where ever you may be.

 

Fair winds and following seas.

J.N

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I’m still here.

Still bobbing around. Anywhere and everywhere. Around the south coast that is but I’ve been gaining ‘Q days’ (Q days are days I spend working outside of U.K territorial waters, if I get 180 Q days, I can claim back my tax from my income). But I’m still enjoying it, I can get used to the way of life sailing across the seven seas. Or in the past two weeks, the English channel.

So how has it been? Busy! Waking up at 0630, clean the tea room and the officers bar, wake up the officers on my deck at 0700, then down to the officers saloon to serve breakfast. Then after that, eat breakfast and have a coffee or three. Then bunks and rosies (tidy the rooms and make the beds basically). Then lunch. Then a couple of hours off then dinner. And that is basically the day. Start at 0630, finish at 1900 or thereabouts.

Am I enjoying it? Early days yet (I’m three weeks into my four month appointment) but it’s been good. The updates will come as time goes on….whenever I find an outlet of free Internet (McDonald’s or a pub basically).

That is all for now.

Have a good day.

J.N. 

 

 

Off I go!

My first voyage in my new career! Back on the train (done enough of these trips to last a while but heh ho!) There were 8 of us apprentice stewards that started in January, 3 of us (including me, although one will be on the ship for just one month) are going to one ship that’ll more than likely stay in one place, one on another that’ll be doing it’s job around UK waters, another two on another ship doing the same sort of thing, but with a possibility of going to the med and two others on another ship going all the way to the sunny med for a whole 4 months! Not jealous at all!

The reason I started this blog was so I could have something to keep me occupied on ship in my spare time. What else could I do on ship other than work, go to sleep, watch dvd’s etc? Another reason for this blog is (another ‘blogger’ pointed this out to me) is that there isn’t much online about a career and life in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Other than on the Royal Navy’s careers website, there isn’t much to go on so when I get the opportunity to add another entry to my blog (using whatever free Wi-Fi I can find) I will do so.

So, what now? What do I expect? I’ve had a sample week on a ship to see what life is like in the RFA. I know it will be hard work as a steward, up very early, clean things, make beds etc. I also know the days could go very long but alas, can go very quickly. Work 7 days a week for 4 months straight. There could possibly be time off, who knows? I certainly don’t. One thing I do know is that me and 2 other colleagues will be the only ones on the ship with the new uniform. Everyone has the old uniform or boiler suits (pretty much) with just their name on it, my uniform will have my name, Royal Fleet Auxiliary written on it and also the blue ensign on my sleeve (the colours of the RFA).
I shall try very much to add another entry in a week or two, but that really does depend.

Have a great day, where ever you are!

J.N.

Time for Round 2!

First Aid, very handy to know. Hopefully, anyone who will need first aid won’t be bleeding because I will be joining them in hospital otherwise (I get queasy at the sight of blood!).

I’m back on the train heading back to Portsmouth for a 2 day course in First Aid. Another 6 and a half hours of sitting on a train, next to irritating people. A kid behind me constantly kicking the back of my seat, a kid beside me screaming “quack” at his i-Pad, I hope they’re getting off at Plymouth very soon!

Just to summarize on the last entry, I did my basic fire fighting course (I thoroughly enjoyed that one, got the adrenalin pumping a few times fighting controlled fires) and passed that. There was also the DRIU (Damage Repair Instructional Unit) which was also a lot of fun. I was a little apprehensive of it at first but at the end of it I wanted another go at it. I reckon the Royal Navy would earn a lot of money if they opened the site to tourists to have a go at saving a ‘ship’ from sinking! And then there was the sea survival course. Another one where I had lots of fun and wanting to do it again. I got changed into a Once Only Survival Suit (designed to be used once only, it’s like a drysuit that keeps you afloat-it also makes you look like a bright orange rubber sex pest).

What now? I’ll pass the first aid (hopefully) then in the weekend, off to a ship for 4 months….for security purposes I shan’t say where or what I’ll be doing. So the blog won’t be updated as frequently as it has been (and that wasn’t very frequent either but hey ho!)

I hope you will have/are having a good day,

 

I’ll update soon!
J.N.

 

What’s next?

This week has been busy! I passed my training, I am (until I finish my apprenticeship) a Catering Assistant. One step closer to being a Steward. My certificate is framed and up on the wall, I could’ve hidden it away in the heads but I don’t think the other half would appreciate it.

Next week will also be a busy week for me too. I’m currently on a 6 and a half hour train journey to Portsmouth (If I drove, that could’ve been done in 4 hours but this trip isn’t costing me a penny!) to do my vital courses I need before being out in the fleet. Things such as the BSSC (Basic Sea Survival Course-involves jumping off a platform in a survival suit and swimming out to a Lifeboat), First Aid (No explanation needed), Damage control and Firefighting (the damage control is where me and a team are put insode a metal structure that resembles a ship on the inside. It will flood and we’re meant to work in a team to stop it……..No one wins apparently. I’m looking forward to this!)

The only thing of this I’m not looking forward to is the sea survival course. I’m not the greatest swimmer, though my backstroke is good (which is what is required of me to do when I jump off a platform (which is only 5 metres high or so…In a survival suit which itself is full of air). But I’m not exactly going to wimp out, I’ve gone through 14 weeks training to get here, to throw it all away would be frowned upon by many people I know……..don’t want that!

There’ll be another update through the week, I’ll keep you posted!

Have a good day/night, Bye for now.

J.N.

 

 

 

 

 

My first blog!

“Here goes nothing!” This is my first blog so excuse me if it seems a little……rubbish (things get better as time and experience is gained right?).

I am approaching the end of my training in the ‘Royal Fleet Auxiliary’ to be a Steward. I’ve spent 14 weeks here on a Royal Navy teaching establishment (I shan’t say where, naturally) studying, passing assessments, studying some more, and passing more assessments. Yesterday I passed my final exam with a mark of 96.6% (the pass score is 60% so I guess I’m suitable?) and soon will be let loose on the fleet, travelling to many exotic places……..and lots of not so exotic places (all while suffering from seackness, joy!).

I will try to update this blog as often as possible but it won’t be more than once or twice a week at least. So, what do I do you may ask? Basically, a steward is a fancy name for someone who serves food, cleans floors, hallways and ceilings (or on ships, cleans bulkheads, deckheads and flats). I am the general do it all (inside the ship). Thankfully I’m not a ‘Deckhand’, they work outside in the cold!

This is something I have wanted in my life for a long time, a career in the services which can provide for a happy future (hopefully). I have to thank my fiancée who pushed me into this though as without her, I’d still be stacking shelves in a supermarket working zero hour contracts, at least in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, I get a good wage, a civil service pension and a secure job (unless the government cut our forces numbers even more).

Anyway, for now, that is it.

More to come. Bye for now,

J.N.