Fully kitted out in bunker gear and SCBA during firefighting training for STCW-95. We had just recovered the mannequin from the smoke-filled burn house at the Union Fire District’s training facility.
There’s been a bit of a lag between posts lately, and for that I apologize. I looked at my stats today and saw that I’ve gotten 9,999 views since starting this blog last year. Pretty cool.
A lot has happened between then and now, both personally and professionally. I’ve recently spent some long hours in the class room at ConfidentCaptain/Ocean Pros, finally getting around to getting my U.S. Coast Guard 100-Ton Master’s License and STCW-95 certification. I survived for a long time on the water without any certification, just using my resume to get work, but lately it seems to make a lot more sense to be licensed. Insurance companies like it, boat owners like it, and even I like it. While I’ve spent most of my life on the water, there were still many things I didn’t know, especially the minutiae of rules of the road and lights and shapes. And then there’s the safety aspect. There is a goodness in being reminded about how dangerous it can be to be on the water.
I’m living back in Newport right now, which is a fine combination of deja vu and comfort. I lived in the Fifth Ward for over ten years, and I now pass by the house I owned on Morton Avenue nearly every day. Not much has changed in the neighborhood, which has maintained its same flavor for decades. People who live here tend to be from here, and unlike many places in town, it doesn’t really change, which explains my comfort level.
After being in Jamestown for nearly three years, it’s a little tough become re-accustomed to the nearly constant level of noise; sirens, diesel trucks blatting up Narragansett Avenue, and the sounds of late-night revelry on the weekend. The sounds in my neighborhood in Jamestown are muted; bird calls, coyotes, dogs barking in the distance, the muted noises from the traffic on Jamestown Bridge when the wind comes from the South, and the ocasional roar of a National Guard Hercules transport flying low overhead, lined up for the runway at Quonset Point. Which I love.
One of the very nice things about being back in Newport’s Fifth Ward is the proximity to the Cliff Walk, which I used to walk nearly every day. I’m getting back into that routine, and its a great thing to do, especially in the Fall, when the crowds thin out and I can appreciate the views, the exercise, and the changing of the seasons. Soon the loons, which spend their summers on the lakes of Northern New England and Canada will head south to spend the winter in the waters off Southern New England. Because they’re not mating and defending territory, they’re virtually silent when they’re here. I love their haunting call, and miss hearing it, but identify with their solitary, silent winter existence.