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56 West Maple Avenue
Morrisville, PA 19067
Lost At Sea
By Scott Baxley
You’ve seen those ads on TV or in the Brochures. Those big, clean white
ships traveling to exotic places where the sun always shines and the seas are clear and
blue. The sounds of steel drums and reggae music waft peacefully through the air. Cold
drinks and tasty snacks are there for the asking. Maybe you’ve even taken one of those
relaxing cruises for a week or two. You probably met a few of those people that cook,
clean, and keep you entertained (and even photograph you). Who are these people?
And what kind of lives do they lead down there in the bowels of ships sailing the
oceans? Well I was one of those people who photographed you, and those other
crewmembers were my friends. We were all in the same boat, lost at sea, and away
from our homes and family.
I went to all those places many times over and lived with the crew. We suffered and
laughed together. A life at sea is not what you think, but probably better!
People always ask me how I got the job working on ships and, more often,
how could I ever leave such a job? Easy, my time on ships took me many places but
there is still no place like home. How I got there is a story soon to be told to you but the
fun really started after I got aboard. You may ask “Isn’t it like the Love Boat?” Well no, it
really wasn’t anything like that. That was television for God’s sake. I just wish that I
could have a cabin like the one that Julie had on the Princess. The few times that Ann
and I went on ships as passengers we didn’t even have that nice of a room. I was lucky
to have a porthole and my own bathroom. I always had to share. Yes, the Doctor really
does have as nice a place to live (and they do chase girls) but that is the exception. The
Captain has spacious quarters but he is rarely able to spend much time there. The guys
on television always seem to have spare time and they were always well rested. No
way! I routinely worked 60 to 70 hours per week. We rose early and stayed up late.
Three hours of sleep was rare. Mostly the crew could only hope for a catnap during the
day. We also had to deal with the fact that we lived in a moving hotel, with only so far to
go at sea. Those ships seem big, but after a few weeks I got accustomed to every
square inch. In short, each and every crewmember worked very hard but there are a
few good points I feel that I should mention.
The travel was great! I always got some time off in ports. I went to almost
twenty countries outside of the United States. The crew was from all over the world, and
I made some very good friends. There was a lot of beach time to be had in the
Caribbean. I never paid rent, utility bills, or needed gas money. I also got meals.
Sometimes this wasn’t so great, the food varied so wildly between companies. On my
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