We were supposed to go out to sea for seventeen days to prepare for, and then conduct, our annual Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination, or ORSE. This evolution (usually code named "total hell" by we nuclear trained people) tests our ability to operate our reactor and propulsion plants safely. We got an excellent on last year's exam, and put to sea with the goal of nothing less this time around. The first six days of the underway proceeded without incident. But last Monday, we discovered a fault in a very important valve - specifically, one of the valves that controls the air we use to emergency blow to the surface in the event of a major casualty. This required us to return to port for twenty-four hours for repairs. That problem was resolved quickly and easily, and we went back out to sea at 1200 on Wednesday.
Less than twelve hours later, Memphis blew a giant hole in our plans. One of the major pumps in the propulsion plant developed a serious electrical fault, one that could only be fixed by replacing the pump's motor. Getting the old motor out and the new motor in requires a lot of interference to be removed; hence why we're sitting in port right now instead of making final preps for ORSE.
We returned to Groton again Friday morning, and after getting out of work, I took a spin on the stationary bike. After dinner, I picked up a few books from Borders and then headed to the Gold Club on Route 12 to see Jenna Haze. Her name wasn't one I was familiar with, but after checking out her MySpace, I decided it would be a good investment. I dropped over two hundred dollars at the Gold Club on Friday night, but it was all money well spent, and I have both pictures and witnesses to prove it.
Saturday was a duty day, and today was occupied primarily by a marathon session the the blackjack table at Mohegan. I was all over the place, but finished down only $20, and didn't even cash out the chips, since I anticipate going back either tomorrow night or Tuesday. Right now the schedule is treating us fortunately; we should be able to complete all our scheduled objectives and still get out holiday stand down period as planned - which means me departing for a week of leave on 19 December.
Something else came up during this past underway period. The Navy is throwing a metric crap ton of money at people in my rating to re-enlist. I could get a bonus of close to $75,000 to tack on two more years to my contract. Despite my repeatedly stated intent to not re-enlist, these new numbers have reopened the question for debate. The primary factor limiting me is the possibility that I may have to extend further than those two years at some later point. There'll be more on this subject in the near future.