Six Months at Sea

Friday June 21, 2019 Written by Ronan

Martin Machado Sea Smith Journal Gallery 2

If you’ve ever dreamt of packing it in and escaping from life’s hassles (traffic, breakups, mean editors), Martin Machado’s lo-fi documentary may be just what you need. Shot entirely on handheld devices, the short film is a meditative insight into the life of a recent recruit to the Merchant Marine: a fleet of government-owned container ships run by civilians.

Machado had to go through a rigorous training process before he was allowed into the Marine. Once aboard, he recorded his six-month sojourn as a lookout on the ship as it travelled from Staten Island through the Mediterranean, into the pirated waters of the Gulf of Aden (the ship was decked with firing hoses and a spike for protection), to a dry dock for restoration in Singapore, all the way to its eventual return across the Pacific.

While the audio and camerawork is a little rough, Machado’s engaging narration – which traverses the job's practical, philosophical and psychological dimensions – makes for rewarding viewing. 

Want more Machado? He elaborates on his experiences over here.