SHE is the baby of the MV SOFI crew and has been ploughing the Bligh Waters and the Koro Sea for the past seven months.
For Caroline Smith, being a marine engineer is the best compromise she can have, as being a naval architect is her first love and something she had been striving towards.
I finally followed a member of my familys advice to just get into marine engineering since there is no course for naval architecture in Fiji but I have never regretted taking up marine engineering, Smith says.
The 20-year-old Savusavu woman has fallen for the life on the oceans ever since she first stepped onto the MV SOFI for her first practical job.
Her work includes being one of the first crew members to report to work, as they have to get the two Deutz engines ready before the ship sails.
Getting used to spending most of her weekends out at sea and having two days off mid-week is another thing she has come to accept as part of her job.
Prancing around in greasy overalls, slinging heavy steel-toed boots, smelling like an oil rig, sleeping in single bunks and compartments and fighting with the sea to keep your balance is part of her normal work day.
I have learnt a lot about the job and yes, the crew have been supportive. I have learnt to like this job and this has been a very good experience so far, she says.
The best part of her job is getting the chance to visit her family in Savusavu and travelling around Fiji.
After joining Consort Shipping, Caroline was lucky to be part of the MV SOFI crew that went to New Zealand for maintenance works.
But the one thing that helped her overcome challenges of being a marine engineer is her passion for the sea.
Growing up at Benawa Estate in Savusavu, Caroline always liked tinkering with things. And she even grew fascinated with symmetry and lines. Before long, she made up her mind to become a marine architect while attending Savusavu Secondary.
When I was young I would follow my dad around a lot and eventually got hooked onto tinkering with things. I would start to notice the way things are built or made and thats when it all started, Caroline says.
By the time she finished high school, she was stuck because the course that she loved the most was not offered locally.
There is more to come out of this Benawa girl. I would really love to realise my dream of becoming a naval architect, Caroline says.
While she may be taking the long road to achieving her dream, Caroline thinks for many young people like her, perseverance is the key.
One thing that young people should learn to have a lot of is patience. When they take part in something, they should learn that not all good things come early or as easily as they would like it to be, Caroline says.
She knows that she may not be the first nor the last woman to grace the lower decks of the MV SOFI but she remains confident that despite everything, patience and a bit of hard work are the only answers to her silent prayers.
Meanwhile, she plans to complete her marine engineering certificate before realising her dream of finally becoming a naval architect.