I found making accurate and colourful cargo plans to be one of my most pleasurable experiences. I had kept a portfolio of "Ettrickbank" cargo plans on the Oriental African Line for many years but in a house fire three years ago, they were lost.
The marks details on a cocoa or coffee stow plan from the Pacific islands were very intricate and the end result produced a feeling of great pride in penmanship.
I was never happy with the Kelvin Hughes chart portfolios and rearranged their sequece in the chart drawers as well as the individual chart sequences in each portfolio. I prepared a sweeping review which I took to the Master to send to either Head Office or to K-H direct and he chewed me out! Pretty disappointed as I felt that in particular, the folios covering the regular Bank Line runs were not logically compiled. I still have by revisions from 50 years ago!
It seems we are debating the pleasures of a second mate's regular duties. Yes, it was a good job and I liked the fact that I was largely left alone during the 12-4. It was a time when Master's were comfortable with your professional competance.
But surely the Chief Mate's job was the best? Keeping the ship clean and smart at all times, organizing the cargo stow and keeping the crew gainfully employed!