Try the quiz and see where you wind up, you might be surprised!
I am so thankful to be at work. I am thankful that this year I have had more work than I’ve had since I was laid off in 2015. Maybe this long downturn is finally ending?
I’m thankful I still have some savings left. I’m not totally broke yet. I still have my house and most of my assets, though I’ve had to sell off a few things in order to survive the last few years with practically no work. I’m thankful I’ve had the years of experience of working in the offshore oilfield which prepared me for this time. I did all I could to be ready for the layoffs.
I’m thankful to be fairly healthy. I’m not deaf, dumb, blind or seriously injured. I do have some health issues (I’m getting old) and I’m still fat (nothing new there, I still have no success dieting). I’ve pretty much given up on that and just accept that I enjoy my food and drink and always will. I’d rather enjoy it all rather than deprive myself in hopes of a few extra years of life.
You never really know what’s going to happen anyway. You could die in a car wreck tomorrow. I could find out I have some kind of cancer next month. I have such a hard time right now with this ‘pandemic’, it has a 99%+ survival rate but everyone in the world seems to think it’s worth throwing away everything that makes life worth living in order to be ‘safe’. Like anyone ever could be.
There is no such thing as 100% safety in this world. Life entails risk! There is no living without it! Giving up so much, reaching for that 1% just seems totally insane to me.
I’m thankful for my friends. They accept me as I am. I don’t have to dress up or play any games. They don’t run me off (very often) if I start going on about one of my ‘conspiracy theories’. I’m glad I have so many I can talk about such interesting subjects with. I get super tired of having nothing to talk about but sports and babies!
I’m thankful that I’ll be able to eat and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner out here on the boat where we’re all living pretty much normally (we just check our temperatures daily). I do not have to worry about any idiotic mask mandates or restrictions on how many friends I can invite over to eat!
I’m really, really thankful that more and more people are starting to wake up. To stand up and fight for their (and our) freedom. That they are no longer willing to submit to the idiotic, arbitrary and ultimately useless rules and restrictions being forced upon the world using the excuse of a deadly pandemic (covid).
I’m thankful that I can still get around (tho who knows how much longer that will last with all the covid restrictions ongoing). I’ve been able to keep my ’97 F-150 going and do my best to take care of it. I don’t ever want to have to buy another car in my life!
I’d love to find somewhere to live where I don’t need a car at all. Somewhere like where I grew up in Florida, where everything I needed was within easy walking distance. Not like Texas, where everything you need is miles away and we have no real options for public transportation.
I’m thankful that I still have access to so many great books to read! I have my kindle with me and it’s full of a few dozen good ones. Everything from travel to horror, to biographies and science fiction. I also brought a stock of magazines with me. I’m still working through the Seaways from the Nautical Institute and just started on the National Geographic. I still have a couple of Smithsonian’s and Reason magazines to get through.
I’m thankful I have my house and garden to go home to when I get off this boat. A place of my own where I can spread out. I can relax and lay down on the couch if I feel like it. I can fill the fridge with food, cook and eat anything I feel like. I can adjust the temperature to where I’m comfortable (this boat is always freezing!). I can work on projects like painting while listening to my favorite music. I can look forward to getting outside to clean up my yard while the weather is nice and cool. I can enjoy watching my plants do their thing and pet the visiting cats that come by to meow at me pretty much every day.
I’m thankful for my cameras and computers. They allow me to take photos to help me remember all the fantastic places I’ve been and all the beautiful people I’ve met. I can look back and remember all the good times I’ve had and fantasize about having more in the future. I can wind up practically drooling over some of the emails I get describing bucket list destinations.
They also allow me to share and meet people all over the world who I’d never be able to in any other way. I’m thankful for that too. 🙂
What are some things you’re thankful for?
I’ve been back at work since late October. I joined this vessel in Amelia, LA on October 27. It’s an ex- Tidewater supply boat, the Ken C Tamblyn, renamed Ocean Guardian. It had been stacked for a few years until this company bought it, They had a couple of guys onboard for a few months, getting it ready to go to work. Then they lined up a job and crewed it up at the last minute.
A company new to the Gulf, has to have a super hard time finding work for their vessel. It’s been hell even for companies that have been around for decades. There are hundreds of boats stacked up all over the bayous of S Louisiana. They must have a hell of a salesman, they’ve managed to find work for it with a dive company for at least this one job. In November no less!
If I could find work like that, I would be seriously looking for a boat of my own.
Too bad I couldn’t sell steak to a starving man. Also, I’m still basically broke. Still trying to catch up to where I was a few years ago financially and don’t have any spare cash to invest in a boat or anything else.
I do think this is probably the best time to buy a boat I’ve seen in a long time. We got to work offshore for a while and then had to bring the boat in to Port Fourchon for the last hurricane (Eta). We spent a couple of days shifting between various docks (doing the old Fourchon Shuffle). It seemed busier than the last few times I’ve been in here.
We went offshore to get a little more work done before the weather kicked up again and we had to come back in. Again, we have no dock space so shifting around over and over. It seems to be a sign of an improving situation for boats working in the Gulf. Everything comes through Fourchon now a days (personally, I still think that’s a terrible idea- we should not put all our eggs in one basket/port).
There aren’t nearly as many boats in port as there were previously, but the ones that are here seem to have work. I see a lot of subsea boats running in and out with equipment on deck. I’ve noticed a few supply boats loaded with pipe and casing and various tools. Maybe things are finally picking up offshore?
The latest lease sale was a bit of good news, with a larger than expected $120 million bid. I really hope that translates into improved work situations for all us offshore workers. It’s been a LONG 5+ years since the layoffs started in 2014.
I’d really like to get at least one more full year of work in. I know so many people who have been struggling to survive the last few years and just trying to hold on. It would be great to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and come out strong again. I’ll just have to keep on hoping.
So, where in the world are people still living normal lives? I’ve heard Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, and of course the poster child- Sweden.
Sweden sounds like a beautiful country. I was there once when I was in high school. We stopped at Visby for a couple of days. I don’t remember a whole lot except that the weather was gorgeous and it was very green. I’d like to go back for a visit some time and see more of the country.
Croatia looks beautiful from what I’ve seen of it online. I used to work with a couple of guys from there. They both made it sound very nice.
Serbia? I don’t know anything about it except that it had a war going on for a while. I should probably be ashamed for my ignorance. I would love to go there and learn more about it. Any Serbians here, please feel free to inform me. 🙂
I’ve been to Turkey a couple of times. I really loved it. I love history and I enjoyed spending time in the many museums and some of the ruins around the country. The coastline is gorgeous and I bet there must be some good places to SCUBA dive. I could definitely see myself spending some time there.
Is anybody on here familiar with any of these countries? I’m especially curious right now about how different places are dealing with the covid-19 virus. How close to normal (the old normal, not the ‘new normal’) are they?
I think I will spend some time researching how many countries Americans are allowed to travel to and how much time we’re allowed to spend there. I hate to spend so much time, money and effort to go someplace and then get chased out after a short time due to visa issues. I think we were allowed only 3 months in European Schengen zone (before covid) and not allowed at all in a lot of places at this point.
Sad. Really, really sad.
I haven’t been very motivated to write or do much of anything else since all this covid crap started. I’m sure some of you believe it is a serious disease and we’re ‘all gonna die’ if we’re exposed to it like the media keeps terrorizing everyone with their dire predictions (none of which are true). I don’t believe any of it.
Oh yeah, I’m sure covid-19 is a new disease. What I don’t believe for a NY second is that it ever was a “dangerous pandemic”. We’ve known from the beginning that basically the only people seriously endangered if they catch it is those people who are already medically compromised.
What I don’t understand is why did most people around the world believe without a second thought what they were told by the ‘authorities’? Why did almost no one take a minute to question the narrative? Why did we all the sudden go along with their orders to place ourselves under house arrest- when we’re HEALTHY?
Why do we go along with the propaganda that this disease is so very different than every other one that we’ve ever dealt with? Normally, when we have something catching going around, we isolate those people who are sick- NOT the healthy people! Why are we doing the opposite now? Oh yeah, cause supposedly we’re ALL sick. We just don’t know it
That’s another thing. When did we all the sudden decide that someone is sick when they don’t have any signs of any kind of sickness? Covid testing involves sticking a swab so far up your nose there is pretty much a zero change that anything they find up there is ever coming out on its own. Even then, they have to multiply that sample dozens of times to make it come out with enough of a virus to show up positive. Then again, those tests are notorious for being WRONG.
But, because of all this, we’ve allowed our leaders to force the entire world to shut down.
The “new normal”.
This is causing MUCH MORE death, destruction and long term human misery than ANY virus ever possibly could!
Personally, I want to travel again. FREELY. I want to be able to enjoy life again. I am furious that so many people feel like they are justified in causing all this misery. I see the world falling apart and my country destroyed, it will never recover if we don’t stop this theft of our freedoms NOW.
I am torn between doing all I can to fight, staying home and taking a huge chance of winding up in some sort of prison. Or giving up everything I’ve ever worked for, running away to some foreign land and hoping it will not turn into the same panic driven banana republic the US is fast becoming.
It seems I am one of the very few who believe life is for LIVING and not for barely surviving while shivering in fear over some tiny chance of dying. Why won’t people face up to the fact that people die. It happens. It is going to happen to all of us one day. None of us is ever guaranteed to live even one more day, ever. Why are we allowing them to change so much of our lives for the worse, over THIS particular threat?
And one more question: why do so few allow their fears (or even worse- other peoples fears) to rule their lives and place no value on freedom?
I’m asking everyone her, who knows of a place- anywhere in the world- that has not gone bonkers over the novel coronavirus? Does anybody have any suggestions where a person can go to live like normal? NOT the “new normal”, which is anything BUT normal! I want to go back to actually LIVING my life, not getting used to giving up everything that makes life actually worth living.
I want to be able to talk to people- up close, not from 6 feet away- to see their facial expressions and smiles. I want to be able to give and receive a hug or a handshake without people looking at me like I’m going to somehow murder them. I want to be able to enjoy traveling again, in comfort (or at least what passed for comfort in those tiny airline seats). I want to be able to visit a new place without having to plan every minute in advance since everything is so confounding with all the ridiculous covid rules. I want to see busy city streets full of people living their normal lives and lined with thriving small businesses of all sorts- open to everyone without restriction.
I can’t stand to see what’s going on around the world and especially in America. Once the “home of the brave and land of the free”. Sadly, the insane over reaction to this virus has completely demolished any real freedoms Americans had left.
When “our leaders” can put all of under house arrest. When they can arbitrarily decide who can and can’t go to work, who’s allowed go shopping (and what we can or can’t buy), who’s allowed to keep their business going, …
They have taken it on themselves to decide who can and can’t actually LIVE in this ‘brave new world’ they’ve shoved down our throats. I shouldn’t say it like that, since it seems so very few object to this new medical tyranny.
Most of the people I see when I go out anywhere seem to be completely OK with the ‘mandates’ coming down from above. No matter how stupid, senseless and ridiculous they are!
For example, the mask mandates… there is not one single scientifically rigorous study anywhere that shows that masks help prevent the spread of the flu (or covid). There are a whole lot of them that do show that masks are actually harmful! Yet, our leaders still insist we wear them and most people are happy to comply. WHY?
I want to know WHY we have all thrown out our common sense and submitted to these draconian measures for THIS particular disease? The experts, even the ones at the CDC and the WHO have admitted that masks are NOT the way to go! They have admitted that these mandates (masks, social distancing, lockdowns) are all MUCH MORE HARMFUL than the virus itself.
Why does no one care about all the other reasons people die every year? All the deaths from car accidents, plane crashes, cancer, obesity, tuberculosis, malaria, and all the other diseases have somehow lose all importance and we ONLY care about covid- WHY?
I admit, I am a conspiracy theorist. but when there is no apparent reason for something then I start looking for something that may be hidden a little bit. In this instance, it is blaringly obvious to me that all this is about nothing but CONTROL. PERIOD!
Why this disease and why now? Simple, because it is only now that “they” are able to exert so much control over us all. With the rise of the “surveillance state“, digital currency (or even credit cards), and social capital like in China, they have the technology in place to track, trace and eventually take complete control of EVERY aspect of our lives.
So, I was able to find another job after only 2 months at home this time. This company called me out of the blue late Friday afternoon and asked if I could join the ship by Monday. Luckily, I have been keeping my sea bags packed and only had a couple of things I needed to take care of before I could leave.
I flew to New Orleans Monday evening, spent the night in a hotel and had my covid test the next morning before heading to the ship in Morgan City. It’s an old Tidewater OSV. This company bought it cheap and somehow managed to find work for it.
There are hundreds of these vessels laid up all over Louisiana. If I had a steady paycheck or a decent amount of money in the bank, I would be looking to buy one myself. Of course, I would first need to find a job for the boat and I’ve never been much of a salesman. Too bad, now is a time of fantastic opportunities if you have any way to hold on until things get better.
Boats, real estate, etc. I think any hard assets would be worth investing in right now. I’m very tempted to take what little savings I do have left and put it into real estate. Either another small rental locally or something overseas in a place I’d like to spend some time.
That’s a major issue. I can’t decide where to go. I’ve already been trying to move out of the US for a long time. I hate watching what’s happening here. I realize there’s really nothing I can do to change things. I LOVE what this country stands for and I believe in our founding principles 100%. I just can’t stand to see all that just thrown in the garbage. It’s extremely frustrating, depressing and makes me miserable if I think too much about it. I try to ignore it most of the time, but like when I have to fly and the TSA forces the loss of my freedom right up into my face, I just can’t ignore it any more and the whole flight is ruined.
I’m not a big Trump fan, but I have to admit he did do some good things for this country. I was hoping he would win the election (if Jo Jorgensen lost). Bidens plans will just flush us down the toilet even faster. I’d like to see some REAL FREEDOM in the USA, or anywhere in the world for that matter!
My best hope at this point is the Seastead ship. The “Santochi”. I’ve already emailed to ask for a job on there. I don’t see them looking for mariners (they must already have some), but I do see them looking for painters, plumbers, carpenters, etc. If I had any of those skills, I would definitely apply!
The prices for ‘apartments’ onboard seems pretty reasonable, even considering that they’re all up for bid so might come in quite a bit more than their starting price. The real issue is the monthly cost on top of the purchase price. You have to pay a fee, similar to a condo fee for maintenance (fuel, water, electric, etc) and that will add up quickly. Too expensive for me to afford, although IF it was actually going to be run as a libertarian community I would sacrifice a LOT in order to be part of it.
As I said, I would love to see at least ONE place somewhere in the world where people could live with some real, actual freedom. The USA used to offer that. Sadly, that is no longer the case. It hasn’t for a long time now. It’s just getting to be more and more obvious.
The covid panic has brought it all out into the open. We have become a corporatocracy- 100%! We have no real freedom any more. Our state governors have declared that none of us has any right to work, to travel, to shop for food or anything else, to go to church or to gather for any reason. They have made themselves the supreme arbiters of our lives. WHO gave them that power??? I most certainly did NOT! NONE of us did! They STOLE that power and they have NO legitimate authority!
President Trump did the right thing constitutionally by ‘allowing’ the state governors to decide how to handle it, but if I were him (especially knowing everyone hated him already), I would’ve declared that the USA was going to handle the “pandemic” in accordance with our foundational principles. That we would not shut down ANYTHING. That if anyone felt concerned about their ability to deal with a virus that had only a 0.0003% fatality rate and almost no one realized they had until they had a swab stuck up their nose almost to their brain and then replicated dozens of times in order to gather enough of the virus to show up on the (60%+ WRONG) test, they’d be welcome to stay home and quarantine themselves. Everyone else was going to go on LIVING their lives!
Any ship, airline, bus or business of any sort doing business in the USA in any fashion would be 100% immune from any legal action relating to covid-19. People could choose to do business or not according to their own risk tolerance but they would NOT be able to push off the responsibility for their choices onto anyone else!
Americans would uphold their traditions of the home of the brave and the land of the free and NOT the country full of paranoid whiny babies who can’t take any personal responsibility and run home terrified to mommy government over the slightest risk.
The world has gone completely nuts over this covid virus. It deserves it’s name covid-1984! The governments and media of the world are complicit in the worst crimes against humanity by their decisions to TERRORIZE everyone over this disease.
What I don’t understand is why have so many otherwise intelligent people fallen so completely for the SCAM? Why do we pay even one bit of attention to our leaders when they insist that we can’t let even one person die (from covid- when milliions die every day from all sorts of other things)? It’s so OBVIOUSLY NOT ABOUT OUR HEALTH OR SAFETY!
And yes, even tho some people have died from covid, it is still a scam! There is NO reason at all to shut down the world over this particular disease. Ebola-with a 80%+ fatality rate, people melting down into a bloody mess- yes- THAT would be a justifiable reason to shut down the world. THIS disease is NOT!
I sometimes mention in my posts that I’ve been busy. I was thinking, maybe people might be interested to know what we’re so busy doing out here in the middle of nowhere. Well, at the moment I’m back to working as DPO. Dynamic Positioning Operator. On here they call my job ADPO (assistant). They have a DPO and ADPO. Other places the same jobs are labeled SDPO (senior DPO) and DPO. What we do is drive the ship.
Seems like most of the time our job is to keep the ship in exactly the same spot. Especially on a drilling rig, which is where I’m at now. We’re working about 100 miles E of Guyana, a smallish country in the Northeast coast of South America.
I’ve never been to Guyana before and don’t really consider that I’ve been there yet. All I’ve seen of the country is the airport and what I could spot through the rain on an hour long van ride from there to the heliport. I doubt I will be able to see anything else on the way home either.
Here’s what a day on board here looks like for me…
My alarm rings at 0420. I wake up, stumble to the bathroom, brush my teeth and hair. Get dressed and then head to the bridge to collect the data I must report at the morning pre-tour meeting (work technically starts at 0600).
After I get the information I need, I head down to breakfast. I’m usually there from 0510-0525 and then have to hurry to get to the meeting at 0530. I can’t be late. I’m not the first person to report, but I am second. I report on the weather during the night, at the moment, and expected during the day ahead. I report on the vessel heading, the wind and current, the ‘drift off times’ for the drillers so they have an idea how quickly they’d have to disconnect if we had some kind of issue.
When the meeting breaks up, I catch the elevator to the bridge (around 0555) with a few others who work on the Nav deck (this is where most of the offices are on this ship). I meet my relief and go over what’s been happening overnight and then he’s free to leave and I take over the DP desk.
I go through the checklists, making sure all the reference systems are giving good data, the engines and thrusters aren’t working too hard, the ship is staying well within her heading and position limits. I’ll call the engine room and the drill floor to check our DP status alert lights (green, blue, yellow and red). If anything happens, we can flip a switch on the bridge and everyone will immediately be aware of an issue and take steps accordingly.
Once I’ve completed the checklists, I continue to monitor everything. I have cameras to see a lot of places on the ship. I usually watch the drill floor, the helideck if there are choppers expected, the boats working alongside, and the cranes to help me see if I need to ballast.
Sometimes, it’s really slow. Other times, the weather is changing or there’s a lot going on and it gets stressful. I’m always busy with answering the phone, making pages, standing lookout, communicating with other vessels, keeping up the log books, etc. We usually work an hour on the desk and then an hour off for our 12 hour long days.
The hour off the desk we take care of people with work permits, answer emails, keep our charts and publications up to date, work on any projects the captain gives us, etc. We get relieved for meals, a half hour. The food is pretty good. I wish I had more than a half hour to eat it. I can only really enjoy it at dinner time after I get off watch at 1800.
This is our routine every day for 28 days. Only Sunday is a little different because we almost always have drills. It’s a US Coast Guard requirement that we have fire and abandon ship drills at least every week. There are a bunch of others we have to have too: man overboard, rescue at heights, confined space rescue, oil spill response, ballast control, helicopter crash, dynamic positioning, H2S, security, search and rescue, etc.
Sundays at sea used to be a day of leisure. We only had to do the absolutely necessary work for the ship. It was also the day we could take it easy, do our laundry, relax and take it easy. Now, it’s the busiest day on board. We all have so many ‘safety’ items to take care of: lifeboats & FRC (fast rescue craft) for the mates, on the bridge we are doing our housekeeping checklist, cleaning the bridge, exercising the ballast valves, a more detailed GMDSS (radio) check, weekly chart/publication updates, check the beacon batteries, update reports, etc.
People see the DPOs on a rig sitting in a nice chair on the bridge and think we’ve got it easy. That that is all we do.
So, to catch up a little bit since I took that long break from writing anything on here, I’ll tell a little bit about what’s been going on in my world.
My last post before the break, I was just leaving for the Seven Pacific. I flew out to Moble, AL to join the ship, everything was still pretty normal. As the days passed by, the panic grew around the coronavirus spreading worldwide.
The TV in the mess hall was continually reporting every death and the resulting fear-induced over reactions. Lockdowns and government tyranny spreading almost everywhere. I remember hearing of Chinese government agents welding shut the doors of their people (tho who knows how much to believe of any news out of China).
I have always been skeptical of anything coming out of the TV and almost never take the news at face value. The constant terrorism set off alarm bells for me almost from day one. Nothing made sense. If this virus has been floating around the world since October (when it was first reported in China), then it should have already spread around the world by April.
I had been traveling a lot since October. I was in Chile, traveling by bus, taxi and plane, before and after my cruise to Antarctica (with quite a few Chinese tourists onboard). I had spent a few days wandering around Santiago, mingling with the huge crowds of protestors (notice how all those protests- Chile- Hong Kong- Paris- etc- ALL just suddenly stopped without even a whimper out of all those millions of rightly angry protesters). I had spent a couple of days at the casinos in Lake Charles. I had spent over a month on board two different vessels, each with over 100 crew from all over the world. Yet, neither I, nor anyone on board had any kind of symptoms.
Many of the crew were listening to the constant listing of deaths around the world and were becoming very concerned about their friends and families at home. Then came the lockdowns and travel restrictions. I was lucky to be able to get off the ship and go home. That was only because I was onboard as an extra hand and didn’t require a relief. I actually had a relief try to meet me on the ship. He flew to the states from Cyprus (which still allowed travel). He spent days flying half way across the world, only to be turned away at the heliport in Houma, LA and had to fly all the way back home! Then, to top it off, he had to go into quarantine when he got back over there!
None of the Filipinos were allowed to travel. Most of them on ships around the world still aren’t allowed to go home or return to work if they’re at home. Most of them have already been working 6 months and now are over by 6 months or more. How in the world can anyone justify keeping seafarers locked up onboard for so long?
Whatever, right? We all just need to get over it. Amazing, but that’s what so many people keep on telling us. Like it’s no big deal to be kept from seeing your friends and family for many months more than you had agreed to. Or that you must sacrifice everything you’ve worked for your entire life to help other people deal with their fears.
Anyway, I was very lucky to be able to get home, only a little over a week late. I can always use the money and all the things I wanted to do had already been shut down/canceled anyway. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those poor Filipinos in the crew were still stuck onboard. The company didn’t seem very concerned about making crew change. Why would they be? It had to be saving them a fortune in air fares.
I had a good hitch on that ship. It was a beautiful vessel, with a good crew and an interesting job. We did a lot of underwater installation work that hitch. Laying down pipelines and jumpers. That sort of thing. I was home by the end of March. It was so weird, flying home with only 5 people on the plane- 3 of them from my ship. The airports at both ends were totally deserted. I felt like I was somewhere in the Twilight Zone.
I still feel like that. Or really, more like George Orwell’s 1984.
It’s been a long time. I’ve debated just giving up and letting the blog go, but when the renewal notice came in recently I decided to keep it.
I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much of anything at all. It’s been really, really hard for me to get motivated to do anything. If you’re been following me for any length of time, I’m sure you can guess why.
One reason I started this blog was to try to build an audience for my work. My writing, photography and art. Another was to ‘meet’ people online, from all around the world to have interesting conversations.
I haven’t had much success with the first goal, I’ve never made a dime from anything to do with my blog. I have kept on hoping to find a way to earn some income here, whether from directly selling a painting or photo to someone who sees something they like, or someone likes what I’m writing and gets in touch to see if I can do anything for them, or even figuring out how to put some relevant ads on here (instead of the ridiculous crap they’ve been putting up- I’m pretty sure no one here is really interested in those ads for skin creams or the diet pills that ‘really work’).
I’ve had much better luck with the second goal: to meet interesting people around the world and learn from each other about all kinds of things. I really was hoping for more back and forth discussion, but maybe a blog is not the right place for that? Facebook seems to get all of that sort of action.
I don’t want to scare off anybody, but I’ve decided that sometimes I do really want to just go at it on here. I want a place to express my thoughts and not have them censored. Facebook and Twitter are getting to be really bad about that sort of thing.
So. I hope if you’re still hanging in there, following me and looking forward to seeing whatever I may post, that you won’t get scared off by what I’m fixin’ to do.
I managed to get back offshore. I’ll write more about that soon. As usual, I don’t have a lot of time or internet access to be able to blog much from out here, but I will try to post more often than I have been lately (that shouldn’t be hard at all). 😉
Please comment and let me know what you’re up to and your thoughts on this. I’m really hoping to get back into the online community (I still miss the old wordpress).
I got off the Ocean Evolution last week. I had to drive home (8+hr drive) so I spent a little time job hunting on the way. I stopped in the office when I picked up my truck, hoping to talk to someone there and got lucky. I was able to talk to the HR people and they helped me get my application filled in (I’ve been trying to do it on their website, but it wouldn’t let me past the 2nd page).
I don’t really have any idea if anything will come of it, they couldn’t give me a time frame for when or if I might be needed, but I still felt pretty good when I left. It might’ve helped that I worked there for 5 years directly a few years back. I probably should’ve just stayed there, but got one of those “too good to be true” offers and took it.
Next door was another boat company, so I stopped there too. I was able to speak to a man there who actually seemed interested. We talked for a while about the good old days in the Gulf. Back when things were booming and we could still go to work in shorts and flip-flops. God I miss those days!
It was already getting late, so I was only able to make one more stop that day. Was told there, they would probably be laying people off again next week (now). With the Coronavirus panic wreaking havoc all over the world, I expect that’s already happened. Looks like we’re in for at least another year of horrible job prospects in the maritime industry.
I made it home late Thursday and spent the weekend running errands and getting caught up with the foot-high pile of mail blocking my front door. I was also able to spend some time online, looking at things I wasn’t able to at work (not stupid stuff- but internet was super sluggish onboard and lots of sites were blocked).
I saw a post on Linkedin Sunday where they were looking for a DPO and I made a comment. I was super surprised that they actually called me back. That never happens! Turns out I was accepted for the position and had to get ready to travel again immediately.
This one, the Seven Pacific, will be my home for the next 2 weeks. 🙂
I left yesterday afternoon and am waiting to join the ship here in Mobile now. 🙂
I’m still here onboard the Ocean Evolution. It’s a slow Sunday at the dock. Usually Sundays are what we call “Safety Sunday”. We try to take it easy and do a lot of safety related stuff (more than usual).
We thought we were going offshore today to do some testing, so we did all our drills yesterday after the usual Saturday steak BBQ. Today I haven’t done much but a little bit of ballasting for some crane ops, a little bit of paperwork and standing gangway watch.
That whole gangway watch thing is new since 9-11. We’re supposed to be on the lookout for terrorists who instead of just shooting us with an RPG from the dock, want to try their luck to sneak aboard and somehow attack a ship full of some fairly tough men (these guys don’t sit behind a desk all day). We also have a lot of things that could be quite dangerous if we want them to be. A match for any bunch of losers with box cutters!
Personally, I think the whole ‘be afraid, be very very afraid” of the terrorist thing is WAY overblown. I have zero fear of any terrorist. What I do fear is the fact that our government has used that fear to destroy our way of life. They’ve done it a hell of a lot more effectively than any terrorist could imagine in their wildest dreams!
As an example, I was reading an article today on how many people in the US don’t yet have “REAL ID” (internal passports, just like the old USSR and NAZI Germany used to have- great examples we’ve decided to follow). I have no idea how the “added security” these new IDs will help us in the USA. After all, this country’s government has one purpose and one purpose ONLY.
That SOLE purpose is: to protect the rights and freedoms we already have as human beings!
Will someone, anyone, please tell me exactly how forcing us to “show your papers please” anytime we want to travel (which we’re constitutionally guaranteed to be able to do without any kind of government interference) is going to help anything?
The ONLY thing it will do, is to continue to turn us into a bunch of zombies, dependent on our government masters to protect us from everything in the world (including ourselves). We’ve already gone way too far down that road to serfdom.
I’ll post this quote from Ben Franklin again here. It’s just as true now as when he (supposedly) said it back when we were fighting for our freedom from the British.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
We need to wake the hell up and start fighting for it again NOW, before it’s too late. We will never have a safe society and I- for one- don’t want one. I want a FREE society. I want to be able to live my live, make my own choices and have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. I am sick and tired of the nanny state being forced upon us all. We’re NOT all babies here. We’re entitled to live as fully functioning adults until and unless we prove we’re (individually) incapable of that.
I don’t know how many of you may support the nanny state we’re living in now, but if you do I’d like to hear your reasons. Why would anyone think we should choose to live in a “safe” society (which is unattainable) to living in a free society (which is also probably not 100% possible, but I’m sure it’s a lot easier to achieve and a lot better for a lot more people).
Let’s have a real discussion here. 🙂
PS- we used to be able to discuss interesting subjects like this in the local bars until the MAD mothers put a stop to that! Most of the bars have closed and no one talks anymore about anything but sports (men) and babies (women).
PSS- Just to be 100% clear- this blog is mine. Everything I post here is something I think is useful, relevant, interesting (to me and hopefully to others). It is never, in any way, related to any company or person I work for. My comments are based on my interpretations of my research and I don’t mean for them to reflect on anyone else. I don’t think what a person does on their own time should be anybody’s business at work, but apparently way too many businesses think they own you 24/7 and they do think it’s their business. I refuse to shut up, but again, just to make it clear. None of what I say here has anything to do with anybody but me. No company or boss has ever agreed with me on anything! 😉
I’ve been at work the last couple of weeks (finally), so I haven’t been able to get online much. We just got back in to the dock and my phone started working again. Things have slowed down a bit now, so I’m taking the opportunity to check out the blogosphere and found Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge for today. So here’s my orchid shot…
I’m out on the Ocean Evolution again. I haven’t had a chance to post much since I got here. Internet is not co-operating tonight either. I’ll try again when I get a chance.
It’s been almost 6 months since my last job. I’ve been getting desperate (never a good frame of mind- people can sense it). I thought I’d be able to pick up some work when I got back from my last trip. The Christmas holiday is usually the best time of the year to get temp jobs. People always want to spend time with their friends and families, so they’ll ask for time off.
Well, not this year. Not for the last 4 years before that. I thought before I left for that trip that things were finally improving, but everyone is still too afraid for their jobs to take any chances. Maybe their job won’t be there when they come back, so they stay onboard and temp employees like me are out of luck.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time online looking for work (again). I’ve already applied everywhere I can think of (except MSC– my absolute last resort). I’ve done this at least a half dozen times, just going down the list of any companies with ships. I’ve called each of them a few times, eventually giving up when I can’t get past their computerized answering machine/secretary to talk to someone who knows something. I’ve even gone in person a few times.
I’ve filled out the same applications over and over (wondering exactly why do they need to know when/where I went to high school and what my grades were from 40 years ago?).
Every time I actually manage to talk to someone, all I get is- “we’re not actually hiring, we’re just collecting resumes”. I don’t know why they post ads. Some even put up billboards that say they’re “hiring all positions”. I wonder why they’re bothering to collect more resumes, they must have thousands on file from the last 5 years of this latest downturn in the oilfield. Why collect them if they’re not going to ever look at them?
It’s been so bad. I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve been seriously thinking about quitting. Just throwing away 40+ years of professional maritime experience (not even counting another few years working on the water before I got my first z-card). Just to sit and twiddle my thumbs at home. I’ve been trying to make a few bucks doing things I enjoy- like selling my photography, paintings, writing- but no one seems interested in buying. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get noticed online. I’m competing with millions of others so no one even sees my stuff.
I absolutely refuse to waste my skills and experience. The idea of spending the rest of my life working at someplace like Walmart or McDonalds gives me the willies, but it seems those are the only kinds of jobs I’m “qualified for” on land. I mean, who needs a ship captain on the beach?
So, in order to save money I put an ad in the paper for a room mate. I need someone in my house to help pay the bills so I can afford to do something with myself (other than sit at home vegetating). I’d like to go ahead and make the move to Mexico I’ve been trying to do for years. At least there I can afford to live a decent life. I won’t wind up a grumpy old lady dining on cat food with my measly social security check (since I’ll have spent my retirement funds in the 12 more years to go before I’m eligible).
I only had one call for a potential room mate so far, so nothing to hang around for. I saw a post online for a job fair in Lafayette, LA. They had one company (Pacific Drilling), with one job that I wanted. I had already applied for that job 4 times before, but figured it would be better to talk to someone. I really don’t think anyone ever looks at those online application they all sluff you off with. So I decided to give it one more try and drove up to Lafayette.
I planned to make the rounds of the bayou boat companies again afterwards, so I brought my sea bag with me- just in case.
I got lucky! I was planning to leave after my painting class, early Tuesday afternoon. I got a call from one of my agencies about a possible job. Of course I told them I would take it, but was going to continue with my plans to go to the job fair anyway, in case their job offer fell through.
Turned out, the job did come through. Yeah! I confirmed it when I was at the job fair. I was amazed at the crowds of people that showed up. There must’ve been at least 1000 people in the room, just in the hour I was there. Just shows how bad we’re still hurting in the oilfield.
The line for Pacific Drilling was tripled up across the room and then continued snaking out the door and all the way down the hall. By the time I got to the table to sign in, the stack of resumes was already at least 2 feet high. It was still 3 hours before they shut down the place!
The recruiter I spoke to sounded positive. I was hopeful I would hear back from her, but I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to keep on talking to people until you actually get on the boat. I continued on with the job hunt all that afternoon in the Lafayette area and then headed towards Morgan City.
I found out that afternoon, I would have to take another drug test (I just had one in October) before I would be allowed to join the vessel, so decided the best thing to do would be to spend the night in Morgan City, take the drug test 1st thing in the morning, then continue with the job hunt until I had to be at the dock at 1800 for a ride to the ship.
I joined the vessel about 2000 Thursday. The Ocean Evolution, (I was on it last year). So far, we’ve been sitting at the dock. I was hoping to go straight to work since I really need DP time! The officials have changed that system too, to where your certs expire if you’re not working so many days per year. I’m just thrilled to be getting a paycheck at this point, and at least I’m getting sea time. Every day is precious at this point. I can’t afford to lose my license, or I really will have to retire and no choice about it.
Thanks to this job, I’ll be OK for at least another 2 months without having to take anymore out of my retirement savings. Only 5 more months and I’ll be 69. It sucks when you start praying to be old, just so you can think you’re one more year closer to (hopefully) not outliving your savings.
The muted wintry landscape sped by, shaded a weird blue hue by the vans tinted windows carrying us across the island to Bluff Cove. The browns of the tall withered grasses and deep greens of the heather lying close to the ground were broken up by weird rivers of broken rocks. This “stone run” landscape is unique to the Falkland Islands, caused by the erosion, thawing and freezing of the last ice age.
Bluff Cove Lagoon lies on the opposite side of the island from Stanley, about a half hour drive. Final approach to the farm passes over low rolling hills on a rutted dirt track to a wide spot where we traded in our vans for a fleet of 4 x 4’s (jeeps).
Speeding along in our jeeps, bouncing across sheep-shorn green grass and grinding through deep muddy ruts, we’re dropped off with a short speech at the rookeries near the beach. A flock of about 1000 gentoo penguins along with another 20 pairs of the kings we’d come to see were nesting there. Squeaking and preening, poaching rocks and tending eggs, they paid us no mind as we stood at the marked boundary and hustled for photos.
Along the edge of the lagoon, another 10-15 kings and their chicks- looking like fluffy brown puff balls- huddled in the steady cold wind. They paid no attention to us, but threatened the occasional goose that wandered to close to their chicks with their long sharp beaks.
It was wonderful to get so close to these wild birds. We were told not to approach closer than 5 m, but the birds apparently never got the memo. 🙂
It was a beautiful sunny day, but the wind was strong and it got so it was hard to hold my camera steady. With hundreds of penguin photos, I was ready for a hot drink. Picking my way through the fields littered with pellets of goose poop, I stopped at the top of the rise to take in the gorgeous seascape before me.
The ocean was a dark teal color, with breakers shining electric blue as they rolled onto the blindingly white beach, the wind blowing streamers of spray and sand upon the few brave birds searching for food along the shore.
The Sea Cabbage Cafe beckoned with the smell of hot chocolate and baked goodies in the air. The small kitchen bustled with friendly chefs, all ready to suggest their favorites among the many options to choose from: lemon drizzle cake, Hattie’s famous carrot cake, scones with local diddle-dee jam and farm fresh cream, chocolate chip, peanut butter and coconut lace cookies, chocolate cake and even gluten free varieties. Yum!
Maybe I should’ve spent less time with my cameras and more with the cookies? I didn’t even have a chance to check out the gift shop before it was time to head back to the vans. Next time, for sure. 🙂
The capital of the Falkland Islands, Stanley is a small town of only about 2500 pop (2016 census). I wondered how isolated and deprived the local people might feel, or if they missed much the ‘advantages’ of the big cities of the rest of the world. I wonder if they get sick of all the tourists tromping through their town when the cruise ships come in?
I think I wouldn’t mind living somewhere like Stanley. It has all I need- boats to work with, friendly people to talk to, museum, shops, restaurants, hospital, pubs, and beautiful scenery to walk around in.
Sadly, I didn’t get much of a chance to hang out and BS with the locals or sample the local delicacies. We were only there for the day and there was so much I wanted to do.
After stopping in to check out the local Seaman’s Center, I followed the paved footpath along the harbor front from the ship into town. There were informational signs along the way to describe the sights and the different birds to see along the way.
I detoured across the road to take a look at the cemetery. A large monument- the Cross of Sacrifice- tops the central stairway flanked with poppy- painted stones in remembrance of those killed in war.
The gates were closed, so I just peeked over the fence and continued walking along the harbor front, appreciating the history lessons I was getting from the signs along the way.
I noticed a couple of sailboats at the boat yard as I approached downtown. I was expecting more traffic, this being pretty much the only port for thousands of miles. But I guess maybe that’s why there wasn’t more?
There used to be a lot more. I really wanted to see the old sailing ships. Stanley Harbor is littered with the wrecks of about 20 ships- 100 more scattered around the Falklands. I had already passed by the wreck of the Afterglow- a 1920’s patrol boat- next to an old chimney used to burn the bones in ‘Hutchies’ slaughterhouse. All that’s left of the Afterglow is the boiler.
Downtown Stanley looked like a what I imagine a small British town from the 1950’s would look like. A two-lane main street with shops, cafes, and government offices clustered in the center. The famous whalebone arch and cathedral are right across the street from the Post Office with the red phone booths outside. The streets are lined with neat little houses and well tended gardens. A couple blocks from the Post Office brings you to the Falkland Islands Museum.
Continue past the museum to find ‘Victory Green’ with a few old cannons and the mizzen mast of the SS Great Britain. The famous six master of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She was launched in Bristol (UK) in 1843. She was the longest (322′) and most advanced passenger ship in the world from 1845-1854. She was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic in 1845 (in 14 days). She had a troubled lifetime, including being sold for salvage once and being sunk for 33 years in Stanley. Eventually, she was raised, restored and is now a museum ship back in Bristol.
For such a small and out of the way town, they do have a lot of war memorials, and they’re all well tended to. The 1982 Liberation Memorial is just past the museum, and after another couple of war memorials (Royal Marines, Battle of the Falklands, and 1914 Sea Battle of the Falklands), you’ll finally find the wreck of the Jhelum.
She was an East Indiaman, built in 1849 in Liverpool. Abandoned in 1870 after suffering much damage in a storm and just barely able to limp into Stanley. I was a little disappointed. There really wasn’t much left of the Jhelum. The weather had turned nasty again, with high winds and cold, so I decided to head back to explore the museum.
It was full of all sorts of interesting items explaining Stanley and the Falkland Islands. History, battles, biology, botany, Antarctica, and stories of day to day living were on display. I was especially fascinated by the artifacts of nautical history upstairs (of course). They had photos, paintings and pieces of the ships that called on their port during the heyday of the great sailing ships.
They had ships wheels, and ships bells, figureheads and furniture, chart tables, samples of salvaged cargos (ink), silverware, and so many more interesting items.
I would’ve loved to stay longer, but signed up for the tour over to see the king penguins on the other side of the island, so had to get going. Maybe one day I can return to spend more time.
I always enjoy these photography challenges whenever I see them. I love to see the beautiful photos everyone posts, and I like to share mine too. 🙂
Here’s the link to this week’s challenge- Leading Lines.
And here are a few of my photos.
I hope you like my photos, if you click the links in the captions, you can find out more about them. 🙂
Tuesdays are my busiest days of the week. I’ve started going back to painting class Tuesday mornings. I was taking a class in oil and pastels, but the lady who taught that class ‘retired’. So I had no class to go to for a while.
Recently, they started a watercolor class that I’ve been going to for a couple of weeks. Here’s a couple I started last week. I think I need to add something- any ideas?
I’ve always loved art. Wether it’s making my own, or enjoying someone elses. Painting, photography, writing, music, sculpture, dance, etc. It’s all good. 🙂
Watercolor painting is very different than oil painting. It seems harder to me because you can’t easily correct a mistake (or maybe I just haven’t learned how yet). It seems easier to me in that it’s a lot ‘looser’. You can just paint a lot faster, or at least it seems that way to me.
After paint class, I like to go to the movies if there’s anything interesting showing. The theatre has specials on Tuesdays. It’s only $5 for the movie and they have a $5 popcorn + drink special. If I go any other day it’s about $20!
Last week I went to see Just Mercy. Wow! I thought this was a great movie. Not one with special effects or tricks, but high drama and a very compelling story. It’s about a black lawyer (Bryan Stevenson) who graduates from Harvard and goes down to Alabama to work with death row inmates.
The film concentrates on his work with Jimmy D (Walter McMillian)- a black man who was wrongly convicted of killing a white woman in 1986. You might think that people would be glad to have justice served. Nope. It really upset me to watch this film and see how wrong I was (am). People just don’t seem to give a damn as long as it doesn’t affect them personally. It amazes me how corrupt our system (still) is- and not just for black people, tho I am absolutely positive that poor blacks get treated a lot worse than rich whites (or rich anybody).
All of the actors did a great job. Jamie Foxx and Micheal B. Jordan played the 2 main characters, they did a fantastic portrayal. I was raging and crying right along with them. I highly recommend this movie. It’s based on a true story. I’m sure there are many similar stories going on today. We still have a long way to go to achieve our ideals of a free country with liberty and justice for all. A long way. This film is a wake-up call, if enough people will see it and take it seriously.
After the movie got me all riled up last week, I went to my Tuesday night meet up of the Campaign for Liberty. We meet every Tuesday at the Wayside Pub. I haven’t been going much lately. Mostly because it’s so depressing to me. We get together and talk about all the crazy shit that’s happening around the country. The concentration has been on what an individual can do to remove themselves from the mess. Some people are seriously committed to that.
I prefer to concentrate on fixing the actual problems. Sadly, I still don’t find any solutions at those meetings. I don’t see any way to fix anything all by myself. It takes numbers and the general populace just isn’t interested in anything but having “their guy” win- regardless of how that will harm the situation in the long run.
The weekly meeting is just a social event for me now. I don’t make it a priority anymore, but I do still like to go. At least there I can talk to other people who understand my concerns. I wish more people would, but I understand how it’s so much easier to ignore it all. I just wish I could do that myself. I’m sure I’d be a lot happier.
Here’s my entry for the Friday Fun challenge- Water.