I get so discouraged working out here sometimes. I used to love coming to work offshore. I actually looked forward to it and was eager and excited to come back to work. I wanted to go places, to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.
I loved working outside on deck, where I could enjoy the weather. I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin (even tho I sunburn easily). I loved looking out and seeing nothing but the blue, blue water all the way to the horizon.
I loved to see the beautiful constantly changing seascape. I loved to watch the waves and clouds. I looked for signs of life around me. Birds: pelicans, sea gulls, terns, herons. Fish: mahi-mahi, ling cod, tuna, sharks, and dolphins (mammals, not fish). Even things like seaweed and jellyfish were of interest. I loved to watch the intense colors of the sky when the sun rose or set.
I loved the fact that my job depended only how well I did my job. It didn’t matter what I looked like, how I talked, my level of formal education, how much money I had in the bank, what kind of car I drove, how I dressed. I loved being able to work dressed in an old pair of shorts, t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops.
I loved slow days offshore when we would throw a line over and catch a few fish. We always caught something. Mahi-mahi, ling cod, rainbow runners, sharks, kingfish, snapper, grouper, catfish, etc. Sometimes we kept them to eat, sometimes we threw them back.
I loved standing lookout at night and seeing the stars so blazingly bright at sea when there was nothing around for hundreds of miles to blot out their light. I loved watching the dolphins play in the bow wake when we were underway and seeing them pass by at the rig.
So much of that has disappeared for me. Partly because of the type of work I do now. I’ve been working on drillships for the last couple of years. We can’t fish from the rigs because we don’t want to take a chance of the lines getting caught up in a thruster. The lights are so bright at night that we can only see the brightest of the stars.
I don’t even want to get started on the amount of pure bullshit we have to deal with as to how we have to dress now and the amount of paperwork we have to fill up before we can even get started on the simplest job. WWI’s, SJA’s, prompt cards, PTW’s, audits,…
They’ve taken all the fun out of the job. Sucked dry all the joy. It’s getting harder and harder to justify to myself why I keep on coming back.
Yeah, it’s mostly the money.
Today I was reminded of why I chose to go to sea all those years ago. We had a couple of big, beautiful, magnificently playful creatures come right up alongside our rig and just visit with us for a while. They were so close, it was amazing. I missed the best part of their show. I wasn’t paying attention and the whales were already tired of looking at the crowd of people looking at them. I got to see them hurl themselves up out of the water a couple of times, saw the huge splash they made, and then watch them swim off.
I wish I could have gotten better photos. I forgot my ipod has a camera! By the time I remembered it was in my pocket, it was already almost too late. I tried to get them when they were jumping, but every time they threw themselves out of the water, I was just too late with my camera. This is the best I could do when they were up close to the ship.
And here’s a couple of them as they moved further away.
Here’s a photo I got off of google. This is what they really looked like.
Yeah, they really did look just like that. That’s a picture of a humpback whale and I’m pretty sure that’s what ours were. Yes, they were jumping out of the water like that! It was fantastic!
So yeah, seeing the whales like that makes up for a lot of dull, dreary, boring, frustrating days working on a drillship. Seeing that sort of thing gives me the motivation to keep on working out here til I can afford to do what I really want to do with my life.