I thought I might catch up with what’s been happening and why I was gone for so long.
I got off the Epic Explorer in late January and recently realized I hadn’t posted since then. Sorry! I got busy and caught up in other things and just got distracted.
I started teaching again only a few days after I got home. First Lamar State College in Orange, then San Jacinto sent me up to teach a class for Hornbeck Offshore (where I’ve been applying to work for a couple years now). I drove all the way to Port Fourchon and stayed aboard their vessel for a week to teach the crews of 2 of their vessels a Tankerman PIC course. After that I was back teaching at San Jacinto a course in Leadership & Management. I went to a pre-hire class in Houston for Spencer-Ogden and then taught a Search & Rescue course for San Jacinto again.
That all kept me super busy through the whole month of February and into March. Luckily, I got a call to go to work the next week. Spencer-Ogden finally came through with a ship for me! I say finally because they told me they had a job for me back in February of 2016. I came back from Mexico in order to take a UKOG physical expecting to recoup the money with a job, but it fell through. They didn’t have another opening until this one- almost 2 years later.
So, I got lucky and had a job for a month. It actually worked out to be a little longer. I went out as DPO on the drillship Discoverer India. the first week of March and didn’t get home til mid- April. We were all busy as hell. The ship had been stacked for quite a while. It was a real job getting her ready to go back to work again. There were all kinds of checks and tests that had to be done and signed off on for the clients approval.
We finally got most of what we had to do finished and were able to depart. Figuring we could finish up what we had to on the way. We left the anchorage just South of the LOOP on April 3, and arrived at Port of Spain, Trinidad on the 14th.
It was a pretty uneventful voyage. We had decent weather all the way. The Loop Current slowed us down a little, but we made good time otherwise. I was a little disappointed in how little sea life I saw this trip.
We saw a few birds- gulls and gannets, a couple of egrets and pelicans. But for the entire voyage, I did not see even one fish, dolphin, whale, turtle, jellyfish, ray, or anything else that lived in the ocean. Usually, we’d see schools of fish every day, pods of dolphins riding our bow wake, maybe even a whale over the course of a week. I saw nothing for over a week, I really felt the loss. It made me wonder why, did something happen? It made me sad.
I cheered up once we got closer to Trinidad. It was cool passing by the Caribbean Islands. One evening passing by the Caymans, I had an entertaining radio conversation with one of the watch keepers from Cayman Traffic. I would have loved to take up his invitation to come closer so the islanders could wave at us, but that kind of thing is not really a good idea. Remember Captain Schettino and the Costa Concordia?
We passed by the Caymans, Jamaica and closed in on Trinidad. Everyone was looking forward to crew change there. Almost the entire crew would be leaving. I was of 2 minds. I really would’ve loved to stay with the ship longer. Take her all the way over to the Ivory Coast where I would have to get off. I also had a major project scheduled at home that I really felt I needed to be there for.
I got off with the rest of the crew in Trinidad. We all rode the Billy Pugh down to the crew boat, ready to get to shore. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. We were finally delivered to shore where we piled onto a couple of mini buses which delivered us to customs and immigration. It took a while, but everyone was so happy to be off the ship and going home there wasn’t really any complaining.
I was finally dropped off at the hotel at around 1900. Trinidad is a fairly small place as far as international flights are concerned. There was no way to get last minute flights for all of us (86) to get out that night. So the flights were spread out over the next couple of days.
We used to be paid door to door, but a lot of that stopped when the price of oil dropped like a rock back in 2015. This particular company only paid for time onboard, so I was loosing a couple of days pay, but I was getting a couple of days to spend in Trinidad. The company paid for the room and board at the hotel. My half of the crew stayed at the Crews Inn, a nice place for the yachting community. 🙂
I was sharing a room with the ships radio operator. It worked out great. She flew home a few hours earlier than I did on the 16th. I left the hotel at around 9 pm and got into Houston Intercontinental at around 6 am the next morning. It was nice to have a couple of days to relax in Trinidad, especially after whooping it up with half of the crew at the hotel bar Saturday night!
It was nice getting to talk to some of the guys in a more relaxed atmosphere. I miss the old days when we used to get into port every week or so and could go ashore to explore. That doesn’t happen much anymore, especially not in the oilfield. That tends to lead to over compensating for it when we finally do get to go.
When I got home I found out my blog was offline for over a month and I didn’t know about it. I hadn’t even tried to get online on the ship. I was just too busy and tired when I got off watch.
After a day or so to rest up, I was full up with business again. I’ll have to continue this tomorrow. I’ve got to get up at 0430 to teach at San Jacinto again. I’ve got a new class to teach! Check out my Instagram feed for photos!