Friendly Friday: Istanbul

I was looking at everybody’s posts for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge, and I just had to post one more time. 🙂 

When I made my post the other day, I totally forgot about all the other places in Istanbul where they had such beautiful tile work. Different than the gorgeous stuff some people were posting from Portugal, but beautiful in another way altogether. Combined with the architecture, the artistry with the tile work makes so many of their buildings really special.

Here are a few photos I took in the mosques. I was really affected by how much time and effort went into building these places. The total devotion it must take to spend years, decades, centuries even- to build something so impressive.

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque with thousands of blue tiles decorating the interior

Those were from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The photos below, I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure they were in the Hagia Sophia. It was a Christian cathedral before it became a mosque and it’s now a museum. The shimmering gold tiles of these mosaics really shine when the sun hits them. 

Imagine the skill and patience it must’ve taken to make these things. How to make sure all those little pieces go together just right. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle! And all such a long time ago too. Of course, they didn’t have the internet to distract them back then. 😉

One more note re: tile. Have you heard of Dixie Friend Gay? She’s a modern day mosaic artist with some absolutely stunning projects. Here’s a photo I took to pique your interest. Check out this earlier post...

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Great Palace Mosaic Museum

This looks like another fun challenge to join. It’s called Friendly Friday. The subject this week is: Bricks and Tiles

I always like to see what everyone else comes up with. I enjoy taking photos of just about everything, so I’ll usually have something to add that fits the scenario. Here’s one to start with.

This was one of a collection of fantastic tile work at the Istanbul Mosaic Museum. The mosaics were found buried underneath the ground during construction. The mosaics date from Roman times. Most of them are in very good shape- still clear and colorful. 

The museumis right next door to the Arasta Bazaar and the Blue Mosque. It’s well worth a detour when you’re tired of the bazaar. I spent a couple of hours there, but I really enjoy both art and history. 

View From the Harbor

I’ve been here in Las Palmas (Canary Islands) since July 10. I’ve been working nights, from 7 pm to 7 am every day. I’ll be doing that until I go home. I’m scheduled to leave August 8th (early). 

It’s interesting watching what’s going on around the harbor. Yes, it’s really sad to see so many drill ships stacked up over here, but at least I can see they’re working on 3 of them. That’s a good sign. They must have work coming up or they wouldn’t be spending any money. It would be great to see them all leave soon.

My old ship the Discoverer India was docked right in front of us for a couple of weeks. I watched their dive boat working on their stern and the bunker operations over the last couple of days. They just left last night. 

Discoverer India

I never realized how busy this port was. Other than all the drill ships, I see quite a few LNG ships coming and going. There are a few ferries every day- they go to Tenerife and around the islands. You can even take a ferry all the way to Spain (in about 40 hours).

There’s a container terminal right across from me. I see the container ships working there almost every night. There’s a yacht harbor a little further across. There are hundreds of boats over there. The sailboats are fun to watch, especially when they want to get so close to the big ships passing by.

LNG ship in the harbor, Las Palmas, Canary Islands

Yes, sailboats do have the right of way over power driven vessels- but- common sense should prevail, best get out of the way of someone 100 times bigger than you are that takes a half mile to stop.

The weather has been overcast since I’ve been here. I’ve been told this is normal for this time of year. Not to expect much sunshine. It doesn’t rain. We’ve only had one night with just a drizzle, not even enough to really wet the decks, but it looks like it’s going to rain every day.

I can see the lights of the city climbing up the hills across the water. It makes me want to take a ride over and explore. I did get to go over one day last week. My cab driver told me that one guy actually did try to swim over once…

A “Scottish guy, off one of the drill ships” took a swim for the city, they had police boats and helicopters tracking him down. The company sent him home, no doubt the Spanish officials were in complete agreement on that. I bet whichever company that was does not allow shore leave any more. Sadly, most don’t no matter what. 😦

Harbor scene at night

Songs of the Sea: On board a Man o War

Here’s something a little different. It’s a song about the British Navy’s battle of Trafalgar with France and Spain off the coast of Spain. I’ve been reading some of my Sea History magazines and they sometimes write about stuff like this.

I wonder how many Brits will know this song? Spaniards? Any readers out there heard this one before? I’m not that much into military history, but even I remember hearing about that battle, cool that they wrote a song about it. 😉

Farewell Shanty
On the twenty-first of October, before the rising sun
We formed a line for action, boys, at twelve o’clock begun.
Brave Nelson to his men did say “The Lord will prosper us this day.
Give them the broadside; fire away, on board a man-of-war.”

Chorus:
Let him die in Peace, God bless you all, On board a man-of-war.
Let him die in Peace, God bless you all, On board a man-of-war.

From broadside to broadside our cannonballs did fly.
Like hailstones, the small shot, around the deck did lie.
Our masts and rigging were shot away, besides some thousands on that day
Were killed and wounded in the fray, on board a man-of-war.
Chorus

May heaven reward Lord Nelson, likewise protect his men.
Nineteen sails of the combined fleet were sunk and taken in.
The Achille blew up amongst them all, which made the French for mercy call.
Nelson was slain by a musket ball, on board a man-of-war.
Chorus

There’s many a brave commander, with grief he shook his head
But yet their grief had no relief, for Nelson he lay dead.
It was a fatal musket ball that caused our hero for to fall.
He cried `Fight on. God bless you all’, on board a man of war.
Chorus

Let’s hope this glorious battle will surely bring a peace,
And that our trade in England may flourish and increase.
Our ships from port to port go free and turn the hearts of our enemy.
To Nelson’s death and victory, on board a man-of-war.
Chorus
Let him die in Peace.

KOB: Big Pink Piggie

For some reason, I really like this guy. 🙂 

This is my entry for Kammie’s Oddball Challenge. 

“Odd Ball Photos are those great photos that you take which really don’t seem to fit into a common category.  We’ve all taken them and like them, because we just can’t hit delete and get rid of them.  If you have any of those type of photos, this challenge is for you.”

Check out the link, see what everyone’s posting and join in the fun. 🙂 

CFFC: Close Up of Flowers

Cee has more challenges this week. I saw this one and had to jump in. Here’s the rules from Cee…

“This week the topic is Close Up of Flowers.  Any flower will do.  It can be a natural flower, artificial, or even handmade.  Just get as close as you can with your favorite camera, and lens, if you have an interchangeable lenses.  Macros are allowed too.”

A single waterlily, details are beautiful

Take a look at Cee’s blog and see what everyone’s posting. There are some real beauties. 🙂

Bye Bye Bloggers

What happened to all my bloggers? I was looking back through some of my old email and noticed I used to have quite a few cool blogs delivered straight to my email. I really used to enjoy seeing them pop up every day. 

I don’t usually get the chance to work on my blog when I’m offshore, but I can almost always check my email so I prefer to sign up and get my daily dose that way. I saved some of them in my email when I thought they were really good, something I might look at again.

The Daily Post, Harsh Reality, The Culture Monk, Sass & Balderdash, Bucket List Publications, SFoxWriting’s, Southern Fried Science, Northierthanthou, Don Charisma, etc. What happened to them all?

I don’t see them any more. I don’t see most of them in my WordPress Reader any more either (the ones with the links are the only ones I could still find when I searched). I wonder what happened? Are they all still out there somewhere? Some of them were very busy, they had hundreds of thousands of followers and lots of posts and interactions.

Did all those bloggers just get tired of blogging and give it up? 

Moving the Graveyard?

My ship is the one on the right

Since I made it to the ship last week, I’ve been watching the ship in front of us. They’ve had divers in the water and lots of activity going on. It happens to be the Discoverer India- the same ship I was on last Spring

She was getting ready for a job in Africa- Ivory Coast. I got to ride as far as Trinidad. It was a good hitch. She did that job and now is getting some upgrades before heading out to another job.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of the rigs I see here. I can see at least 8 at the dock here. I know of at least 5 more that will be arriving here soon. That’s not counting another couple (at least) over at Tenerife.

While I was on the Ocean Evolution last hitch, steaming through the ‘graveyard’ just offshore Port Fourchon, I could only see 3 ships left. The year before there were at least 10, I think probably closer to 15. All of them fairly new, just sitting there, waiting and hoping for work. It was really sad to see. 

We’ve all been hoping that this would be the year when we could finally go back to work. From what I see here, that doesn’t look very likely. The price of oil is still not even up to $60/bbl. Today it was only $57 and change. There won’t be much work until it gets up over $60 and stays there for a while. 

I guess everyone but those of us working in the maritime industry are happy about those low prices, but I’m getting more and more stressed out. I don’t have many more years left to build up my retirement funds and my savings has already been demolished over the last 4+ years of not nearly enough work.

How much longer can this go on? 

Weather Delays

I was supposed to fly out of Houston yesterday afternoon. A friend drove me up to the airport so I didn’t have to leave my car at the parking lot for 30+ days. I was waiting at the gate for my flight to depart when I noticed they had posted it was delayed.

It was now due to depart about 3 hours late. I was told weather in Miami had delayed all the flights. If I had waited around for that flight, I would’ve missed my connection in Miami by about 2 hours!

The company travel lady set me up with a hotel for the night near the airport and new flights for today. I made it out of Houston this morning. I’m in New York now, waiting for my connection to Madrid.

It’s ‘only’ a 7 1/4 hour flight. The one I was supposed to take was almost 10 hours! I’ll get to Madrid about 9:30 in the morning and then on to Las Palmas. I should get there around 3 pm. I just hope my luggage also makes it (they refused to send it all the way through- I’ll have to pick it up in Madrid and go through the whole rigamarole with check in, security, etc all over again).

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post once I get to the ship, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s why. I hope internet is better than the last ship, but it’s always a toss up these days. 

Home and Gone

Sorry I haven’t been able to post for a while. I was actually at work (SO thankful to have gotten that last minute gig). The boat was pretty sweet. It was “brand new”. Christening was only a couple of weeks before I joined. This was her first job. 

A friend took this photo with his drone. This is Oceaneering’s new MSV Ocean Evolution

So we had a few things to learn (one of which was extremely limited internet access while offshore, out of telephone range).

We were offshore for about 2 weeks. Did a quick job for one of the oil majors. The actual thing we were there to do (pumping some chemicals down the well) only took a few hours. The preparations took a few days. We had to put all kinds of equipment onboard, secure it properly (welded down), test it, etc. The voyage to the work site took 48 hours (with a test for the ROVs on the way) and 36 hours to get back to Port Fourchon.

We were supposed to crew change July 3, I was looking forward to seeing the fireworks and party with friends on the 4th. But we didn’t get in til early morning on the 5th. I got home late that afternoon and so tired I was falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from the airport.

I woke up Saturday, had my morning cup of tea, sorted through the huge pile of mail and took a look for anything important in my email, turned on my phone (it doesn’t work offshore, so I just turn it off). I got some bad, sad news from a friend.

My best and oldest friend had passed away while I was gone. She had basically adopted me when I first moved to Texas, barely 17 and all alone. We had a hell of a lot of good times over all those years. I spent the day Sunday with her/my family. I’m glad I was able to be home for that.

Now I’m on the way back to work. I left yesterday. I’m glad it’ll keep me from dwelling on all that. I’ll be busy and distracted for at least a month.