What’s Happening

I know I haven’t been posting here as much as I’d like. Nothing’s wrong. Mostly I’ve just been lazy.

I got off the rig really late last Thursday. I knew I was going to miss my flight, so I changed it to the next day and booked a hotel in New Orleans. Goes to show me what good it does to plan anything in advance.

I thought I got a really good deal on my flight home from New Orleans by purchasing it in advance. I only paid $65 ($32 for the fare, the rest was taxes/fees). I wound up paying an extra $45 to change it to Thursday night, which would have been fine for a normal crew change. But then I had to pay an extra $40 to change it to the next day since we didn’t even leave the rig til around 2230 Thursday night! Cost me $85 to change it and only $65 to buy it- WOW have the airlines got some scam going!

on the boat getting ready to head to Fourchon and home!

I spent what was left of the night at the Maison Dupuy in the French Quarter. Since I didn’t get there til 0330 Friday morning, I didn’t really get to spend much time there, but what I saw of it, I liked.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I spent a couple of hours wandering around the French Quarter. Got my fix of coffee and beignets and had to hurry back to the airport for my flight home.

flying in to Houston

I got home late Friday and was too tired for anything but a quick look through the months pile of mail blocking my front door. I spent most of the weekend catching up on both sleep and mail. Tuesday I went to painting class (they were on hiatus for the summer) and the dentist in the afternoon.

I’m not sure what happened there. I went in to fix an old filling (nothing was bothering me). Since that operation, a different tooth has been hurting when I chew on that side of my mouth. Hating the thought of having to make another dentist appointment!

I haven’t really been doing much of anything. Today I’m planning to break out of my torpor and go to the Summertime Bikes & Blues Festival. I’m not a ‘biker chick’ by any means, but I do think some of them look pretty cool. I like a lot of the kinds of people that like bikes, and I like the whole ‘freedom’ thing they promote.

I usually like the music (this year I’m disappointed they canceled a friend of mine’s band). I’ve never heard of any of the bands this year, so just hoping they’ll be up to the usual standard. The food is pretty good, with all kinds of different vendors, from BBQ to shrimp kebobs, popcorn and candy apples. Of course beer and lemonade. 🙂

I hope to have some more pics tomorrow. Next week might be busier. I’m waiting to hear if I can go back to work or not since I left under not quite the best circumstances. In any case, I need to finish up my (2016) taxes. 😦

Advertisements

SoCS: When I Get Off Of Here…

socsbadge2016-17

…I’m going to have a nice long rest. Not that things have been too awful here so far, but the hitch has just started and I know for sure that crew change is always exhausting. You’re up for work for 12+ hours and then you’re up to watch the pre-departure video about the helicopter (you’ve already seen thousands of times). Then you wait hours for the chopper (if you’re lucky). Or the boat if you’re not.

Then you transit from the rig to shore. Minimum of an hour on the chopper. Maybe 8-12 hours on the boat if you’re not. Then you transit to the airport. That takes another couple of hours. Then you wait some more for your flight. You finally get home after another couple of hours of nodding off.

I usually do absolutely nothing for 2-3 days after I get home but eat, sleep and take a look at the huge pile of mail I’ve collected after being gone for 2+ weeks.

I’m due to be here for 6 weeks this hitch. I know it will get to me before it’s all over.

When I get off of here… I will rest. 🙂

Crew Change

I wasn’t expecting to get off so early, but it looks like I will be home by midnight tonight. We left the field yesterday around 4 PM, just got to the dock here in Fourchon around 6 AM this morning.

I was expecting to get off at crew change since the other mate that’s on here now had been wanting to work over and it was time for the other mate to come back for his hitch. Since I am just a ‘rental’, I figured they would send me home. I’m used to working this way, basically never knowing when I’ll go to work or when I’ll get off. I’ve been temping off and on since 2007.

It’s great when work is plentiful, but it pretty much sucks when it’s slow like it has been for the last couple of years.

I got packed last night after watch and got up for my watch this morning just in time to watch them tie up the boat. Now pretty much all I have to do is wait for the crew change vans to show up.

I have a flight set up for 6 PM from New Orleans to Houston. I have a rental car reserved to  drive home to Lake Jackson. I will have to keep it til Monday since our local Enterprise agencies are closed on Sundays. I hope I can get home early enough on Monday to return it without having to pay for another extra day.

I am set up to teach at San Jacinto again all next week. I will be teaching Tankerman PIC again, in case anyone is interested. 😉

Been Busy!

I’ve been so busy! I left the ship (LATE). I finally got off on Thursday, got to Luanda around noon. Had just enough time for lunch at the hotel and a beer out by the pool with a few of my shipmates. YES! First beer after 2+ months tastes soooo good! 🙂

Headed to the airport at 1500. Got on the plane at around 1800. Had about a 10 hour flight to Dubai, a 4 hour layover there, and a 16 hour flight to Houston. Instead of my previous flight with KLM through Amsterdam which was much shorter AND I paid for an upgrade to business so I would have been able to sleep, I was stuck flying coach in a packed full plane for 2 days. Talk about tired!!

I got home about 9 PM Friday night. Fell asleep immediately.

This crew change was SO screwed up! Because I got home so late on Friday, I couldn’t make any of the phone calls I needed to. Like try to set up appointments for Monday, etc. I was WAY too tired to wake up Saturday morning to go sailing that afternoon, so those plans were ruined.

All I managed to do was to catch up on sleep a little bit and get through the humongous piles of mail!

I had a bunch of errands to run today, phone calls to make and get ready for my vacation tomorrow. I sure hope it goes better than the last few days have been going.

I tried to get a rental car today to take to the airport so I wouldn’t spend so much money on parking. Even with the huge rip-off charges for ‘drop fees’ (when I bring the same car back and forth every month), it’s still cheaper to rent a car to and from the airport than to park my car there for 3-4 weeks. So, I tried to get a car this morning.

They called me back around noon (when I was supposed to get the car) to tell me they didn’t have any cars yet. They expected them by closing. I had so much to do and couldn’t wait around til closing, so I figured I’d go ahead and use my truck (even tho it needs some work right now). Couldn’t get it started. 😦

I had to rummage around for the battery charger, clean up the battery and let it charge for a couple of hours. I finally got it started and was able to run some errands.

Good thing too, since they never did come up with a car they could give me today. Maybe tomorrow they said. Lot of good that’ll do when my flight leaves at 0800!

I should be somewhere in Nicaragua by this time tomorrow. 🙂

This is Messed Up!

Here I was this morning, feeling good and all ready to go home. I even managed to get an upgrade to business class for the 10+ hour flight from Amsterdam. It was expensive but I thought it was worth it for a 10+ hour long flight. I just HOPE they’ll give me a refund! Continue reading

8 Weeks!

It’s crew change tomorrow! I will finally be able to leave this ship and head home (that’s if there is no problem with the helicopter).

I left home on May 27th (after spending 2+ days on call). I will have spent over 8 weeks away from home this time. All ‘in the service of the ship’, so technically work time, even tho this company won’t figure it that way.

I’m tired of the way things are going out here, but that would take a whole ‘nother post to go into…. It’ll be so good to get off!

Another Airport

I made it to London. I have another flight to Frankfurt and then one more to Luanda. It’s been a rough couple of days.

Even when I think I’m almost caught up with things, shit happens and I wind up frantically trying to get to the airport on time to make my flight.

This trip was no different. I had planned on leaving by 1600, that should have me to the airport by 1730. But I got delayed by a few phone calls (why doesn’t anybody ever call me except when I’m in a rush to get out the door?).

My accountant called me a couple of times about my estimated tax payment which is due by June 15, so I had to write a check before I left. To do that, I had to go online and transfer money.

Just a bunch of little things like that, but they added up and I didn’t get out of the house til about 1645. I was pretty lucky and didn’t hit the heavy traffic til I was almost downtown and it was only for about a half hour. I got to the airport about 1830. My flight wasn’t departing til 2045, so I still had plenty of time.

I had to meet the courier outside the airport to pick up my visa, that took another few minutes and then when I went to check in, there was some kind of problem. Somehow they had 2 reservations for me. I had gone online the night before and bought an upgrade for the flight to London. It wouldn’t let me do anything with the rest of the flight, but at least I got a few hours in relative comfort.

Anyway, I did check last night, and the computer showed my upgrade had gone through with my new seat. It wouldn’t let me check in, since you have to show your passport to somebody in person when you fly overseas now. So, when I got to the airport, they were checking me in but just to economy class. It took quite a while to get that straightened out.

By the time I got my boarding passes and through security, I only had about a half hour before the flight started boarding. I got to the lounge to hang out, but it was packed. At least I got a little snack (they’ve improved their offerings- they had soup and salads- usually they only have cheese and crackers).

I was so wiped out when I got on the plane, I was SO glad I had that opportunity to have at least a little comfort for the flight. (United has ice cream sundaes for dessert where you can choose your own toppings and I really enjoyed that. 🙂

There was a lot of turbulence, but even so I managed to get a couple of hours of good sleep. I feel much better today and hoping the rest of the trip goes OK.

Is there anybody out there now who actually still enjoys flying? I remember when I did. I actually used to look forward to it. Seems like it was such a long time ago, but it was really only after 9-11 when it got soooooo bad!

I really wish people would not have let them punish ALL of us forever over that. Yeah, it was terrible, it should never have happened, but WE have done more to destroy our freedoms than the terrorists ever could have dreamed of. 😦

It’s Good To Be Home

I got off the ship Tuesday morning and finally made it home late Wednesday afternoon. What a looooong trip it seemed!

From the ship, we rode the crewboat in to Pointe Noire, Congo. It was a sweet little boat and the weather was nice. The only problem was that a 2 hour ride to shore turned into a much longer tour around the offshore lease.

Instead of taking us right in to the beach, like we all expected, we drove all over the field, picking up one guy from one rig to drop off at another. We all really just wanted to get to the beach! We wound up going to pretty much every facility out there. Tungsten Explorer, Hellespont Daring, Hellespont Defiance, Lewek Crusader, FPSO Alimo. I hate to think of what crew change will be like on a day it’s not flat calm!

1st stop Tungsten Explorer

1st stop Tungsten Explorer

After the rounds of the offshore field, we finally took off for the beach and it took only about an hour. Uncomfortable as hell with having to wear life jackets INSIDE the boat (which is NOT safe, in fact it’s dangerous!), and pretty piss poor air conditioner! I was feeling pretty miserable by the time we got there. I know I was not alone. I had only been up since 2200 the night before, some had been up since 1700. We all just wanted to get to the promised hotel so we could get a nap.

After climbing up the ladder to shore and finding our way to the customs and immigration, we carried our lifejackets along with our luggage down the long passageway to the main street. There was a bus waiting for us (with AC that worked!).

We were taken through the dusty chaos to a pretty nice hotel. I went for lunch with a couple of shipmates. The food was good and we could see the gardens and a nice swimming pool. I wish I had room in my luggage for a swimsuit (but since I’m still restricted to only 15kg, there’s no way).

All's well that ends well :-)

All’s well that ends well 🙂

The agent took us to the airport at 1800. The (only) flight didn’t leave til 2105. The airport was not air conditioned either (except for the Air France lounge). What a scam they have going there! They’ll charge you $10 (or whatever they can get out of you) just to let you sit inside, knowing most people would be glad to pay just for the AC! I heard the drinks cost up to $20!! Since you are supposed to be able to use the lounge for free (including drinks) when you are a member, they are getting away with quite a rip-off there!

That’s not to mention the fact that every official in Congo wants to SEE how much money you have on you (and according to most people I’ve talked to going through there) will take some of it off your hands. I’m not sure how I got away with keeping mine. Maybe because I had so little of it and counted out every $1 bill in front of them (holding up traffic).

I was sure glad to get on that plane! Then only about 10 hours to Paris. I had about a 4 hour layover in Paris. I don’t remember much about it. I was dead tired by then and spent the time in the lounge. I paid for an upgrade to Houston (another 10+ hour flight) and so I actually got a few hours of sleep.

I’m still pretty whacked out on the sleep schedule. I haven’t done much since I got home but catch up on mail and phone calls (and sleep). I’m hoping soon I can manage to stop falling asleep by 1800!

On the Way Soon

I should be getting off the ship sometime this morning and then flying out tonight. It’s a long flight from Congo to Houston. I’ll have a layover in Paris (not long enough to leave the airport). I should be home by Wednesday evening.

I’m so ready! Four weeks out here is long enough. Five is too long!

I’ll be taking the crew boat in. One of the “Surfer” boats. I’m just hoping I don’t drop my luggage or fall in the drink myself when it comes alongside. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to transfer by boat. Been spoiled by the helicopters for too long. 🙂

Hectic!

Yesterday, I’ve been here for 28 days. That doesn’t count the 2 days travel time and the day we spent in Mauritius in a safety meeting (ALL day).

It’s been non-stop since I got off the plane. I thought it might slow down when we finished our acceptance trials (we had to show the client that we could do everything we said we could- test all equipment, etc). The auditor left a couple of days ago. But now we are preparing to go to work and things are still moving a mile a minute.

A new ship is nice, but there are always bugs to work out and lots of extra stress getting everything working the way it should. I hope things will get closer to normal in the next couple of days.

Most of the crew I came with left the ship to go home yesterday. I sure wish I went with them!!!

I Made It!

After 2 LONG days of traveling, I made it home! Ahhhhh. I can finally sleep.

I did that yesterday. I got home. I passed out. I slept for 12 hours straight. 🙂

Last night I stayed up too late, so I only slept about 8 hours. Today is the big St Patricks’ Day Parade down at the beach and I don’t want to miss it.

The weather here has been rainy for the last 2 weeks, but this morning it looks gorgeous. A beautiful day for the beach. 🙂

Last year it was raining, but the parade went on anyway. This year looks like it will turn out much better. If anyone wants to come, the parade starts at 1300 (1 pm). 🙂

I’ll be taking lots of pictures. Here are a few from last year…

 

 

News Tomorrow?

I left to come out to the ship Dec 15, thinking I would be here for the ‘normal’ 4 week long hitch. I heard last week that I wasn’t supposed to stay here that long and was scheduled to go home in only 3 weeks. The other day I heard that someone might not show up, so I might be staying even longer than the original 4 weeks. 😦

I hope someone is in the office tomorrow who can answer my email about when I am scheduled to get off of here.

Due Off?

I heard from my personnel coordinator that I’m due off here on Thursday.
I’m waiting to see my travel arrangements before I make any plans.

It looks like they usually send flight arrangements earlier than this, but since I’m still in the pool, I’m not sure exactly what to expect. I’m definitely looking forward to crew change!

I think I’d better send a reminder tomorrow morning. 🙂

Crew Change- Not Today

Have you ever been so happy and excited one minute, only to be plunged into the depths of despair the next?

That’s what I saw happening here a couple of days ago. It was supposed to be crew change day. The 18 happy people who were due to get off after spending 4 weeks at work here were wandering all over the bridge in excited anticipation.

When the chopper finally arrived (at it’s usual time), they rushed to get their life jackets on and finish their turnover with their reliefs. As the minutes passed by, I saw more and more anxiety on the faces of those who were supposed to be leaving.

I had the forward camera zoomed in and aimed at the chopper. There was a problem. It was swarming with orange coveralls. Our crew, trying to track down the cause of the trouble. The pilot had noticed an oil leak on landing.

We do have some VERY skilled men on board here. They’re experts in what they do. Plenty of good engineers, hydraulic techs, electricians, electronic techs, etc.

Within 5 minutes of the arriving crews disembarking the chopper, our ships crew was up there with the helicopter pilot, looking everywhere for the source of the leak. I’m not sure what they found (I’m just a DPO here and not ín the loop’), but the decision was made to fly the chopper back to Luanda with only the pilots on board.

What disappointment I saw then. So many happy faces were now completely turned around and sad now. 😦

We had hopes they would send another helicopter that afternoon to pick up our departing crew, so people were still hanging around with their fingers crossed, but 2 hours later the word came that the replacement helicopter was cancelled. (They have a rule that if they can’t be back at base by 1700, they will not leave).

AARRRGGGHHHHH! 😦

Now we would have to find someplace to put all those extra people for the night. Not such an easy thing. We’re already almost always running fairly close to capacity for bunk space (just like every other rig). We just managed to find room for everyone without having to sleep together. 😉

Everyone at least got some rest before going home. The leave-takers were in a better mood after a few hours of sleep. In the morning we got the good news that there would be an early flight. The chopper (NOT the same one) would come out just to get those people they had to abandon here the day before.

YES!! The smiles were back!! Everyone managed to get off and new flights were arranged to get them home from Luanda. Hopefully everyone got home OK and their plans were not too badly disrupted.

It’s bad enough to spend 3-4 days of your owed time off traveling, which is the way things normally work. It’s really bad to have to spend any extra time at work. Most of us work offshore for the scheduled time off, not for enjoyment of the job itself. It’s hard for us to accept losing even 1 day.

I guess most people would think we’re so lucky (and we are, really). They see we work 28 days on, then 28 days off. They don’t really see that we are stuck here and working 12 hour (minimum) days, 7 days a week until we’re due to go home. Most people are pretty run down by the time they’re due off. Because of that, most companies have limits on how long you’re allowed to stay offshore before they force you to go home.

I’ve tried to figure out which schedule is better, working out here with a month on/month off schedule. Or the typical American schedule of an 8-5 workday (not including a couple of hours-unpaid- driving time), with weekends and holidays off. Lucky to get a weeks vacation once a year.

It seems to me we still have the better deal out here, but it’s not nearly by as much as you would think.

Only 4 Weeks

I’m ‘late’ going to work this time. I’m not exactly sure how that works since I’m still in the ‘pool’. I wonder if I’m going to work for my usual schedule or if I’m only going to be going for 3 weeks.

If I am only going to the rig to fill in for a person who is coming back for his regular schedule, then I will get off in approx 3 weeks. If there is not a regular person here that I am filling in for, then maybe I will be here longer.

I think I need to wait til the weekend is over to email my ‘handler’ in the office. Just like the last couple of ships I’ve worked on here, I get conflicting answers from the different people I ask about it on board.

It’s weird being in ‘the pool”.

On my last ship, they asked me if I preferred it to a regular rig. I told them I thought it would be a good idea to stay in it until I had a chance to complete most of my mandatory training. I thought so because I thought it would be easier to arrange the courses if I didn’t have a set schedule.

At the end of my last trip, I found out that this company figures training time as vacation time and so I now OWE them at least 18 days! I was not very happy to learn that (to put it mildly).

Now I really don’t see any advantage to staying in the pool except that I do still like to go to the different vessels. I always did like to see how the different people do basically the same job differently. I always liked meeting all the different people. I always liked working on the different ships and going to different places.

But, now with the huge issue I had with the people at the airport about my overweight luggage, I’m not sure I want to have to deal with that every time I come and go. Since they count training as vacation time, it seems they’ll always be pushing to send me back to work after 4 weeks no matter what I’ve been doing with my time off the rig.

Well, they already told me that it’s not up to me. It’s not even up to the crews (including the Master or OIM) of the rigs I’ve been working on. The decision of where I’ll be working is up to someone in the office. So, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and then make MY decisions after that. 🙂

2 More!

Finishing up here. I’m due off on Thursday. I only have 2 more watches to work! (I’ve been working the night watch from 1800-0600 since I got here).

It’s always such a nice feeling of anticipation. You start looking forward to getting off the ship and heading home.

Even tho it’ll be a (very) long trip home and I’ll be exhausted by the time I get there after being up for about 28 hours before I ever even get on the plane to depart Luanda.

It’s another 8 hours for the 1st flight to Paris with a 4 hour layover til the next flight leaves for Houston. That one is 10 1/2 hours long.

I’m one of those unlucky people who just can’t sleep unless I’m lying down. I might nod off for a few minutes now and then if I’m completely wiped out, but I’ve never slept more than an hour at a time on a plane (excepting when I was lucky enough to get bumped up to business class).

I should arrive into Houston Friday afternoon. Then I have to pick up the rental car and drive home for another 1 1/2 hours. I just hope I can get out of Houston before the rush hour starts.

So, looking forward to getting home and SLEEPING for about 2 days straight. 🙂

Angola Again!

If you don’t hear from me for a couple of days, don’t worry- I’ll be traveling and unable to get online.

I’m already at the airport. It seems I just left the place. 😦

I’m headed back to Angola. I’m going back to work. A different ship this time, but the same company. The ship should be very similar to the last one I was on.

I was only at home for a little over a week. A couple of days flying home, a couple of days flying back. Whew! I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even got to work yet.

I didn’t really get to do a whole lot while I was home this time. I was pretty busy trying to get my taxes done. Or at least in good enough shape to turn them over to the accountants. What a job!

I’m hoping I got everything I need done. I should have a few days at home before the deadline, just in case. I just hope I get home on time. I’ll be ready for a real vacation for sure by the time I get off this trip!

Heading Home

Things will probably be a little slow around the blog for the next day or 2. I got off the rig yesterday (NICE birthday present) on the helicopter and have been traveling since last night.

The company was nice enough to arrange hotel rooms for us (at the same place I stayed when I came out to work). The problem was, we got there at around noon and they didn’t have any rooms available til earliest 1400. 😦

I was already tired, since I’d been up since 2200 the night before. I have been working the midnight to noon watch the past week or so. I went to eat lunch while waiting for the room to get ready.

At least the food was decent.

I went back to the front desk a little after 2, hoping they were going to have rooms ready. To my surprise, they did. 🙂

They had a porter help me bring my bags to the room. First thing we noticed was the smell. Disgusting! Like old socks, dirty laundry, moldy old basement. Yuk! His shoes squished through the carpet when he walked into the room and flipped on the lights to show me the bathroom.

OK, so he called the desk and they set up another room for me. We went back down there to trade keys, went back up to the room and… the new key didn’t work. 😦

The porter found a maid cleaning rooms down the hall and got her to open the room with her passkey. At least I could check out the room and get settled a little bit. The porter showed up in just a few minutes with a new (working) key. 🙂

By this time it was after 3, and the driver was coming to pick us up for our flight at 2000. I figured I had better get up by 1800 so I could have a shower and a cup of tea.

I had already tried to check my email and it was impossible to connect to the internet in the room (again). I was really too tired to get dressed again and go down to the lobby to check email (or work on the blog).

I did get to sleep a couple of hours. I think I probably got 1-2 hours total on the flight to London this morning too. Im hoping I can get at least a little bit more on the way to Houston. It’s another long flight and I’ll be in the window seat this time. Last one I was in the middle (which I hate- doesn’t everyone?).

I should be home by dinnertime tonight (Houston time). I doubt I’ll manage to do anything tonight but pass out as soon as I get in the door.

I HOPE my luggage makes it this time. I’ll only have about 2 weeks at home before I have to be back onboard the ship again. I’ll have only 12 days at home to get everything done and rested up to go back over to Angola and start this trip all over again (in reverse).

Rambling On: Crew Change, Korea, and the Frontier Discoverer

I made it to the airport! I was only out a short time this trip, but going home still feels as good as ever. I was out on the Deepwater Pathfinder. It was a pretty good hitch, even if it was shorter than usual.

I was a little frustrated over the weekend with not being able to get a flight out of New Orleans til early evening. Hard to believe there wasn’t an available flight til almost 1800!

Turns out there is a big golf tournament going on in Houston and all the flights are booked solid.

I was lucky to get a flight at all!

Really, it worked out that I was on the late flight since the weather was foggy with a cold front between us and the heliport. I didn’t get to the airport til almost 1300. At least I wasn’t panicking about missing my flight. 😉 It all worked out in the end.

So, I should be able to catch up a little bit here over the next few days and get ready for my trip to Korea. It’s only about a week away, YEAH!

I really have no idea what to do there other than the travel writing/photography workshop I’m going to Seoul for. I haven’t had time or internet availability to do any research. Anybody have any suggestions? I have a couple of weeks before the class and a week after.

I was thinking I might go down to Busan to visit the company I used to work with when I was on the tuna boat. The new captain on the ship I just got off mentioned that they have a good maritime university in Busan. That sounds like it might be worth checking into.

I’m hoping to go see an old friend I used to work with at Oceaneering. He’s an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) mechanic. When they brought our boat to the Gulf of Mexico to work, he was able to get a transfer to Korea and has been working there ever since.

I would have LOVED to do that too, but Oceaneering only had one vessel over 1600 tons and so they didn’t have any other jobs to offer me. Being a ships officer/DPO doesn’t make for an easy job transfer when there isn’t any other ship. I felt I had no other option but to leave at the first opportunity.

Too bad, they sent the ship out of the Gulf only a couple of months later. When I found out, I was sad I didn’t stay longer. The job I took instead turned into a disaster and I didn’t even stay for the whole trip. 😦

I hated to quit that job. It sounded so perfect when I decided to take it! I had never really been interested in drilling since it always seemed so BORING. Sit in one spot for months on end, never moving, never really doing much ‘SAILING’.

But this one seemed to be a great option. It was supposed to work in Alaska in the summer and Australia in the winter. I would actually get to do quite a bit of sailing. 🙂

But when I got to the ship, I felt a little queasy. Not because I was seasick!

The ship was in bad shape. It was old. It was rusty. It had issues. LOTS of issues!

It was basically an old ship (built 1966!!) that they had cleared off the topsides, then stuck a new house and a drilling rig on top of it. It had not been taken care of properly. I was not comfortable with it at all.  Bad news. 😦

I’m not any sort of safety nazi, not by a long shot, but I was really concerned about the condition of that ship and the lack of concern for all of the ordinary things we seamen look out for.

I stayed on there as long as I could, hoping that things would improve. I finally had to leave after only 3 weeks. I couldn’t stick around knowing the problems that were bound to come up. No job is worth my license I’ve worked so long and hard to earn, or my life! This one was seriously putting both at risk.

I couldn’t figure out WHY they would want to bring an old piece of sh*t like that up to work in the pristine waters of Alaska, KNOWING Greenpeace would be all over them.

Turns out, they DID have all kinds of problems on the trip to Alaska and since. They’re presently back in Asia in the shipyard (again) and all plans for Alaskan drilling on hold (again).

I wonder if that was the plan all along? If they had a nice, new, fully functioning rig would there have been such an outcry? Would there have been so many problems? Would the oil companies all have put off their plans to follow the success of this adventure in Alaska?

I don’t know, but I think if they had a better ship/rig, they would be drilling by now instead of still spending a fortune in the shipyard. Was all this a case of trying to save a few bucks by using old, worn out equipment? If so, they sure messed up on THAT decision!

Is she, or isn't she aground? I'm sure glad I got off when I did!

Is she, or isn’t she aground? I’m sure glad I got off when I did!

She’s Off Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Well, I’m out of here in the morning. Into the wild blue yonder. Or at least the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). I’ve had a longer vacation than I expected, schedule changed at the last minute.

I’m still not really ready to go back to work, but at this point I think I would need to be off for a few months straight to actually be READY to go back. 😉

I’m in New Orleans for the night, or at least a few hours. Usually, I have to get up at 2 AM, so they can come and get me at 3 AM, so we can be at the heliport in Fourchon by 5 AM, so I can sit around drinking coffee and trying to stay upright and keep my eyes open til around 9-10 AM when they get around to putting me on a chopper so I can finally get out to the vessel I’ll be working on.

Lots of people seem to think flying to work in a helicopter is really cool. I guess it might be, the first few times you do it. It is really nice to fly at a lower altitude and see things better then you can in an airplane but I never really liked it a whole lot. It’s noisy, it vibrates a lot, it’s cramped (more then a plane and you can’t get up to go to the restroom!).

I’m used to it now, it’s just part of working offshore to me. I’m just glad when I can finally get out to the vessel and start my real job. It’s like driving to work in traffic, do you enjoy that part? Or you’re just glad to finally get there? Same thing. 😉

crew change by chopper

crew change by chopper

I’m going back to the same rig this time as I was on a couple of weeks ago. I like that. It’s nice to go back where you know people and you’re familiar with how things are done on board. I think my job freelancing is perfect for me since I do get to go back a lot of times to the same familiar vessels, but before I get bored I might get to go to a new one. I also do a few different jobs, so it keeps me on my toes. 😉

A lot of ways they’re all the same, but they all have little differences. It takes a few days to get it all straight. I have the hardest time learning everybodys names. It’s not so bad on a ship, when there are only 18-25 crew, but on a rig there might be 250 people on board! Sometimes you might be working 4 weeks straight with someone and never see them til you go home on the same chopper!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with this blog once I get out there. I’m sure it will be at least a couple of days before I can catch up on things, so don’t worry if you don’t see me for a while. 😉

I’ll be back! 🙂