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. 🙂