It’s A Small World

It always surprises me when I come out to work how really connected this community is. The seafaring community that is. The people who spend their lives working far from home, out on the waters of the world.

I almost always know at least one person on every ship I join. If I don’t know someone personally, I know people they know. 🙂

I am working on a rig right now on the semi submersible drilling rig “Sevan Louisiana”,  where the Captain/OIM is a good friend of a good friend of mine. He used to work on the same boat I used to work on at Oceaneering, just a little while before I started there. We know a lot of the same people there.

One of the other DPOs used to work on a rig I did some temp work on a few years ago. He remembers me from when I was there. The crane operator was also on that rig.

The galley crew used to work with me on the HP-1 a while back. I remember how they spoiled me with little towel animals on my bunk every day. They’re great bunch of guys (and good cooks). 🙂

I’ve been here almost 2 weeks and it looks like just about everybody but me is fixin’ to go home soon. The rig is almost deserted anyway, we’re staffed with the bare minimum manning (warm stacked). We won’t get more crew til we hear if we’re going to get some work.

Thursday is crew change day and I’ll have a whole new crew to work with. I hope they turn out to be as easy to work with as this one.  I’ve still got another 4 weeks to go!

SoCS: When I Get Off Of Here…

…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. 🙁