Saturday, August 16, 2008

Passing Time

A popular way for us to pass time while working in the gulf is grocery day. Grocery Day? you might ask. Yes Grocery Day. The reason that you are thinking though does pass time but is not nearly as fun as what we do. So for those of you that don't know Groceries arrive on a boat in a large container that has to be kept cold, how? you might ask Dry Ice. I know the wheels are turning in your heads now. And you should have seen how happy I was when I realized that there was dry ice in these containers. So after the work of carrying the groceries up stairs we all go for the dry ice. Now if you have never made a dry ice bomb it is really simple take a bottle with a screw on lid( larger the bottle seems to make a bigger boom, but a small orange juice container works pretty good too. Heavier the plastic = more boom ) and put some dry ice in it, I find more the better. Then put some water in the bottle, and squeeze the bottle slightly(to give you a little extra time before it blows) and put the cap on it. Then get rid of it. Being offshore we like to throw them in the water. They can take anywhere from 10 seconds up to 5 minutes. just don't touch it after you've put the lid on and tossed it because any movement of the bottle is liable to set it off. Now that you know how to make them let me tell you some fun things to do with them. This has personally been tested by me and are sure to get results, not always the results that you may want but results none the less.
1. Build your dry ice bomb while the night crew is deep asleep. Put the lid on just before you open the door to the sleeping quarters. Now slide the your bottle into the room, preferably under a bed ,so no one gets hit with shrapnel, and gently close the door. The just wait outside the door preferably with a crowd (so you can push the blame off on somebody else) and wait for the show to start. If you have done everything right the show will start with an explosion and some profanity.
Now go out and and have fun, but be careful.

Check back frequently for new Dry Ice Bomb suggestions and some Videos.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shark Week

So a couple weeks a go was shark week on Discovery Channel. While fishing offshore there are many fish you can catch, Red Snapper,Grouper, and Mackerel to name a few. But the favorite out here to catch is a Shark. They are fairly easy to catch if they are in the area. And it doesn't take much to get them into the area.A few cans of Vienna sausages and a slop bucket and they come right in. The slop bucket is what all the table scraps and leftovers go into. After you dump a slop bucket into the water three times a day for the last 20-30 years fish seem to take notice on this free meal and stick around the platforms in the Gulf. And when you have thousands of fish in a feeding frenzy the shark come in to. Now there is nothing like catching a 100-200 pound shark and fighting him. You start out by catching some trash fish for bait, usually hardtail about 10-15 inches long. You cut these into steak slices and hook them into your large hook. We all use 80-100 pound test line and use stainless steel wire, yes wire to hook from your line to the hook, otherwise as soon as the shark takes the bait their razor sharp teeth will cut your line. now you just cast your line out as far as you can and wait. The nice thing is without a wait and just your bait your line stays on top of the water and you can watch the shark come in and take the bait. And these shark just don't bite the bait the grab it and run so they are immediately hooked.Sometimes you are lucky and the shark will turn and swim towards the platform,I was not so lucky the other day. I only had about 150 feet of line on my reel and at least 100 ft was in the water when the shark grabbed it. Now this was no ordinary shark it was a monster,and this is my story and I am sticking to it. Jaws took the bait and headed towards the beach, Jaws is what I call him because that is how big he was. Instead of jaws being nice and headed towards the platform he decided a beach vacation would be nice and took all of my line and was swimming like hell. Remember I only had about 25-50 feet on my reel when Jaws headed north, and my drag was not holding him back. So me being smart put my thumb on the bait casting reel to stop it and Jaws did not slow down. He continued heading in the same northerly direction and after about 10 seconds he had ran all of my line out and broke it. So Jaws got away but another guy caught his little brother. Now once a shark is on deck it becomes a challenge to remove the hook so it can be thrown back or kept. Most are thrown back unharmed. So when they are on the deck a pair of pliers are needed to remove the hook. Usually one person will hold the shark down sitting on its back somewhat like you would do an alligator. Now remember these are 6-7 foot long shark, the other person will use the pliers to remove the hook from its mouth which can be hard due to the tough skin. Once the hook is removed and the pictures are taken the shark is returned to the water. The shark the other day had other plans then having the hook removed. He played possum until the pliers were put by his mouth, and no one was sitting on his back. This shark leaped off the deck and grabbed the pliers in his mouth. I found this rather amusing especially since there was no severed hand attached to the pliers. Sharks have an amazing bite force but that is not the worst the teeth are like razors and there are a a bunch of them in their mouth. Now this shark new he was getting thrown back and I guess wanted to take a souvenir with him. Once the pliers were taken out of the sharks mouth you could see the deep scratches in them. The shark was then thrown back in the water.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water Fights

Have you ever been in a water fight? Water balloons or a water hose or just a bucket. Well offshore we have water fights to. They are just on a bigger level. Imagine coming around a corner and being shot in the chest with a fire hose. Now the fight is on and you are running for your life being shot in the back with so much pressure that your about to fall down. And you come around the next corner and here is someone else with another fire hose just waiting for you. That is exactly what happened to me, Luckily I work with a good bunch of guys and they reliaze that one morning when they come out of their rooms at six am and go to strech I will be waiting for a water hose with their name on it. After our small water fight lasting about an our and thousands of gallons of water we called a truce and laid down the hoses. At this time one of the guys in the fight had decide that while our backs were turned it was a good time to break the truce and soak us a little more. Good idea at the time for him but it will be hard for him to sleep at ight when we continually tell him we are gonna get him. And you might ask what starts these water fights? Sometimes it's just somebody who happens to have the hose, other times such as the one above it started with a fish. Now let me explain, you can only make fun of one person so long about the small fish that he is catching and how you have bigger ones in your fish tank, it tends to make the fisherman a little upset. So what would the reasonable thing be to do, throw a fish at the person talking about your fishing skills of course. Now a fish thrown close will let them know that you don't appreciate what they are saying, but a fish hitting them will let them know that it would be a fine time for a water fight. And the fight is on. Although i had an inch of water in my boots and my coveralls were soaked I still had a good time and will not hesitate to start or be involved in another waterfight.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

OK, so offshore work can be dangerous and that is why there are so many rules and regulations to keep you safe. Today something that could have been bad didn't and instead it is hilarious. Our cook, I'll call him Sammy so I don't embarrass him to bad, came out side to wet a mop. instead of using a sink or shower he decides to use a fire hose. Now for those who do not know these fire hoses are situated on all levels all around the platform in case a fire breaks out. The water is pumped directly out of the Gulf of Mexico and comes out a high powered 2" fire hose.Now on the movies you see the hoses picking fireman up because they have such high pressure, and these only take one person to hold but it will push you over if you are not careful. We use these water hoses on a daily bases to fill tanks, wash the floor and the ever enjoyable water fight. And you have never been in a water fight until you've been in one with a fire hose. So the procedure after using the hose is to shut the water off at the spool and drain the water out of the hose. Usually the hose is then shut off. Sometimes however it is not. So Sammy goes over and starts to turn the water on at the spool and the hose starts to spray, instead of turning off the hose Sammy turns it on full and so now the hose is dancing around spraying Sammy. Me on the other hand am standing there watching and instead of trying to be the Hero I turn and run to get behind a wall, which sounds easy. But when you are laughing as hard as I was, I nearly was hit with the water. The good news is that no one was hurt and we all got a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time to hang it up

Sometimes you need to realize that it is time to retire. Day two offshore this hitch and our company man I will call him Oompa , who we only deal with for 4 days then our regular one comes out, is running around slamming doors and complaining, again. Let me paint a picture for you. Picture a man 70 years old and shaped like a pear. Got it?, but this isn't like yours or my grandpa, he is a man that doesn't enjoy his job anymore, and who would after 50 years. He has said money is not an issue, so why keep coming back month after month if you hate it so? Now picture this the heliport is 75 or so stairs to the top and guess who is always first, on the stairs holding everybody up and complaining? You got it the Pear. Lets back up a little bit. Coil tubing was out a couple of weeks a go and one day after he got here he decided they were not getting anything done and sent them in. It took them 2 days to rig up originally and now they had to rig their equipment down and load it on the boat and go, which would be fine except we need them to finish the job. So when we finally get them or another company out then we have all that lost time. Again. Glad i am not footing the bill. So today he is ranting and raving about people being late to the heliport, which it ended up not mattering cause they sent two flights. And just now he started ranting about needing a crane operator. Now some things are not a big deal but saftey is, so when you have a tropical storm or hurricane that is projected to smash directly into you then you should evacuate. Oompa did not want to evacuate and it took someone else to force the evacuation. A few people did stay on and yes the Tropical storm directly hit the platform with 25-30 foot waves. So must I say something or will he figure it out that it is offically time to hang it up and enjoy your crabby retirement.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So I thought it might be fun writing down everything that happens while I am working offshore. I will not use the names of people but since I work with the same group of people I will make new names. I guarantee half the stuff i put on here you will not believe, but i promise it is all true. I will try to write everyday while i am offshore but can't guarantee anything because i get bored easy. Because I have a lot of time on my hands though i should be able to write often.