April 20, 00:00, Lynn and I were awoken in our bunks by an announcement. Hearing announcements in the bunks usually means there is a fire alarm or something. Lynn jumped out of her bed and frantically prepared to abandon ship. After listening to the announcement for a few seconds, we realized it was a Deep Water Horizon memorial announcement.
Yesterday morning, I boarded a helicopter and flew over to the next rig to do a job with Mr. Boxes and DeepWater Shorty. Harry4 also came with me. This helicopter ride lasted about 3 minutes. The chopper stopped and let Harry4 and I out as if it was a routine bus stop. We collected our bags from the helipad and proceeded to the briefing room for our room assignments. As I watched the safety video, Shorty, Mr.Boxes, and Archie (other operator) came in to greet me. “Hi Junior!!!”
When approaching a helicopter, you must never walk in the front or back, as the rotating blades dip in the front and the propeller will kill you in the back. I walk up to the helicopter from the side, but am always paranoid that my head will be chopped off by the rotating blades. This is of course an irrational fear, but I face it on a regular basis.
Mr. Boxes is the “Deep Water Coordinator” for this client, BHP. This means that everyone on the rig knows him very well and he gets paged constantly. In short, Mr. Boxes handles all the business. Meanwhile, Shorty and I engage in minimal horse play and giggle constantly. I feel like I am a kid playing in the grocery store with my sister while mom shops. Shorty and I have started calling Mr. Boxes “dad”.
“Taking kids offshore is a pain in the ass…”-Mr. Boxes
“Sorry I missed the meeting, dad”-Shorty
This is a drillship. Boats are fun when you can stand outside and watch the waves as the boat gently rocks over them. Boats are not fun when you are sitting in a conference room and can feel the boat moving as well as hear creaking of file cabinet doors opening and shutting involuntarily due to the excessive motion of the ocean. In addition, all the people in the meeting are quoting Ronald Reagan. This is my definition of sea sickness.
This morning, we had a fire drill on the rig. This entails everyone getting decked out in full PPE (onesy, steel toe boots, hard hat, ear plugs and gloves) and mustering at their assigned lifeboat stations wearing life jackets. Lifeboats come in all shapes and sizes. These lifeboats seat 75 people and are lowered into the water off the rig by a pulley system. The rig I just came from had lifeboats that were mounted to the rig like torpedos:
Mr. Boxes explained to me that these lifeboats deploy by being released and sliding down a teflon skid. They free fall into the water, go under the water, and emerge nearly 100 ft away from the rig. Abandoning ship is no picnic.