I am presently on a well dubbed with the nick name “Candy Bars”. The name is all too misleading, as this job experience has been less than ideal. To avoid going into grubby, angsty details, I will instead just give a chronological outline of the last week or so of my life.
Monday, December 24, a day known to many as Christmas Eve. Laila drives herself 500 miles or so from Atlanta to Houma. (This trip should be several posts in itself.) Theoretically, there are two more days left in the coveted ‘days off’ week, before she is to report to work Thursday morning.
Tuesday, December 25, this day is a national holiday called Christmas. Laila gets a call from her manager, explaining that a job has just called in. She is go to offshore tomorrow and blow some stuff up in the ground. Englewood will prepare the job today and ship out all the equipment. Laila is to coordinate with Eglewood the details.
Wednesday, December 26, this is the last day of Laila’s days off, however she reports to work just to see what is going on. No one seems to know anything about the timing of this job. Laila asks “what rig am I going to?” Only to find out that there is a lot more equipment needed to do this job than was prepared. Laila and managers scramble to get equipment organized and sent to the dock. Then Laila and her crew get to the heliport all before lunch time. Crew is on the rig for dinner.
Thursday, crew gets up at 04:00 to greet the boat with all the Whataberger equipment on it. While unloading and setting up the wireline job, Harry4 realized we are missing some pieces. Laila calls Houma. Meanwhile the company man on the rig calls the heliport to hold it for our remaining pieces. We get our pieces, rig up, and proceed to blow things up in the ground. This operation continues until…
Friday, 15:00. In theory, the crew should be on a chopper…
Saturday to go home. The rig decides, a $40,000 helicopter trip is not worth it to bring home the Whataberger crew. They are scheduled for a flight on..
Sunday. This morning, the crew hears that the helicopter has been turned around. A few moment later, the rig announces “The helicopter for today has been cancelled.” Laila goes to company man to investigate. It turns out the rig may need more wireline work and asks Laila to organize sending more equipment out. Meanwhile, the crew will stay on the rig in the event more work needs to be done. A frenzy of phone calls ensues.
Monday. Crew is still kickin it on the rig waiting to hear if they will get to work or not. Monday evening, Laila gets news that the rig will not be requiring more wireline work, and she and her crew are scheduled for a flight the next day.
Tuesday, New Years Day! Crew wakes early, packs bags, reports to heliwait room, watches safety briefing, greets incoming passengers, dons life vests, and boards helicopter. All the passengers sit waiting for the helicopter to depart, excited to spend the first day of the new year on solid ground. Instead of a departure, they hear an announcement that there is one fewer life vest than passengers. One person is asked to volunteer to stay. Laila thinks, “I’m probably going to have to stay, but I’m not volunteering until I’m told for sure.” Sure enough, five minutes later, the Helicopter Landing Officer gets on the chopper and asks “Who here is from Whataberger?”. Realizing her fate, Laila raises her hand saying “I’ll stay”, unbuckles her seatbelt, and walks back inside the rig. Depression sets in.
This brings us to present time. I should have left this floating vessel days ago, and I feel worlds away from home. I sit in the conference room on the rig angrily assigning myself holiday bonus for all the shenanigans. The rig dispatcher assures me he is working on getting a special flight just for me, as the helicopter company “owes” them free flights. “Let me assure you, that Captain was very embarrassed having to come down here and explain that they did not have enough life vests.”