Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rockin' & rollin' in the Gulf of Mexico

We are three days now in high seas, unable to transfer the workers over to the FPSO nearby. We’re all just sitting here, bobbing around – left… then right… then left… then right… then forward… then backward… then repeat.

My tolerance for it is getting better, thankfully. I don’t get nauseated. I do get a wicked headache, especially if I have paperwork to do.

The platforms and rigs I’ve worked on were very, very stable, even in high winds and seas. Ships, however, are a different matter entirely.

The dodgy part is when I’m going to take a shower. It really is a matter of taking one’s life into one’s hands to come out of it intact. You kinda gotta brace yourself in one corner, and do what has to be done as fast as possible. Stubbly legs are a fact of life. It’d look like a slaughterhouse in there if I tried to achieve that silky smoothness.

The guys in the Galley have their work cut out for them, too. There are sea rails that fasten along the perimeter of the cooking surfaces, to keep the huge pots of boiling stuff from sliding off the stoves and maiming people.

On one ship I worked on about 11 years ago, we were in a horrible storm off the south coast of Newfoundland. That’s when I learned about Storm Soup. It’s a Norwegian thing, apparently. The cooks will take whatever cooked meat and vegetables they had, throw in a bit of stock, put it in a blender and then heat it up. Take your bowl and a spoon and you’re all set. Then the guys who still had an appetite would sit in the passageways, with their backs to one wall and feet up on the opposite wall to brace themselves, and dig into their Storm Soup. That’s supper, b’ys, like it or lump it. Too rough to make anything else. The only thing missing was the hard tack.

It turns out that the best activity to pass the time in rough seas is sleeping. We used to play a lot of cribbage and 120s on that ship, too, but it’s an exercise in futility when the cards are sliding back and forth across the table.

I was just speaking with one of the guys. The seas are supposed to calm down tonight, but pick up again tomorrow. There’s one thing about it, I’m getting all kinds of beauty sleep. If this keeps up, I’ll be a knock-out by the time I get home!

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