Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Experiencing Indian Monsoon Offshore

As I sat in the chopper, with heavy rain falling from the skies, zero visibility, the chopper was leaking badly; I started to wonder if this was not such a bad time to re-dedicate my life to Jesus Christ. When you find yourself in very precarious situations, you tend to start to think on the spiritual side (just incase you end up on the other side much sooner than you anticipated) My Reebok running pants was soaked. I couldn’t even move position to avoid the water leaking into the cockpit as I was closely packed with 9 other men who are being sent back to town from the rig in very bad Indian monsoon. Now I know how all those people caught out in storms really feel, I was literally riding a “storm”

So I started to sing Christian hymns under my breadth.. the chopper is lurching from side to side and every one is soaked. I just closed my eyes.. whatever will happen will surely happen. After 30 minutes of the most harrowing experience of my very young life, we were back on ground. I am convinced I will quit my job if they send me offshore again. But like I always say: “The human mind is a strong tower built on unshakable rock” One minute you are convinced that this is the end of life as we know it and then the next minute, you are over it and calling your boss to find out when the next chopper will be flying back to the rig. Yea, this was your girl Tolantino.

After the chopper was cancelled on Friday due to the atrocious weather conditions in the Mumbai Offshore Basin, they put my name on the next chopper heading out on Sunday morning. In the interim, I managed to bag myself a promise of “free-launch” in town from the Geologist on site. One very old Filipino man like that who is old enough to be my father. Me I no dey do those kind runs with Aristos (old men). Come Sunday morning, my name is not on the outgoing manifest. They are saying that I can stay for now. Out tools are still not yet out of the hole so I am still very happy with the situation. I must see BHA Laydown! So, I came back to start my shift in the early hours on Monday morning, The weather is not looking very promising today. Horizontal rain with windspeed enough to blow your standard 10yr old kid into the ocean. I have to think before I take any steps. God forbid bad thing happening to me out here.

So, our tools are finally coming out of the hole. We had to put the tools down in serious heavy rain. The deck of the rig was like a mini-pool. By now, I was already soaked to my knickers even though I had a raincoat on. My safety boots is filled with water and I have to keep “emptying” my boot of water every now a then. Downloading the tool took us about 9 hours since the bloody thing was refusing to “communicate” with our computers. We tried everything! By the time the “winch” of a thing decided to respond, I was already working without sleep for more than 24hrs. I was soaked to my “Bra and Pant” I was even shivering and my brain was about to go on lockdown mode. I was the one who asked for “BHA-LAYDOWN” Well.. I am definitely getting one heck of a lay down right now.

Everything was processed quickly and we sent the data to town. Our working unit was also flooded with water and mud. We had to do a quick mini clean up before we went to take a break. I quickly had a hot shower to save myself from the possibilities of pneumonia and jumped into bed around 2am on Tuesday morning. Now, we sleep in bunk beds and my CM sleeps in my ower bunk. So she goes like:
“Tolantino.. you will have to wake up to send the morning reports by 7am”
I’m thinking that this CM of mine has “evil spirit” If I need to send off reports by 7am, this leaves me with only 5 hrs of sleep ( you will know by now that I totally love my sleep)
ME: “CM.. can it not wait till 10am.. I really need to get some sleep”
CM: Blah blah blah …. It needs to go on time.. more blah blah blahs.. “
( I quickly set my alarm for 7 am and closed my eyes.. I will not waste my precious little hours of sleep chatting with the heffer)

7am on Tuesday: I get up to prepare the morning reports. Its still raining heavily outside.. I am supposed to be on the chopper out again today but I am convinced there will be no choppers today. Just like there wasn’t any yesterday. This weather is too bad.

Around 10.30am, there is an announcement for all outgoing personnel to come for a chopper briefing. I ignored this since no one has informed me for certain that my name is on the outgoing manifest. Around 11am, my name is allover the intercom. Apparently, the chopper leaves in 30mins and I am still sitting in my coveralls with my stuff allover the accommodation area and I am supposed to be on the chopper!

I quickly dashed to put all my stuff in the bag. I didn’t even wash! I just packed. By the time I arrived in the “upper recreation room”, I could already hear the deep thud of the chopper blades above on the helideck. Well.. I guess this pilot decided to play Rambo and brave the Monsoon rains afterall!

I got into the chopper in the most harrowing ride described above.

On getting to Diu, the weather was still not letting up. Twas raining like it was going out of fashion. I arrived in Hotel Rhadika which is like the second best hotel here in Diu. I must hand it to them This hotel has a beach right in front of it but of course I couldn’t go to have a better look. Its still raining badly outside. It rained like that the whole day and night.

I spoke to my boss. He will contact me as soon as he hears of when the client has given the go ahead to send me back to the rig. It may be tomorrow, or it may even be a couple of days. But regardless, I am happy to be away from the confined spaces of the rig… for now.


tankojjetty said...

i think you're incredibly brave...
by the way i love ur job...

Tolantino said...

It either has to be bravery or stupidity.. Most people reckon its bravery.. Thanks for stopping by..