Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sittin' on the dock of the bay

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time ...

-- Otis Redding, "Dock of the Bay," 1967

Things are quiet in Theodore, a compact and capable deepwater port on the western shore of Mobile Bay, about halfway between the Gulf and Mobile proper.

We're waiting for the liftboat we are working with to get situated at a platform just southwest of the sea buoy, and then they may or may not call us for some of the equipment they put on our deck before they left.

We've passed the time catching-up on paperwork and a bit of deferred maintenance, cooking meals appropriate to the weather outside (yesterday was my turn: pot roast), counting down the days 'til next we go home.

Which, for the officers anyhow, is sooner than some would like. That voluntary 14/14 schedule I mentioned last post? Well, it's mandatory now. Suits me and the family fine, I can tell you. Even if I did have to come back to work two weeks early.

The boat now essentially has two crews, and I'm happy with the one I'm working with.

Back at the office, seven of our shoreside staff were let go this past month as a cost-cutting measure. The supply list is being trimmed. I'm fighting a rearguard action to keep water on the requisition and not have it transferred to our ever-shrinking grocery budget. It's a safety issue, to my mind.

It's awfully quiet over here, at least compared to Port Fourchon, where the radio chatter never stops and there may be anywhere from 20 to 40 boats in motion at a given time. What radio traffic we do hear is remarkably polite and friendly. Even the shrimpers in the bay routinely come up on Ch. 13 without any prompting. 

There are live oak trees literally a stone's throw from the back deck, and a curtain of tall pines behind those. 

An osprey is building a nest in one (is it that time already? Maybe that was a snake it had clutched in its talons ....).

Coots and cormorants bob around the boat. Someone caught a sand trout -- they call them "white trout" over here -- off the back deck the other night. And this morning there were snow flurries.

It's good to come to work at the beginning of a job, for a change. We had opportunities to meet the crews of the other boats and the customer representatives we'll be working for. We reviewed JSAs and traded phone numbers and email addresses and got a jump on some of the confusion that ineveitably happens once a job is underway.

The field we'll be working in is an active hydrogen sulfide field, which necessitated trips to the occupational health clinic on our way to work. 

It also necessitated the delivery of a dozen self-contained breathing apparatuses, two big supplied-air cascade units and a whole bunch of H2S sensors and alarms.

The other captain on my hitch worked over here for 13 years on a production boat, so knows the field and waters well; he even spent a few years working with the company man on this job, which makes everyone happy. 

This job, which is slated to last up to three months, is for one of the majors -- I guess it's actually the major oil major -- and I think our sales guys have high hopes it will lead to additional contracts.

We'll do a bang-up job, because we always do. And because this is an easy one, and the sort of fun, standard OSV stuff we all signed-up for.

But until they call us to the location, you can find me ...

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes
Watchin' the ships roll in
Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooo
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time ....

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are back at work and OK with the crew and days.