After joining the rig in Gibraltar we sailed down the coast of Morocco past Casablanca and finally finished up just below Agadir, just east of the Canary Islands where the rest of my family were sunning themselves, so close and yet so far.
Once we were close to our final location our helicopter taxi service started again, guys that you had got to know were leaving and new faces appeared on a daily basis and the rig started to get more busy.
These helicopter pilots are good but sometimes they need to brush up on the odd technique, like landing on the deck at night. Lucky for me I was allowed to take my camera out and watch, now i’m not really that much of a helicopter spotter, although I do think they are a great bit of kit and I’m still surprised they can fly, cool to watch but not that cool to fly in.
As always safety comes first and during the six landing and takeoff all helideck crew were in place and at the ready.
Its a lot closer than it looks, I had to lock my hands around the hand rail and grip my camera while the fire crew pushed me forward to stop me from blowing over with the downdraft.
It’s been a very busy week, I have my Nephew staying with me, and I have been showing him the sites of London one pub at a time, it’s very exhausting work but someone has to do it.
Back to Gibraltar.
After my walk all over and around the ‘Rock’ I hunted down the guys I was travelling with and looking forward to a long cool beverage was glad to find them near a pub, but just as I got there we had the phone call, we were to join the ship tonight and sail to the rig over night, oh well it was fun while it lasted. We left Gibraltar some time in the early hours and sailed back towards Malta meeting the rig on way, once boarding the rig our boat was swapped over with the tow boat and then that one departed for Gibraltar, towing with one boat was very slow going so by the time it was back to join the tow the following day we hadn’t moved very far. It was another couple of days before we went through the Straits of Gibraltar and ended up being very good timing as it was one of the guys 25th birthday and he had purchased 5 very nice cigars, we finished off the day chilling under the helideck smoking fine cigars and watching the sunset over the Rock.
Have a great weekend.
After Malta comes Gibraltar, well in my case it does, after we pulled all nine anchors in Malta, the rig sailed on it’s way with the help of two AHV’s. At a wind in your hair speed of around 3 knots there wasn’t much point in staying onboard, as we were not needed. After taking the ‘Malta from the Air’ photos we found ourselves in a rather nice hotel on the beach, finding the one and only shop that sold swimming shorts and buying a pair of the loudest ones we headed for the beach.
Early morning flight back to the UK, home for a week and then back to join the rig in Gibraltar.
For those who don’t know, Gibraltar is still part of the UK and on the other side of the runway (middle left) is Spain, you actually drive across the runway to get to either side, lights change to red, you stop, plane lands, lights change to green norman business resumes.
Of course you can’t go to Gibraltar without going up the rock, last time I was here my son and I walked up to the top, along the top of a crumbling wall, once at the top and the mist cleared we realised there was a cable car and a road, I didn’t make the same mistake this time, straight to the cable car, once on top you are met by one of the locals.
I did however give myself a challenge coming down, I first walked up to the Mediterranean steps and once found them decided to brave the walk down, now you may think walking down is the easy bit and for some it would be, but I’m old, unfit and have an old rugby injury, so two and a half hours later I finally made it down, it was worth the sunburn and my left knee swelling to twice the size, but next time i’ll walk up them.
Just a quick post before i’m off again, The good people at CHC Helicopters allowed me to use my camera on the flight back to stunning Malta so I took the opportunity and snapped away, it’s not easy though, trying not to get the refection of your bright yellow survival suit in the window, especially when you are my size.
Our ride to land, thanks CHC.
I had a bit of a crazy day yesterday, it started off ok if not a bit early in Malta, got a flight from there to Heathrow, then after a couple of hours boarded another flight to Aberdeen, so far so good, a couple of hours later I was back at the airport, I checked my bag in and walked through security, grabbed a G&T and sat down, a few minutes later Nico joined me and we raised a glass to another successful rig move, now I’m sitting a few meters from my gate and keeping a good eye on it, once the queue was down to the last few people I jumped up and joined the end, once it got to my turn I showed the nice young lady my boarding card, now this is when it starts to get crazy, she pointed out that I was booked on the one hour earlier flight to Heathrow, there must be some mistake I said and showed her my electronic ticket on my phone, which clearly states my flight was to City Airport not Heathrow, after the system was checked a few more times and two phone calls later I was told they had in fact made a mistake, cool I’m thinking to myself, I’ll just get on the plane and be home in time for dinner………………oh no, you see even though I was standing 20 meters from the plane which was only half full, with the door still open I could not board it, something to do with a time issue, this is when I pointed out it was going to take them longer to get my bag I had checked in off the plane than it was for them to print me a new boarding pass, this is the moment they all looked at each other and franticly started punching buttons on the keyboard, and thats when they found out my bag was on its way to Heathrow, apparently someone with the same name as me was travelling to Heathrow, with my bag. Now I’m pretty laid back and as I was on my way home and not going out to a job losing the bag was no real problem, they could just courier it to my house the next day. (which they have). So just put me on the next flight to City and I’ll be happy, oh no that was the last flight to City that night, we can send you to Heathrow they said, that was not going to work for me, stick me in a hotel and i’ll get a flight to City tomorrow I said, with a few looks and nods and a phone call this was agreed on and I was sent back though to the ticket desk for this to be arranged. I met up with a very helpful young lady called Vicky and she started to organise the return of my bag and a room for the night, now the Scottish open is on this weekend (thats golf if you didn’t know) and every hotel was booked solid, so I came up with another plan, instead of a hotel British Airways can pay for a taxi and I’ll stay at my brothers house, with a few looks and nods and a phone call this was agreed on, Vicky was sorting out the paperwork while I was on the phone to my bro to make sure all was ok, then I had to call my wife and kids to tell them I wasn’t going to be home tonight, finally I signed some papers and was directed to the taxi office, gave them my details and was told no details had come through yet and to take a seat, but I had a better idea, I gave my mobile number and walked to the pub, ordered a large cold one and relaxed.
Now what I didn’t know was for the last hour and half the plane I was supposed to be just getting off in London City Airport was still just outside with a slight technical fault, now I’m about to take my first sip of a well earned drink when in runs a taxi driver with a BA agent and points at me and shouts thats him, she runs up to me and asked if I still wanted to get home, silly question as I’m already on my feet, we run all the way to security where its high heels off (hers not mine) laptop out and belts off, through the scanner and then dressed again, more running to the gate where someone else takes over, then its out to the plane, as I’m walking up the steps the door is opened for me, I step on the plane and given seat 1A, in fact B,C and D the whole front row to myself, the door is closed behind me and off we go, as soon as the seat belt light has gone off a large G&T is placed in front of me and its relax time again, both girls on the plane were fantastic, at one point I asked for a bit of ice and the young lady put her things down and came a sat next to me, I thought she was going to hold my hand when she asked what it was I was after, I said just a bit of ice and with a really good laugh she said I thought you asked for some advice.
Now some people might have found this a bit stressful but there’s not a lot you can do about it, and shouting will never help, I found all the British Airways staff to be very professional and helpful on every level and could never fault them, and if anyone at British Airways reads this, you guys just bumped me down to a blue card, any chance I could go back to bronze, silver would be great.