One minute it was a beautiful sunny day, the next, dark, foggy and a strange lonely feeling to it.
As with this AHV in front of us, we find it very hard to see it at the moment, but with radar and good communications we know exactly where it is and what its up too.
Life can be like that too, one minute it’s all bright and cheery and the next minute you are plunged into total darkness and will find it very hard to see your way out. But in time the fog will lift, the sun will come out again, and things will start looking brighter again.
Sometime at our equipment has to be mobilised on the AHV at sea, so some poor sod has to go down to the vessel and do this, that would be me then. This is how we do it.
We use a Billy Pugh (named after its inventor) it consists of a small ring attached to a larger ring by rope netting, as seen in the photo below.
This is attached to a crane and is ready for personal transfer as demonstrated by me below.
As the Billy Pugh is lower to the vessel and received by the waiting deck crew I walk down the deck in a fetching all in one blue number, topped with a white hard hat and life vest accessory, trying to look calm and relaxed as I approach.
Once on deck you place any equipment inside the Billy Pugh and then you stand on the outside, i’ll repeat that, you stand on the outside, holding on for your life.
The crane driver lifts and swings you away from the vessel as soon as possible so if you do slip and fall you will land in the water, which is slightly softer than the deck of a ship, just watch out for sharks.
As the billy Pugh touches down on deck the idea is to jump off, otherwise it collapses on itself and you fall into the middle looking like a complete donut. Once on deck its straight to your cabin to change your pants.
The vessel then sails away into the sunset. (sorry didn’t have a sunset shot but it sounded better than beam of light through the clouds)
Billy Pugh became internationally known when his personal transfer net was used by NASA to pluck Apollo 11, 15 and 17 astronauts out of the water on their return to Earth. It is still one of the safest way for personal transfers at sea and is still used, although the design has been updated a bit.
A couple of years ago I worked a lot in the Black Sea, one of the ports we would pass through was Varna. I couldn’t resist snapping these guys working on this old ex-Soviet Submarine as we entered the port. Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the third-largest city in Bulgaria. Commonly referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, it’s also the headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine, as well as the centre of Varna Province and Bulgaria’s North-Eastern planning region, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. (NUTS) I just love that acronym.
On one of my brief visits I managed to check out Cosmonauts Alley which contains trees planted by Yuri Gagarin and other Soviet and Bulgarian cosmonauts.
One more fact, the oldest golden treasure in the world was discovered in Varna, consisting of coins, weapons and jewellery dating to 4,600 BC.