Archive for the ‘transportation’ Tag
Whoop whoop land at last, was that a nice sight or what? We had the BBQ on the fly bridge all ready to go and some beers on ice (just a few) I even had a cigar ready, It was such a nice feeling lighting that.
Here was our first sighting of land just before sunset. The Island of Antigua to the right of the sun.
By the time we got to English Harbour it was pitch black and very hard to find an anchorage with enough room for Kapowai, keeping in mind anchor chain length, water depth and staying out of the shipping channel and away from other boats. However we did find one and dropped the anchor, phew G & T time.
This was the view in the morning.
After a leisurely breakfast, and the first one where you didn’t have to hold your plate down, we got Kapowai ‘Caribbean ready’ deck chairs out, snorkelling gear ready, ice maker working, suntan lotion to hand. A quick radio call to the harbour master and we were on our way to a berth.
Kapowai berthed along side, so nice to step onto dry land after so long at sea, I couldn’t have done it with better people on a better boat, big thanks to Sean & Lois and of course Kapowai.
Since my accident I haven’t done a lot, not even blogged, two reasons really, not a lot to post about (I don’t get out much) and it hurts to type, but hey, i’ll grin and bare it.
When I did get out, I made the most of it, I flew to Tenerife on the 22nd of Feb to join my brother and his wife (Sean & Lois) and sail across the Atlantic, yeah you read that right, sail/cruise across the Atlantic on their boat Kapowai.
I arrived late that night and after a good sleep and last minute shopping in the morning we were off, no messing around, which was just as well, I may of got cold feet but luckily the shear scale of the crossing hadn’t sunk it. I took a photo every day with the GPS enabled on my camera and this is the result.
It’s a well established route and before folk leave Santa Cruz a lot of them leave their mark. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time or the paint.
Leaving Santa Cruz and the last bit of land we will see for the next 13 and a half days.
As part of my recovery process I decided to have a bit of Rest & Recuperation, and what better place than on a boat, one that is alongside and not going anywhere of course. Luckily enough my brother and his wife just happen to be on the South coast, not far from home. This is Kapowai, their home from home.
After the hello’s I checked into my forward cabin and then to the back deck for afternoon G&T, it’s a stunning boat with plenty of room onboard, sleeps 10 and never runs out of ice, although the Gin can sometimes be hard to find. After a long night of catchup and story’s of the crossing from the USA it was bed.
The next day was another late summers day, cool breeze but lots of sun, we decided to take the tender up the river and find a nice pub for lunch.
The trip up the river was great with some interesting sights.
Some that didn’t make it.
Small ferry, that can’t be missed.
And a lot of very nice homes.
And finally our destination, we were told this pub had great beer and excellent food, they weren’t wrong.
And even some words of wisdom.
All in all a great couple of days. You can check out my brothers blog here.
Hi, I’m Chris, Marks nephew. Seeing as he is currently disabled I thought I would give this blogging thing a try.
A bit about me, I am one of the Second Officer’s on an Anchor Handling tug called Loke Viking. I have been working onboard Loke for 2 years now and love every minute of it.
We recently sailed to a very small town in the southern part of Norway called Flekkefjord. We arrived around lunch time and headed for our berth in the middle of the town. The town its self is about 10-15 miles in land, so we had to sail through a narrow Fjord to get there. Some of the views on the way up the fjord were spectacular.
Flekkefjord its self is a lovely little town with a lot of very traditional Norwegian wooden houses.
We were told by the ships agent who was local to the area that there was going to be a celebration tonight called Midsummer festival. Midsummer is a very popular thing in Scandinavia with some Swedish people going as far as to say it is a bigger holiday than Christmas. Well in Fekkefjord they did it a bit different from everyone else and in the middle of the harbour was a floating barge pilled with wood that they intended on lighting, and then circling with their small boats.
In my last post I said it was another successful rig move, and it was. But it wasn’t all plain sailing.
After the removal of all seabed fastenings and having one AHV connected to the tow bridle, the Loke Viking and Brage Viking departed for Aberdeen, we were left with the tow vessel to do the, ah towing, and the Odin Viking, it was our ‘just in case boat’. Odin would stay with us all the way to Norway, we were pleased about this as we were heading into some pretty bad weather. Sam and I are not really needed while we are under tow but its nice to keep an eye on things and we are doing just that when at 2000 on the dot there was this very loud twang and the rig shudders, we both look at each other just as the radio comes to life, it’s the tow vessel with the news you don’t want to hear. “the tow wire has just snapped”.
We immediately take a fix of our position and then our position is plotted onto a chart, ok we are about 10 miles from the coast and we are drifting at 3 to 4 knots an hour toward land, not good. We have about three and a half hours to get under control. Onboard there are things called rocket lines, we had six of them, the Odin Viking was called in as close as possible, now its a force 9 to 10 outside,(thats 54 mile an hour winds and 7-10m waves) pitch black and raining and these guys have to fire a rocket line at what looks like a very small target bobbing up and down and rocking side to side, out of the six lines two failed to go off and the other four missed there target, so now the Odin has a go, after all he is aiming at a bigger target, most miss. The last one, the one i’m looking at out the window makes contact, Sam and I and another bloke rush outside and grab the line, we coil it up and pass it on to the deck crew, they attach a buoy and stronger line to it and the Odin pulls it over, well thats how it should of worked, unfortunately the line breaks and we are no closer to safety, but closer to land. While all this was going on the Norwegian Coast Guard has been called and a rescue helicopter is scrabbled and on route, but that is still an hour out.
The next option was to drop an anchor on the seabed to slow our drift, now this isn’t as easy as it sounds, the seabed of the North Sea is criss crossed with pipelines and cables and other assets and we were only 3 miles from a major gas pipeline, but the decision was taken and it was given the go ahead, in this sort of weather and as the rig was at transit draft (high in the water) we could not use the cranes, so out with the gas axe, (a pennant is connected to the anchor and rig and this is what had to be cut) once cut the anchor winch was released and the anchor fell to the seabed, everybody was watching the screen for the telltale sign the anchor was making a difference, slowly the heading started to change and the speed drop, we slowed to 1.5 knots, that gave us 2 hours before we reached the pipeline.
By now 15 lucky or unlucky people had been picked for the first rescue chopper, one of us had to go and after some discussion Sam opted for the first chopper, I was going with the ‘better the devil you know’ option. I don’t like getting on a helicopter in nice sunny weather, never mine in a storm. After a manly shake of the hand and pat on the back off Sam went to get suited up in his survival gear, 30 mins later the chopper arrived on location, it had a go at landing but that wasn’t going to happen, so a guy comes down on a winch, he informs the 15 that they will be going up two by two on the winch into the Sea king, we watched all this on the TV monitor and thats when I knew I had made the right decision.
Once the coast guard rescue operation had finished a plan was hatched to let out around a 1000 meters of wire from the winch to the anchor we were dragging along the seabed and the Odin Viking would use a J hook connected to his work wire and try and grab the anchor wire, sounds impossible? No, on the third attempt the Odin Viking successfully hooked the wire and carefully winched it and eventually the anchor onto its deck, there was another 30 minutes or so of holding our breath until all was made secure, the look on everyones faces when that radio call came was priceless. We were back under control with a couple of hours to spare, just another day in the office.
Have to say well done to all involved, all the people on the rig were very professional, worked well together and stayed calm, The Norwegian Coast Guard were as professional as would be expected, and the crew of the Odin Viking, what can I say, the best.
Remember theses guys were working on deck like this, on that night, in that storm. Hats off to them.
I haven’t worked with the Viking boats for a while and to make up for it we had three of them on my last rig move.
The Brage Viking here picking up 4 buoys, these were used to hold the Rigs anchor wire up above assets on the seabed, such as gas or oil pipelines.
This one is the Loke Viking, my Nephew works on here but wasn’t working on this shift, he was chilling in NZ, lucky sod.
Last but defiantly not least is the Odin Viking, here I have zoomed in on the 40 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE painted on the bulkhead, these guys don’t stay in this business for that amount of time if they are ‘ok’ or ‘mediocre’ they have to be the best, and a couple of days after I took this photo this boat showed us why they are the best.
Lives saved and environmental disaster avoided thanks to the Odin Viking, more in Fridays post.
Carrying on with my ‘from the air theme’. This time as the title says its Morocco, for the first 10 minutes over land I didn’t think I would get a single shot with the cloud cover being so thick, but lucky for me as we got closer to town the cloud thinned and then disappeared altogether.
This had been my home for the last 17 days, great crew and a very successful rig move.
Making the most out of this harsh dry land. Fancy an apartment by the beach like this?
Of course if you have access to water it makes all the difference.
Even on a small scale.
Being close to a river will always help.
Or just stick to Goats and trees.
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.