In house projects

The highlight of the hitch has definitely been an in house job of sorts we did earlier in the month. It involved heading to Gulf Island Fabricators in Houma to pick up three large housing units at their west yard, and then delivering and offloading them to the HOS Iron Horse in Mobile Alabama. One of the reasons I am more than happy to be on a smaller older boat is precisely this kind of job. The weakest part of my portfolio of experience is a lack of trips in and out of places other than Fourchon. I have been all over New England, but as far as the gulf is concerned I’ve done Fourchon and more Fourchon.
With this job I got to do another passage in and out of the Houma Nav canal, relatively easy all things considered, and then a trip inbound Mobile from sea. When I came back on watch after starting our transit to into Houma we were secured and it was a couple hours wait to load the housing units in the morning. This is the first special lift project of any kind that I have been involved with as one of the decision making parties and I am glad it was a relatively simple one. The housing units were pre arranged on the dock and after a pre job JSA and talk was conducted we went about loading the units. I discussed loading and securing with the lift director and in order to make the crane work easier and have the least movement with these 76 ton lifts it was decided I would slide the boat ahead on the dock to line up the second and third loads. Due to the sparse bollards on the dock this involved me keeping the boat into an aft leading stern line and using the rudders and bow thruster to keep up firmly planted on the dock.
As seen below the lifts went off with out incident and I was very pleased to have worked with such a great team on the dock. Gulf Island Fabricators lift crew was top notch to work with. Here are a couple go pro stills of the loading, and if you have been viewing my blog for a while you will know whats coming when I get to some faster internet!

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

The trip inbound Mobile I looked forward to quite a bit and while an over all very easy trip a couple challenges were introduced for me.

-Our arrival time orders got changed en route and we needed to arrive +/- sunrise
-I had to make the trip in at night in order to try and arrive around sunrise
-Further complicating this was a flood tide speeding our progress, coupled with already having planned to transit inbound at clutch speed.
-We had heavy rain and thunderstorms for much of the inbound transit

On the plus side this boat has great radars, great spot lights, and handles quite well even at low speed. Not to mention much of the transit up mobile bay is more or less a straight line. The channel isn’t terribly narrow and well dredged/marked. Certainly not narrow enough that you have to worry about playing Texas chicken with other vessels. Below are two shots of my radars coming up to the gap between the mainland and Dauphin Island, really the only curves in the channel.

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After getting passed Dauphin Island we had intermittent rain, however the last mile before our turn into the Theodore Ship Channel the sky opened up and absolutely dumped on us. Torrential rains, gusting winds, and lighting all around. A typical gulf coast thunder storm. We made our way into Theodore and got secured alongside the HOS Iron Horse to stand by to offload our cargo.
As it turned out they still weren’t totally ready for us to offload and we followed them farther up the bay into Mobile itself to Signal Ship Repair. Here we again secured alongside and stood by to offload. The next morning we got to it early, shifting positions slightly and then swinging all three lifts with the Iron Horse’s 400 ton crane. They were stacked three high on top of each other just behind the ships superstructure and this was another well planned and executed lift.

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Look out for a time-lapse video in the next few days when I get to some fast internet!

Posted in General Ramblings, Money Makers! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Great Expectations

No not the book, but the boat, featured in an earlier post here

She is a pure fuel carrier OSV operated by Stone Fuel, capacity of 1.5 million gallons. Not a bad looking rig in my book and probably not a bad job.

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Night time is the right time

Been playing around with some night time long exposure shots recently. Fun to set up to shoot and fun to edit. While I miss being able to get the dramatic sunset shots, and a normal dinner, the night watch does allow for some interesting photographic opportunities. I have been experimenting with the trio of lenses for my Nikon One V1, as well as my ND8 & CPL filters, which has definitely helped improve the quality of my night time work. Also helping is my continued use and practice with Lightroom. I lack the formal eduction I wish I could get in this study, however the learning journey is still enjoyable. I think some kind of online course may be in my future, along with some upgraded equipment as finances allow!

HOS Captain & HOS Blackfoot at Hos port north

HOS Captain & HOS Blackfoot at Hos port north

HOS Bluewater & HOS Brimstone

HOS Bluewater & HOS Brimstone

HOS Bluewater & Brimstone close up

HOS Bluewater & Brimstone close up

The newest generation of crew boats to hit Fourchon have technology more familiar to star trek fans than mariners

The newest generation of crew boats to hit Fourchon have technology more familiar to star trek fans than mariners

Bordelon Marine stingray class under construction in Houma

Bordelon Marine stingray class under construction in Houma

ECO's LA Ship, didn't quite turn out as I wanted.

ECO’s LA Ship, didn’t quite turn out as I wanted.

McDermott's North Ocean 102

McDermott’s North Ocean 102

Theodore Industrial Canal  with the fog hanging over

Theodore Industrial Canal with the fog hanging over

Another of the North Ocean 102

Another of the North Ocean 102

Normand Clipper in the dry dock at BAE in Mobile

Normand Clipper in the dry dock at BAE in Mobile

A future special warfare staging vessel at BAE Mobil

A future special warfare staging vessel at BAE Mobile

Bulker offloading at the Port of Mobile

Bulker offloading at the Port of Mobile

Wide angle shot of BAE Mobile

Wide angle shot of BAE Mobile

Posted in General Ramblings, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo of the week 8-7-14

I see, a bad moon a risin’….

sound track by CCR of course

sound track by CCR of course

Posted in Photo's of the week | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

New becomes old

It is surprising in life how fast something that is new, a car, a camera, a pair of boots, quickly become just another dismissible item pushed into the background of our consciousness. Especially when this thing is at first unique, and before you know it every high school girl in sight is wearing a black north face fleece. The same can be said for people, girlfriends, new co-workers. It seems like before you know it you are brushing your teeth with your significant other on the toilet and know what your engineer’s kids birthdays are. How about the details and routines of a new job? It isn’t long before a new electronic log system, and what files you have to submit and when become old hat. The controls of a new boat go from new and concentration requiring, to the kind of in the dark muscle memory that allows you to hit the light switches in your house in the middle of the night.
However what am I really talking about? In this case it is boats, big surprise! I often post photos of new boats in Fourchon and in the past months it was exciting seeing the first and second in class of a lot of the new 300 foot and larger OSV’s start to show up in Fourchon. This hitch? All of a sudden the “big boats” are a dime a dozen and they have already lost what ever magic they had. Now, they are just dock and channel space hogs! It is very very clear that Fourchon was not designed with work boats this big in mind and they definitely can’t get slip C finished fast enough.

Big boats for everybody!

Big boats for everybody!

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

HOS Captain & HOS Black Foot

HOS Captain & HOS Black Foot

HOS Captain & HOS Black Foot

HOS Captain & HOS Black Foot

HOS Commander

HOS Commander

Miss Marilene Tide

Miss Marilene Tide

Miss Marilene Tide

Miss Marilene Tide

Harvey Hawk

Harvey Hawk

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Tugs on Parade, courtesy of a screw change

Currently I am sitting back at work here in Fourchon, after what can only be described as a pretty bad crew change. Several days of waiting, not a lot of sleep, bad food, and getting dropped right into the end of a spot job at 0600 on a saturday.
On the plus side I got another day at home and what a day it was. July 29th was the Centennial of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal, and there have been festivities and events going on most of the week preceding it. My entire time home I was not looking forward to my return to work for all of the usual reasons, however this time I had one added reason. I was slated to travel on the 29th, not only the day of the Centennial, but also of the celebratory tugboat parade in the canal!
If you aren’t a frequent viewer you might not know the reasons why I wanted to be there for this. The Cape Cod Canal (CCC) is an intertwined part of the Therapist FiancĂ© and I’s lives. I have made countless trips through it and still do while home. Together we have had more than a few milkshakes at the sandwich boat basin watching the boat traffic and walking the dog along its banks. As my pictures show it is often where I got to catch tugs and other traffic making their transit from one bay to another. We aren’t the only people in the are who consider the canal to be a big deal. Any day of the week there are people striper fishing, running, riding bikes, or like me just watching the boats.
So to get to ride along on Jaguar, the first tugboat in my maritime career, in the tugboat parade for a waterway that is such a big part of both me and the therapist fiancĂ©’s life…Well it was a big deal for me. It became an even bigger deal when you factor in the empty 32 gig memory card I had ready and waiting.
So all of the waiting, bad food, no sleep and general confusion of the crew change ended up really being worth it. The crowds along the banks of the canal were far larger than I expected and even included some family members. There was a decent turn out of boats with McAllister’s two newer tractor tugs the Andrew and Buckley really stealing the show. I ended up shooting around 1000 frames and I have my 80 or so finished photos posted on my photos sales website, http://newenglandwatermanphoto.smugmug.com/Cape-Cod-Canal-Centennial-Tug/, however if you need a fix now here are a few good ones!

Happy 100th CCC!

Happy 100th CCC!

Andrew McAllister, Reliance, Buckley McAllister

Andrew McAllister, Reliance, Buckley McAllister

Between the bridges, Mac boats in a line

Between the bridges, Mac boats in a line

"Andrew McAllister"

“Andrew McAllister”

Mass Maritime's "Ranger", our pace boat at the east end jetties

Mass Maritime’s “Ranger”, our pace boat at the east end jetties

proper flag to boat size ration

proper flag to boat size ration

"Andrew McAllister" and Mass Maritime's "Hercules"

“Andrew McAllister” and Mass Maritime’s “Hercules”

"Reliance" at the east end

“Reliance” at the east end

"Co"

“Co”

"Sea Smoke" off the boat basin

“Sea Smoke” off the boat basin

"Alert", "Co", and "Reliance" westbound at the boat basin.

“Alert”, “Co”, and “Reliance” westbound at the boat basin.

Water show by the McAllister tractors at the rail road bridge

Water show by the McAllister tractors at the rail road bridge

"Buckley McAllister", the Canal's newest escort tug

“Buckley McAllister”, the Canal’s newest escort tug

"Andrew McAllister"

“Andrew McAllister”

Mass Maritime, and the T/S "Kennedy"

Mass Maritime, and the T/S “Kennedy”

"Kennedy" & "Ranger"

“Kennedy” & “Ranger”

"Kalmar Nyckel" at Mass Maritime

“Kalmar Nyckel” at Mass Maritime

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Photo of the week 7-26-14

I visited some friends aboard the Charles W. Morgan yesterday and in there honor here is a shot a snapped after undocking her in New Bedford.

A very pretty sight!

A very pretty sight!

Posted in Photo's of the week | 2 Comments