I realized today that I hadn’t posted anything since november 12th, well shame on me I guess. It’s been a busy two weeks back at work and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. Some things have changed though, new boat for one, as I am between permanent assignments. They needed a fourth man for their contract on this rotation so here I am! My schedule is all screwed up right now, and that sucks a lot. Not a lot I can do about it but try to get some idea of what the plan is. While the not knowing my schedule is a big stressor for me, admittedly it is even worse for the Therapist Fiancé at home. Having at least rough dates to look forward to allows for some regularity and less of a roller coaster effect on the emotions of both a mariner and his or her spouse. Though it is generally easier for the mariner to get lost in their work to a certain extent. In my case this hitch I have the small consolation prize of getting to learn a new boat, a different DP system, and work opposite watch of a friend from school. The stress is still there but it gives me something to take the edge off. I’m not the one at home just having to wait, and not get answers. That’s the hard part.
So learning a new boat is a good distraction from the negative aspects. I haven’t gotten a ton of time on a tunnel thruster and CPP propulsion boat thus far in my career. They are living up to their reputation though, pretty easy to drive! She also DP’s pretty well, and has great visibility from both conning stations. The L3 DP system is definitely a departure from the Kongsberg and MT systems I have used, though I got the hang of it pretty quick. There isn’t the functionality or bells and whistles of either of the other systems, but perhaps that’s just me being spoiled. One new piece of DP kit for me is the RadaScan unit. These are a relative reference system (relative meaning your position relative to the installation you are working with), that are radar based and use a small transponder that you place on the rig. You can lock on from much farther out that conventional laser based systems, and they operate in weather a laser would never work in.
We’ve also been fairly busy working for rig out in Mississippi Canyon, an easy hour run. I’ve charged along with DP days am closing in on having all the time I need for my DPO certificate. So another 10 or so days and I will be able to endure a wonderful several month wait while the Nautical Institute process my Log and sea letters before I get my cert back. Its been a three-year grind getting it, however it feels good to have the DPO cert within reach. To be honest having it take this long hasn’t been the worst thing in the world either. I have gotten to know several DP systems, a multitude of reference sensor issues, different propulsion systems, and work with a variety of Platforms, semi submersibles, and drill ships. At the end of the day you can’t really shortcut experience, and having the several years behind a DP console have really worked to get me to a point where I can easily bounce from boat to boat and system to system. Your principles are the same, it’s just learning new interfaces and how to find the same trouble shooting information in the event of an issue.
Anyway as always here are a few pictures from the last few weeks. Since most of you will skip to the bottom for these anyway!
A few crew boats near Hole in the Wall
Some OSV’s outbound at Belle Pass
Sunrise at the Noble Amos Runner