Monday, August 01, 2011

GoMnomnom: Early Sunrises Over Matagorda

My time off is going well. My car window got fucked up right before I had to go offshore last time, so I'm just now getting it worked on. Thankfully, I dropped it off at the shop Friday afternoon, so all the rain we're getting hasn't been messing it up (hopefully). Should be getting fixed some time from this afternoon to Tuesday afternoon. I've made some plans for tonight and tomorrow night, and rumor has it Katie's in town, so my entire schedule despite my best efforts, is #*$@ed...again.

As a special bonus, I left my phone charger in my car and I'm juggling back-up phones so that when the shop is done with my car, I'll know. But hey, first world problems, right?

I sometimes talk about ‘the boat.’ It’s an inaccurate term; I’m on a barge. It floats the same, but it doesn’t have any engines (yes, despite having an engineering department).

Instead of floating from place to place, removing platforms in whatever area we drift into, like a Cain of the Oilfields, we are constantly accompanied by a tug boat wherever we go. Like a quadriplegic alligator and a very brawny bird that cleans the alligator’s mouth by eating stuff in it mouth and tows it places too.

The boat stands by out here for weeks at a time. Even when the weather gets bad enough to make something as large as my barge rock, the boat is just hanging out, having everything inside of it tossed to and fro. How those guys manage to work on those boats for weeks on end amazes and astounds me.

But no mere tug could keep something this massive in place and steady enough to lift a giant pieces of oil platforms without just #&*@ing hitting whatever it was working on. No, to stay in place we use about a half-dozen anchors that are spread out over an area the size of a few football fields. Using survey maps and GPS systems, we direct the tug boat to take each anchor, motor it out to a location that avoids pipelines and reefs, then drop it on the bottom. Instead of the classic chains that most people think of, our anchors are on regular metal cables run off of winches. By controlling those winches, we can finely adjust the position on the barge to get us into position and—more or less—stay there.

No comments: