Polaris 4

It’s official, on water training aboard my very own French flagged and built ‘jet’ boat the “Polaris 4” in session.

Powered by  2 x Cummins QSB5.9 -355 INT, 350 HP @ 2600 rpm with thrust vectoring nozzles (jets:  2 x hydro-jets UJ 305 HT) and no rudders – I have a top speed of 26-knots and I can manuever in any directional axis.  Just like the airborne equivalent the F-22 Raptor, I can defy hydrodynamic principles by ‘sliding’ sideways and pivoting thru my own LOA at will.

The slides are extremely important for our geo-seismic survey operations as I need to be able to maintain a perfect trajectory while buffeted by cross-winds and current at slow forward speeds.

Luckily, I have a ‘top-gun’ as my instructor and co-skipper – Olivier.  Olivier skippers the day shift while I skipper the night shift in twelve-hour stints. Olivier is from Bordeaux, France and has vast fishing experience in the Gulf of Gascogne in the Bay of Biscay France.  It’s very often I praise the merits of my new cast of friends but it isn’t often when I induct one of them into my small inner circle.

…The fact we spend more time laughing than speaking is one reason why!  Olivier will train me to ‘fly’ the water jets and I’ve told him I’ll train him in sail power so we’re both proficient in the art and sciences of wind and power-driven ‘liquidflight’!

The other reason is that he draws people in with his immense charm, wit and charisma, separate of the fact that this whole team of French captains are truly a well oiled and professional fighting machine.

Meanwhile, we delivered the ‘Polaris’ fleet 30-miles west to a new forward operating base thru a maze of icebergs en-route.  We’re now bused back and forth to a space-age living camp for the few hundred workers, cable operators, boat captains, engineers, safety personal and so on – all encapsulated in a lunar like space camp on the north slope of Alaska.

PS:  As we arrived yesterday, caribou were loitering in front of my room, and this morning a white Arctic fox ran right by my door and then out onto the tundra!



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