CGG VERITAS Crew-21 gift wraps it to go

My return for round #2 on the north slope has been full on and infinitely successfully for all members of the 250 some odd workers of CGG VERITAS “CREW 21”.¬† We’re in final stages of the operation and the Polaris fleet has finished our seismic operations!

All members of the team that include specialists in all our diverse fields have worked magic and we re close to gift wrapping the Simpson Lagoon operation to go with a ribbon ūüėČ

Not without my first shutting the whole ‘machine’ down and causing panic on F-Pad when I sighted a polar bear 3/4 of a mile from the dock !!!¬† My prediction in a recent blog entry I’d likely sight one came to fruition. I witnessed it thru the wind-shield of ‘Polaris 4’ on my return from work at 22-knots speed and stopped the boat.¬† The polar bear was close off our starboard beam.¬† I rotated the boat and slowly backed away, snapping a quick photo while making certain we did nothing to disturb this incredibly beautiful endangered animal.

I called it in to F-Pad and all hell broke loose as orders were issued for personal to evacuate the docks to secure locations and for all the boats to leave the dock and to stand-off to the west until further notice.  An hour later, the bear was sighted on C-Pad two miles away, not before I had a few pissed off workers to sit with on the bus to camp as my fire drill had come right at shift change!

As we pack up this massive operation I look forward to my return next year to the remote Arctic and the many new friendships I’ll again forge not forgetting the incredible sunrises and sunsets – the best I’ve seen anywhere bar none – including the equator…

Here’s to “Crew-21”, see you guys wherever our next geo-seismic job resides !!!

 

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Wildlife & a day in the life

Polar bear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Polar bear
Conservation status
Polar bear range

The¬†polar bear¬†(Ursus¬†maritimus) is a¬†bear¬†native largely within the¬†Arctic Circle¬†encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world’s largest land¬†carnivore¬†and also the largest bear, together with the¬†omnivorous¬†Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size.[3]¬†A boar (adult male) weighs around 350‚Äď680 kg (770‚Äď1,500 lb),[4]¬†while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is closely related to the¬†brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower¬†ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the¬†seals¬†which make up most of its diet.[5]¬†Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea. Their scientific name means “maritime¬†bear”, and derives from this fact. Polar bears can hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of¬†sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present.

The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations in decline.[6] For decades, large scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species but populations rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect.[citation needed] For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of Arcticindigenous peoples, and polar bears remain important in their cultures.

PICTURE BELOW NOT ME:  BUT WE RE VERY LIKELY TO SEE THEM BEFORE WE LEAVE THE JOB РWE NEED TO PROTECT THESE AWESOME CREATURES !!!

Meanwhile…I’m back in Seattle. ¬†Its so weird after living at night for a month straight. ¬†Eating breakfast for dinner when I got back to camp and dinner for breakfast when arriving back from shift – a shower & back to sleep to do it all again.

4:45 pm (am) my Ipod starts barking, I jump out of bed to eat dinner (breakfast), go to the Kitchen spike to pack my lunch, shower, put my gear in the sea-bag and make my way to the safety briefing with fellow CGG Veritas employees and BP reps.

Then the 30-minute bus ride to F-Pad. ¬†Thirty minutes if there isn’t a duck in the road, a fox, a herd of caribou etc ; ) ¬†If there is then the bus sits and waits for as long as it takes for the animal diversity to clear the road as it strictly forbidden to get near or upset wildlife by prodding them such as inching the bus forward.

There’s been rides to and from camp when we sit a hundred yards from a lone duck – a busload of workers waiting for it to move off the raised gravel road and back down onto the tundra. ¬†This results in either frustration or laughs dependant of whether its on our way to work or back to camp for our brief hour of ‘pleasure’ time before bed ; ) ¬†And so it goes.

Arrival to the F-Pad and the boats for shift. ¬†Check the transmission fluids in each engine, the oil, the strainers and call the coordinator for the days orders. It is either bathymetry (mapping the sea-floor), problem-solving (retrieving batteries, cables, fdu’s etc off the bottom to get faulty seismic cables working or layouts of new cables.

And then we finish the day to ride the bus and do it all again!

Hairball

Our ‘perfect’ track record came to an end when a cable was sucked into the port-side jet during what we believe was the day shift watch.¬† This is something difficult to avoid.¬† It would be the nautical equivalent of a bird flying into an airplane engine after take-off.

I arrived on the bus from ‘Texaco Camp’ (our living area) to F-Pad (our staging area on the waterfront of Simpson Lagoon) at 6pm to relieve the day shift and was told to have a good check of the boat as they’d felt vibration with the engines.

So before heading over to fuel the boat I informed the dock manager I was going to make a quick test flight.¬† There was absolutely something wrong as the whole boat shuddered at high engine revs and I couldn’t go past 8-knots speed when we’d normally be doing 18-knots at the same RPM’s.

The shudder appeared only when giving the port-side engine throttle.¬† An inspection of the massive aluminium impellor of the the port-side jet revealed a massive cable wrap.¬† There’s no way I could have made the return to F-Pad on my previous shift at 19-knots + during breaks in the fog with that hair-ball!

‘Guilt’ not withstanding – shit happens and it isn’t who slips first but as we say in yacht racing“Everyone makes mistakes but the guy who makes a few less wins the race…!”

Meanwhile the Polaris fleet is currently awaiting the larger seismic gun-boats the ‘Resolution’ and ‘Margarita’ to wrap up operations in Simpson lagoon before we jump back into the fray like a family of spiders weaving our seismic webs across the sea-floor.¬† I only have four days to go before my mandatory break or ‘reset’ after my 35-days on the job.¬† I’ll likely go to visit my S&S 34 ‘Gitano’ again in Seattle for my week off.

I can give her some TLC so she’s ready for the the delivery from Seattle to San Francisco when I finish the job on the North Slope around the 15th of September.¬† I already have a full crew of CGG VERITAS co-workers from the North Slope for the 600-nautical mile jaunt down the coast.

I need to run a lotto to see who the lucky three ‘canon-fodder’ will be ; )¬† I want three helmsmen separate of myself as I haven’t mounted a wind-vane self-steering gear yet.¬† I’ll do it at ‘Svedsons Boat Works’ in Alameda where we refit Linda’s Pearson 10m “Yemaya” last year.

Infact, within the next few weeks – Linda will have the sale of “Yemaya” wrapped up and she’ll be delivering her own S&S 34 from Los Angeles to San Francisco as well!¬† It will be two S&S 34’s parked up next to one another at ‘Svedsons’ for a winter refit before we drag race to Australia next year and onto the playing field of the ‘Mod Globe’ around the world race…

Perhaps I can loan her a few of my unlucky ‘potential crew’ recruits from the North Slope ; )¬† However, she already has an Aries wind-vane self-steering gear mounted aboard her S&S so she could do it solo if she wants.¬† I’m guessing we’ll rotate and go on each others boat for both the north to south and south to north deliveries as we often prefer to sail with cool people when we can – versus solo unless its for a purpose such as a record or a race.

So it won’t be long before you’ll see a picture of two S&S 34’s two boat testing on San Francisco Bay with the Golden Gate bridge in the back-ground and perhaps a few America’s Cup AC 72’s zipping by at 40-knots speed – now thats true wind-powered ‘liquidflight___________________________________/)

Below: ¬†The most beautiful sunset/sunrise (the sun only ‘set’ for 20-minutes that day).