Sunday, 25 March 2012

Almost Crew Change.

Well we are almost there, because on Wednesday early morning I shall be heading into La Cruz on our Crew Change Boat, and from there, a Mini Bus will take us to Piura airport, and away back to Arbroath, via Lima and Amsterdam.
As always towards the end of trip, time just flies by, and you find all the work you have been putting off to the last minute, now comes back to bite you in the ass as you start running out of hours. This is also complicated by the fact that something always goes wrong in the last few days, so your attention is diverted elsewhere sorting that out, and dealing with various inane emails emanating from the Office.
The Big (Its certainly BIG in my case, as i am getting off !) issue we are dealing with right now, is that allegedly the Fishermen in the area are currently blocking roads and Ports, apparently in protest at some type of Government census that is due to take place in the coming days, over which period of time their Vessels have to remain in Port, and not out on the Prospect area interfering with our operation........ Wonderful !
Our poor Agent is running up and down the coast right now, trying to find a jetty sticking out of somewhere which will allow us to get off the Crew boat, and where in addition the road is not blocked for our onward travel. His job needless to say is just made a teensy bit harder, as he keeps running into the various road blocks as he tries to travel round. We are obviously not putting him under any pressure to find a solution....he just better had by Wednesday !

For the last week we have been sailing close to shore, well 5 miles from it, but that's close enough for thrills in a Boat like this, trying to avoid the various obstructions in the area such Oil platforms (Working or abandoned), small Tankers and various mooring buoys that are scattered around  in no apparent order, or pattern. So that's at least enabled me to get some pictures of the Coastline itself, and the Cloud formations we have been seeing. So for now I shall leave you, and say good bye to Peru with two contrasting Cloud pictures, and you will next hear from Me in April, by which time I had better be back in the UK.........or the Agent will be feeding the Fishes (Just kidding......Not).


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Flying Dolphins

Its been a little busy this week, as last Wednesday we did a partial Crew Change, where approximately half the crew got off on our Crew Boat, while the remaining crew looked daggers at them as they headed for Shore and onward freedom.
So for me, there were a few new faces, and names for me to promptly forget 10 seconds after being told.....a growing sign of "old timers" disease inexorably advancing through what passes as grey matter between my ears these days.

What was unexpected though was the send off they had from a pack of Dolphins, who seemed to take the opportunity to play around us, as the two Boats were together doing the actual passenger transfer. Unfortunately I had only bought my 35mm lens with me for this brief trip out here, so the two Photos you see, have been zoomed up 50% or so from the Original.

Flying Dolphin
I say "unexpected" in the above sentence, as its pretty well known on the Vessels that I work on, that I am always the last Person on board to actually see anything swimming. Its a running joke on board, that whenever I am called to the Bridge to see something interesting, it's invariably disappeared by the time I arrive, breathless and red faced on the Bridge, having climbed about 5 flights of stairs. Only to be then faced with the Smiling (leering ?) face, and helpful comment from the Officer on Watch, that "I have just missed the Shark, Whale, Seal, Turtle, and they were really close to the Boat as well",
However, on Wednesday I beat the odds, and it turned out a lucky, and privileged day for me, and hopefully the luck will continue for the remainder of the trip.

Peruvian Sunrise
I thought I would add a quick Sunrise photograph to the post as well, as its not often out here, that I have the opportunity to have some sight of land as a back drop for my Maritime Sunrises and Sunsets. I hope Scott at  Just Used Pixels will approve, as he does take some absolute stonkers of these over on his Blog.

Just as a footnote, thank you to those of you that have visited the Triple P Imaging page and emailed me, and yes I know the most recent photos are not included for sale yet; but the bandwidth and various firewalls that are in place while I am Offshore, prevent me from downloading the images to the portfolio. They should all be there within the next 2 weeks, when I finally get off this Floating Palace.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Barnacles ahoy

Well its been another, lets see how best to phrase this...."interesting" week in Seismic, or as the French would say eloquently, "merde". The main issue being not the Fishing Boats, but the fact that we have been, what is fondly refered to, as barnacled.
Balanus balanoides, or Barnacle to you and me, is a very successful little Beastie, often found in surf zones on Rocks and sea cliffs, and on the bottom of Boats, where it attaches with something akin to superglue, and then starts filter feeding, growing and reproducing madly (Not a bad life, come to think of it). The upshot of this, is that it creates a lot of drag and weight on whatever its attached to, which if its a rock is neither here nor there, but if its on our damn streamers....well that's a different story all together.

Insane Noggie
 If you let the little Buggers keep growing, then you will find that the tension on the streamer increases pretty dramatically, the upshot of which, is that you could find that you start the day towing 10 streamers and finish with, lets say 3 dangling behind you, and at 1.5 million dollars a streamer, that's an awful lot of money to have dropping off the end of your Boat, and heading deep six.
Seismic companies throughout the years have invested in many ideas on how to tackle these little rogues and prevent them from pulling off our streamers. Some of the ideas they have come up with, are more amusing than effective ie covering our streamer in a stocking type of material (kinky, and completely ineffective), slapping an anti barnacle gel on the streamer (fairly kinky, but it proved to be a barnacle attractant), and painting the streamers red !! I mean which bright spark came up with that last idea ? Barnacles have colour vision, and are warned off by the all things red ? That's got to be clutching at a fairly large straw to think that that's going to work.

Trainee !
 The previous company I worked with, came up with a power washing contraption which you put in a small boat, the idea being that you would lift the streamer with its offending barnacles to the surface, drape the streamer into a box with these power washing heads on the Boat, and then drive along the streamer happily washing away the barnacles to your hearts content. Great idea in theory, and absolutely bloody useless in practise. Firstly, even with headphones on you would be practically deafened by the sound of the power washer on its full wash cycle, and secondly bits of barnacle would be blasted everywhere, to such a point that for 2 or 3 days following a sortie, and with every shower you took you would look down at your feet and still see barnacle parts floating around the shower tray, and wonder to Yourself where the hell they had come from !

Fishing Boat at Mancora
 Anyway, to cut a long and dreary story short, we had to bring in all our streamer and basically scrape them clean by hand....not a quick job by any means, and after a few days an extremely smelly job as they all began to rot in the heat, no matter how often you washed down the decks and the Reels upon which our streamers are retrieved and deployed.
Right.... on to the Photos, and i should say I have an apology to make for the first 2. These were taken on a previous boat, with a Previous Company, and are included purely as a reference as to what these damn creatures look like in reality. The quality is not great, as naturally i was in a hurry to take the photo and then vamoose as fast as possible ! I also have to apologise for the quality of the Models that were used, but i don't have the big bucks of Mario Testino, and therefore Beggars can't be choosers. I can however assure you that the Model in the first picture really isn't insane, he's just Norwegian. I would however question the sanity of the Model in the 2nd picture. The T on his hard hat is to signify he is actually a Trainee, and not a Tit as you were probably all thinking.
The 3rd more normal photo is of one of the Fishing boats that are currently sharing the sea with us these days.

Till the next time....

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Well its been a week now that I have been onboard, and like most things when you get on a new boat, you feel a bit like a spare part, as you find you are continually walking down the wrong corridors to get wherever you thought your Cabin was, or you don't know where to find the simplest tool, or in my case, work out where the hell they hide files on their joke of a computer network....every boat is very different, and very individual.

Mancora Beach
Jetty and Fishing Boats..oh, and a Horse.
So its always nice to find a piece of continuity somewhere across every Boat you visit, and in my case the humble Noodle is that piece of continuity, which gives me that warm and cosy feeling of belonging, when I am offshore.
Noodles, are the staple diet in Seismic as far as i can gather, especially for those of us who work erratic hours, and miss meals occasionally. They are also the staple diet for the night shift who has to struggle to find any nutrition whatsoever, in the limited, and completely unoriginal choice of breakfast they are given each day half way through their shift. If you don't like Fried Eggs, you really should not be sailing on a Seismic boat and working nights !

Knackered Fishing Boats

However the noodle, to anyone in Seismic, is a serious dining experience. Firstly, they mainly come in little square fluorescent packages of loveliness, delighting in such names as "Mama Tans Noodle Plan", or on this Vessel "Sopa Maruchan !"; the colours of the packaging gently hinting at the levels, and quality of the E components found within. Secondly each Noodle pack contains up to 3, yes 3 small sealed packets of yummy chemicals, some powder, and some liquid, which when opened and combined with boiling water, produce complete gastronomic euphoria in the lucky individual who is consuming the said concoction. Finally, they are just so easy to make.....even Jeff my old Flatmate at college, who we once caught putting Corned Beef in the Oven to roast, could make a bowl of noodles, as all it takes is boiling water.

Fish and Chips tonight ?

 Anyway, enough of the rambling and on to the photos. These were all taken at Mancora, which apparently, so I have been told, attracts the Surf Dudes and attached Groupies, although I couldn't see a lot of wave action (or Groupies) for the short time I was there. What was there though, was some of the Fish Flinging Fleet, and plenty of Fisherman catching various bits and pieces from the shore, including one lucky fellow who had caught himself a Ray of some kind, and was happy to pose with it. Circling in the Skies above, were some fairly large birds, not unlike Pterodactyls, who would occasionally swoop down, and take off the Beach the odd Fish when the Fishermans back was turned, as they sharpened their gutting knives on the rocks. Unfortunately the light, although bright, was polluted with a general haze caused by the midday sun, so the Photos don't "pop", but they are a nice reminder nevertheless of the end of an interesting journey before heading out to the Boat.