Friday, 21 July 2006

A series of unfortunate incidents

It all started yesterday :(. Despite the respite from dwindling supplies by the Sikorskys the fact remained that we were low on fuel. So BANG! Port call! Now that wouldn't in itself be such a bad thing, but we can't very well land up at Karratha towing 6Km long streamers now can we? /:) id est, on the back deck today picking up gear.

Strike 2: Pick-up's going... well, not exactly smoothly, but close enough. Suddenly I see the streamer rise like a whiplash and shoot from the reel straight out into the sea! The first time I'd ever seen a cable snap, and I was almost in the way!!

Heading for disaster: (as if the cable snap wasn't disaster enough) Extremely hurried preparations for small boat launch to try and recover/locate streamer underway. Everyone except me is worried to hell, the Sun's setting in 30 minutes. I'm not 'cos I've never been out in a small boat after dark. Had I known, there's a slight chance I'd not have jumped up and volunteered. I knew there had to be a good reason why mine was the only hand that went up :|.

Cut to the chase: Everything's going well, except for the rather choppy sea and the fact that with every degree the Sun drops the wind strengthens and the air gets ominously chillier! The the streamer finds us before we find the streamer. A wicked loop's resolutely stuck under the small-boat and now we are dying to get rid of the thing we found :-S.
Ominous? It isn't from today. There was no time for cam.
A better part of an hour passes and we are still stuck. At this point, I'm really, really scared. It's pitch black except for a faint dull glow in the horizon. Worse, the blinding back-deck lights of the Trident have coalesced into a fast-disappearing dot on the horizon. Every now and then, a wave engulfs hope as even that dot is veiled.

I firmly believe in guardian angels. A desperate plan. We are fumbling in the now murky waters when the currents achieve what we couldn't, we're free of the cable!! But when we hand over the cable to the chase boat that's been watching us from the distance (MoB crew at the ready, I'm sure), we find out that we are a good 15 km's away from the Trident: at least an hour to get back!

The sky's clear. It's spectacularly beautiful with the Milky Way laid out in all it's glittering brilliance. Lying back on the deck of your personal yatch, a glass of [put in favourite beverage here] in your hand and agreeable company to share it with, it's the perfect night. The feeling's not quite the same when you're freezing your balls off, soaked to the skin and hanging on for dear life :|.

I have never been more profoundly grateful when stepping onto the Trident. EVER. And then there were 4 more hours of shift, on the back deck X-((((.

--
Good to know the blog-ban fiasco's been more or less resolved in India. Unfortunately, I've been somewhat side-tracked in my intent of following the matter closely due to extenuating circumstances.

Feeling: drained
Listening to: U2 - Where the streets have no name

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