My fantastic job takes me to some weird and wonderful places and my latest offshore swing was most certainly not a disappointed. This was my first time in the Caribbean, I had never seen beaches so white and ocean so transparent and so blue. This trip was perfect timing as I managed to swap the cold wet English winter weather for the glorious Caribbean sunshine for a couple of months. I joined the vessel at the US Virgin Island of St Croix. St Croix unfortunately suffered the wrath of Hurricane Irma back in September 2017. I sat next to a young lady on the flight who was there throughout and she simply described this devastating event as 'when you looked outside it looked like the end of the world'. Upon arriving I was surprised to see that in just a short space of time the Island had started and made amazing progress towards rebuilding itself. Despite all this devastation the beauty of St Croix island shined through. During our short transit journey from the airport to the port we saw lush green jungle and sandy white beaches.
The vessel I was going to call my home temporarily was one I had worked on previously - the 'Far Scout' . A small but comfortable vessel and there is something very reassuring about boarding a vessel you are familiar with, I even ended up in my old room. For those of you that read my Dakar blog post, you will know that I had a few issues with missing luggage... this dilema happened again! I made it to St Croix but my luggage didn't but fortunately I had learned from my previous Dakar luggage fiasco and packed the necessities in my hand luggage to survive.
We joined the vessel with the expectations of a 10 day - 3 week long project, how very wrong we all were. 10 days quickly turned into 3 weeks that then soon turned into 8 weeks! All of us offshore contractors know that project durations are constantly changing but none of us saw this project going on for 2 months. This trip was one of my longest and one of the most mentally challenging yet. Mentally when you don't have an end of project date to work towards it is very testing. By week 5 of the project we had an ongoing joke that time was standing still and every morning when we got on shift we still had '17 days to go'. I will be writing a blog post on mental health while working offshore very soon, so stay tuned.
Despite the mental challenge of a long swing, the project as a whole was good fun as always. I was with a great group of guys some of which I hadn't seen for 4 years since we worked together in Canada, so it was great to be reunited again. We even made our own Corn Hole board to play during our free time, you cant beat a bit of onboard friendly team competition. The past two months have been a whirlwind but most importantly they have been filled with yet more laughs and more fantastic memories. We even got to escape the boat on a couple of occasions during port calls to grab a 'mock-tail' on the beach together and even take a swim in the glorious Caribbean sea.
For you geology buffs out there you would of been in your element on this project. The majority of our samples were rock cores, we collected some of the most beautiful samples I had ever seen. Huge amounts of white and pink Corals and some extremely strong Limestone's. Within shallower areas of the site we even collected some of the whitest sand I had ever seen, so pure and clean. It is truly fascinating how diverse the oceans seabed geology is. My next scheduled project is in Ghana so no rock coring there, it will be clay, clay and more clay.
Post-project I had originally planned to spend some time on the island or in Miami prior to flying home but after 2 months away, there was nothing I wanted more than my own bed and to see my family - so those plans have been temporarily put on hold. I will most certainly be returning to St Croix to experience more of this beautiful island in the future. I travelled back on Easter Sunday so I made it back just in time to celebrate with the family. A week on and I am still beyond exhausted so apologies for the lack of Instagram content, I have been hibernating in my lovely apartment with the dog so nothing to interesting to post. This is the longest it has taken me to physically and mentally reset after an offshore stint - two months of working 12 hr shifts, 7 days a week has most certainly taken its toll.
Another adventure complete, another chapter created.