Monday, August 10, 2009

Here we go again

Slightly more than half way through the commute.  I had decent flights to Luanda this time.  Spent most of a nine-hour layover in London Heathrow at the Yotel.  Luxuriated in fours sleep and two showers.  Had a great seat on the plane to Luanda.  Arrived at 4am, spent 3 hours in the immigration cage, an hour in an office across the street from the airport and I'm now in the cage at the quay.  We're waiting for some sort of food in a box and for our supply boat to dock.  Looking forward to a 20-hour steam out to the prospect and my ship.  Word is that we are nearly done here in Angola and will be steaming to Nambibia, soon, where we'll spend time drinking before heading home, again. 

Luanda is much the same as I left it.  Dirt, dust, crumbling adobe and mud bricks.  Tin held down by debris and small children sitting in the dirt playing with garbage.  Stray dogs and traffic jams.  Soldiers and women carrying goods on their heads.  I will not be sorry to leave this place.

Made it to the ship.  Spent a total of 6 hours between the airport immigration lounge and the cage on the docks.  Overnight we steamed to the prospect and I actually strung together 8 hours sleep before and after dinner. At one point, I began to dream that somebody was in trouble...I could hear them yelling "help me!" as if from a great distance, a faint calling.  Slowly, I woke up.  I could still hear him.  "Help me."  "Please help me."   "Its hot in here."   W.T.F?   I could hear one of the crew pleading for help.  I sat up and looked around the darkened metal container I was sharing with eight other guys.  Suddenly, I hear the captain in the bunk below roll over and swear.  He gets out and starts giving the unseen chap in distress a rash of shit.  Turns out one of the crew had locked himself in the containers makeshift bathroom and could not get out.  He was slowly baking to death inside there.  For the next 20 minutes I lay in my bunk, pissing myself laughing as they tried to extricate him.  Eventually, they had to tear the door down to get him out.  The poor guy emerged in his boxers and socks, dripping with sweat and still looking more than slightly panicked. I drifted back off to sleep, still chuckling.

Later, not long after I woke, showered and sat out on the back deck, evidently another crew member did the same thing and once again the door had to be removed to get him out.  Good times.

Anyway, we eventually reached the prospect and my ship, took a short ride over in the jet boat and after a short handover, I headed out on the back deck to deploy gear where I got a decent workout, barnacle juice in my eye and then shuffled off to sauna and to sleep the sleep of the dead.

I woke up for my first full shift a full hour late this morning.  Not good.  Mucho java before I head back out on deck and start playing with winches and reels and tensions measured in tens of tons.

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