Swamp

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Atchafalaya Swamp

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Experts in "Tight" Places

In keeping with the "pro" and "non-pro" blogger stance, of which I am neither, this week I shall pay homage to people whom I am often in awe of - The Rig Movers.

The Two Captains would aprreciate this edition (and so would the rest of you I hope); Ancient, and Not-So-Ancient alike - because it deals with the complex intricacies of navigating in "tight" places.

Normally it takes me 2 - 4 weeks drilling "duals" - two wells on a given location before it's time to move again. I was fortunate this time around because I had my trusty Canon Ixus 850 in my front pocket while boarding the chopper while the rig is being moved by tugboats. The move can take anywhere between 16 to 30 hours (sometimes more, if the tide isn't in our favor because we have to stop and wait - and yes, occasionally we do get marooned on an unexpected sand or mud bar).

Ready to Board

Pre-flight checks. Notice the "legroom" of this French-made Dauphin helicopter?


Goodbye, Sepinggan (Balikpapan's International Bandara).


Some fall asleep . . .

While others contemplate . . .

While some perform "the sholat"

View from 3000 feet: Batu Bara from presumably Tenaga Coal Mines - being towed by barges to the open sea. Ready to electrify the lives of millions of Bolehsians. For more Tenaga Debacles go here.

And what's this is spy in the distance. A rig being towed?

On closer inspection - YES! - it's our rig! But since there are"big trees" flanking the small waterways, the pilot informed on our headsets that he'll have to drop us at "CPU" - a Central Processing Unit - where a boat will take us on board. He can't land the chopper on the rig's helideck lest he clips them branches . . . Aw shucks, that means lugging our bags all over the place again!

At the CPU . . .

And transfer to "sea truck" ( crew boat).

Joining the rig - me rushing up to the helideck - just in time to record this "tight places" business.

The powerful tugboat - pulling us 96 souls and associated drilling equipment on board a rig-cum- barge measuring 30 m X 100 m. Don't worry, after "de-ballasting" - the barge floats higher with an 11 feet draft. Plus these waterways were dredged ages ago . . . err, sure or not?

And the "Experts" who made it all possible? All home grown, mind you. The groups includes marine pilots and survey positioning experts.

Notice how close the fronds are. Sometimes you can put your hand out and touch the leaves!

And finally, we arrive . . .

To our new home for the next couple of weeks . . .

After ballasting (weighing and stabilizing the rig/barge), with the jacks in "up" position, we're ready to "ngebor" . . . To borrow a friend's phrase, "Baiklah murid murid, sekarang buat bulatan besar dan berlari setempat. Satu, dua, tiga . . ."

Up on the helideck, after final positioning, where I normally go for my pre-dinner walks with my 8 GB Nano in my pocket and MX-500 Sennheiser 'buds in my ear. But it rained earlier, so strike that. Now don't want to go slippin' and slidin' here do we?

15 comments:

Raden Galoh said...

Wow! I'm...dumbfounded bro! Taxing nyeee...

The Ancient Mariner said...

Very interesting.

I thot you were all located off shore. The rig cum barge must have a flat bottom so no danger of tipping over...haha

Camni sonanglah po-i ke darek, Mat.

Mat Salo said...

Yes Dalilah - it's quite something to see this feat . . . Don't be dumbfounded, surviving cancer is!

O Bang Kepten (rtd?),

Offshore laa ni, kengkadang kek topi pantai. The last time sangkuik kek sand bar. Duo boleh jam tunggu tide naik. Nak po-i darek to sonang - tapi ateh rig sapo lak nak buek kojo? Anyway, it takes two hours by speedboat to Handil, the river "port". Then another three hours by car/bus to Balikpapan. Naik chopper - 30 menit udah nyampei . . .

But when I first saw this move den tak cayo, buleh ko rig gadang ni masuk?

Yo lah... sumo pakai GPS, buang jo lah sextent ko apo . . . ha ha ha...

Anon Fm. Miri a.k.a Nora said...

Wow... best nya. Baru sik boring pok. Tok kat darat sama aja di polah hari2. Kat blog agi hancus. Asik nangga orang tua ya aja pun komen. Ney lah gaya..... dah babo orang ya pok. Nasib baid nya sik ke sitok. Kalau sik huru hara he...he...he..he..he..he

Adios

Apandi said...

Hmmm tight, like that. Lovely last pics. Err, tak da buaya ke dalam paya tu ?

Mat Salo said...

Anon, nama berita?

Pok, ini mau move lagi, net connection sik ada 2-3 ari Pok! Hancus! Salaaam...

Pandi,

The BIGGEST buaya's are in these parts. But some says the real fearsome ones are the ones on the rig. Just ask the ceweks . . . he..

Mat Salo said...

Sad to announce as we are about to move again, it'll be 2-3 days before I can reply any messages / email. In the meantime, thanks for visiting!

P.S. the last well was a "single" so that's why it's moving time again . . .

elviza said...

My Rig Man F,

Wow! once again Wow!. I am mesmerised by the pictures snapped from 3000 feet above sea level.

I am sure many of us have boarded airplane before but not sure how many have taken a heli's ride.

The last pix of the rig at sunset is also stunning my friend. I think you shd become pro photographer once your rig days are over.

Please write more about this thing. Dont forget the cool pixs too! Take care now

tokasid said...

Salam Matsalo:
Wuyoo...adventurous betoi la gheja hang bro.Aku suka gambaq last.Kalau aku ada memang aku tunggu sampai gelap gulita tgk sky macam tu.Hari tu di sini ada mcm tu juga tapi amek gambaq leceh pasai ada tiang letrik and bumbung rumah org seberang jalan ada.potong stim betoi.

alliedmartster said...

Hi Bro...looks like your adventures in a day is more than some would experience in a lifetime.
Nice pix.....
Tomorrow is a happening day for All Blogs..and so is Saturday....lookslike we are on the move.

mekyam said...

Fascinating, MS!

acciaccartura said...

Alhamdulillah that i get to see all these and learn something today. And that last photo, beautiful!

Mat Salo said...

Elv, Accia...

Thanks... I kinda like that last pix myself. But no laar, I'm just a newbie.. macam blogging gaks, but thanks just the same *kembang*.

Hahaha TA, hang dok citer 'potong stim'! Dalam mengambo nih banyak hal yang memotongkan stim.. nasib with digital foto kita boleh meng-crop dan meng-repair ke aper. But at the same time kena lak tau sedikat sebanyak tentang "seni". BTW, that last shot no manipulation at all. Just lucky, only resize to 800x600 pixels nak fit to blog.. Wasallam bro'!

Brother Tony.. Yes All-Blogs is really "moving" now... but to "where" is anyone's guess...

Aah Mek Yam, Salaam. Lama tak dengar. Thanks for enjoying the story..

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Whew! Wow!
You got me, bro.
And yes, that last photo is gorgeous.
Fascinating!
Oooh...

Anonymous said...

me no hepi no fek haq stori n d lis u cud do is rait about ms/mr scissorhand. we(dangsduters) wan haq pix!!!