Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ok For Those That Have Asked And Wanted To Know - In It's Entirety


released may 2010 for face book friends

Many of you that follow me now are unaware of my days at sea, why I started blogging. A few of you have asked, and some are wondering. Since Bess will be doing most of the blogging this week, on the other site,

I have gone back into my archives and edited it just a little, so that it would all publish.  So here we go, "the accident that changed it all" I might  note here, this is a true story, that really happened to me.
Thank-you for reading this, god bless, and Big HUGS.

I hate hurricane season, I know many of you do not live in hurricane prone areas, unfortunately I do. I have been through in recent years Katrina, Rita and Gustaf, and these are the ones that I went through on land. My biggest reason that I hate them is because what one did to me offshore.
I can't even remember its name nor if it made it to shore only what it did to me.
I may have related this to one or two of you before but today it has really been on my mind, and I had a nightmare about it again last night, so I figure what the hell, get it out of my system and go on about the day.
It was an unusually cool and breezy afternoon, when we left the dock headed to a rig 124 miles out ,in the gulf of Mexico. We had been watching the weather reports before leaving and knew there was a storm brewing and that we probably would not be out there for too long. I was riding as 1st mate so it was my responsibility to take over the wheel at the sea buoy to the rig. this was a 180ft supply vessel, the trucker on the gulf, if you will. We had a crew of seven for the vessel and passengers for the rig. As we were headed out you couldn't help but notice, how the seas were growing and getting rougher, in fact just before we got to the rig we were radioed to keep our passengers on board and that we would be picking up about 30 more people.

We would be doing a hurricane evacuation from the rig transporting these people back to shore for safety.
At this point I had been at the wheel for around 14hrs already, the turn around trip would be another 10hrs, plus the time it would take to load and off load passengers from our vessel.

This is a NORMAL procedure, but not normal weather, the loading of passengers took twice as long as normal and these guys are more used to riding helicopters to and from the rig, so they are not happy with the accomadations afforded by a supply vessel, their normal ride to the rig is about an hour by air and they would be on a vessel on the sea for over 8hrs. Most of them had no sea legs or the stomach for the ride they were getting ready to take. enough for now

So now we have our vessel loaded down with the hands off the rig, our main crew, and a few company men. The trip back to port is extremely rough which the sea hands can handle, but all the others are having a hard time to deal with. Imagine if you will sitting on one of those mechanical bulls for eight hours, that is our ride. The vessel is thrown from side to side the seas are now raising to the 15-20ft level so we are up and down like a roller coaster. I handle the wheel,  as I have been through this before, on a tug boat towing the shuttle crafts fuel tank to cape Canaveral (that's another story maybe later).

After riding the waves for ten solid wrecking hours, we reach the sea buoy, now I can catch a 40min. nap.
We arrive at the dock, tie up and unload a boatload of seasick travelers, clean up their mess and start securing the vessel for the incoming storm.
We are now ready to settle in, yay, I can get some sleep, but oh no not to be.

Over the radio we get the call, two guys are on a platform in the delta and are going to need water. They have elected to ride out the storm on this small platform. Well needless to say no one was thrilled at this prospect. We were all tired, hungry and sleepy at this juncture and we relayed this back to the people at the home office, that we thought this would be ridiculous and unsafe. These guys were only wanting 700gal. of water, our pump pumps that in a minute.

So we would be making this trip in these conditions for a 10min. service call.
Over every ones protests we were over voted by the home office this was a must happen operation.
Maybe I will get another 30-40min. nap.

The vessel we are on is made to take a large amount of supplies to the rigs both for their daily activities and the job that are doing, so it is not a small boat.

On the way out everyone on the incoming vessels, are radioing and asking what the hell we're doing going out into this storm. We radio back, what and why, all they can do is wish us well.

The seas are rushing into the channel at the sea buoy, we are not going that far only about 20mi or so, but you would think that we were 120mi. out at the size of the seas.

We make it to the platform 2 men are on watch there and waiting for us, we get in place for this 10min. operation, of transferring water to them. Then they inform us they do not have a crane to raise our water hose for transfer.

Whole different operation now.

They must manually lower their water line to us, we must find a way to secure the vessel to them so that we may stay in place to transfer.
We find one cleat that is good enough to tie up on, so we do.

The vessel must be maneuvered below their tag line holding the water line. For those of you that do not know, a tag line is a small rope to attach, the much larger cable to. Kind of like throwing some one a safety rope.
The engineer and I position ourselves at the Stern, port side bit, to retrieve their line, the captain will position the vessel below the tag line, we get the line, transfer the water and outta here.

Did not happen.

We are in position now,tag line being lowered, I reach out with the boat hook, to catch tag line. Out of no where, a rogue wave, lifts the vessel up on the port side and dips violently on the starboard side, the three inch line holding the vessel, snaps up from the bull works (side of the boat), catches me under my shoulder pit on my left side, heaves me in the air , across the vessel to the starboard side, like a rag doll.

I am slammed into the starboard side stacks (engine exhaust cover). The engineer is caught across the chest and neck and slammed into the stern. He starts screaming and crying, the captain is trying to take control of the vessel, people running from everywhere, the whole crew is now on the back deck.

The captain radios for a medic helicopter, 2 men down on the back deck. I just lay there in a kinda of daze knowing what happened but not knowing if it was real.
The captain, yells at the crew, to not move us, that the medics were on the way. Scared, wet, cold,
dazed, thinking is this it, I die at sea.Wake up at the sound of a helicopter, on a stretcher now being loaded up for the ride in right.

Did not happen.

The helicopter, is not prepared for a two man lift, and can not fit any stretchers inside, that helicopter leaves, one medic stays. Two hours another helicopter arrives, this time we are loaded for the 2hour ride, to the hospital in New Orleans.

At the hospital I am x-rayed, but they x-ray the wrong side of where I got hurt. Our home office guy, is outside the x-ray room waiting. He tells me the engineer has died, seems his spline was crushed and it took so long to get in that he bled to death.
I break down and cry, hurting from the injury, but more so in grief, he had two little boys and I am no youngster.

They release me to return to work, but the company guy wants me checked out by another doctor. I get checked out. All of the ribs on my left side are broken, my ankle is broken, my right wrist is broken, the meniscus in both knees are torn, the muscles in my neck are torn, concussion, and I have broke my back in 4 places. What a miracle to just be alive I am told, I breakdown and cry, BS BS BS BS, why did I live, and  not that poor kid with babies, his family needed him much more than mine needed me.
Sorry I still cry, I don't feel like any miracle happened, I just think of that kid screaming on the back deck.
Any way I recover, go back to work two years later, have a massive heart attack, they missed the bruised heart, have a quad bypass, and still live.
All I can do now, is try and forget the accident, in my dreams, and pray that those little boys don't hate me for living instead of their daddy.


Charlene said...

What to say? There's got to be some reason you were meant to live through all that, maybe your writing is it... to share with all of us. And lucky we are indeed.

Hunter said...

Hi, Bob. I read this one this first time around. It's such a sad and amazing story. Clearly, those events were very far from being in your control.

Hope that sharing your story is therapeutic and that you are well.

Just Playin' said...

Thanks for sharing this part of you. I wish I could believe that it was fiction, that you are THAT GOOD of a storyteller, but this rings too true. Take care, dear one.

plainolebob said...

Charlene, thanks, and yes writing this blog took the nightmare demons away.

Hunter, thanks my friend.

Miss Sandra, yes indeed truth is stranger than fiction, it was an unfortunate accident for me. Thank God for this blogging site.

Sarah said...

it's hard for us to guess god's will and all. i believe there's a reason for you to live. i think you're showing it to us everyday a very important lesson, and that's 'never give up.' for that i thank you. god bless, bob.

AlpHa Buttonpusher said...

That is an amazing story and it IS a miracle that you lived to tell it.

Rae said...

Dear friend,
If things had turned out differently and it had been you that died, don't you think the young father would be experiencing the same guilt as you? He would be questioning why you died and he survived. Any survivor of such a horrific accident always wonders why he is the one to have escape.

It was a horrible thing that happened, but not your fault. Unfair that someone lost their life yes. But in a way you have suffered much more. You are blaming yourself for something that was never within your control. I am sure that young man would not want you to be held prisoner by this guilt.

This is an example of one of life's great mysteries. I am glad you shared this story. I have learned a lot about your character reading this. I already knew you were an exceptional person but now I have developed even more respect for you. You have remarkable determination and compassion. I am glad I met you.

LookingForNormal said...

bob I'm so glad you went back and shared this with people because that is how I knew you. It was great reading all the funny stuff but early on you had me go back and read this and it helped me because I then knew that you knew what I was going through. I'm glad that people are seeing this side of you because thats what makes you you. If this is too personal just don't answer but I've always wondered; Have you talked to his boys? I know it said that you didn't a while ago, but have you since then? We have talked about the anxiety attacks, infact you were the first guy I had seen admit to one. It helps and I am finding on my sight people following that never metion them until they read mine. You have really helped alot of people not by only making them laugh but by going back and letting people know how you got to where you are. Does your neck still hurt? Cause they want me to have another back surgery and I just don't know if I can do that again. Seriously. Thanks Bob. Tammy

Jenno said...

I wouldn't like hurricanes after going through that either, Bob. I'm sorry you had to be there for that. Life isn't fair or just. It just is.

Melissa B. said...

What a story! I can't even imagine how I would react to a situation like that. A powerful, cautionary tale, for sure...

Bruce Coltin said...

I read your story this morning, when I first saw it come up on my dashboard. I couldn't respond. I did not know what to say. Truthfully, I still don't know what to say, except that I saw the story play out like it was on a movie screen. You have a book in you, my friend...your own perfect storm. Write it.


holy shit bob. i joined plain old bob and you told me to come over here and i did and wow. that is just, wow. there's a reason you are here and you didn't cause their daddy to die. no one did. God bless you and hoping you find peace.

Midnight Whisperer said...

Bob, my heart goes out to you. I know first hand the harshness of the angry sea. I know first hand the guilt of living while one of your 'crew' dies. If I have ever felt empathy for another blogger's story, it is yours. I know the sick feeling in your stomach when you wake from reliving past horrors. But I do not want to forget mine. These things that happen to us, happen for a reason. Whether part of a bigger scheme or simply to shape us into who we need to be, there is a reason you lived through that terror, and a reason that you live on. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for... After experiencing something like that, you continue to live in hurricane prone areas. You face your fears and not many people can claim that feat. Be proud of yourself for the accomplishments that you have made and live the second chance you were given. It is the best way to give honor to the young man's death. While I hope that your nightmares allow for periods of relief, I also believe that they are our souls way of reminding us to never forget; as hard as it can be, and as much as it hurts to remember. I apologize for the LENGTHY comment, but felt you needed to know, you are not alone.

ByDSea said...

Amazing story Bob. I hope writing this and sharing with us helps you with your struggle. I also live on the Gulf Coast and understand your dislike of Hurricanes.

Innocent Owner Of Mad Cats said...

Bob, I remember the first time I read this story and the emotional punch it gave to me. I find myself reading your reposting of it and i find the punch even greater than I remember. Knowing the story I was sure it wouldn't affect me as strong as it did the first time but I was wrong. My friend, I wish there was some magical potion or something I could give you to take that one spot of your life away but I can't. I can give you support when you need it and by looking around here, I think you have one heck of a great support team going.


Dayne Gingrich said...

Wow... didn't know the full story.

You were spared because you have more to give. Of course it's insanely painful to think of the one who died, and who was left... but you're very special and are needed to share that with the rest of us.

Embrace the gift you were given! WE ALL feel it!


★ Hollie ★ said...

I feel sad for you because you endured a very dramatic and Traumatizing experience. I'm sorry for all of the guilt & regret you have suffered. Its really a very hard thing to deal with.

Just remember that everything happens the way it is suppose to. God doesn't make mistakes so you must still have a greater purpose.

Maybe through your writing you will help other survivors overcome the same emotions and obstacles that you did.

Whatever the case may be, I'm so glad you had the courage to share your story..thank you.

plainolebob said...

Thanks for all the beutiful comment and support.
I just felt like relaying what happened, to let some of the newer people to my blog and blogs know, that this blogging has been a god send to me. This is the very place that helped rid me of these demons I held. I love you all for sharing, reading, caring, just plain ole being here.

Sibel said...

Wow, It is incredible, thank you for sharing it. That you are even here to tell it is unbelievable.

Bendigo said...

It's not often that I'm left speechless. I was forced to reread and digest this before posting a comment. You sir, are a strong man. I don't know about your physical strength, but you have a strength of character that I can only hope for one day. I hope and pray that you will one day realize that you were a casuality the same as the young man that died, and in no way responsible. God Bless

Shinade aka Jackie said...

Oh my Bob, I am frightened for you just reading this.

What an adventure and a terrible ordeal to go through. I am so glad you made it through.

DUh, well that goes without saying...blond thing...sorry about that!!

I will be glad when you are better. I will go visit Bess but have you in my thoughts and prayers.

Hurry up....get well!!

Chris said...

That's quite an ordeal. I'm glad you got through it. Great blog you have here. Let me know if you want to be featured on my blog for a day. Chris

JW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JW said...

link was messed up in previous comment. I have something to pass on to you, Bob.

Patty Mooney said...

Wow Bob, makes a detached retina seem so mundane. It really gives you an appreciation of life, as short as we all know it is.

plainolebob said...

Sibel,Jackie, Chris,JW, Patty
As horrible as my accident was you have all made it up for me, no, more than made it up,
I have never given up nor will I.
I am a tough ole coot, just ask Bess.
god I love you all.

aynzan said...

This is heartfelt! I'm sure a part of you must be relieved for pouring your heart out.Yes ..God has plans for you ..So you must live..

Alice in Wonderland said...

WOW! Well Bob, there must be some reason why you survived! My heart goes out to the man with the two babies though.
Thank God that you were saved! Tragic things have happened in my life too, and sometimes I feel I should talk about them too, but I'm a bit scared to write on the blog about them, so you can mail me, and I'll tell you about my life.
I did know that you had something to do with the sea though!
I'll have to visit you here more.
Big Hugs!

ladytruth said...

What an incredible story! It sounds like something out of a movie, just a lot more sad.

I have something for you over at my blog :)

Alice in Wonderland said...

Aw, Bob, I never thought that words could make me cry the way that those words did! Here I am, sitting crying for you, and your friend that got killed. I'm sure those boys don't hate you, it was an accident that you couldn't do anything about, so don't you go beating yourself up about it. We can't changed the past, but we can always look for the good in tomorrow, and in each day that we live.
How on earth could I ever be mad at you? You are one brave man, and a man that I admire and respect more than words can say!
You deserve every award that you are given!
Big hugs to both of you!

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

Bob, there is a reason why everything happens. Even if we don't understand why at that precise moment or even if we never understand the reason, things occur in a distinct order. You bring a lot of joy to a lot of people with the selfless way that you share of yourself and your experiences. I hope that you find peace within yourself and not assign guilt to yourself for this terrible tragedy that took place. It was completely out of your realm of control.

Shinade aka Jackie said...

Good morning Bob and Bess! oh you will love a DSLR.

I haven't forgotten my award. I love it. But, I have so many posts that were in line before I got the award that I had to get them up before they track me down and harm!!

Awards roll out at midnight Friday for Purple Saturday!!

Have a great day and don;t over do!!:-)

Alice in Wonderland said...

Bob, I just want to thank you so much for giving me the courage to write about my own life, and especially today.
You have my greatest regards and respect.
You are my hero, Bob, and thank you so much.
Love and big hugs, XXX

Lisa said...

I guess you're here to blog and bring joy to all your cyber friends. That was a wonderful, yet sad,story.

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About Me

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I Have started this blog as a rest stop to collect my thoughts, share my ideas with my friends and to start work on what ever, I started blogging at the last of august, 2009. it says 2008, hell I don't know where they got

just kicken it around