Thursday, May 6, 2010

a release for some new friends and family

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 w
ere 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.


Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

Oh wow. I cannot even begin to imagine...
I hope you find peace and sweet dreams tonight, and every other.

WackyMummy said...

Incredible that you survived it... I just don't know what to say. I would have nightmares after that too. I don't know how you stay in hurricane country after that experience. I hope this helps get it off your chest and mind.

Anonymous said...

Gee Bob.. what an ordeal. The stuff nightmares are made of... and a higher being decided it just was not your time to go Bob.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Good to see you back, Bob, and I have heard this story before.
You know that you cannot go on blaming yourself for this accident.
Things happen, and we have no control over them, we just have to deal with them as best as we can.
No one could ever hate you and this was not your fault.
You take good care of yourself, and I'll talk to you soon!
Big hugs from across the Pond!

Sandee said...

A life changing experience indeed. Don't feel guilty about living. You just can't. Well you shouldn't in any event.

This explains so very much about you Bob. So very much indeed.

Have a terrific day and weekend. Thanks for sharing such a painful part of your past. Big hugs. :)

Desertson said...

Sorry but you just reaffirmed my dislike of the sea. I will go out deep sea fishing, but that's it. And then I had to watch A Perfect Storm, and that scares the hell out of ya. I was in Baton Rouge during Katrina so yeah I hate hurricanes too. Hope the best for you, man you've been through a lot.

Carmen said...

Thank you for sharing this Bob - I can't even begin to imagine what you went through and still are going through by the sound of it.

No one could blame you for any of that. In fact if anyone was at fault it was the people that sent you out again when they were told how dangerous it was, never you.

Big hugs.

Angie said...

Oh my - wow. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't read this fast enough. Very scary, very sad. What an awful experience. But do not blame yourself. Blame and guilt create ugly, black energy and is no good to you or to anyone in your life. Would the engineer or his family wish you to live with such torment? I think you know the answer. LIVE FULLY. Hugs

JT said...

I am afraid to be in any type boat on a lake, river, sea or even a creek. I am not a very good swimmer. May God Bless You.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've always said that many questions won't have answers available until the next life, and by that time, it won't matter any more. Enjoy the life you're given; what other choice is there?

Your story also proves the theory that the most ignorant people rise to the top of most companies. Maybe you should have told them, "Sure I'll go, if you go with me!"

Sibel said...

Hi! here I am again, and I am passing you on the "The Prolific Blogger Award" to you..
please see it at my blog

Betty said...

Oh, I'm so sad my dear friend to hear that!
What an unbelievable story! You have gone through this terrible experience! And you survived!
Hope you find peace and I'm sending you tons of (((HUGS)))!! :o)
Take good care of yourself,

B xx

Anonymous said...

Bob, I have done S & R in choppers, I have seen what you are telling us. It's a wicked story, but it's life. The boat side I can only imagine, but from Navy friends, it can be the most dangerous job on Earth.


Cheri Pryor said...

Wow. What an incredible ordeal to go through. With your injuries I'm certain you deal with constant physical pain. Sending you prayers for your emotional pain and that you can find peace with the kind of decision only God Himself can make. My you have restful sleep. ((hug))

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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