Aye Aye Cap'n.
Getting back into doing ‘stuff’ with another offshore posting imminent was extremely difficult. In fact, I spent more time racing about in the Hillman whilst the weather was half decent, than anything else. I also scanned the web on a daily basis - though without success - just in case a Riley RM ‘project’ came up.
So I and a fellow Magneteer set off to Rotterdam, via Schiphol, to meet up with our old friend the Ndurance. On Sunday afternoon, when we got to the gate in Pernis where the ship was berthed, the guard’s office on the other side was empty, but there was an intercom system and a security man on the other end was quick to answer. I introduced myself and asked that he let us through as we were expected aboard that evening. Adopting an official tone, Mr Intercom announced that opening the gate was impossible because he wasn’t on site (despite being on the other end of the intercom) and that we should ring either the number on the notice attached to the gate or get in touch with the ship itself. Well, I didn't have a number for the ship so I asked who’s number it was on the gate. “That’s mine”, said Mr Intercom.
Hmmm, this was clearly going to take some time. I began to reason with him and after a moment or two, and as I was getting into my stride, with a whirr of motors the gate mysteriously slid open. I think Mr Intercom had better things to do than listen to some matelot explaining the circular position in which we all found ourselves.
Of course, the ship wasn't expecting us until Tuesday so there was some scrabbling around for cabins and a trip to the local Politiebureau to do some paperwork that neither of us understood. On Tuesday afternoon, we finally set sail for the Borssele Offshore Wind Farm, somewhere out in the North Sea.
It was odd to pass the Stena Britannica at the Hook of Holland - I'm usually on board looking out at me - so to speak.
A barge overtook us as we passed this 'jack-up',
... and I was able to observe the flexibility of turbine blades as we sailed the 30km down the Nieuwe Waterweg and out to sea - which is when things got a little more interesting than I'd expected. The wind revved up to 30kts and the swell to about 3mts - more than enough to submerge the sides of the deck at each roll of the ship. It was a bad night; even some of the seasoned crew looked a bit green around the gills, but thankfully, the worst was over by 10.00pm.
Over the next couple of days the weather behaved itself and we joined up two offshore sub-stations with a 7km interlink cable (around 6" in diameter) before preparing to lay another 38km of export cable (about 10" diameter) from one of these sub-stations and back to the shore.
And we had a visit from Captain Sparrow.