In the words of David Guetta, “All the crazy sh*t I did tonight, those would be the best memories,” I can definitely relate to this song. My revised version would be, “All the crazy stuff I did in the last 2 months, and those would be one of the best memories.” Honestly, with all the fabulous recollections I had on the Viking Vision, I could not have asked for a better start in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The most important lesson that I learned on this rotation was to never judge a book by its cover. Let me elaborate, since I worked with a majority of Filipinos and Norwegians onboard it was at times difficult to communicate. Some of my first few conversations I had with the Filipinos did not go that well, not because they gave a bad first impression, but simply because we had a language barrier to break through. Once they were used to me and became more relaxed, then they started practicing their English around me. If I would have been judgmental in the very beginning, then I would have not met some really cool guys that still on occasion facebook me with their broken English. I know good first impressions are really important, but when it comes to communicating with another culture it is important to remember to be patient. Do not be so quick to judge someone – after all, you would not want to be judged, would you?
5 Most Fabulous Recollections of My Time on Viking Vision:
1. Being part of the crew:
Along with excellent first impressions – "Excellent First Impressions; a Guide on How to Give Great, Not Just Good Impressions” that I was given, I felt like part of the crew. I remember the first few days when I came onboard how curious the crew was about me. On various occasions during the first week that I was working outside, I had a daily visit from 5 different crew members. I felt like Ms. Popularity! The shocking news was that I actually started becoming a lot more comfortable once I was introduced to more crew members onboard. It is funny how a simple introduction can really brighten your day – I had this on a daily basis for the first week. Once I was going into my second week onboard, I already knew everyone. Jess, Jodie, Olga, and Silje were the first individuals that approached me when I first stepped foot on the Viking Vision – “Helicopter Ride to Viking Vision; the Quest for Sperm Whales.” Within the second day onboard, I started watching movies at night with the girls. Between their daily visits and our movie nights, I quickly had the opportunity to get to know each of them fairly well. Perhaps, this is one of the best things that I like about working offshore; you have the chance to interact with different cultures in small settings and get to witness their “true colors.” Thus, the closed quarters bring you closer together, especially when you see each other a few times every day. It is definitely hard to find people that you connect with really quickly, but when you do find that connection it is absolutely sheer brilliance. When I was accepted as part of the crew, I was able to live in the moment and appreciated what friends/colleagues surrounded me. I felt at ease, relaxed, and fortunate to have these positive individuals in my life. Most importantly, I was able to just be me.
2. Learning Norwegian:
I learned a great deal from Jan, especially when it came to learning Norwegian from him during the 2 months that we shared onboard – "Embracing Norwegian Culture; Hyggelig å møte deg.” One of my favorite quotes that Jan taught me in Norwegian was, “veldig kul;” which was defined as “very cool.” I adore learning other languages; working offshore is the perfect opportunity for me to do take full advantage of learning not only the language of the respected country, but also the historical significances of that country. I feel blessed to work with a beautiful mixture of nationalities – I love listening to stories about their country and why they respect and love their country. If you want a mind-twisting endeavor, I would recommend learning a language. I have always wanted to travel to Norway - now here is my chance to not only take the title of the typical tourist setting foot in Norway for the first time, but I also have the opportunity to actually mingle with the locals. Once I arrive in Norway, I am going to try my best to speak their language. One of the most considerate gestures you can make while traveling in another country is to speak their language. Even if you pronounce a few words incorrectly, the locals will still respect you and admire your strength to try. There is nothing worse than an arrogant American who sets forth to explore a country and refuses to not use the local language. Must you be reminded that you are in their country? People are much more receptive if you make an effort to speak their language - this can turn a frustrating experience into the trip of a lifetime.
3. Sighting pods of Sperm whales:
Before I went on this project, I made an effort to learn about what I would be interacting with in the wild. I remember reading several great articles on Sperm whales, which flared my enthusiasm and intensified my fascination for these magnificent creatures – "The Pursuit for the Sperm Whale; the Great Legend of Moby Dick.” In all of my readings, I translated that Sperm whales were simply deep sea leviathans. For decades scientists and researchers have been trying to understand the mechanisms behinds their deep dives, the communication of patterned sounds that they create, and their great impact on the oceans. One of the articles that I read emphasized, “there is one question that overshadows all the others: is there any other being that bundles together so many extremes? Sperm whales are the largest-toothed animals in the world, have the longest intestines, the biggest brains and the largest noses. Their dives may be the deepest and longest of any mammal – and even with their numbers drastically reduced by whaling, they still take as much food out of the ocean each year as all of mankind’s fisheries put together. They live in the deepest oceans, ranging from the equator to the edges of the ice caps (the females live mostly in the tropics and the males, which are three times larger, at the poles). And such is their impact on the planet that the iron in the feces of Antarctica’s sperm whales fertilizes enough phytoplankton to slow the impact of global warming.”
Out of all the creatures of the deep ocean, the Sperm whale enjoys most legendary status for its immortalizing in Moby Dick. Some of the remaining mysteries of the Sperm whale will soon become clear, but it may take decades to accomplish this task. Sperm whales significantly sized large brains and cultures present a greater challenge - which has humans scratching their heads. We need to probe their learning, their thoughts and values – and, in the process, give humanity a glimpse of what Moby Dick’s motivation really was.
4. Visioning a planet of such beauty, intertwined with sunsets:
I have always liked clouds and sunsets. Now since I work on the ocean and view daily sunrises and sunsets, I have fallen in love with these beautiful displays. I seem to not get enough of them – definitely a highlight of my day! Plus, they make excellent photographic subjects! Though land was not in sight, the sunrise and sunsets were not a disappointment over pure vast ocean. One of my absolute favorite things that I love about photographing and witnessing these blessed miracles is that your 5 senses take you to a new level of tranquility. Imagine the warmth of the ocean breeze running through your hair, the taste of saltwater on your lips, the overwhelming smell of fresh fish mixing in the ocean breeze, the sight of an empowering body of light kissing the horizon goodnight, and the touch of your cold camera pressed up against your face as you are taking the last few photos of this incredible moment. Honestly, sometimes I cannot explain in words why I love the offshore lifestyle; however, this moment that I just described is a clear representation on why I love working on the water.
I have never heard of the TV show “Dexter” until I first started working on this project. The instant that I watched the first episode I was literally hooked – it was almost like I could watch the entire first season in 1 day if given the opportunity! I have never felt that way about another show at that time – Dexter pulled me in by the absolutely intoxicating complexity of his character. Meet Dexter Morgan, the protagonist of the series, he is a sociopathic serial killer who targets other killers. By day, he is a forensic blood spatter analyst with the Miami Metro Police Department. He is the biological son of Laura Moser and Joe Driscoll and the biological brother of Brian Moser, also known as the Ice Truck Killer. This show grabbed my attention, because Dexter is not your average serial killer; he is best described as Batman cleaning the bad guys off the streets, in this case he is killing the bad guys and putting their remains in the harbor. Slightly different approach to the Batman series, but the reason behind it makes the show worth while watching. For instance, Dexter only kills individuals who fit a prolific and precise “moral code” taught to him by his late father Harry Morgan, and developed very thoroughly throughout each kill. Mostly all of his victims have specifically committed murder and have not showed any remorse for their actions – he seeks this sinner and puts matters in his own hands. Maybe I enjoy this show, because there is a dark place in each and every one of us, as Dexter calls it his “Dark Passenger?” Maybe few of us can actually keep this inside of us and others well, let this mind-controlling demon out to play every once in a while? Whatever the case is, this show is the epitome of sin and a lack of impulse control that some of us are born with.
|Serenity; Gulf of Mexico: Viking Vision 01.2008|
I would suggest if you have not watched it yet, definitely put it on your list! I have successfully introduced this show to every project that I have worked on. This show has become the topic in our daily conversations – there is a reason for this; definitely watch an episode, you will not be disappointed!
|Cloudy Skies; Gulf of Mexico: Viking Vision 02.2008|