|Texas Horizon, First Project; Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts 09.2007|
That following morning I was met at the office by Matt the logistics coordinator who was helping me arrive safely to my first offshore assignment - "Welcome to a New Chapter; Shaping My Future as a Marine Biologist." A colleague Ryan was patiently waiting there as well – he was coming on the project with me. Matt drove Ryan and me to the airport to catch our Boston, Massachusetts flight from Orlando, Florida. Mary Jo or MJ hired an onshore coordinator, Lisa, who came and met Ryan and I at the airport to take us to our hotel just outside of Boston. As I was thoroughly enjoying the landscapes passing us, Lisa spoke a great deal about politics – this was the only topic I remember we talked about as we made our way to the hotel. This was not exactly the welcome topic that I wanted, but she seemed to be really into the discussion so I just sat there in the front seat and listened.
We were eagerly greeted by MJ when we arrived at the hotel – she quickly explained to us that we would be dropped off at the shipyard tomorrow after we had a good night’s rest. At this point in time, I knew nothing about shipyards, let alone what to expect. I nodded my head and smiled – MJ invited me for a glass of wine before bedtime and this gave me the chance to thank her for hiring me, as well as flying to Boston for my first offshore project. That night I discovered that MJ’s position was the onshore coordinator that she would be staying in Boston for the duration of this project – the duration of the project was anticipated to be at least 4 months.
The next morning Ryan and I were entering the gates to the shipyard in MJ’s rental car. While we were driving through I noticed an odd scene – there were no females anywhere, just “big muscled” men working on the dock in front of us. We parked the car right before the second gate that led to our vessel – this was the furthest that MJ could drive her car. Ryan and I grabbed our bags out of the trunk, said our goodbyes to MJ, and made our way towards the men working on the dock.
|Texas Horizon Close-up of Bow; Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts 09.2007|
We walked to this massive ship that was sitting parallel to the dock – the words “Texas Horizon” was written on the side. The largest boat that I have seen before this one was my grandfather’s boat; in comparison, his boat was a quarter of the size of this ship! I did not know quite what to expect, but I was very anxious to find out! As Ryan and I walked we had our ship in sight and quickly hurried to her with our heavy bags weighing down our shoulders, our sweaty steel toes latched to our feet, and our white hard hats that seemed to move awkwardly on our heads.
One last obstacle we had before we finally set foot onboard was the ladder that we had to climb up to reach the portside of the ship. The ladder was made out of wood and rubber; this was the first time that I would use a ladder like this to climb on a ship. I am used to tree house ladders, but something told me this was very different. As Ryan went up the ladder, it started to sway back and forth due to the heavy force of the wind and the excessive baggage that he had on his shoulders. He made it to the other side safely and now it was my turn. I remember thinking as I was carefully climbing the ladder, “This is going to be a crazy adventure!” The ladder overlooked the water from down below and I was mid way through my trek across the ladder; as I approached the end of the ladder I heard the waves crashing against the dock ferociously. I had finally made it on the ship safe and sound! I was excitedly greeted by able bodied seamen or abs – these guys were very pleasant and demonstrated their enthusiasm of us coming onboard.
We were shown to our rooms right away and dropped our bags off to head to the bridge to introduce ourselves to the captain of the ship. The captain was a short Filipino man and expressed his gratitude for coming onboard. After we met all the bridge crew, Ryan and I walked outside on the bridge wing and were anxiously approached by our leads Meghan and Jim. These two spoke very fondly of the marine environment and seemed to love it as much as I did. We did not have to work that afternoon because we were still at the shipyard. The four of us chatted about the job for a few hours – we were briefed with a full description of our job and why we were there. The end of the day suddenly approached and tomorrow was soon to begin. As I lay in my bunk that night I recall thinking, “This is it; this is right where I belong.”
|Texas Horizon View of Bow; Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts 09.2007|