If the trouble in Santa Barbara was cost of living, the problem in New Orleans is finding decent quality. I've been looking for a car for the past week, and keep running across decent cars with major mechanical issues, especially where CV axles are concerned. After driving the city for only a few weeks, this comes as no real surprise (the roads here are terrible-more potholes than MN after the spring thaw). There's a funny character trait I've noticed though, talking with people about their cars for sale, and maybe it would be the same anywhere, but I've experienced it at least 3 times now, with 3 different cars. When asked if anything is wrong with the car in question, I'll get no for an answer, unless it's an obvious physical flaw. After I drive the car, hear whatever clicking, whirring, pinging noise the car offers up in the few minutes I drive it, and go back with questions, they'll readily admit the problem. It's strange, it doesn't necessarily feel dishonest, per se, but I don't understand it. It doesn't help that I'm pretty limited in how much I can spend, because I'm obviously scraping the bottom of the Craig's List barrel. My co-workers have been really helpful though, keeping their ears open for something good, and I'm sure I'll find something in time.
Today is the 2-week mark since I arrived in New Orleans. I'm spending time in the shop this week, reading up on ROVs, tomorrow I'll learn some basic trouble-shooting techniques. I'm spending time with the engineers and shop techs, learning the dos and don'ts of the trade. There's so much to learn just about the ROVs, and then so much more to learn about flying the wee buggers, and even more about the actuality of working in the oilfield.
Saturday was my first day out in the Gulf. We were only out for a day, but it was a really good intro. We left the shop at 2am for the 3-hour drive to Fourchon (pronounced FOO-shon), which was a little like the Holy Grail. Many times I'd heard the name of Fourchon, from the stories Geoff would tell us in class; I could only hope for the day, so quickly!, when I, too, would set sail from the place.
We loaded the boat and set out, arriving 2 hours later at the rig. We tied off, and waited for the company man to transfer to the boat from the rig (via Billy Pugh basket, maneuvered by crane) to meet with us, and give us more info on the job. When we had a decent grasp on what to do, we put the ROV in the water, swam it around the rig for a while, got some video of what they needed to see, and landed the bugger back on deck. Once the ROV was traken care of, we hopped in the basket and headed up to the rig for lunch. This was a first, but it felt sort of familiar in a way, having seen so many pictures of barges and jack-ups, and having listened to so many stories from instructors and friends. I mean, obviously it's bizarre, being on this production platform in the middle of the wide, blue gulf, with no land in sight, and eating lasagna in a construction trailer-type mess hall, but I was more acclimated to it than I thought I'd be.