Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MIxed Gas, Extra Dry

We arrived at the new job sight yesterday afternoon.  The working depth is at about 200'.  At this depth we have to breathe a helium oxygen mixed gas.  
The majority of my dives over the last 4 years have been mixed gas, so this is no new thing for me.  It's just that I haven't done a gas dive in nearly 8 months.  And it's always a little bit more...  how you say...  moths in stomach? 
But the dive went off fine.  Black as hell, in the mud, with zero visibility.  It was my first pipeline flange hookup.  A long piece of pipe that had to be connected to another piece of pipe--which sounds really simple--and yet somehow... you can never underestimate how difficult the simplest of tasks can become when they have to be done at 200' in a pitch black mud trench.
I got the drift pins stabbed through the bolt holes in the flange, and got one bolt hand tightened.  
Forward progress, movin forward, not regressing.  As long as you don't move the project backwards, it's a successful dive. 
And then it was on to 1.5 hours of in-water decompression, followed by 2 hours and 45 minutes in-chamber.  Finished half the book, "Master Butcher's Singing Club."
All in a days work.  Now I goto sleep at 4pm.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Electro cut therapy.

Ok, so diving for trash (scrap metal) earns you a couple dozen nicks and punctures in your hands.  I've got about 6 active ones on my right hand and 5 on my left.  These punctures ALWAYS get mildly infected--sometimes you have to open then up with clippers or needles. 
Then burning (torch cutting underwater, using 100% oxygen) uses a welding arc to get the flame started.  This sends you a light shock.  It's not like getting hit with 120volts, but it can be quite uncomfortable at times.  And sometimes it takes a few seconds to get the flame fired up.  
Now while the current is moving through ya, literally, I discovered (uncomfortably) that it moves easier through the path of less resistance--through every nick and puncture in your hands.  
Quite an odd sensation to feel about double or triple the shock effect coming out of your wound passages.  Makes sense though--electrically.

Note: Originally written 6-28-2011, postdated.

Unlucky 4th of July

Sitting in my rack for two days, sleeping an average of 13 hours per day, got me thinking I should probably write out a journal entry this year.  At some point.
The reason why I'm sitting here:
Yesterday--the 4th of July--I dove around 5am.  An uneventful dive--just water jetting out a 10' deep trench to expose a pipeline.  We're looking for a leak in a pipeline and it's buried under 9' of mud.  We take this jet nozzle that gets 150+ psi of water and we carve out a trench.  It's slow going for a deep one like this cuz you gotta get a good bevel on the sides so that you don't get a 10' wall of mud, that could potentially collapse, crushing you and making a watery grave for your ass.  Ok, so that's what I'm up to--and it's going well (I don't have too much jetting under my belt, and I'm getting the hang of it). 
So the dive supe says,"Coming down on pressure, get ready to leave bottom." Not the usual way to wrap a dive up--usually the diver would get a 5 minute warning, he'd ask to come down on the pressure to the jet nozzle, tie it off to the project somewhere, and make sure he's all clear to start the ascent.  This was more like a, "Drop your shit and leave bottom."
I'm climbing my line and I get stopped at 40' for my first decompression period.  This means that I'll have 2 deco stops (one at 40, and one at 30').  
Supervisor comes over comms,"Yeah, I ran you over a bit.  You're gonna have 2 stops... And um, sorry about this, but you're gonna be dirty for 24 hours." 
This means that the supervisor brain farted and ran me past my intended bottom time. It also means I lose a dive ($150 or so). 
I do my in water deco stops and jump into the chamber.  Everythings going fine (cept the whole dive loss thingie), and then the superintendent comes up to the window and get's on the chamber phone with me.  
"Yeah, so Yanni (my outside chamber operator) ran you up too fast on your slide, so I'm gonna tack on an extra 20 minutes instead of giving you a treatment table 6."
"Ok, no problem."
"Unless you'd like a table 6?"
"20 minutes yes please--no thank you on the table 6.  I'm all good with that." 
(In the event of a missed stop or other decompression foul up, the automatic policy is going onto a treatment table 6-- which consists of 6 or so hours in the chamber.)
Basically I had a seriously unlucky 4th of July dive.  Not by my own doing at all, just the double luck of the draw. 
And here I sit, typing about it.  
I guess the silver lining is that I got the 4th off...  Not that I could do anything with it.
Oh, I forgot to mention... I worked out with a kettlebell about an hour before my dive. And during said workout, I was practicing my quick stand up (lay down and pop into stance), needless to say the boat was rocking a bit, I lost my balance, and fell backwards.  In an effort to catch myself, I smacked my hand against the kettlebell, causing swelling and a massive bruising of my thumb muscle.  Ouchie.  So, I don't know what was up with the 4th, but I'm glad it's over with.  
My hand still hurts a lot--puts a damper on my workout.  
But I got to sleep like a girlfriend in a coma, and I've posted my first blog in a year.  Not a complete loss.