Posted tagged ‘Rockhopper Exploration’

January in the Falklands

January 19, 2012


Much preferring to work in the field than in the office, when Rockhopper Exploration offered me the chance of sailing to an offshore rig in the waters of the Falklands Islands to report on the progress of its oil discoveries, I could not say no. Bye, bye paper clips, hello drill pipes.

The voyage was as uneventful as an episode of Last of the Summer Wine. We waved to the Canary Islanders; we bisected the Equator and languished in the doldrums before reaching the giant Sea Lion oil field just off the Argentinean coast. I cried “Rule, Britannia!” before stepping off the boat. Clumsily, I slipped into the South Atlantic. To my horror nobody noticed, they were too busy with their important oil related business to worry about me. Everybody vanished inside the rig to their charts, memos and kettles.

I remembered I couldn’t swim. This was hairy and scary at the same time. Somehow, I rode the foaming surfs and ran through miles of freezing water to reach land. Totally totalled I lay on the shore with the icy Tyson wind biting my ears. I knew I had to make it inland to shelter

With leaden legs and disorientation I went metric; I struggled through kilometre after kilometre of rugged landscape. The cold did give me one fringe benefit. I needed to sneeze. Sneezing is almost as good as sniffing tractor magazines. Although one goes out and one goes in the euphoric effect is the same. You can’t beat some ins and outs. I let the sneeze grow from its embryonic state. My eyes were half-open, my mouth half-closed, my eyebrows were scrunching, my body tensed, my nose was quivering at first then rattling as the Richter Scale was rising. Then…nothing. It was a false alarm sneeze.

Distraught, I laboured on as my strength was diminishing by the second; I could have used some of Rockhopper’s oil. Fortune threw me a lifeline. A short distance away I saw a tent. Using the last of my energy I entered the cabin of canvas.

My eyes were blinded by the brightness of the inside somewhat though I could see the outline of a sleeping bag on the floor. Exhausted, I crawled into the bag and it occurred to me that there was another human being beside me. My eyes became accustomed to the tent and all I could see was pink. My sleeping partner awoke and said.
“Hello sailor boy! You’re my first foot.”

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