So, we moved back to the US from Korea and then started our next assignment where every other month, we live here….
Yes – you are reading the map correctly, we are are now in Russia – actually just off of Sakhalin Island which is off the eastern coast of mainland Russia and north of Japan. I highly doubt our parents ever thought we would have Russian work visas but we picked them up a couple of weeks ago and started our new assignment so it’s official! The trip to get here is a various assortment of planes, sometimes trains, automobilies, and boats! We had to fly from Houston to Tokyo and then Tokyo to Yuzhno, stay overnight in Yuzhno, take a charter flight to Nogliki and then a “Kamaz” bus ride to the port and then hop on a crew boat to take us offshore….
Once we arrived to our destination, we had to transfer from the crew boat over to the main accommodation vessel. To do that, we had to do a frog transfer – so we got strapped in and then the crane on the accommodation vessel picked it up and set us on the deck of the Accommodation Vessel (AV).
We made it! Our new home for the next 4 weeks! We share this as our home with almost 500 other people from all over the world – Korea, Philippines, UK, Australia, India, Canada, etc. So – on our first day, they ran us through all of our safety trainings, showed us our rooms (no, Ryan and I are not staying in the same room even though we’re married which makes this experience a little weird), got us to our offices, and fed us dinner. I have to admit the rocking of the boat and I didn’t get along too well at first, but 2 weeks later, it now rocks me to sleep and I don’t notice it much (except when I’m at the gym and have to hold myself in place on the treadmill!).
It’s a funny feeling to be out here and see this project in its final location – we’ve spent a long time on this project and it’s a big deal to see it so close to being finished! It’s certainly in the middle of nowhere, though…this is the view on a clear day. On most days, we really can’t see land…that really small speck in the distance is another oil platform. It really is crazy to see almost nothing but water around you. It’s also been a bit crazy being so far North because it seems to be light out for so long – it’s hard to keep track of what time it day it is!
After about our first week there, the sea swells started to get pretty high, so we had to disconnect the gang-way that allows us to cross from the AV to the Topsides Platform and head to waters a little ways out (it was a bit more calm being further from the Topsides). So – we spent about a day at sea without access to our platform – it gave us the opportunity to grab some cool pictures of our project, though, so we took full advantage of that.
You may be able to tell that we look chilly and I know what you’re thinking, “It’s July! It can’t be that cold!” Well, it is…especially when it’s windy and you’re in the middle of the ocean! We are pretty far up North, afterall. Luckily, we brought jackets and we’re staying pretty warm! Also, if you’re thinking the platform looks small – keep in mind we’re about a half a mile away from it on the AV in these two pictures…it’s about a football field long!
One of the other cool parts about being disconnected meant that we got to watch them re-instate the gang-way which was pretty awesome. The metal bridge looking structure is the gang-way – they are stretching it out to reach out to the platform so it can be set down and we can walk across. As you can see from the picture, it is really foggy – there are many days that we wake up and we can barely see the platform which is crazy because it’s right next to us!
So far so good after a couple of weeks – we’re learning a lot and enjoying this unique and interesting experience as we continue to live at our home sweet home for the next few weeks….