Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Photos NW Australia, CGGV Symphony

19 degrees 57 minutes south
113 degrees 21 minutes east
100 nautical miles east of Barrow Island, North Western Australia, Indian Ocean.

It has been 8 months since I last updated from Brasil, and in that time I have started a new position as an independent Health Safety Environment representative aboard seismic exploration vessels in Indonesia and in Australia. I represent a highly respected and regarded firm in the United Kingdom. The clients I work for are large Oil Companies in ensuring HSE Plans are adhered to, no one is injured and the environment is protected. The vessels I have been on so far are the Pacific Titan and currently the CGG Veritas Vessel Symphony, a 400' behemoth that is a converted Russian fishing trawler. Both vessels are chartered by the French Company CGG Veritas. On Symphony the accommodations are very comfortable and the food is good. Perhaps most rewarding is interacting with on a daily basis with multi-national crews in learning about respective cultures, customs and courtesies and language.

I am grateful of all of the training, secondary and technical schools and leadership training instilled in me from my 20 year career as a CWO Bosn in the US Coast Guard as I draw on my experience in delivering quality customer service.

I'll post a few photos to get a glimpse of our operations. Have a great New Year.
More Later,
Captain, Ben Brown

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cabo Frio Brazil, Anchorage

Cabo Frio Brazil,

Small vessels in the background protected at anchor in Cabo Frio. We hired a launch to take the crew ashore while we waited on the weather to improve for a few days. Subsequently we are now at the work site 50 miles offshore, S. Atlantic ocean. Still on the night shift working 6 PM to 6 AM (+3 Papa Time Zone). Today was the first day in many days that we were able to set up on 4 anchors and continue our survey consisting of core sampling. My grandfather Frank Fava would be proud as he retired from the State of Louisiana as a Geologist (where he worked for 40 or so years), and would be familiar with our work. I am working with Geologists on a daily basis as we continue our work.

My anchor handling is improving and I can now set all 4 anchors with confidence, but still have some more to learn in maneuvering our 1405 Ton, 270' Vessel. Night and day differences from the 110' Patrol Boat and 175' Buoy Tender I maneuvered while a Deck Watch Officer and Executive Officer during my 20 year career in the US Coast Guard. It is all good.

Captain Ben Brown

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Waiting on Weather Again, Cabo Frio

A lot has happened since my last posting. Last week while on our four point anchor spread our starboard anchor cable parted necessitating a ride back into Niteroi where we replaced the cable and anchor. Good thing we had a spare anchor with us as a replacement anchor costs $30,000.00 USD in Brazil. My mate Jesus went back home to Tepic, Mexico and we are sailing with a Brazilian Mate which has been helpful, especially in translating. I switched to the night shift and still getting used to the time change. Anyway, after repairs we went back out to our work location which is 50 nautical miles South East of Cabo Frio and were able to get two days of work in before getting shellacked by a strong storm system that produced 49 knot winds and seven meter seas. Thank god we were not far from the protected anchorage of Cabo Frio ! Our eight hour ride into Cabo Frio was a little lumpy in 4 meter side seas but we are no worse for the wear.

I plan on going ashore tomorrow for yet more souvenirs as the beach we are anchored in front of has nice things and some bargains. It reminds me a lot of some anchorages I have been to off of California like at Smugglers Cove on Santa Cruz Island and maybe Avalon but a lot less built up and crowded plus the sand is sugar white with warmer water.

I miss everybody back home Katie, Julia and Hayden and our friends and family. It was nice to get e-mail's from Chris Allaire and Tom and Amy Larson who are cruising in Australia. I am really glad to have internet via a satellite link and was able to buy flowers for Mom and Ann and would have sent some to Bonnie if she wasn't in Ireland with Vern.

Ben Brown

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Waiting on Weather

In the vicinity of Cabo Frio at anchor waiting on weather, there is a high pressure system off the coast that has created 17 to 18 foot seas which is way out of our league to operate safely. Last night when we came in to anchor we were in 10 to 12 foot beam seas and 45 knot winds for our 6 hour transit which was not fun but all is OK now.

The Prainha (Portuguese for small beach, Praia is Large Beach) where we are anchored is a family vacation spot and is very nice, quiet and off the beaten path. These beaches do not have individual names according to our interpreter Helio (pronounced Ell - e - o). There is a small section at the end of the beach that costs $3.00 Reai's ($1.50 US) to enter but I have yet to figure out why, as the rest of the beach is free with plenty of restaurants, beach chairs and food and beverage service on the beach, emerald green water and sugar white sand that the shopkeepers keep clean by sweeping with brooms and raking. I found some really cool homemade paddles yesterday that looked hand carved in the men's restroom which serves double duty as a storage locker. There are vendors who sell their goods on the beach; yesterday I had green mussels that did not taste the greatest and also fresh Cashew nuts that were warmed and salted for $3.00 Reai, which were very good. There was a gentleman who walked down the beach with handheld portable BBQ that he used for making toasted cheese on a stick, perhaps I will try it today. I was able to get more souvenir's yesterday to add to my collection but would like to get more today.

When we go back to work I am hoping it will not last for more than 3 weeks so we can return to the US. I am missing Katie and Julia and Hayden and family and friends tremendously.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Laguna Rodrigo De Freitas

This is the lagoon as seen from Pico do Corcovado (Christ Statue). The strip of land is Barra Da Tijuca west of Rio proper as the crow flies. The brochures found at Pico do Corcovado claim the christ statue faces a similar statue in Portugal, in perfect true compass alignment actually which is pretty remarkable for the time before true compasses.
The islands in the background are Ilhas Tijucas. Tijucas is an old Indian name of the indigeneous people of Rio before settlement.